Friday, June 29, 2012

THE SILVER LINING TO THE OBAMACARE DISASTER


I don’t think there are any economic arguments that pro-Obamacare folks will listen to, so I won’t bother with that. You can read mises.org’s compilation of refutations of the idea of (increased) socialized health care if you like.

As for me, I just have three points to make, two of which are predictions.


BUSH/OBAMA SCREWED UP EVERYTHING… EXCEPT HEALTH CARE!

Does the “health care is a right” crowd think it a mere odd coincidence that Obamacare shows up at the same time that the worldwide financial system is going bust, and the US military empire is crumbling? Has it occurred to them these are all indications of the follies of government? And how is this government health care going to be any better than other government disasters such as FEMA, the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the housing bubble?

This is the same bunch of political elite wreaking even more havoc on people. Even if they were replaced by a new ‘good’ bunch, universal care is no more a solution than the  previous interventions that led to such a dismal state of the industry.


TECHNOLOGY, OUR SAVIOR FROM THE STATE

The damage wrought by Obamacare will be somewhat offset by medical discoveries in the private sector over the coming years. If biotechnology and whatnot advance enough, it may even make Obamacare appear a success! What will not be seen is the foregone prosperity, even greater advances sans this dinosaur institution known as government.


THE US GOVERNMENT’S IMPENDING IMPOTENCE

Claude Frédéric Bastiat,
spinning in his grave.
When things get really bad, I don’t think the US government will even be capable of continuing its cartelization of health care. The free market, i.e. people who seek improvement of their well-being by trade of private property, will come to the rescue. 

Such mutually beneficial exchanges will appear as black markets, since naturally, private choice and possibly private charity will still be illegal according to the retarded legislation.

The rejuvenation of the health care industry will ‘coincide’ with the police state’s bankruptcy and impotence in enforcing this most unjust and destructive law.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

$1 BILLION LOAN TO IMF TO SAVE THE EURO/WORLD: WHEN DOING MORE OF THE SAME IS GOOD


If you happen to drop your wedding ring down the toilet, do you run to the closet, grab your entire jewelry box, and proceed to throw down the rest of your jewelry?

If your son announces that he’s lost P250,000 betting on UAAP basketball, do you go, “Here’s P500,000 son, bet on the same team next time…”?

If you hear that a certain person has been tagged as leader of a Ponzi scheme, do you go, “Cool… where do I sign up?”


DEVALUATION = BAD; MORE DEVALUATION = GOOD?!

Yet this is precisely the logic the Philippine government, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in particular, wants you to swallow, as $1 billion has been loaned to the IMF to handle the euro crisis. What a show of solidarity indeed… and, as Billy Joel sings, we would all go down together!

When someone, or some government, does something particularly stupid and destructive, e.g. incur massive debt, inflict negative-yielding inflation on the populace, etc., the not-stupid thing to do is to not assist such endeavors, perhaps even do the opposite, e.g. back up your currency with something sound.


HOW DOES LOANING A BAD DEBTOR SAVE US?

One pretext for the loan is to aid in preventing a complete collapse of the euro, which will undoubtedly affect Filipinos in Europe and here as well, in the ensuing chaos. But then, what exactly do these governments hope to achieve by making these loans?

The reason for the growing unemployment and political unease is the corrupt financial system. By ‘corrupt,’ I don’t mean scheming politicians getting rich by shifting a larger percentage of the money supply to them and their cronies… although this is exactly the case.

But even if these guys were saints, their very means by which they seek to create wealth, that is, monetary inflation, has a corrupting influence on markets known as the business cycle. No wealth is created, and when the INEVITABLE defaults happen, much of what was considered productive activity is realized to be unsustainable ― hence the increase in unemployment.


menghusblog.wordpress.com
DON’T GIVE IN

If the BSP’s desire was to protect Filipinos, it would do much better ensuring a stable money supply. The fact that market prices or interest rates could not be determined by a monopoly, which the BSP is, is simply an indication that control of money should not be left to the government.

But while the BSP retains its mandate, it would do much better to not succumb to international pressure, further wasting resources where these could be of better use elsewhere such as for tax refunds (not that any charter permits this).


FIAT, FOREIGN EXCHANGE, AND PRODUCTION

Those who support the $1-B loan would also say that there is no budget expense anyway; the money is coming from BSP dollar reserves, used primarily for ensuring a stable foreign exchange rate.

This is another telling thing, that exchange rates have little to do with money as measured in terms of weight/mass, and instead on bureaucrats’ assessment of the ‘proper’ exchange rate. 

In fact, in a non-inflationary system, changes in the exchange rate wouldn’t be so drastic as to be harmful to whole sectors. And even in cases where, say, the strengthening of the peso puts pressure on exporters, prices of inputs likewise drop and imported alternative inputs exist. Crony exporters love to lament a rising peso, but, to quote Emerson, it is not half so bad with them as they say.


KUNWARI KA PA…

So this billion-dollar loan business. It’s all for show anyway. The EU very well knows that it can, and will eventually resort to, print its way out, even if this means hyperinflation. The only way this won’t come about is by defaulting. The sooner this is done, the less adverse the consequences… as adverse as they will still be.


WAKING UP TO REALITY

This whole rah-rah-euro thing is built on the premise, the delusion really, that the euro, or fiat currency in general, can be saved. It could not.

For a look as to how to go about damage control, there’s Iceland, whose banks went bankrupt back in 2008. Yes, the IMF came into the picture, but there was a system overhaul that outweighed whatever vestiges of banking cronyism remain.  

Today, slowly but surely, employment and production are picking up.

Iceland’s example would require of politicians the courage… to do nothing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

BIG BUSINESS, PROPERTY RIGHTS, AND POLITICS


Blogger Joseph Dabon sent me an account of his struggles dealing with big business in his hometown of Mandaue City.

Basically, the establishment Save More installed a generator near his house and it has been causing him and his family a lot of grief, due to the noise pollution it makes, and the helplessness they have felt at the mercy of inutile politicians (sorry for being redundant).

You can read all about it here.


IT’S ABOUT POLITICS, NOT A CLASH OF CULTURES

Now I wouldn’t characterize the problem as being a matter of ‘Chinese vs. Filipino’ as might be interpreted by some. Cultural lines are often so intertwined so as not be purely Chinese nor purely Filipino. And the fact that foreign elements are able to thrive in an area signify a mutual benefit due to their presence.


PROPERTY BOUNDARIES REMAIN UNDEFINED

From Dabon’s account, the real problem seems to be, as usual, politics, and the vagueness of property boundaries. Just because Save More operates its generator in its owned land does not mean it should be able to do anything it wants. Certain activities, in particular noise and air pollution, have their adverse effects on neighboring property owners, and resolution to this conflict can very well come about between two parties, with the general public as witness.


ARBITRATION IS ARBITRARY WHEN LEFT TO THE POLITICAL ELITE

The problem is, when arbitration is monopolized, such as with barangay or city councils/courts, the less politically connected party is at a disadvantage in seeking redress. When government officials are apathetic, who can one turn to, aside from the ‘court’ of general opinion?

I wish Dabon the best.

AGAINST INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: THE WAY TO A SOCIALIST’S HEART


Will I be sued for using this photo?

I recently acquired a Kindle version of Stephan Kinsella’s classic booklet ‘Against intellectual property,’ and it got me thinking about how appealing this concept can be even to stupid socialists.

In fact, the anti-IP stance of libertarianism could be the ‘gateway drug’ for socialists/statists to understand, appreciate and fight for property rights, which ultimately leads to a rejection altogether of the institution known as government.


RHETORIC TURNED INTO REASON

I could just imagine those morons chanting something like “Give the music back to the people!” or whatever in defending their illegal mp3 downloads. But whowouldathunk, there is actually a sound philosophical basis for rejecting crony-creating copyrights and patents!

By giving them the reasoning for the wrongness of IP, you might say something like “Property is instituted to reduce conflict in the use of resources. But such conflict does not exist in ideas, as manifest in songs, movies, Fleshlights™ or drugs.”

And from there, without realizing it himself, the formerly dumbass socialist will start using this justification and its implications (e.g. property exchanges must be voluntary to minimize social conflict) for actual property in opposing stupid government programs like agrarian reform, antitrust, social security, central banking, taxation… until nothing remains of the ‘sovereignty’ of government.


FINAL WORD

Lastly, don’t show this article to your budding freedom lover-socialist dumbass friend. He might be offended by the implication that he’s a fucking moron.

Friday, June 22, 2012

ERIK SPOELSTRA, FIRST FILIPINO(-AMERICAN) COACH TO WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP: WHO GIVES A SHIT?


Erik Spoelstra, first coach with Filipino blood to win an NBA championship, with the Miami Heat this 2012. How pathetic is it that people who happen to be Pinoy feel proud of this fact?

Did his being Filipino have anything to do with his victory? Did his being “a Manny Pacquiao fan”?

Why not be happy for a person’s victory just on account of their being human, as opposed to being of the same blood (which isn’t even actually the case, unless youre related; I myself am completely Filipino, but some Caucasians are more genetically related to me than the average kababayan)? Nationalists don’t realize how divisive this is.


1930s screen legends William Powell
and Kay Francis, the latter of whom
I am apparently related.
If you know someone of Negro blood, do you see him going “I’m so proud of my kababayan Lebron!” or “I’m so proud of my kababayan Durant!...? What is with this racial inferiority complex so prevalent in the Filipino community?

And to identify and root for people on account of certain physical characteristics (culturally speaking, Spoelstra is a ‘full-blooded’ American) is completely arbitrary. You might as well say, “Congrats to Spoelstra, who has the same birthday as me.” What stupid nonsense.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

PASAY TAX ON DOGS, BIKES: WHAT’S SO WRONG ABOUT IT?!


Where the magic happens.

At least Pasay homeowners get the arbitrariness and illogic of a Pasay ordinance requiring them to pay a P20 (lang naman) tax on their dogs and P30 (lang naman) for their bikes.

This is the problem with government. Whether or not you want a service, whether or not you think something is a good cause (e.g. you may find a charity to be more efficient than government ‘benevolence’), you have no choice but to shell out money for it.


WHAT TAX IS JUSTIFIABLE?

But why isolate this dog-and-bicycle tax as unjust or uncalled for? If you look at the reasons for objecting to the tax (e.g. not wanting the service), you can actually say the same thing about ALL taxes.

Thank God for Pasay City Hall,
which approved the permit
for jobs maker SM Mall of Asia!
The presumption government wants you to swallow is that politicians know how to best use your money. This is a claim that needs no backing, because they do have the mandate of ‘the people’ anyway to threaten you into paying.


THE NATURE OF TAXES

Taxes are by nature arbitrary. They do not require mutual consent, and so you know that somewhere, someone is getting screwed (even if it’s the rich funding ‘pro-poor’ programs).

There has always been the ‘social services’ argument in favor of government, but then, if taxes (and government programs) didn’t subtract from the private sector so much, the otherwise higher employment rate and output may eliminate the perceived the need for government to step in.

And why monopolize the charity industry, when monopolies are always less effective than competitive enterprises (including charities)?


FAITH IN PEOPLE, OR NOTHING

If you don’t trust people to aid the poor, what makes you think the government, composed of people and voted by people, would fare any better? So even when it comes to the ‘moral’ argument for taxes and government, there is just no moral basis to maintain a gang of elected thieves.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WHAT’S WRONG WITH ‘BUY LOCAL’? (BESIDES CRAPPY PRODUCTS, THAT IS)


A traitor to her people.

One of my friends was lamenting how his supermarket seemed to be prioritizing a foreign vegetable more than its local counterpart. Such a lamentation was in the name of ‘Tangkilin ang sariling atin’ of course.


HOW ‘LOCAL’ CAN YOU GET?

The problem with this credo is when you’re faced with varieties of ‘proudly Philippine-made’ products, from different regions. Do you choose the one closest to you, e.g. Baguio over Legazpi, Manila over Baguio, etc.?

And if you really wanted to be true to the ‘buy local’ attitude, you’d refuse any product not made locally, even if a similar product does not exist here. After all, you do want to constrict your choices so as not to prioritize outsiders, right? 

If only they produced local Scotch!

And to be really hardcore, you’d have to stop buying anything at all. After all, even if you grew onions in your backyard (which is as ‘local’ as you can get), you’d have had to get the seeds from outside, right? That’d be cheating. 

Same goes for your garden tools, hell the very property in which you work, which presumably was not inhabited by your cavemen ancestors and had to be acquired sometime in the relatively recent past.


BE SINCERE WITH YOUR REASONS FOR BUYING

But it may be that local products are really superior to foreign stuff. Then great! You admit that it’s not a matter of savage tribalism but personal preference to ‘buy local’ in this case.


Wow, how concerned they are for the poor!
WHAT ABOUT CHARITY?

And if your intention is to help the poor, then please drop the pretext of wanting their merchandise. You are not supporting local farmers per se, but local people. It’s charity. We should all be free to trade our money for the partial satiation of our pity.

How about just hand them a donation, and save them the trouble of producing inferior crap, when they could otherwise use their time for making things in which they might truly compete with others? Even the poor would find this more fulfilling.


CONCLUSION

I haven’t even mentioned subsidies given in the name of ‘protectionism,’ which is ultimately anti-consumer. After all, if it was to the advantage of consumers to ‘buy local,’ they would have done so, right? To thwart preferences is to harm the consumer (which includes local producers).

‘Buy local’ is ultimately lose-lose, not to mention illogical.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

COPYRIGHT AND RECORD COMPANIES: LIVING IN THE PAST


If you go to Astrovision or Odyssey or whatever remaining ‘record bars’ exist in Manila, you’ll notice ‘real’ CDs and DVDs priced rather cheap at P99. Apparently, music and video companies have been adjusting their market practices as a means of combating the ‘piracy’ phenomenon.

Alas, they don’t go far enough. They can price their products at next to zero pesos and still lose in the long run, as they hold on to the old paradigm of doing things, in an ever-unexpectedly-changing industry.

The fact is, sans copyright protection, CDs and DVDs would have long gone the way of cassettes/vinyl/Betamax/VHS, replaced by way more convenient and cheaply distributed digital/online material. The only remaining buyers of physical discs would be suckers like me who, for nostalgia’s sake, still like to browse and sniff the booklets.


PROFITABILITY IS ALWAYS UNCERTAIN, WITH OR WITHOUT COPYRIGHTS

How could musicians and filmmakers make money sans licenses and royalties from the production and distribution of their products? But in asking this, one is assuming that such a question must be answered first before an industry could be ‘permitted’ by the government to exist. Then we would have never known the wonders of, say, Yahoo! or Google, because come on, how stupid do you have to be to think you can profit by offering a search engine service for FREE?

The fact is that the profitability of any venture could never be known for sure beforehand. Otherwise, everyone would jump on the bandwagon and bring profit margins to zero before products even enter the market, which is an absurdity.


THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY/DECENTRALIZATION

‘Bowfinger’ is no longer an isolated event.
However, we could speculate as to how musicians and filmmakers would continue sans large record or film companies financing their operations. That recording and filmmaking, and marketing, are exponentially cheaper with today’s technology than even 20 years ago is a testament to the decentralizing nature of markets. This already removes an enormous hurdle to artists ‘breaking even.’


LOOK AT WHAT WORKS TODAY

And we should also take a look at existing black or gray markets for clues. Case in point, torrents. I’m a huge fan of BitTorrent file sharing, and many a licensed purchase of mine is owed to the access that torrents have given me to all sorts of music. I suspect that, sans the complacency of copyright, musicians and filmmakers would be using torrents as a means of promotion of their artistic services (‘artistic’ in the loose sense so as to include shit like Missy Elliot).

To think of it, why is radio airplay not considered theft in the same way bootlegs and peer-to-peer sharing are? It is a ‘nothing to lose’ proposition for artists to expose themselves to people who would have otherwise not bothered to buy their crap to begin with,  or who may not have even known of their existence.


A TORRENT INCENTIVE PROGRAM FOR THOUGHT



At present, people ‘seed’ their completed files to ‘leechers,’ and thus the same file continues to be downloaded even when the original uploader disappears. 


The incentive for seeding as we know it may simply be good will, or guilt, but think of this: How great would it be for artists to have a torrent-seeding incentive program, where seeder fans are offered all sorts of privileges such as concert tickets, backstage passes, chats, and first access to news and updates? And all a fan has to do is allow people to upload these works, the transmission of which is at present deemed illegal. Fans would not need to pay much, or anything, to download such licensed products, with the use of advertising in such torrent sites.

Who would advertise? Companies that sell ‘non-intellectual’ goods and services. Heck, they’d love the demographizing power of music so as to hit many birds with few stones, e.g. Taylor Swift brings in teenage girls, who buy teenage girl products.

Everybody wins!


FINAL WORDS

I couldn’t be 100% certain that these few barely expounded ideas of mine would be viable in a copyright-less market; to be certain about something as complex as human action is to be conceited. But I’d still bet a lot on their viability.

Copyrights, and all other forms of intellectual property, promote the status quo. Let’s try the market for a change.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

STREPTOMYCIN’S DISCOVERY, AND FAIR PATENTS


Albert Schatz, while serving as assistant to Selman Abraham Waksman in 1943, discovered the antibiotic streptomycin, which would prove to be a more effective remedy against tuberculosis than anything at the time.

Schatz has been recognized before; he was a co-patent holder along with Waksman. But notebooks recently made public reveal the extent of his contribution. If anyone was to receive a Nobel Prize two years later, it ought to have been Schatz, not Waksman. But over time, Schatz became somewhat of a footnote in the recounting of this major discovery. Waksman continued receiving royalties with Merck’s production of the drug, while Schatz received a total of $1,500, a kind of hush money from Waksman.


IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME

Even with Schatz’ co-holding of the patent, he was still left out in the cold. It is clear that whether or not patents exist, the giving of credit where it is due remains an uncertain thing.

Having one’s contributions forgotten by history is not something uncommon, and it is good fortune to be vindicated over time.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, creators of Superman, had to make do with the $130 that DC Comics originally paid them in 1938. $130 for one of the most recognized cultural figures in history, worth billions!

To my mind, DC had no further obligation to Siegel and Shuster ― save for a relinquishing of the copyright that prevented the two, and everyone else for that matter, from publishing Superman-related paraphernalia. It was only after relentless public and legal pressure that DC would, nearly 40 years later in 1976, put “created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster” in subsequent Superman goods.


PATENTS DISTORT HISTORY

So yes, being duly credited is not a 100% sure thing. But I would maintain that copyrights and patents do not help, and may in fact harm the quest for truth of discoveries and inventions.

In Michele Boldrin and David Levine’s ‘Against intellectual monopoly,’ there are a billion examples of patents being usurped not by discoverers-inventors themselves, but those most adept and quickest to patent. The airplane was by no means invented by the Wright Brothers, the telephone not by Alexander Graham Bell, and the steam engine not by James Watt.

Indeed, lesser known figures had a more significant hand in their invention and development. Yet awarding the patents to these others would not have done justice to the myriad sources by which these inventions came to be.

Schatz’ contributions in the discovery of streptomycin were long forgotten, in spite of his patent. But then, the fact that production of the drug was limited via patents to certain entities, may have also restricted his ability to make use of his know-how during the time he was discredited.


WHAT IS THE ‘PROPERTY’ IN THE INTELLECT?

Perhaps it is a mistake to suppose at all that anyone should own what are really electric transmissions in individuals’ brains, the recreation (not transfer, which only applies to scarce items) of which is achieved via verbal or written communication.

Patent battles make it evident that the very existence of intellectual property (IP) turns profit and moneymaking into not a question of entrepreneurial use of capital by which mutually beneficial exchanges are made, but rather, a franchising game with the state as arbiter.

What a waste of capital, not just in legal fees, but in the fact that the development of useful ideas requires a process of elimination as achieved in the market itself. The evolution of the tablet, for instance, is occurring by the constant modification of what seems to work for people. Yet, this productive process of emulation and elimination has itself become the cause for legal action against competitors!

To interpret the litigant mind of a patent giant like Apple: Apple welcomes competition… except the competition that produces anything like what Apple sells.


A COULD-HAVE-BEEN

Sans patents, what could a lowly lab assistant such as Schatz have done in 1943, if he wanted to be recompensed with recognition and money? For one thing, he could have offered his knowledge to any enterprising firm desirous of a new wonder drug. In exchange for the labor (not ideas per se) he would give to, say, Merck, they would have to pay him a certain sum up front, and a certain percentage of the profit made over a prearranged number of years.
Download the .pdf here.

This would have been a labor contract, not a government-sanctioned license to produce. The latter falsely implies that ideas could be owned and sold, while the former recognizes the unique service only Schatz could have provided.

But the actual situation was that Waksman and Schatz were partners of sorts, and it was only later that conflict and the jilting began. In that case, Schatz would not have lost as much by breaking off relations with his former professor, even if Waksman would be falsely credited for the discovery of streptomycin. Schatz wouldn’t have been as dependent on the $1,500 paid to him, if other drug producers apart from Merck were allowed to bring evolutions of the drug to market, by which Schatz’ labor would have been invaluable.


LAST WORD

I admit that these are all ‘what ifs’ on my part, but they seem to make sense to me, or at least show that there are other means by which scientists could earn from their contributions aside from the IP franchising system, a system that seems to serve the political elite more than any others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BIG BUSINESS LOVES BIG TAXES: SIN TAX ‘REFORM’ AND ITS CRONY BENEFICIARIES’ FALSE CLAIMS


Big business heart small business...
how touching!

What could the CEO of British American Tobacco Philippines be up to in calling for higher ‘sin’ taxes? To read his concern for the smaller tobacco firms is so touching, but also unbelievable.

I’m sure James Lafferty is a cool guy, but who is he fooling with his Rappler article in support of legislation for further raising of taxes on alcohol and tobacco products?


1. FINANCES

Lafferty makes the rather obvious point that higher taxes would make for more revenue (but let’s not forget the Laffer curve). 

But so what? In the first place, is there any legitimate reason for expropriating such money in the first place? This is the problem with accepting the premise that taxation is justifiable at all, when it isn’t. It’s theft dressed up in legislation. If taxation was just, then this justifies 100% expropriation if Congress says so.


2. HEALTH

Higher taxes make for healthier choices? Contrary to what Lafferty says, such a statement is not a “no-brainer.” Perhaps a particular taxed product would be consumed less, but this can easily make for more insalubrious, risky alternatives, including dangerous drugs and less known products with even lower production standards.

You mean he cares about my health?
How touching!
And higher prices do not necessarily mean cutting down on a product, since consumers may simply rearrange their priorities, which is more adverse to the poor.

You don’t tax your way to health; you educate and be an example.


3. LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

Lafferty laments the preferential tax treatment given to pre-1997 brands. Instead of extending such an exemption to all products, he wants an across-the-board tax increase! 

[Warning: Hitler reference up ahead] And so I guess the problem with Hitler is he didn’t kill non-Jews as well!

And if that’s not enough, he (Lafferty, not Hitler) twists the pre-1997 provision to be anti-small business to be rectified as he sees fit.

In fact, raising taxes, even with removed privileges of older established producers, means a tougher time for the small guys to recoup costs. Bigger businesses like compassionate Lafferty’s are better able to cope with such intrusions. Of course Lafferty, already a beneficiary of the pre-1997 provision, will welcome sin tax ‘reform,’ which actually adds to big business’ privileges!


4. SMUGGLING

Lafferty awards this aspect against the ‘reform’ position, but he is still mistaken in his premise of smuggling being bad at all, as opposed to being a natural market reaction to government restrictions. Whether smuggling increases or not from higher taxes (it will), expect a change in preferences of consumers, not necessarily for their health or economic well-being.


5. TOBACCO FARMERS

Lafferty says that 60% of local tobacco is already exported. But really, high or low exports, who cares? Does this mean that there won’t be pressure on local employment of farmers?

Lafferty earlier made the false claim that more small companies will be able to enter the industry, and thus do more business with farmers. But as I pointed out in #3, the higher taxes will hurt smaller firms to the advantage of British American Tobacco and other big guys.


CONCLUSION

Competition and entry of smaller players is not arrived at by further taxes and government oppression, but by eliminating privileges enjoyed by big business, so as to make exemptions all-encompassing.

So yes, I agree with Lafferty that there is a need for reform ― in the sense that taxes should be reduced to the utmost, if not abolished.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PROMETHEUS’ QUEST FOR ANSWERS, AND CENTRAL PLANNING, a.k.a. 'Prometheus' is great and libertarian


In the last decade of this century, on her way to a planet located by ancient diagrams, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw seeks to understand the big questions of who we are and why we are here.

But for all that she and her crew learn, the complexity of humanity and conscious life, of existence itself, is never quite solved, leaving room for a faith of sorts, as indicated by Shaw’s attachment to her cross necklace.


WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH POLITICS/ECONOMICS?

Forgetting the religious/superstitious overtones of ‘faith,’ this expression of humility on the part of Shaw is one that can be applied to the social sciences, particularly economics. 

The dynamics of human action are so complex as to never be grasped by any single entity.

All the while, the market, which is a coordination of the actions of billions of individuals according to their unique preferences, inadvertently brings about what could be referred to as a ‘common good.’ Economic progress never ceases, it couldn’t be helped.

Any disruptions to such a system, on the belief in the need for a ‘plan’ as administered by a government, misses the point, that ‘the big picture’ is an after-the-fact observation, not something conceivable beforehand.

And there is not ‘nothing to lose’ by trying such state interventions; indeed, when resources are invariably misallocated/wasted, and employment and output suffer, this makes the freeing of markets all the more critical, even as the urge to ‘do something’ via government becomes more tempting.


FINAL WORDS

As long as we are human, we could not hope to know or even presume what created us, or the purpose of it all.

Similarly, the market is not something that can be grasped or ‘improved’ on. The most we can do is apply some frameworks, i.e. economic theory, by which to understand its general nature. To replace the highly individualistic process itself is a delusion of politicians and their subjects.

***

ADDITIONAL OBSERVATION, a.k.a. Real final words:

Their space voyage is funded by a private individual. Private space ventures are a trend that has just began this decade! Good on writer-director Ridley Scott for his complete oversight of any government involvement.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

THE ANTI-PINOY CONSPIRACY: PACQUIAO LOSES RIGHT AFTER JESSICA SANCHEZ!


The whole world is ganging up on the Filipino people, or so it seems.

How else to explain the loss of Jessica Sanchez to some redneck in last month’s ‘American Idol’? And the latest evidence is Manny Pacquiao losing for the first time in seven years to some black dude (some black dude pa)!

Ano, coincidence lang ba?

What does the world have against us Filipinos anyway? We’re just like everyone else, except of course there’s nothing better than being Filipino. To put it crudely, we are superior to all other peoples. This is proven by Charice Pempengco’s amazing voice, Jessica Sanchez’ amazing voice, Manny Pacquiao’s amazing voice, and Arnel Pineda’s amazing voice.

Inventor of the piano-key necktie himself.
So that must be it. All these fucking foreigners are jealous of us. And so we must do all we can to protect our motherland, including but not limited to:
- Heavy import tariffs
- Oppressing visiting or residing Caucasians by making them speak Tagalog in cheap rubbing alcohol commercials or comedy skits
- Investigating the genealogy of any successful foreigner for possible traces of Filipino blood, and thereby crediting their success to being Pinoy
- Failing the preceding bullet point, look if they’re married to someone of Filipino blood (e.g. Ron Artest’s wife)
- As usual, voting in all sorts of online contests for any Filipino contestants just because they’re Filipino
- Declare war on China. The more dead Filipino soldiers and civilians, the more heroic and proud we will be!
- Etc.

WHAT INDEPENDENCE DAY? (PHILIPPINES 2012)


For some reason this June 2012, I’ve noticed more Philippines flags being displayed in homes, in the streets, and in shops.

The Philippines is no different from any countries that celebrate an Independence Day holiday. 

Independent from what? Oppressors foreign and local? The truth is, there has never been an Independence Day, in the Philippines or abroad. It’s all bullshit.


FREEDOM FROM THE SPANIARDS

SM Megamall going all-out
in its Independence Day decorations.
And Al Gore is awesome.
For example, with June 12, 1898: whether or not the Americans ‘saved’ us by taking the place of the Spaniards would not have kept privileged Filipinos such as Manuel Quezon and Manuel Roxas, from becoming dictators themselves.


NOT QUITE PEOPLE POWER

But what about the 1986 EDSA Revolution, ‘People Power’? Of course, I’m thankful I was able to watch more than one TV station during my childhood and onwards. But what did ‘independence’ from Marcos lead us to?

Was the Aquino administration then, or the Aquino administration today, symbolic of any true freedom? Did the power grabbers back then, to-be president Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile, understand that the very submission under any government, was against the very idea of freedom? 

And if they did understand, did they shun such control over the population via their high political positions gained in succeeding years?


PEOPLE ARE AS DUMB AS EVER

Are we any less susceptible to the idea that we have a duty to the state, whether shown by standing up mindlessly to a shitty song (i.e. the national anthem), or giving a significant percentage of our wealth for the power elite to do with as they please (under the guise of ‘social justice’)?

The fact is, Marcos’ downfall was less due to a growing awareness of the goodness of individual rights, and more to do with the fragility and instability of all dictatorships. 

More stable, yet still harmful, are the governments that balance out the freedom of constituents to produce goods and services, against the state’s penchant for expropriating such wealth.

Noynoy! would be a fool to declare martial law and round up and assassinate all opponents, not because it’s immoral, but because this just makes it so much harder to sustain his regime.


FINAL REMARK

So no, nothing meaningful to celebrate this coming June 12, or any other day of the year. However, we will allow for a national day of mourning what with Pacquiao’s loss against Bradley (luto!).