Monday, July 30, 2012

THE VIABILITY AND PROFITABILITY OF SOLAR ENERGY, AND FALSE ANARCHY


I saw this garbage on Facebook about solar energy being capable of providing for our energy needs if it weren’t for those profit-driven big businesses. Apparently, it’s from a supposed anarchist group, Anarchadia.


PROFIT INVOLVES COMPETITION

The logic is completely twisted. First of all, it lumps rich people as one collective whole that thinks and acts in unison.

In fact, the rich have to compete with others to become and remain rich. This constant challenging of how things are done makes possible the creation of new markets. Say, with solar energy, if it really had such utility for people, it wouldn’t matter that rich businesses that use traditional energy were opposed to it ― unless they derive favors from the government, which is not a market entity and is a barrier to competition. 


FILLING GAPS IN CONSUMERS’ NEEDS

If some utility is to be derived by an existing technology, there would be someone to take advantage of the absence of its usage, e.g. solar power, and this itself would be a profitable endeavor.
  
And to think lowly of something just because it is profitable is to be completely oblivious to the ‘how’ of profiting, that is, providing services desired by people. 

Furthermore, there is no such thing as not being profit-oriented. Even the ‘non-profit’ group Anarchadia is providing its information service ― the stupidity they preach is irrelevant ― for some objective, even if this isn’t remuneration in the financial sense.


GOVERNMENT IN THE WAY

So someone is lying or stupid when they say that solar energy is viable at present. The capital and know-how required for its development is still lacking.

However, perhaps there are things hindering ‘renewable energy.’ This may have to do with lobbyists among oil corporations and the like to bar competition via government.

But the solution to this is not to get government subsidies. First, it would be anti-consumer for the basis of ‘profit’ of ‘green’ firms to be government muscle rather than the meeting of actual consumer preferences.

Second, this just makes for an endless trumping among various interests seeking government favor. When some new law can render one’s business practices illegal overnight, this makes for uncertainty and less consumer-oriented endeavors.


FALSE ANARCHY IS CHAOS

The problem with supposed ‘anarchists’ is that in opposing present governments, they reject the basis of peace and order altogether: the right to property, the affirmation of which is usurped but actually not dependent on governments.

Without property rights, we only have conflict as to how existing resources are to be used. And without affirmation of even the control of our bodies, which are after all our property, we only have violence to determine affairs. What so-called anarchists ought to reject about government ― the initiation of violence ― is to nonetheless be institutionalized under a property-less system. Which shows that these Anarchadia folk aren’t actually anarchists at all, or are only so in the most superficial, practically meaningless sense.


CONCLUSION

If the sun is to become a more widely used energy source, this will have to come about in a profit-based private property setting to have any relevance to consumer needs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MEGADETH: THE FIRST STEP IN MY JOURNEY AS A LIBERTARIAN MYSTIC (Megadeth in Manila, July 29, 2012)


Today, one of my dreams is coming true. For this evening (July 29, 2012), I will watch Megadeth live at the World Trade Center in Pasay. For closure of a dream, if nothing else.

I could not possibly express the significance of this to me. Even after reading this brief outline of my aesthetic-philosophical growth, you would only grasp my story in the most general, that is, imprecise, terms. 


MUSIC AND THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PASSIONATE

‘Youthanasia’ (1994) was, if not my first experience of, then my first sustained recognition of the sublime.

I first knew fickle, elusive passion: passion as the definitive experience of individuality (it took several years for me to describe it in such a way), passion as essential in the giving up and replacing of paradigms. Passion deactivates mechanisms such as fear that otherwise restrict the integration of new ideas.

My musical experience would only grow from that point, finding much to love in both pop music and classical music, with Mozart as the pinnacle.


THE TRANSMISSION OF IDEAS

I also learned something upon trying to convey the joy I was undergoing: no one understood. Mention the name ‘Megadeth’ and people typically think it’s a childish joke.

Passion could not be transmitted. There is nothing social about passion. Passion is the impression of the unique. Reason, the linking of a unique thing to another unique thing, is the social.

Realizing the non-conveyability of passion was very instructive in my discovery of other uncommon things, such as the philosophies I hold today. It has made me less narcissistic so as to somewhat condescend and dumb things down if I did attempt to impart these ideas.


DEVELOPING PHILOSOPHY

From the mid-1990s onward, this sense of ‘more than this’ would be reflected in intellectual interests. I started out enjoying reading New Age literature, not so much for the aliens and astral voyages and whatnot, but for its non-literal reading of Scripture.

In college, I gradually moved to reading Eastern religions, specifically Hinduism and Buddhism.


MYSTICISM


In 2002, I was drawn to studies of mysticism, which most people mistakenly think is about fortune telling or hallucinatory visions. 


Mysticism is the purest impression of individuality. The attempt to recount mystical experiences necessarily misleads ‘second-handers,’ who misapply such ‘knowledge’ in dogma, or who devise a Hegel-type vision of humanity as controlled by the state.

“These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me, If they are not yours as much as mine they are nothing, or next to nothing” ― Walt Whitman


NIETZSCHE

Also in 2002, I finally came around to Western philosophy, Nietzsche in particular. He helped refine my expression of ideas, orienting them to the more apparent or worldly.


http://youtu.be/9m0TUF0G74A?t=7m2s
POLITICS

I always looked down on Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, but her individualist politics did interest me, just in time that the burden of having to make political judgments was thrust upon me.

It took a while, more than a couple of years, before I grew out of Rand’s narrow explorations, to discover Austrian economics and a formidable framework for the market order. It was from Ludwig von Mises that I first really knew Kant, and my thinking processes are better for it.


THE SAME SPIRIT

Quite fascinatingly, my interests have never really deviated. From music to economics, it has always been about an expansion of the experience of the individual.

Life is an integration of both the individual and the social, of the passionate and the rational. Freedom of markets and the decentralized processes involved happen to be the means by which power is best harnessed for what is recognized with our greater foresight as ‘good,’ which can then be said after-the-fact to be most moral.


WHAT HAS CHANGED

When I began listening to Megadeth all those years ago, I thought, amazingly, that my heart had room for just this one band.

My perspective has completely changed, so as to embrace so much more of music and of life. In 1995, I could not have foreseen how this journey would turn out, and the next 17 years from now are just as much a mystery.

Little did I realize in my early adolescence that art, and all things that empower, reflect myself above all, and there are no limits to self-contemplation. Like the great mystic William Blake, I can declare that “all deities reside in the human breast.”


***


Post-concert update: Dave Mustaine, a former representative of the Democratic Party for MTV, gives Obama two thumbs down. I am guessing Alex Jones, who has interviewed Mustaine a couple of times, has been an influence. 

Quote: “If I could get away with saying he was a cocksucker…”




LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS AND REAL SOLIDARITY AMONG PEOPLES


American Maria Sharapova
holds the Russian flag.

I caught a replay of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremonies where each country paraded with their flags and shit. I’m not too fond of classifying and rooting for people on the basis of accidents of birth, unless done in the spirit of ironical fun... but that is not what I wanted to write on.


THE WONDER OF IGNORANCE



While seeing all these countries, these unfamiliar flags, unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar clothes, something wondrous and seemingly obvious occurred to me: I don’t know these people!

Never even knew Nauru existed.
It’s fascinating that global trade happens at all in spite of this ignorance of other cultures. But it goes to show that you don’t have to know, much less like, other people, to live in peace with them. 

Yet if anything, peaceful trade promotes positive feelings across mental borders, in a more profound and meaningful way than any intergovernmental agreement, or sports event, could.


WASHINGTON IS NEXT

I also couldn’t help notice that when the United States of America came up, there was a certain ‘siga’ swagger among them, like, “we’re the greatest!” Or maybe they were just so cocky about hanging out with Kobe and Lebron. 

Either way, it is quite evident that till now, most are clueless of the gravity of the financial storm, and the related corruption of social structures, making the demise of the American empire a question of when as opposed to if.

Friday, July 27, 2012

CONVERTING A KEYNESIAN IN TWO MINUTES


Hey there. If you’re reading this, it’s either you’re one of the four people, me included, who read this blog regularly, OR someone you know has linked you here to save you from your pathetic status as a Keynesian (I keed, I keed).

Let’s get started.


0:01 

KEYNESIANISM IN A NUTSHELL

The Keynesian blames economic crises on a ‘lack of aggregate demand.’ During a depression, many people and much equipment are rendered useless because no one is there to patronize their goods and services.

This demand gap is to be filled by increasing government spending, or lowering interest rates to make spending more affordable. And by boosting demand to meet supply, money flows around once more, raising employment and productivity.

Who’s to argue with this? Who could possibly oppose spreading the wealth and giving people back their jobs?

0:46

THE REALITY

It’s such a pleasant scenario, that I’m hesitant to ask:

With the stimulation of demand, what happens to prices?

(Prices go up).

What do high prices indicate of supply?

(That supply is falling)

Why would supply fall in spite of more money/’wealth’ in the system?

1:34

INCREASING PAPER DOES NOT INCREASE RESOURCES

Because the entry of new monetary notes into the system does nothing to increase resources.

More cash means merely redistributing resources, as desired by policymakers, who do not recognize, or care about, the unsustainability of their efforts as indicated by the demand-price-supply dynamic enumerated above.

2:01

OVERTIME: FOR THOSE FURTHER ENSNARED

But, it might be argued, supply is only a problem when there is full employment. In a crisis, what a waste to not use these additional plants/people, when they’re just lying there!

The implication of this ‘full employment’ argument is that prices could not possibly rise for anything, unless people and existing equipment are employed to the point that price/wage increases will not boost employment levels.

2:33

MEASURING PRICES

Prices don’t rise just to spoil the party or make you Keynesians look stupid, but are indications that supply is really not sufficient for whatever endeavors are stimulated. And the more that consumption is encouraged, less investible resources remain by which to sustain an economy. This explains the net loss, and not a mere return to previous conditions, come depression time.

But, you say, the consumer price index doesn’t show the price increases I’m claiming. The c.p.i. is rather stable at 2-ish%, or nothing beyond 5%.

2:58

Friedrich Hayek’s great works
on the business cycle.
PRICE INCREASES AND MONETARY EXPANSION

But price increases remain only a symptom of the monetary manipulation going on. If sometimes prices don't rise, this indicates an increase in supply of goods offsetting the monetary expansion.

But don’t rejoice about such an increase in output either. These are goods the sustained purchase of which is doubtful when credit tightens, when price signals are corrected to reveal poor demand for these stimulated sectors (e.g. construction materials).

3:24

C.P.I. DOESN’T COVER ALL PRICES


Leaving aside as well that there is no such entity as a ‘general price level’ in an economy, the c.p.i. necessarily neglects some consumer products in favor of others. The c.p.i. also ignores other upward price distortions, in real estate, stocks, bonds, etc.

Besides, price increases do not go up immediately after the lowering of interest rates, or according to anyone’s time frame. It may take years for the newly printed money to move from bonds to ‘real’ capital and consumer goods, but this delay does not make the consequences of monetary expansion any less adverse.

Recognizing that prices are merely symptomatic, wouldn't focus be better placed on the source of price changes, that is, monetary policy?

3:59

NON-AGGREGATE DEMAND

During crises, there is a drop in demand indeed, that is, demand for existing goods in certain sectors, the production of which was spurred by the impression of profitability as signaled by below-market interest rates (e.g. housing).

Without manipulating interest rates, such production of otherwise-unprofitable goods would have not been undertaken, in favor of goods more in line with consumption levels and preferences.

5:20

MOLDING FACTS TO THEORY

The trouble with Keynesianism actually begins with methodology, or rather, the lack of it. Hence, the quickness to point to the c.p.i. in defense of credit expansion, or interpreting unused ghost neighborhoods as a cluster of private-sector errors in calculating demand for goods. As an aside, why then isn’t ‘excessive aggregate demand’ (i.e. undersupply) just as common an entrepreneurial blunder?

Bad methodology allows for malleability in the face of contrary theory, even if such theory withstands logical tests and empirical interpretations. It is thus not too surprising to hear that this present crisis is a perfect Keynesian model. But could we expect anything more reasonable from a model premised on the notion that spending makes for prosperity?

5:52

CAPITAL

And so ends my attempt at getting into the head of a Keynesian.

As an additional note, it is a great aid to go beyond categorizing goods by either-consumption-or-production. One should also consider a producers’ good; from what products it is derived; and the products of which it is a component. Hence the saying, capital is heterogeneous, which you probably never read in your macroeconomics textbook.

To understand my very specific choice of terms in the brief exposition above, read further on capital and interest ― the latter’s level of which is as much a signal of scarcity as the price of any good ― and their crucial relation to the business cycle.

If you think I missed some points in my refutation, e.g. Paul Krugman’s baby-sitting coupon fantasy ― which simply assumes an unchanging level of utility derived from the rest of the non-coupon world, and assumes that the health of a single sector matters to an economy ― let me know.

***

Suggested books/selections:

Time and money: The macroeconomics of capital structure by Roger Garrison.
Austrian business cycle theory in the language (and diagrams) of Keynesians and monetarists. Ask to be furnished a copy.

Money, banking and economic cycles by Jesus Huerta de Soto. 
Within this masterpiece on money is a Keynes-specific chapter (Ch. 7).

Dissent on Keynes, ed. Mark Skousen. 
Each contributor discusses a particular Keynesian topic, e.g. Phillips Curve, the multiplier, paradox of thrift.

The critics of Keynesian economics, ed. Henry Hazlitt. 
A compilation of essays by various economists before, during and after Keynes, disputing in principle his refutation of Say’s Law. E-mail me for a selection of relevant quotations.

A section-by-section critique of Keynes’ ‘General theory.’ Not that it matters to you, but this is the first ‘Austrian’ book I read.

Monday, July 23, 2012

SONA 2012: REAL-TIME NOTES FOR THE BEST SPEECH EVER


4 p.m.

Garbage – crediting PSE rise to himself, when stock price increases are raised by world inflation; not a good thing for buying things!

He’s part of the status quo of wealth-destroying governments – ‘Saving’ the euro. It can’t be saved.

Clapping Congress knows no better. They actually believe this crap. Back-patting when someone in the audience is mentioned.

Just say desirable things and how many people are captured by the gov’t program, and people think you’ve done good! That’s like someone taking your wallet and giving you pamasahe home. How kind!

Shit this is masochistic, to be listening to this nonsense self-harping.

4:22 p.m.

‘Responsible parenthood’ formally advocated, to thunderous applause. Pathetic.

4:25 p.m.

DepEd budget increased… Increasing budgets is an achievement?!

Corny. Remedial math classes daw para sa mga kritiko. Ha. Ha. Ha. Bitch.

Emotionalism… Look in the eye those poor we’ve helped and tell us they don’t have a right to so and so.

This SONA is a great example of Bastiat’s ‘What we see,and what what we do not see’ principle. All these thousands and millions, figures meant to prove he’s done well. As compared to what? Does he assume that the money used and the people covered by the government programs would have been utterly destroyed, if it weren’t for him and the Philippine government?

4:43 p.m.

Conceited fuck talaga [at least his speechwriter is]. He credits, or at least associates himself with choices of market players re: coco water.

How about Dolphy, huh? Could you not mention Dolphy yet and how you helped him make people laugh since World War II?

4:45 p.m.

Weak applause re: CARP. Elephant in the plenary.

When will I learn not to listen to this bullshit. Even for you blog readers. Kashitan kasi e!

4:48 p.m.

Plea to the media, again, to highlight the good news?!

I’d like to believe that carnapping did decrease 50%. [Update: According to BusinessWorld, counting methods changed 2009 onwards.]

It’s not exactly reassuring to hear that even more policemen will be armed!

Flaunting the military? And so now what, we can afford to pick on China?

Damn. I should be halfway through my movie now if it weren’t for this stupid speech. Oh well. Para sa bayan naman, as my friend used to say.

5 p.m.

Dolphy! Dolphy! Dolphy! Dolphy! Dolphy! What the fuck talk about Dolphy man!

Checked my Facebook. An absence of live-feed updates. Strange, I don’t remember hiding/blocking my Noyalist friends (mahal ko sila!).

5:13 p.m.

No mention of the financial turmoil worldwide. Completely oblivious to Great Depression II.

Progress has nothing to do with a conscious collective effort. So it is no wonder that his speech does have fatal holes. No matter what he does, no matter what he flaunts, he will be wrong, because he is stuck in the idea that planning an economy works.

Sure has lots to say to his critics.

5:29 p.m.


“Ikaw gumawa nito.” Well, it beats Obama’s “You didn’t build that” speech.



‘BOSS’ TO NOYNOY!: YOU’RE FIRED! (SONA 2012)


It’s 12:15 p.m. of the day that Noynoy! Aquino is going to make his State of the Nation Address (SONA) for 2012.

I’m holding a copy of his speech right now (actually I’m not, but I just might very well be, since I know what he’s going to say anyway). And it’s pretty void of intelligence, of course.


WANGWANG III

Mentioning ‘wangwang’ for a second straight year in 2011 was already nauseating, but again, two years after the 2010 SONA? But ‘wangwang’ in the figurative sense of government privilege has not disappeared. Noynoy! tries to claim that political privilege is no longer the order of the day, but what sensible person believes this?

Political privilege is directly related to the size of government. So of course, ‘wangwang’ still exists, and is growing. Leave aside that Noynoy! has gained pogi points for not using a siren in his cavalcade, and doesn’t care about being late to anything because he’s the president.


WANGWANG IS ALIIIVE!

What are ‘public-private partnerships’ other than ‘wangwang’ crony deals?

What is the increasing budget (the next one at P2 trillion) other than ‘wangwang’ choice of the political elite as to what is done with money and property?

What is the selective removal of corrupt elements other than ‘wangwang’ elimination of political enemies?

What is the campaign for increased taxes other than a ‘wangwang’ self-righteousness as to their benevolence contrasted with that of ordinary people? not to mention a ‘wangwang’ favoritism of big business friends who can cope with higher taxes better than the non-political SME? a ‘wangwang’ disregard of lost employment when businesses are unable to cope with the increased burdens imposed on them?


IS THE SONA A REPORT TO THE ‘BOSS’?

For a report supposedly furnished to the ‘boss,’ i.e. we the people, we sure don’t have a choice as to what Noynoy! and his administration is doing. 


It’s like someone tying you up, getting your ATM card, threatening the PIN out of you with a gun, and every so often dropping by to say, “Last week, I tried the new Pizza Hut Thin ’N Crispy. It was so good, boss!” or “I used 15% of your bank account as toilet paper, boss!”

We don’t want to be served, or even lied to that we are being served. Or have anyone else served from your ‘detached’ perspective, Noynoy!. We just want to live our lives in peace. Drop your P2-trillion waste disposal program and maybe things can start looking up!


Click here for my real-time commentary of the SONA.


***


[Note: In my excitement this noon, I mistyped the title as being a SONA for 2013 and not 2012. Just in case you were wondering.]

Thursday, July 19, 2012

‘THE DARK KNIGHTS RISES’ IS GREAT AND LIBERTARIAN


During the first hour of Christopher Nolan’s ‘The dark knight rises’ (2012), there are several jabs at supposed ‘capitalism’ such as the disconnect between earnings in the stock market and the savings of the man in the street. 

Furthermore, Catwoman’s justification for stealing from those with no need of their extra cash is reminiscent of Robin Hood.

Yet we get a glimpse of what putting ‘the people’ in charge really means, when Bane commences his big operation. We are witness to ‘Occupy Wall Street’ rabble-like scenarios wherein no regard is given to property rights, no distinction made between rich people and rich criminals, in the name of ‘need.’ Not a very pleasant sight.

And although this chaos is contrasted to the supposed order that the Gotham Police Force brings, in the end we see a choice being made where even this police monopoly, rigid to the point of hindering efforts to save people, is challenged by the possibility of alternative protectors.

Whew! I hope that was vague enough not to warrant a SPOILER ALERT! tag.




Addendum: Stupid things about the movie [SPOILERS ALERT!!!]
- How could Gotham sustain itself without anyone crossing its bridges for several months?! Trade is especially essential for urban places, where the absence of transport of goods means death. And how could they continue looking well-groomed in such conditions?
- Bruce Wayne suddenly emerges from his eight-year-long reclusion, and just days later, Batman reemerges from his eight-year-long disappearance. How could people not have pieced things together, especially someone like Commissioner Gordon?!
- The Dent Law, which further limited freedoms of suspected criminals, could not have been the bringer of peace and order, which is not so much about containing specific criminals but altering criminal mentalities, which breed in poor socio-economic conditions. 


***

[July 20 update: It’s horrible enough to hear of dozens killed and hurt in the Colorado premiere, but making things worse is that this will be taken as yet another pretext for government intrusion via anti-gun laws and tighter censorship. The irony. 

Police are inept as it is, and to deprive people of their means of self-defense from those who actually want to initiate harm, makes such shootings more likely. 

And the idea of ‘saving’ people from ‘bad’ ideas in films and books just surrenders more control from individuals who are no less ‘mature’ than their supposed saviors in the government.]

Monday, July 16, 2012

THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMY, AND ‘PLANS’ FOR REBUILDING


In ‘Rebuilding the PH economy,’ Ateneo economist Edsel L. Beja, Jr. is surely right in saying that the Philippines is not a breakout nation as others believe it to be. However, Beja is mistaken in his diagnosis of the Philippine economy’s problems in fact he is wrong as to what constitutes a ‘problem’ ― and likewise fails in providing sound prescriptions.


SERVICE SECTOR

He notes the strength of the service sector since the 1980s economic crisis, but says that such a sector is not sufficient for industrialization. As Beja sees it, the Philippine government must redirect resources for sustaining growth.

But the rise of the service sector is simply an indication or reaction to depleted capital when Marcos’ inflationary policies went bust. Because of the absence of opportunities locally, people set their sights abroad and made money. This is a process of capital accumulation, as achieved by workers employed in capital-richer places, and left unhindered, would make for Beja’s desired ‘industrialization.’


PETTY EXCUSES

Beja uses this hole in his analysis, of not giving enough attention to the monetary factors involved, to push for government ‘guidance.’ He instead blames supposed ‘liberalizations’ that occurred since the 1980s, while not showing any cause-effect relation between free markets and stagnancy.

Perhaps he hopes that the reader unquestioningly accepts his assertion, or maybe Beja has never questioned his premises himself. Either way, it makes for a very flawed thesis.

But knowing that the depletion of capital after Marcos’ financial crisis outweighed any ‘liberalization,’ and that people’s job-seeking abroad is a natural market reaction by which capital is once more accumulated, can we really take Beja’s pro-government justifications seriously?


GOVERNMENT PLANNING IS ANTI-CONSUMER/PEOPLE

What Beja wants is protectionism, focusing growth in specific (politically favored) sectors even if this is less in line with consumer preferences. And because Beja’s proposals will require more deficit spending and loose monetary policy, the Philippines, like most countries, remains prone to increased unemployment as happens in monetary-policy-induced boom-bust cycles.

 

ADAM SMITH

In his sidebar story, Beja seems to think that by framing the ‘Father of Economics’ Adam Smith as actually pro-government, that he destroys the arguments of those who want freer markets. This just goes to show how inept mainstream economics is.

Adam Smith is in fact a setback, considering that his French colleagues Richard Cantillon and A.R.J. Turgot demonstrated superior knowledge. Anyone making a serious effort to understand free markets must realize that there are far more able representatives of this wide school of thought, even during and before the time of Smith.


THE NEED FOR PLANNING IS A FALSE ASSUMPTION

Why does Beja even assume that civilization and all its blessings were ever derived from or necessitated central plans? Does some agency really ‘have to’ conceive and manipulate a ‘big picture’?

In our daily lives interacting and trading with various people, is there ever a time when it is essential that we are in keeping with some politician’s notion of this ‘big picture,’ where we ‘have to’ forfeit choice for the sake of some wiser majority decree?

(I challenge you to give me one instance where such renunciation of choice is needed!)

Or could it be, perhaps, that the big picture is merely an after-the-fact observation of individuals making self-bettering choices?

But this would mean… a government giving up its pretext of a mandate to ‘plan’ for us.


CONCLUSION

So it may be that we are not a ‘breakout nation,’ and this is indeed Beja’s sole correct point in his entire article.

The market is already constantly in a process by which a breakout can occur, if left alone by high-minded planners. We should be more aware of the damage that monetary meddling has had to do in the past, and perhaps policymakers will have the good conscience not to repeat the same mistakes.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NO-PLASTIC PASIG: 'IMPROVING' OUR LIVES LITTLE BY LITTLE


You have got to love the ‘Godfather’ 
influence on these bureaucrats.
Meeting with fellow government lovers yesterday in Pasig, there was a discussion on the city’s no-plastic policy. About how it’s all for show, given that the alternative ― paper ― is not produced in any more ‘environment-friendly’ a manner than plastic; and that the real problem is the means of disposal of plastic, not the use of plastic per se for things in which plastic is most useful.

How awesomely timely was it that my friend, upon being served his dessert shake, was told that he couldn’t use a plastic straw! I doubt he would have even bought the shake knowing he’d have to slurp or scoop it out instead.

elmerlovesoreo.blogspot.com
All these little inconveniences may indeed be little, but serve to show the kind of society we live in: one that puts individual beings who go about their lives, doing no harm, under the inherently violent control of winners of popularity contests/elections, who presume to serve us ― ‘the people.’

It is almost pointless to count the minor things that make us worse off ― import restrictions; the chipping away of our currency; what I can ingest and how I ingest, e.g. straws; to name a few ― but there is one theme behind this cumulative worsening of life: surrendering our ability to choose is always a terrible thing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

HATRED OF FREE MARKETS, AND THE YEAR-LONG SUMMER


I hate the sun. It gets so hot here in this room. An afternoon nap can get stiflingly painful. When I go outdoors, the sweat adds to my discomfort. With it being July already, you’d think it would rain more often, and for the sun to not be so scorching!

In a way though, this has kind of helped me sympathize with haters of the free market. In the same way that I hate the sun in spite of the light and life it gives, the majority of people talk about markets with condescension if not scorn.


WHAT IS CONDEMNED BY CONDEMNING THE MARKET?

The sun: should we regulate?
These noble do-gooders pontificate their “I’m beyond money” ideas of how the world should be, while nonetheless enjoying all that is made possible by the free exchange of property, such as the computers on which they type their ‘insights’; the dwellings they inhabit; and the general mental and physical well-being made possible by trade.

(Even isolation from people and from commercial areas, to live ‘in nature,’ is an aspect of free markets, in that one is not hindered by coercive entities from living as they please. Free trade is, after all, best defined by a negative, that is, the absence of coercion, whether this involves an extravagant or modest lifestyle.)


MARKETS AND CONSUMERISM

I also noticed, in myself and in others, that people are quick to heap the bad things about human beings as a fault of the freedom to exchange property.

His immortal music did not
come about by government decree.
For example, if humans are shallow or ‘consumerist,’ this has to do with the market in itself. As if by barring people from trading goods and services as they would like, this makes for something more ‘spiritual.’ But then, by whose decision will such repression, or alternative transactions, be made? How would their ideas be any less base?


THE LOGIC OF UTOPIA

It is hoped that, by getting rid of ‘superficial’ wants, that such resources can be used for the basic needs of the less fortunate, thus aiding in ‘social justice.’ 

Of course, jobs in the ‘superficial’ industries will be lost, by the millions, but in favor of some greater ideal as envisioned by politicians who have somehow escaped the conundrum of consumerist humanity in spite of being elected by fellow consumerist human beings.


CENTRAL BANKING

And of course there’s central banking, a mechanism which promotes consumption to the prejudice of production. 

Because price levels rise as facilitated by the central bank, people would rather consume in the immediate future, when their monetary notes can purchase more, than in the distant future, when their monetary notes can purchase less.

Central banks are not a market entity of course. So where’s the condemnation of government in this very evident promotion of wanton spending? At least when people buy ‘shallow’ stuff like designer bags, this doesn’t entail the suffering of others. But with inflation-stimulated consumerism, wealth of the less creditworthy (i.e. the poor) and the non-politically privileged is destroyed forever.


FINAL WORDS

I just focused on ‘consumerism’ in my criticism of market hatred, but there are other faults heaped on ‘the market’ (i.e. people aiding each other by exchange) such as:
- Starving the poor to death (as if charity is a monopoly of government or even its specialty);
- Ruining the environment (as if the neglect of property, urban or non-urban, is not facilitated by the number one violator of property, the state);
- Deceptive money-making (as if state propaganda, which seeks to garner support for coercive programs, is any better; and as if no one else, least of all enterprises competing for your favor, could evaluate firms and products as good as the state does);
- Etc.

One could not help but use a double standard in criticizing free trade while being one of its billions of beneficiaries.

My point is not to deny that people are often shallow. Stupidity, mediocrity and superficiality are indeed the rule. But, it is only in such a culture of poor thinking that one could not snap out of the paradigm that handing the reins to government in an attempt to ‘uplift’ humanity is any better by any human standard than what manifests among free individuals.