Monday, June 27, 2005

Libertarian Legal Theory

Here's an elaborate and comprehensive post on Libertarian Legal Theory. One minor concern is that, in the Consequentialist Foundation, he mentions Richard Epstein as being "most strongly associated with consequentialist foundations" with no mention of David Friedman.

Link via A Stitch in Haste

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Now blogger is allowing people to post images. So in honor of me finishing reading The Road to Serfdom here's a pic of Hayek.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

FDA Outrage

FDA Panel Rejects Artificial Heart

From the article:

Government scientists on Thursday narrowly rejected the first fully implantable artificial heart, saying they were unsure if a few extra months of life outweighed the serious side effects.

Excuse me, but if you're unsure, then why not let consumers decide? What's scary is that the FDA could use the same logic to ban something like cigarettes. Luckily, cigarettes are not considered to be a food or drug (as is my understanding).

Defeat for Private Property

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of local government taking private property for the use of economic development, which in practice, means that the government can take your property for just about any reason.

Quote of the Day

"[A] government cannot mandate by fiat a feeling of unity in its citizens."
--West Virginia Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

Link via A Stitch in Haste, regarding the recent passing of the Flag Protection Amendment in the House.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Costs of Regulation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has decided that regulations that require independence for chairmen of mutual funds has to be sent back to the SEC. Why? Apparently, the SEC didn't even bother to consider the costs of the regulation! My guess is that this happens often. Maybe it's just me, but I rarely hear regulators talk about the costs of regulation. They only seem to mention the benefits. This is a huge mistake because if the costs exceed the benefits then obviously the regulations are doing more harm than good.

Link via Donald Luskin

Monday, June 20, 2005

Protecting Infant Industries

One of the most popular arguments for protectionism is that new and developing industries should be protected so they can grow to a point where they can compete on par with foreign industries. A paper from Professor Jagdish Bhagwati suggests otherwise. I would like to add my own criticism of this argument from a Public Choice perspective. Protectionism is more likely to benefit already-established and politically powerful firms (such as large agri-businesses) instead of small, developing firms that have no political influence. So even if, for the sake of argument, protectionism worked it's not likely that these firms with little political influence would ever get protected.


When immigrants send remittances back their homeland does that harm the US economy on net? Lawrence White doesn't think so. He says:

Hanson's worry overlooks some very basic points. The first is that the money immigrant workers have to remit is money they have been paid in exchange for what their labor contributes to the economy's output. The cash indeed doesn't come out of thin air -- the workers have to help produce the goods that generate revenue for the firms that pay them. The real wealth they transfer is wealth that would not have existed but for their work.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Kevin at the Smallest Minority has a good example of the hypocrisy of some gun control advocates. Apparently it's okay if they use guns, but for everyone else they believe guns ought to be strictly regulated or forbidden.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Agricultural Subsidies

There's a fascinating debate going on in the comments section of this post on Catallarchy about subsidies and their effect on the third world.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


It looks like there's going to be a special election in November. Let's see if anything good comes out of it. Most of the Governor's proposals sound good, but I'm unsure of the details.

Link via Dissecting Leftism

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This is sad

Check this post out by Tom G Palmer. I find this sort of thing infuriating as well.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


There seems to be a bit of sinophobia as of late, see here. Personally, I'm worried about the reaction to this fear:

Two-thirds of Americans and half of Canadians say they fear that "China is a serious threat" to jobs in their own countries...

I think their fears are wrongheaded. Trade is non-zero-sum after all and, to the best of my knowledge, there's no empirical evidence that increased trade leads to net job losses.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Foreign Aid

Foreign Aid does more harm than good:

* Very often, aid is spent on projects that benefit political leaders at the expense of the citizens.
* Almost always, the money crowds out investment by the private sector and -- because government is not good at making investment decisions -- it undermines economic development.
* Often it has bolstered corrupt regimes that would otherwise have been thrown out

The article also concludes that trade liberalization would be a better alternative:

Other reforms, such as removing trade barriers and eliminating trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, would yield far more benefits than increasing aid...

Say What!?

I think I'm about to commit heresy, but so be it. If Murray Rothbard actually believed what he wrote then I believe he's a tool and a moron:

Having broken emotionally with the right wing, our tiny group of libertarians began to rethink many of our old, unexamined premises. First, we restudied the origins of the Cold War, we read our D.F. Fleming and we concluded, to our considerable surprise, that the United States was solely at fault in the Cold War, and that Russia was the aggrieved party. And this meant that the great danger to the peace and freedom of the world came not from Moscow or "international communism," but from the U.S. and its Empire stretching across and dominating the world.

What the hell? Can you believe that this was written in the 60's, only a about decade after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution? I like how the US is referred to as an "empire" yet it was the USSR that was annexing Eastern Europe!

Side note: I don't even bother reading anymore. It's full of Chomsky-ite bullsh*t like this. Though not everything that comes from Lew is bad, see this.

Update: This guy is confused as well.

Update 2: Wow, the article also reveals that Rothbard was a member of the Marxist Peace and Freedom Party. Silly me, I thought it was those damned Neocons that were the Trots!

Good News from Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favor of Quebec's private sector health care and against the imposition of a state monopoly that's mandated on the national level:

"The court ruled that the long delays, lack of doctors and other problems with universal health care have put Canadians' health at risk. The decision will allow patients to seek private care outside the system, sparking fears that doctors will leave the national plan to go into more lucrative private practice and create a two-tier system."

Update: More info here from Order From Chaos

Update 2: Lawrence White wonders, as I do, why someone would object to a Pareto improvement.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My Hero

Yet another kick-*ss Milton Friedman interview.

I commented on an earlier one here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Immigration and Welfare

Bryan Caplan has an excellent post on immigration and welfare. Here's part of the post:

1. The welfare state primarily helps the old, not the poor.
2. Immigrants are moderately more likely to be poor, but vastly less likely to be old.
3. Expected net effect of immigration on the budget: Positive.

The welfare state helps the old more because the biggest programs (i.e. Social Security and Medicare) go to the elderly. If I have to guess why the elderly benefit more than the poor its because the elderly vote while the poor don't.

Medical Marijuana

From Drizzten, Justice Thomas dissents on the recent medical marijuana ruling:

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything - and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.

Update: More from the Mises Institute

Monday, June 06, 2005


In California, the state government chooses which textbooks to use for its schools. This is a terrible practice that's open to all sorts of lobbying by interest groups that want to impose their view of events on others. Alex Tabarrok has more and offers a solution:

The solution is to get rid of state-wide adoption systems altogether and let the teachers decide - preferably in a fully funded voucher system.

Whatever your view of state-funded education may be, his suggestion would certainly be better than the current status quo in California.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I just received my copy of The Road to Serfdom in the mail. Blog-ing might be light due to reading, but nonetheless I'm excited.

Update: Lots of people forget that Hayek was a Pragmatic Libertarian (though he probably would have called himself a classical liberal):

...there can be no doubt that some minimum standard of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody.


...the case for the state's helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong.

Though, I think I might disagree to some extent with the latter example. I don't know if we need a universal system like Social Security since older people on average tend to be wealthier than younger people, instead I think welfare for the poor would be sufficient.

Happy Birthday

I know I'm late, but yesterday was the birthday of Richard Cobden, a free trader who helped bring prosperity to Britain.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Third World

Bob Geldof is back in the news again. He wants to have a sequel to Live Aid called Live 8. I've got bad news for you Bob, you're first show did nothing but prove how self-righteous you are. If you want a really solution to third world poverty I suggest you start here. Calling for more foreign aid, might be well-intentioned, but I think it's sort of a mistake in this case. Third World countries often have very poor application of rule-of-law, so giving hand outs to corrupt governments can be either ineffective or can possibly exacerbate the situation.

I've just added Coyote Blog to my blogroll. It has all sorts of good stuff like this. I'd definitely recommend you check it out.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Is it just me or does it seem like everytime he does a positive thing a negative one is n't far behind:

...He formally launched the gathering with a signing of an executive order mandating that greenhouse gas emissions in California be cut to year 2000 levels in the next five years, and that they be 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050...

Update: Here's a response from the Cato Institute.

Another Question

Why do so many people in Laguna Beach houses on hills? This is close to where I live and I've seen first hand how unstable the area looks. Don't get me wrong, this is an unfortunate event, but at the same time it's not exactly unforseeable. This event sort of reminds how people will rebuild their homes in hurricane proned areas immediately after a hurricane!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Cox in the SEC

Bush to Nominate Rep. Cox for SEC Chairman

I'm pretty sure I'm in Cox's constituency. He's not perfect, but I like him:

Cox has been a longtime advocate of repealing the estate tax, the capital gains tax on savings and investment, and taxes on dividends. He also has supported banning taxes on Internet commerce.

Also, if I remember correctly, he supports eliminating taxes on alcohol (which, as a college student, I support whole-heartedly).

Update: Nick Gillespie seems to have a favorable view of him as well.


From Order From Chaos:

London - It is a sight to make the average toddler weep with horror: a billboard not only stating categorically that Santa Clause does not exist, but also condemning him as a tool of consumerism.

But following an initial ban, the poster - the work of a Scottish art student - was unveiled in Glasgow on Friday.

The six by three metre outdoor billboard contains slogans including "Stop Lying To Your Children About Santa Claus" and "Santa Gives More To Rich Kids Than Poor Kids".

Darren Cullen, a 22-year-old student at the Glasgow School of Art designed the poster as the culmination of a four-year course in art and advertising.

It had been due to go on display last month, but advertising company Maiden Outdoor withdrew its backing after seeing what the poster would contain, forcing Cullen to turn to media giant Clear Channel for support.

"Maiden seemed to think that it was a contentious issue that they couldn't be associated with in public," Cullen said.

"Their job is to promote consumerism and Santa's a hero of their industry, so I can see why.

"The project is about how children are trained to become consumers from a very early age and how both Santa Claus and advertising play a part in that."

Cullen - who condemned Santa as "a lie which teaches kids that products will make them happy" - has targeted the bearded Christmas icon before.

His art course portfolio includes a drawing of Santa admitting "I Killed Jesus", and smaller posters and stickers urging parents to tell the truth to their children. - Sapa-AFP

Is this guy a jerk or what, but then again what would you expect from an art student, especially one from Glasgow (which I've heard is full of socialists)? You can find the orginial article here.

Base Closings

Sheldon Richman on the reaction to military base closings:

People in a free-enterprise society are not supposed to look to the government for their livelihoods. But the bloated military, which is part of the burdensome welfare-warfare state, makes that possible.


Link via Division of Labour