Monday, February 27, 2012

IRANIAN OSCAR WINNER SUPPORTS RON PAUL


Okay the above title is a blatant exaggeration. But it’s great to see that amidst general Hollywood stupidity when it comes to politics and especially economics, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences selected an Iranian film, ‘A separation,’ by Asghar Farhadi, for a 2012 foreign film Oscar.

Not that I like Iran in particular. Nor have I seen any of the entries. But it was great to see someone get on stage in front of a billion people, and talk about how his home country is not as ideal to bomb as politicians make it out to be. I was actually waiting for him to just blurt out “Vote Ron Paul!” but that never happened.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

NOYNOY! SPEAKS ON EDSA; LISTEN TO THE WOULD-BE DICTATOR


Lagot ka...

It’s all pretty speeches [new tab] for Noynoy! Aquino in an attempt to hide the irony of opposing dictatorship while at the same time seeking to usurp the three branches of government.

Marcos conquered Congress via a constitutional provision. Without such a provision in the 1987 Constitution, Noynoy! achieved such a task by sheer populism.

It’s been a two-month borefest with the Senate’s Corona impeachment trial, but the administration’s purpose remains the same: swallow this third defiant branch, the judiciary.


THEY GET WORSE AND WORSE

If Noynoy! achieves his task, I honestly don’t think he’s going to bring about outright martial rule or totalitarianism. But even so, what his administration has done is pave the way for future dictatorships, with the claim of supra-constitutional powers of the executive. Worst of all, his popularity may have even grown by his deeds, what with anger towards GMA slow to recede. The mob rules!


HOW ‘DAANG MATUWID’ CAN REALLY BE ACHIEVED

I’m not opposing what is happening to Corona out of a “Pareho naman silang lahat” mentality. Of course, they really are all more or less the same. But more importantly, the singling out of Corona poses a greater danger than leaving criminals unpunished.

The one solution Noynoy! and his minions will ignore is actually the most likely to lead to the “daang matuwid.” If you want to get to the straight path, you strike at the foundations: the existence of government itself, for the state is premised on the socially harmful principle of acquisition-via-coercion. 

LIN FILES TRADEMARK FOR ‘LINSANITY’; FOLLY OF A HARVARD ECON GRADUATE


Imagine if intellectual property ― trademarks, copyrights and patents ― existed at the dawn of civilization. If such a principle, of usurping ideas on the delusion that ideas can be owned, were to be applied universally, it would have meant the end of language. 

For instance, what if someone filed a trademark on the word ‘the’ or ‘do’ just because they were named THEoDOre or something?  

Jeremy Lin’s filing for a trademark on ‘Linsanity’ is based on this same backwards idea that one can control economic resources that are beyond one’s possession.


SELLOUT SO SOON?

His quick rise to stardom is an admirable one, an inspiring story of overcoming the odds. But this trademark issue is definitely a buzzkill. Kind of like seeing a great band sell out, or beholding the death of a junkie singer. And so early in his career as a star!

And here, a magazine monopolizing
an all-caps depiction of
a dimension of our existence.
It doesn’t help that he studied economics in Harvard. I doubt that he attained any real insights as to the nature of intellectual property, or anything economics-related such as the present depression. The economics academe is corrupt, as Doug Casey says.


A SILVER LIN-ING?!

I am holding on to the hope that Lin is filing for the trademark for the enlightened purpose of stopping others from becoming monopoly holders of the term ‘Linsanity.’ If he is granted the trademark, he will have the power to allow everyone else to use the term without fear of reprisal. He can say something like:
“I think intellectual property is a crock of shit, and totally baseless, as it is downright wrong to presume a right to another’s property just because another makes use of their property in a way that may relate to certain things thought or said before. 
“Now that the government has granted me this monopoly on ‘Linsanity,’ I say to you all, feel free to use it! I’m not going to press charges, even if you start making merchandise saying ‘Linsanity blows’ and putting phallic marks on my face. 
“It’s your property, and you face the consequences of undertaking a moronic market venture, even without me asserting a claim of control over your property.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

VISA APPLICATIONS AND FREE MOVEMENT


Today I received a notification that my visa application was refused, which really bums me out.

I wouldn’t mind it as much if private property owners in my desired destination were the ones who kept me out. But it’s these embassies that presume such a role, of controlling who’s allowed in and out. As it is, I complied as best as I can with their bureaucracy, but it wasn’t enough.

It’s a real shame. I’d been fantasizing just walking around, taking in the air in these relatively temperate regions, with their mountains and other scenery, both manmade and non-manmade.

Now, I guess I’ll have to wait till the countries are in the midst of depression and the governments become desperate for tourist revenue.

“At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness.  I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 20, 2012

‘LINSANITY’ AND THE RACE ISSUE


William Hung would be proud!

New York Knick Jeremy Lin was long undervalued due to his ethnicity, but almost overnight he became a sensation.

How was this off-radar non-drafted player discovered? 

Not by PC legislation for sure. Rather, it was the desire of Knicks management to compete in the league, which involved a little risk-taking with whatever limited resources they had.

When seeking quality, it literally pays to recognize prejudices for what they are, in order to discard the unhelpful ones, e.g. yellow men can’t jump/shoot.


THE PERILS OF PC LEGISLATION

What if sports leagues were mandated by law to favor minorities, e.g. racial quota per team?

For one, there would be lower standards of selection as a means of attaining mere compliance. We can also expect that eligible minorities would become complacent, knowing that they have a shot at making it to the pros with less effort. We can expect a drop in athleticism overall.

Quite like the situation of government; absence of competition makes for inefficiency.


FINAL REMARKS

What we can take away from these meditations on Jeremy Lin’s recent success is that anti-discrimination laws have adverse consequences unforeseen by most, and hinder favorable consequences otherwise achievable sans government meddling.

CHARITY IS A PROFIT-BASED MARKET ACTIVITY


What’s so bad about ‘dog-eat-dog’? Aren’t they adorable?
There’s always the statist argument that a free market, being oriented towards profit, leaves out certain people in society who just don’t have the capacity to fend for themselves, due to illness or other bad circumstances.

But how is such a situation resolved, or reduced? It is believed that if you are ‘socially oriented,’ you would have the government handle things since it acts for ‘public service’ and not profit. And if you leave ‘social assistance’ to the dog-eat-dog world of laissez-faire, poverty will persist and even grow.


GIVING TO THE POOR SATISFIES THE GIVER AS OTHER CONSUMPTION GOODS DO

Contrary to common notions, the satisfaction of the desire to help others is an action inseparable and unclassifiable apart from the market.

But as it is consumption-based (directed towards ‘giving fish for a day’) rather than capital-based, it is not a maximal allocation of resources. Using charity as a means of ‘spreading the wealth’ hinders the regeneration of capital by which more sectors would have been able to provide employment and produce goods.

The less consumption now, the more jobs now,
and the more goods later
I use the term “maximal allocation of resources.” Of course, ‘maximal’ is subjective. Apparently, at present, proponents of charity gain greater utility in their giving as opposed to accumulating capital or increasing their ‘mere’ material satisfactions. It is not for others to redirect such a subjective preference that helps the poor in such a fashion.


CHARITY CAN BE RENDERED OBSOLETE BY FREEING OF MARKETS

But these same proponents of charity may eventually recognize, at least we hope, that even without charitable acts, the simple freeing of choices among consumers and producers makes for conditions of greater utility and scope than obvious showings of ‘beneficence’ or ‘social assistance.’

Increasingly long-term views will lead to a drastic reduction in charity. Replacing it will be greater entrepreneurial opportunities among a wider scale of entities. 

Whatever charity remains will be completely private and competitive, and limited to serving the small percentage of invalids and disabled.


MIXED ECONOMIES ARE NOT LAISSEZ FAIRE

We have to remind statists that the present economy is not one of laissez-faire. If it were, we wouldn’t have as much involvement of government in our lives, be it in regulation of commerce, or outright monopoly of certain ‘public utility’ sectors.

So the present poverty is not one created by ‘cold capitalism.’ If anything, it is the state which we have to blame for poor economic conditions, and which needs to be shunned.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

ALBERT EINSTEIN WAS AN IDIOT...


... in political economy that is. But to be fair to him, his socialism is not the Marxian kind. For one, he doesn’t seem to subscribe to the notion that costs are the determinant of value.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Benson posted something about Albert Einstein recently, and I saw a link to the essay ‘Why socialism?[new tab] which is replete with bad assumptions that make for bad conclusions, e.g. supporting socialism.

Here are my somewhat outraged and snide annotations to Einstein’s bold statements.


... socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end...
An error of equating buzzwords with what they literally mean. Forgotten is the means by which such a ‘social-ethical end’ is achieved, i.e. violence.


The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today...
Down with Wall Street scumbags!
Give us their political perks!
That is, as controlled by political elements, the same tools desired by socialists. The only difference between such cronyism is the beneficiaries.


... the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist...
They don’t “become,” they already are.


Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.
Actually, “in theory,” the opposite is true. Capitalists couldn’t pay less than what other competitors would offer. Even Einstein notes this, so how could he maintain that compensation is limited to “minimum needs”? And what theory is Einstein referring to that does not consider wages as determined by the value of the final product? Surely not a theory from the Austrian school. Alas, even Adam Smith had erred in supposing it was labor that determined the value of the final product.


Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones.
Competition SPREADS capital, not concentrates it.
Are we to believe that all these innovations are done, but that no consumers benefit from efficient production? How do capitalists stand to gain without consumers (consisting largely of laborers)?
This is simply an absolutely false and baseless assertion where the opposite is true. Increased accumulation of capital and the division of labor make for MORE profitable sectors not limited to a few players.


... political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists...
This is assuming that such political power is acceptable in the first place. Einstein wants not to abolish political power, which is the real cause of income disparities, but to hand it over to another group, thereby perpetuating social conflict. Who’s to protect the former capitalists when the tables are turned? Another socialism movement against the former proletariat? The problem is believing that political power is inevitable, and that it should instead be harnessed by the ‘revolutionaries.’


... workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers...
Via unionism, which is arrived at by political privilege and makes for increased unemployment.


... the present day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism...
Except that political privilege does not make for a market society.


Production is carried on for profit, not for use.
But why assume that profit, arrived at by providing utility to consumers, is harmful to consumers/laborers?


Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all.
Again, surely capitalists are profiting by providing utility to a large segment of the population? Or are we supposed to believe that better products such as life-saving drugs are a ‘burden’? Whatever unemployment occurs as a result of innovations makes for job opportunities elsewhere.


The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions.
Depressions come about from political privilege, as applied to the banking sector. Einstein is apparently giving a nod to Keynesian ‘underconsumption’ theory that justifies central banking-induced ‘pump-priming.’ Alas, Keynes’ theory is shit.


Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor.
Because more competition means less workers?! Wouldn’t there rather be less workers among a limited number of market players?


A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child.
How are “needs of the community” to be determined sans market prices? Are we stupid enough to believe prices are inherent and detectable in products sans consumer feedback? But statists don’t even realize that asking for the opinions of a group of resource persons in legislative hearings does not equate to determining consumer preferences.
To “guarantee a livelihood,” and to actually provide such, are separate things. 
The means Einstein seeks is counterproductive to his ends, in that it discards the market pricing system by which without, capital is wasted.


The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men.
Because having “a sense of responsibility” via coercion is no different from feeling a sense of responsibility sans coercion? Again, why automatically seek coercive means to achieve these things?


... a planned economy is not yet socialism.
Except it is, and it doesn’t work, because prices are excluded, regardless of the intentions of the bureaucrats.


... how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening...
Why think that your goals are achieved by bureaucracy at all?


FINAL REMARKS

In writing this, I felt obliged to demolish Einstein’s mistaken economic thought.  I must admit, to criticize someone of Einstein’s intellectual reputation, the very synonym of genius, was an ego trip, even though economics is not his field of specialty. 

But I do like the guy. He was apparently a good musician with good taste in the masters.  And the theory of relativity is one thing I’d like to understand before my life is over.

I imagine that people may jump to the conclusion that, since he was a genius in physics, he must be right in other fields as well, at least in broad strokes. But alas, even in grand lines, his socialism is a complete intellectual disaster.

WHY RANDIANS ARE WRONG ABOUT ANARCHISM AND LIMITED GOVERNMENT


Doug Casey still with dark hair
back in the 1940s or something
.

I just listened to a debate [new tab] between Ayn Rand acolyte Yaron Brook, and anarchist Doug Casey. I have never bothered writing about anarchism as it pertains to Ayn Rand, but I was astounded at the sheer stupidity and delusion exhibited by Yaron, for which Casey was unfortunately unable to provide decent counterarguments.

It’s a shame that so many people get turned on to liberty from reading Ayn Rand, only to have their thinking stultified by her dogmatism, where someone can only disagree with her if they were anti-life, anti-man, anti-reason, anti whatever.

I’ve encountered several Philippines-based dogmatists of Ayn Rand, where the slightest appeal for them to look beyond her narrow views is met with hostility. They’re hopeless cases, and it is only hoped that such types of people die off eventually (if minds are to evolve further over time, such dying off is inevitable).

Ayn Rand spread liberty while simultaneously
debilitating minds like Yaron Brook’s.
But for those who do retain an ounce of openness to the idea of Ayn Rand not being infallible, I write this piece.


‘THE GUY WITH THE BIGGEST GUN’ IS THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF

Yaron is of the view that the abolition of government is bad and anti-freedom. He is concerned that eventually, “the guy with the biggest gun gets to make the decisions.”

Isn’t this EXACTLY what government is?

Cable is apparently a beneficiary
of anti-freedom anarchism.
Let’s say governments are suddenly eradicated. If people retain their primitive tendencies to coerce, if the mentality of acquisition-by-force remains dominant, this will manifest precisely in the reformation of governments.


IF SOCIETY BECOMES INTELLECTUALLY MATURE, WHY STILL HAVE GOVERNMENT?

Yaron also believes that if “good ideas” are integrated by people and there is a mature recognition of individual rights, this will make for a government whose actions are limited to protecting people from force.

If such a society does occur, where property rights are recognized anyway, why the need for some monopolistic institution to keep violators in line? Wouldn’t the right to property be upheld in an organized fashion?

Why do these Randians turn to an institution premised precisely on violation of rights, for the protection of rights? Wherein if people didn’t like the manner by which their property would be protected by a certain institution, they would still have no choice but to accept such a service via taxation? Why rid them of choice as to the how of protection?


WHO COMPRISES GOVERNMENT ANYWAY?

Yaron is of the notion that even private defenders still need an ultimate arbiter in matters of justice. A people free to choose their means of self-defense would result in chaos, but apparently, such chaos transforms into ‘objectivity’ when force is monopolized by this entity called government. If people are unable to live in peace and order, how does putting up a monopoly make for ‘just’ rules? Blank out!

Contrary to what Randians think, the choice is not between flawed humans and perfect order as embodied by government, but rather flawed humans and the abuser of such flaws known as government.


‘OBJECTIVE’ MY ASS

One thing that annoys me about Randians is their constant use of the term ‘objective,’ both in matters of epistemology (which is for another discussion) and law.

It’s so stupid. For Randians, to be encompassing and monopolistic, makes for ‘objectivity.’ Why not advocate for a world government then?

Encompassing-ness is not what makes for order. How does having Philippine laws, enforceable nationwide, make for ‘objectivity’? It doesn’t.

If people recognized private property, such could be enforced among the concerned property owners themselves.

And if a threat existed that encompassed the whole world, there are two scenarios possible:
1. The right to property will be violated extensively anyway as the world degenerates into chaos; or
2. Property owners across various geographies will organize adequately to stop such a threat,
wherein the formation of government will not be in aid to the property owners, in any case.


Mmmm, cheesecake. Hundreds of thousands
of years of human evolution in the making.
PEOPLE FACE CONSEQUENCES EVEN WITHOUT GOVERNMENT

Limited government advocates think that sans government, there is no way people can be held accountable for their actions. If not for government, people would only be able to associate with each other by shows of force.

Aren’t trade and private property precisely the means employed by people as a result of the development of the faculty of foresight? Over time, once-savage peoples realized that they could gain more by peaceful transactions as opposed to zero-sum fights. Once the system of trade spread, the former use of force as a means of acquisition took a backseat; or rather, it persisted, manifesting in government.

Even present society, threats to freedom notwithstanding, is far more conducive to the pursuit of happiness, because of the accumulation of both intellectual and material capital over time, which occurred apart from and in spite of government.


FINAL REMARKS, WITH SOME HELP FROM A MINARCHIST

What is needed to make peace durable is neither international treaties and covenants nor international tribunals and organizations like the defunct League of Nations or its successor, the United Nations. If the principle of the market economy is universally accepted, such makeshifts are unnecessary; if it is not accepted, they are futile.― Ludwig von Mises, Human action, Chapter 24.

Mises, although a limited government advocate, said it well. In the quote, we only have to replace the United Nations with any nation state, to grasp the idea that a representative of the people can only be as good as its people, and no better. To expect order to come from the institution that uses tools of social disorder, e.g. coercion, is wrong-headed, to put it nicely.

We can say that we are actually now already living in an anarchistic society. Yes, we are, where private property is acknowledged, and we generally go about our lives doing what we want, and facing consequences for each action.

It’s anarchy ― that is, without centralized order ― BUT thugs continue to maintain their hold on the populace in varying degrees depending on the place. The primary thugs are governments. And inasmuch as thuggery is thwarted, government is thwarted.

Monday, February 13, 2012

GEORGE SOROS SUPPORTS HIGHER TAXES ON RICH; HOW NICE OF HIM!


Insights, indeed, from a Sith Lord.

I saw George Soros on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show tonight. You have got to laugh when hearing the moronicity coming out of their mouths. Fareed going on about how socially concerned Soros is, and Soros welcoming the praise, adding to such praise even. Look, I’m such a philanthropist, if only all rich people were like me, poverty would be eradicated, blah blah.

Can Soros really claim that his philanthropy and taxes are more than what he receives in bailouts/crony deals/central bank puts?


THE BENEVOLENCE OF DELUSION, OR THE DELUSION OF BENEVOLENCE

I have a hard time believing anyone could be so stupid or wicked, so I’m guessing he’s just plain deluded. Soros equates the health of his crony investments to the well-being of society, so it’s no wonder he feels so noble about being the beneficiary of bailouts. He very well knows that if the US government goes bankrupt, his companies will go under as well, so it’s no wonder he supports the call for the rich to ‘pay their fair share.’

This is where your taxes go!
Aside from his false charity, it’s just downright bad economics to believe that giving more money to the institution that caused this crisis in the first place (government) is going to help matters.


WHY LISTEN TO THEM?... ARE YOU A MORON?!

George Soros and Warren Buffett try to portray themselves as different from the rest of the insanely rich cronies in the financial sector, by citing how charitable they are, and by reciting platitudes about how they want to distribute more wealth to the poor. Don’t believe it. It’s no coincidence that they’re among the richest of the rich, while the economy is in the doldrums ― they are part of the problem.

The rich-poor divide can be narrowed, indeed, but a major part of such an achievement will require the opposite of higher taxes and increased government control over people’s lives. The first step to recovery is a removal of political privilege, which has poisoned the financial sector and along with it the ‘real’ economy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

WHITNEY HOUSTON DIES AT 48; IS SELF-LOVE REALLY ‘THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL’?


Ah, growing up in the 1980s. 

Give them a glass of milk...

Details are still hazy as to what caused Whitney Houston’s death, but I would like to touch upon her admitted drug problem in any case. It’s notable to me in connection with one of her early hits, ‘The greatest love of all,’ whose lyrics [new tab] are a rare phenomenon in pop music: a nod to ‘the virtue of selfishness,’ a term popularized by Ayn Rand.

You would think that someone singing about developing self-esteem early on in a child would be able to face the hardships of fame without developing addictions. But apparently, “learning to love yourself” was not enough to keep Houston out of rehab.

I admit that my depiction of events is quite simplistic, and only the person themselves, if anyone at all, can understand what they have gone through. But my main point is that it is quite easy to sing about self-love (not a euphemism); it’s another thing to direct one’s energies in a healthy, holistic manner.


BEING SELFISH AND KEEPING FOCUS

When one reads Ayn Rand’s ‘selfish’ heroes who succeed against the establishment, this can serve as inspiration for accomplishing difficult feats in one’s life.

I know that ‘The fountainhead’ helped me, in however small a way, conquer a mini-crisis I was facing at the time I read the book. Sometimes, when being driven to do something unexpected or unsettling, you have to drill in yourself, mantra-like, “I have to be selfish here, I have to be selfish...”

However, the desire to satisfy one’s self may lead one to lose focus as to what it is that one actually wants. One might do a ‘selfish’ act simply to make a statement, rather than to accomplish something good. To insist on acting for one’s self doesn’t automatically mean that one’s decisions will be healthy.

Being ‘selfish’ may even indicate a reluctance or fear to expand one’s worldview. This is a prelude to ‘capital consumption’ of one’s mind, that is, an atrophying in mental staleness.


WHY THE SELFISH-UNSELFISH DUALISM AT ALL?

Man is a social being. But seeking self-interest should not be looked down upon. Actually, the problem is in supposing a dichotomy at all between ‘selfish’ and ‘unselfish’ acts. In truth all acts could not be for other than the self. What varies is the timeframe on which such selfish acts are based.

(Private property and free trade have developed alongside humanity’s lengthened timeframes for action. The mentality of acquisition-by-force as exemplified by the state, is a vestige of mindless savagery.)

It is often easier to give in to other people’s wills ― being ‘altruistic’ ― even as this slowly eats away at your potential. It’s tougher to summon enough ‘capital of will’ to assert one’s long-term valuations.


FINAL REMARKS

To shun society hinders interactions by which one otherwise attains self-growth. 

What is stultifying is not so much doing things ‘for others,’ but rather the notion of an external duty to do so, of acting against one’s longer-term evaluations.

(As we know, ‘duty’ is often cited as a pretext for state expropriation of private property.)

In the process of discovering and realizing one’s values, one must be wary of defying for the sake of defying, in ways that hinder fruitful ‘socially-oriented’ endeavors, or defying out of a narrow view as to what constitutes one’s happiness.

It would be careless to judge Whitney Houston’s character on the little that I know, but her death at 48 years old can serve as a reminder that conscious recognition of one’s worth is only the first step in a long road to self-actualization.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

THE PHILIPPINES AND COLOMBIA: SOME OMINOUS PARALLELS


The own-goal that cost Andre Escobar his life.

I just watched ‘The two Escobars’ (2010) [new tab], a documentary about two Escobars (naturally) from Colombia who died violent deaths related to the drug trade in the 1990s. Pablo Escobar was a billion-dollar drug lord, and Andres Escobar was Colombia’s football team captain, most famous for scoring in his own goal, costing Colombia the 1994 World Cup. Andres was shortly after killed in an altercation with mobsters furious at his mistake. These events weren’t that long ago; you might have read them in the papers when they happened.


SUPERFICIAL GIMMICKS FOR SHOW

It struck me that the Colombian situation related quite well to the Philippines. Here was a country whose own government was intent on cleaning up its image via superficial means, that is, by aiding in the success of their football team.

Pablo Escobar
I don’t know how it would have mattered if Colombia went on to win the World Cup, if underlying factors made for a perpetuation of violence and instability in the country. But apparently, politicians like then-president C├ęsar Gaviria were satisfied with having their football team overshadow harsher realities, or perhaps they hoped that a champion football team would translate to a growing economy.

In the Philippines, the situation isn’t too far off. We have a Department of Tourism which managed to come up with “It’s more fun in the Philippines” [new tab], but what is there to show for such a claim? How long can Filipinos bank on the country’s natural wonders, when much of it remains undevelopable (due to lack of capital)? Add to that the fact that most Filipinos are in poverty; conflict rages in Mindanao; journalism is an especially dangerous profession; traffic sucks; etc.

And then there’s the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon, where being ‘proud to be Filipino’ is supposed to make a difference in people’s lives. Heck, there’s that semi-successful football team, the Azkals, behind which Filipinos rally. At least Colombia managed to make it past the qualifiers.


SPORTS FUNDING VIA FREEDOM, NOT MOB SUBSIDIES

Traffic. More fun in Colombia!
The success of Colombia’s football team is attributed to funding by Pablo Escobar, a football fanatic. After Pablo’s death, much of the financing stopped. Many in the documentary believed that sans drug money, Colombian football was doomed. To me, this is a rather myopic view of the situation.

With a community largely in poverty, it is only natural that people’s priorities will not be recreational activities like sports. But as prosperity grows, so does demand for ‘non-essentials.’ One would be mistaken to believe that it takes coercive funding for programs to succeed.

Football doesn’t need a drug lord benefactor or government subsidies; it needs the growth of capital, which is best achieved by leaving businesses alone to seek ways to satisfy consumers. From this profit motive comes employment, output and a better standard of living.

Some analysts are bullish on Colombia [new tab], partly due to increasing economic freedom in the area. If such freedom and progress are sustained, I’d wager that the country’s soccer program would take off once again.

Similarly, the Philippine government should lay off on funding sports. It can very well abolish the Philippine Sports Commission, and should just get out of the way of markets. If a certain sport succeeds, this should be on account of consumer preferences, and not the whims and guesses of politicians.


BEAT DRUGS BY HEALTH AWARENESS, NOT CRIMINALIZATION

drugpolicy.org
Like most governments, the Philippine government is on a ‘war on drugs.’ Such a war is futile, even counterproductive. If politicians were really sincere in stopping the violent operations of drug lords, they would stop prohibition.

Who do you think suffers the most when drugs are legalized? Is it the youth? The mothers?

No, it’s the mobsters themselves, who find their monopoly in jeopardy. They now have to face legit competitors, which brings prices down and makes the business far less lucrative. With competition also comes higher quality and safety standards, and more openness to seek assistance in cases of addiction. Whatever horrors society faces by a legalization of dangerous drugs, the alternative, of market capture by violent elements, is always worse.


FINAL WORDS

Stability of a community rests on more than popular memes and celebrity teams. The Philippine situation may not be as bad as what goes on in Latin America, but this shouldn’t lure us into complacency. Alas, it may take a crisis of some proportion for Filipinos to see beyond cheap gimmickry and ethnocentric diversions.

Monday, February 6, 2012

PIERS MORGAN OWNS RON PAUL; RON PAUL WANTS BRITISH SOLDIERS TO DIE


A couple of months back, I caught a little bit of Michael Moore on Piers Morgan. The two loved each other, as they were getting off on their own ideas of ‘good capitalism.’ 

According to Moore, the goodness or badness of capitalism was in the “attitude” of the businessmen who practiced it. If a businessman was just doing it for the money and didn’t like being taxed, he was a ‘bad’ capitalist. However, if he was socially aware, gave to charities and took joy in the government expropriating his income, he was a ‘good’ capitalist. An example of the latter, according to Moore, is Warren Buffett.

It didn’t surprise me when Piers Morgan, in interviewing Ron Paul a couple of days ago, dropped the name of Buffett [new tab] as evidence that giving to the government was not a bad thing. Here’s a guy, said Morgan of Buffett, who was begging the government to tax him.


SAVE THE POOR, O GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE ONLY YOU GIVE A SHIT

Let’s assume that Buffett isn’t the politically connected honcho that he is. I think that Piers should be encouraged by the fact that someone is willingly being charitable sans government. This would mean that with all these bleeding hearts around such as Piers himself, coercion is not needed after all for people to aid the less fortunate (not to say that coercion makes constituents more charitable).

“Attitude” doesn’t make for a political system. I can just imagine Michael Moore lobbying for the legislation of “Right Attitude Capitalism.” What a truly stupid idea. No, what matters is whether profits are arrived at via political (coercive) or economic (non-coercive) means.


BAILOUTS AT THE EXPENSE OF RECOVERY

And then there was Piers’ claim that bailouts work! General Motors is still around, so the money used to prop up the failing auto giant must have been used wisely!

Oh no! We must save the expression 
‘Kodak Moment’ from becoming one of irony!
With such logic, the government should have stepped in when Kodak went bankrupt a month ago. Of course, such a bailout would have been to the prejudice of consumers whose preferences in digital photography were better satisfied by Kodak’s competitors.

Or does Piers think that the competitors of GM and Kodak, not to mention other sectors, have no capacity to create jobs? That the government alone knows or knows best with regards to job creation and productivity?


THE NEW ‘STIMULUS’: HEAD IN THE SAND

Piers was at his most pathetic in his attempt to discredit Ron Paul when he cited the drop in the rate of unemployment from 8.5% to 8.3%, which to Piers showed that Obama was on the right track. And when Ron Paul explained that the drop was a result of statistical wizardry (lowering the number of people counted in the work force, by 1.25 million), Piers seemed outraged at this party-pooper who refused to escape from reality. How could you, Piers appeared to imply, don’t you know that economies run on confidence and good spirits?

Are we then to believe that if the government fudged the numbers so as to bring unemployment down to 1%, the joy felt by people would spur people to prosperity and overcome the truth?


RON PAUL HATES BRITISH, POLICEMEN

You mean the impending war on Iran is about OIL?!
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ron Paul’s ironic statement, about letting British soldiers die in place of American soldiers, being taken out of context so as to make him appear like a cold-hearted isolationist who hates British people like Piers Morgan. Of course, Ron Paul was just trying to express how wrong it was to place a duty on any particular citizens, Americans in this case, for the sake of maintaining the US’ role of ‘policeman of the world.’

It is truly wondrous that the Obama administration is able to scare the population into supporting another war, just nine years after the failed Iraq war (which is still going on) began. The same arguments, and the same tactic ― striking fear ― are used, and effectively.

I recommend for you to read Doug Casey’s recent conversation about Iran [new tab].


ABORTION

Ron Paul was weakest in his argument against abortion, as he resorted to old talking points, but Piers’ argument, that abortion was an act of liberty, was worse. Considering that he thinks that violating one’s property rights is in keeping with another’s ‘rights’ to education, health care, etc., it’s no surprise that Piers believes that a mother is ‘free’ to harm a human fetus.


FINAL REMARKS

Piers Morgan would fit right in with the Jon Stewart clip [new tab] of mainstream media blatantly ignoring Ron Paul’s presence in polls. I myself have heard Piers enumerate the GOP candidates to the exclusion of Ron Paul. You’d think this meant Ron Paul was such a small presence, but I have never seen Piers so disoriented and way over his head, not to mention biased against his guest.

Libertarianism. Where being consistent 
is not necessarily a bad thing!
We need not suppose that Piers has puppet masters pulling his strings and telling him how to discredit Ron Paul (“Make him look cruel, but give him some token points for being a family man”). It does seem that Piers believes the stupidities he defends.

To Piers Morgan, consistency in views is mere hard-headedness and inflexibility to changing times. Indeed, if someone starts off making careless opinions based on what is fed to them by the media, it would be foolish to be obstinate.

But if someone arrives at ideas which, although not perfect, remain unchallenged by better paradigms, is it really a fault to be consistent?