Thursday, April 30, 2009
In his article "The Nuttiness of Negative Interest Rates" Robert P. Murphy on Mises Institute web-site wrote that
"In his April 18 New York Times op-ed, Harvard professor (and Bush adviser) Greg Mankiw calls on the Federal Reserve to promise future inflation, in order to fix the economy. Mankiw's article beautifully illustrates what is wrong with today's economics profession: it consists of very sharp guys (and gals) who can develop interesting models that spit out policy recommendations that would destroy the economy. It is no coincidence that Mankiw's worldview leads him to literally propose destroying the currency in order to fix the economy."
It is not surprising that the proposal of literally destroying currency comes from an American professor of one of the leading universities. An economics professor is the ultimate union of Kant and Keynes. Kant laid the foundation for the destruction of human mind and Keynes followed closely with his own recipe for the destruction of the capitalism.
The collectivist view that the economies resources are somehow their responsibility, to be managed and disposed off as they like is the dominant theme of the article. So what if the problems were caused during this management as pointed out by the author which Mankiw conveniently refuses to address. Though I am no great authority on economics, even with my basic knowledge, I can recognise the ugly mishmash of non-reason and anti-capitalism coming together in this call to destroy what Rand said was "the ultimate barometer of a society's virtue"- the money.
Read a part of the speech made by Francisco d'Anconia, Galt's friend on the meaning of money:
"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence...
To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortune-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being-the self-made man-the American industrialist.
If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose-because it contains all the others-the fact that they were the people who created the phrase "to make money.""
"The Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.
In America today, the phrase "to make money" is losing it's shine. The strangled free-market system is under a renewed and a more vigorous assault. The solutions which are proposed by the current administration are going to push the existing mixed-economic system dangerously close to Socialism. It is the system which is depressingly familiar to those Objectivists living in third-world countries. My overwhelming concern is that when I come to America, I hope it doesn't resemble the place I have left behind.
The proposed solution to solve the current crisis, of encouraging households and businesses to borrow and spend with the helpful dose of inflationary currency as proposed by the Harvard economist is not a new one. Ayn Rand wrote in her "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" in October 65 that "there are economist who proclaim that the essence (and the moral justification) of capitalism is "service to others-to the consumers," that the consumers wishes are the absolute edicts ruling the free market, etc. (...what all such theorists fail to mention is the fact that capitalism grants economic recognition to only one kind of consumer: the producer-that only traders, i.e., producers who have something to offer, are recognized on a free market, not "consumers" as such-that, in a capitalist economy, as in reason, in justice, and in reality, production is the pre-condition of consumption.)"
Here is a description of the book:
Aimed at both the intelligent layman and the professional economist, and written in language that both can understand, this book is the most comprehensive and intellectually powerful explanation of the nature and value of laissez-faire capitalism that has ever been written. It represents a twofold major integration of truths previously discovered by other writers, combined with numerous original contributions made by the author himself. Within economic theory, it integrates leading ideas of the Austrian school with needlessly abandoned doctrines of the British classical school. It further integrates such reconstituted economic theory with essential elements of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Simply put, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics is the philosophically and intellectually strongest book in the defense of laissez-faire capitalism that can be found anywhere in the world at the present time.
It is a fantastic book. A little bit about George Riesman from the Mises website:
Dr. George Reisman earned his PhD in Economics at New York University under the direction of Ludwig von Mises. He is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. He has contributed articles to academic journals such as The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, and The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. Dr. Reisman is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics and serves as the President of The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics and Psychology.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"Ninety-nine days in, with 1,362 days to go, and we can see with some clarity the trajectory on which Barack Obama wants to take the United States. To put it in geographical terms, he wants to move us some considerable distance toward Europe."
Monday, April 27, 2009
"BOSTON — A malicious software program known as Conficker that many feared would wreak havoc on April 1 is slowly being activated, weeks after being dismissed as a false alarm, security experts said. Conficker, also known as Downadup or Kido, is quietly turning thousands of personal computers into servers of e-mail spam and installing spyware, they said."
Let this incident be a warning to others who are dithering over arming civilian ships. Maybe the German ship which was seized on 25th could have avoided its fate if it was also armed. I say arm each ship with only one sniper who can blow off the approaching pirates one by one. Who knows, maybe this can be the next big thing in the cruising circles (did you see the whale? no, I saw something better, a pirate getting shot from long distance).
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Do you ever ask yourself why we are always asked to sacrifice for this, sacrifice for that, in ever escalating demands? Has it ever occurred to you that it's a great way to control us? Obama is the result of this morality of sacrificial lambs at the alter of the poor, the needy, the planet, the bears, the atmosphere etc. But have we ever asked why we had to sacrifice ourself for everybody else and for everything else on this earth? The famous literary character, John Galt, warned us 50 years ago that it was this morality of self-sacrifice that was destroying the world and that we needed to discover a new morality- the morality of living by holding 'three things as the supreme and ruling values of ones life: Reason - purpose - and self-esteem.' (For The New Intellectual by Ayn Rand)."
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"President Obama has been banging the drum for Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Not that there’s anything new in his policy. Obama sees a ‘European Turkey’ as a win-win situation both for Europe and the United States. He believes, as does the Turkish PM Recep Erdogan, that it is the natural quid pro quo for Turkey’s development as Europe’s east-west energy bridge."
The leader of America where free speech and individual rights are an integral part of the constitution has become the cheerleader for an Islamic country. Does he realise that though he might send the message that the West is not the enemy but the Islamic world thinks otherwise and none of his goodwill gesture are going to change that reality.Will he take responsibility for for his actions when the riots in France are repeated at a much larger scale across Europe due to the influx of Muslims who hanker for sharia laws? Or will he wring his hands and say,"I just wanted to be friends with them".
I live in India where I have seen the results of this policy of appeasement. The riots in Muslim dominated old Delhi are a constant reminder that turning a blind eye to reality will not change it. These are ghettos where even the hardened, gestapo like Delhi police is scared of entering. They need especial permission and riot police squad to enter these area's. Is this what Obama wants for Europe? Let the rookie president take a moment to rethink his disastrous foreign policy before he does some real damage.
"He looked at the granite. To be cut, he thought, and made into walls. He looked at a tree. To be split and made into rafters. He looked at a streak of rust on the stone and thought of iron ore under the ground. to be melted and to emerge as girders against the sky.
These rocks, he thought, are here waiting for me; waiting for the drill, the dynamite and my voice; waiting to be split, ripped, pounded, reborn; waiting for the shape my hands will give them."
"The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand.
Posted by Craig Biddle at 2:51 PM
Because Earth Day is intended to further the cause of environmentalism—and because environmentalism is an anti-human ideology—on April 22, those who care about human life should not celebrate Earth Day; they should celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day.
Exploiting the Earth—using the raw materials of nature for one’s life-serving purposes—is a basic requirement of human life. Either man takes the Earth’s raw materials—such as trees, petroleum, aluminum, and atoms—and transforms them into the requirements of his life, or he dies. To live, man must produce the goods on which his life depends; he must produce homes, automobiles, computers, electricity, and the like; he must seize nature and use it to his advantage. There is no escaping this fact. Even the allegedly “noble” savage must pick or perish. Indeed, even if a person produces nothing, insofar as he remains alive he indirectly exploits the Earth by parasitically surviving off the exploitative efforts of others." Read more.
"The Brazilian Federal Police are trying to crackdown on the hijacking of U.S. military satellites—an illegal act that is so well entrenched that it has become something of a 'national phenomenon.'"
Check the video of the making of the show car.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
"Even as average Americans were planning to get out in towns and cities to demonstrate against Big Government and Big Taxes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) surveillance was being unleashed upon them. In fact, unsuspecting Tax Day TEA Party participants were being closely watched during the demonstration planning stages in a covert operation that began on or about March 23, 2009."
This is exactly the the reason why increasing number of Americans are reading Ayn Rand and taking her philosophy seriously. The individual rights are being corroded gradually and government is becoming the dominant force in the lives of the citizens. This is exactly what the founding fathers didn't want to happen.
If the news of FBI at the Tea parties is true, it points towards Obama's America increasingly resembling Putin's Russia. Obama might take this as a compliment but let this be a warning to all freedom loving Americans, and let this be the time for adding an intellectual backbone to the Tea party protests. I would ask people living in US or elsewhere to read Ayn Rands "Atlas Shrugged" to understand the recent events and to find a why we need philosophy in our lives.
"In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is—i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts—i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance."
“Philosophy and Sense of Life,” The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand.
According to Elan Journo, analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, even though the operation was successful, it did not teach the pirates the appropriate lesson, as evidenced by news of a pirate attack on another American-flagged ship, the Liberty Sun."
Read the full article.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Filmed May 14, 1905, at the Westinghouse foundries in Trafford City, Pennsylvania.
This reminds me of my fathers factory where machinery parts were cast during mid-eighties. It was more basic and manual labor was used instead of machinery to pour the metal. We used to sometimes accompany him at night to see the casting. It was always done at night because there was no electricity during the day. I looked forward to these trips.
The silent black and white clip doesn't do justice to the whole process. I'll try to compensate for that. Once you entered the industrial area there were no roads, it was pitch dark and the silence was of the graveyard variety- very eerie. It was a whole different world inside the factory. The first thing that hit you was the incredible noise closely followed by the incredible sight. It took a while to recover from the assault on the senses- the sight, smell, noise, heat left you reeling and spellbound at the same time. The furnace was about 20 foot tall- like a big, old armoured warrior with a lot of fight still left in him and attached to it was a contraption for pumping air into it to stoke the fire for the melting process. It made tremendous noise like it was cursing everybody for making it work at night and the people working there had to shout to be heard.
The furnace spewed the molten metal into the iron buckets with their insides covered with clay to protect them from the metals heat. Once the required quantity was poured into the buckets the furnace was shut-up with clay plugs attached to long bamboo poles. Then a couple of guys lifted the buckets with help of the long iron rods which were welded to the buckets. It was quite a sight to see those thin sinewy guys wearing rags carry a load of yellow lava with sparks jumping out from it.
It almost seemed like that the guys were sweating not from the heat but from the threatening, spitting liquid metal whose sparks leaped disdainfully from their confines to pierce their flimsy flesh (during one cast the clay of the bucket had cracked and metal dropped and splashed the guys carrying it, giving them serious burns). The whole place glowed from the light of the liquid metal. It was poured into the clay casts where it would finally find peace and make a transition from its turbulent angry youth to cool, solid maturity.
The business unfortunately did not last much longer. The iron casting gave way to RCC (Reinforced concrete) casting of man-hole covers. Ah! from taming the wild lava to taming of the stench of the gutters.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
As an occasional photographer this question has always bothered me, how far is it OK to retouch the pictures? When does picture become a lie? A topic which needs serious exploration for both pros and amateurs.
"The writers of House MD on Fox-TV did a public service last night. Unlike most television shows, House continues to punch through popular stereotypes about fat people and take on obesity sacred cows with that cutting, impudent honesty that only Dr. Gregory House can get away with."
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Posted by Craig Biddle at 9:47 AM
Here’s a video of John Lewis’s excellent speech at yesterday’s tea party in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Thanks to Andy Clarkson for recording it)"
services offered on a free market, it is the purveyor of the best
product at the cheapest price who wins the greatest financial rewards
in that field-not automatically nor immediately nor by fiat.."(Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal).
Green Trade Wars
Forbes Magazine dated April 27, 2009
While the world has had its eye on tariffs and quotas, another trade
war has been simmering, over dumping. This month, U.S. Steel and other
American manufacturers filed suit against China, alleging the dumping
of $2.6 billion worth of welded and seamless steel pipes...
What makes this fight different is that steelmakers have a curious
ally: the environmental crowd. Steel is a polluting industry, slurping
up lots of coal for smelting and spitting carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere. If the U.S. puts a cost on domestic CO2 (in the form of a
tax or an expensive emission permit), and if China doesn't impose a
similar burden on its smokestacks, then Chinese steel companies have
an unfair advantage. The enviros propose to make the contest fair by
imposing a pollution equalization tax at the border. This tariff idea
gets a loud "amen" from the U.S. steel industry.
"We already know what government-run health care looks like By MARC SIEGEL
Here's something that has gotten lost in the drive to institute universal health insurance: Health insurance doesn't automatically lead to health care. And with more and more doctors dropping out of one insurance plan or another, especially government plans, there is no guarantee that you will be able to see a physician no matter what coverage you have."
Friday, April 17, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Navy snipers killed three Somali pirates who had been holding an American hostage in an 18-foot lifeboat on Sunday. The SEALs fired from a Navy destroyer 100 feet from the pirates. Can a sniper reliably hit a human target on a small boat bobbing on the ocean, or were they taking a chance with the hostage's life?
Check my latest post Jefferson and Somali pirates.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
(HT: Shaving Leviathan)
"President Pantywaist is hopping mad and he has a strategy to cut Kim down to size: he is going to slice $1.4bn off America's missile defence programme, presumably on the calculation that Kim would feel it unsporting to hit a sitting duck, so that will spoil his fun.
Watch out, France and Co, there is a new surrender monkey on the block and, over the next four years, he will spectacularly sell out the interests of the West with every kind of liberal-delusionist initiative on nuclear disarmament and sitting down to negotiate with any power freak who wants to buy time to get a good ICBM fix on San Francisco, or wherever. If you thought the world was a tad unsafe with Dubya around, just wait until President Pantywaist gets into his stride."
Military aviation advanced rapidly during the World War I. This fascinating video takes through the development from a simple reconnaissance plane to the bombers and eventually the super fighters.
"April 11, 2009: U.S. Army and Marine Corps are getting handheld ballistic computers. The device also has Blue Tooth and WiFi, as well as a speaker and microphone. The software handles things like weapon model, target speed and range estimation, wind speeds and many other factors.
A cheaper solution uses an iPhone. BulletFlight software is available at the iPhone software store, and it performs the calculations needed to account for atmospheric conditions (wind, temperature, humidity, altitude and barometric pressure) for long range shooting. The output tells you how many clicks to adjust your scope to make the shot more accurately. Before use, you input basic data like rifle type and bullet weight."
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
(HT: Mad Minerva)
In light of SUU officials plan to designate 'Free Speech Zones' on campus, I thought I'd offer my assistance. Grab a map. OK, ready?
All right, you see that big area between Canada and Mexico, surrounded by lots of blue ink on the East and West? You see it?
There's your bloody Free Speech Zone.
Senior communication major from Bountiful
Thursday, April 9, 2009
"Jealousy and Envy (quick dictionary definition): painful desire of another's advantages. Jealousy is about losing a value to someone else (the context for jealousy is always social). It is a painful feeling regarding a value one has and is afraid of losing - or something a person has difficulty having, but see another enjoying. Example: Seeing the object of your romantic interest showing affection to someone else. Envy is about something one does not have, does not believe he can have,and yet see another person having and enjoying. "
A very interesting article from an interesting artist who happens to be a Bio-Medical Engineer.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
A video presentation by Onkar Ghate
In 1776 Thomas Jefferson announced to the world America’s plans for independence. For the first time in history, there was to be a nation and a government dedicated to the individual’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.....
On this, the book’s 50th anniversary, we will examine the moral revolution launched by Ayn Rand, without which the political revolution of the Founding Fathers had to remain incomplete. We will see what this moral revolution has meant for America so far, and what it promises for the future. We will see why Atlas Shrugged should be considered America’s second Declaration of Independence—a declaration not of political but of moral independence.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Forbes in its article "The Most Corrupt Countries" says
Corruption is on the march. In 2008, the number of countries sinking deeper into the clutches of influence peddling, bribery and scandalous business dealings outpaced improvements by a 2 to 1 margin. Countries falling by more than 10 spots outnumbered risers 8.5 to 1....
Nations with the highest risk of corruption are often the desperately poor, where foreign aid and assistance can easily be transferred through back channels of oppressive regimes. As a result, the impact of corruption can extend well beyond any economic detraction to affect the quality of life for millions of citizens.
It is clear from the article that the growth of corruption is directly related to decline in freedom. One can clearly see that the discretionary powers given to government officials which violate the basic tenets of Capitalism have increasingly resulted in the chaotic economic mess the world finds itself in.The blaming of the mess on the free markets is laughable since even in America in the last hundred years the markets have been heavily regulated and burdened with unsound polices.
The obvious solution for this problem of corruption as George Reisman in his epic work "Capitalism- A Treatise on Economics" said:
"The solution is, of course, the restoration of the businessman's freedom and his security from the destructive actions of the government officials. When the businessman can once again act for his profit by right rather than permission, when the government has lost the power both to harm him and to harm others for his benefit, the problem of such bribery and corruption will shrivel to insignificance."
Sunday, April 5, 2009
The fundamental problem is that there's no solid evidence that green policies—even those aimed explicitly at creating jobs—will actually lower the long-term unemployment rate.
Lets hope there is no street view in India before there are public toilets.
Freeman Dyson said at Tragedy Is Not Freeman Dyson’s Business
“The greatest evils are poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, disease and hunger, all the conditions that deprive people of opportunities and limit their freedoms.”
With the reverse of socialism in India we have seen unprecedented prosperity and rise of people above the poverty line. It is only due to the opening up of the markets and giving people freedom to choose their destiny that this has been possible. Now the dubious science of global warming threatens to undo all that. When people in first world sit and sermonise and talk about curbing progress in name of dubious computer generated models, it amazes me.
What Ayn Rand said so many years ago still holds true:
Ecology as a social principle . . . condemns cities, culture, industry, technology, the intellect, and advocates men’s return to “nature,” to the state of grunting subanimals digging the soil with their bare hands.
“The Lessons of Vietnam,” The Ayn Rand Letter, III, 25
There are so many ifs and buts in these theories but there are no doubts about the rise in living standards and the unleashing of the entrepreneurial energy in countries like India and China. Hopefully people can escape the devil with twin horns of socialism and environmentalism long enough to achieve decent standards of living.
Lets hope that the view “Humans, have a duty to restructure nature for their survival” prevails for the sake of billions who are finally getting to see glimpses of life as it should be - a celebration of human achievement and not a struggle for survival.
A recent article in The New York Times quotes President Obama as saying, “I don’t buy the argument that providing workers with collective-bargaining rights somehow weakens the economy or worsens the business environment. If you’ve got workers who have decent pay and benefits, they’re also customers for business.” (March 2, 2009, p. B3.)The President’s statement reveals a great deal about his understanding or, more correctly, lack of understanding of economics...
It is shocking, indeed, frightening, that the President of the United States, whose main concern at the moment is supposedly with overcoming mass unemployment and preventing its getting worse, does not understand that any policy that drives up wage rates drives up unemployment.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Government taxing and spending is about to explode globally as countries confront the meltdown. Will declining tax misery now be replaced with a worn-out Keynesian fiscal policy of more government tax-and-spend and stagflation? President Barack Obama's Panglossian budget plans call for increasing tax revenue annually by over 40% of current levels by 2013 and eliminating President Bush's tax reforms in 2011.
What is a central purpose in life?
The third greatest sacrifice?
It cost him 15 years before he found his central purpose. It will probably save many years for others who read and understand his wise words.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
There is one thick line missing in the graph which measures production. It's the line which measures the horror, the tragedy, the misery and the vacuum left in lives of those whose loved ones never returned. This is not the "broken window" hypothesis, its the "broken human" hypothesis.
Every time I see the old grainy footage of cheerful young soldiers waving to the cameras, I feel very sad and also grateful that today a lot what we have achieved would not have been possible without them. It also makes me mad that people can sit and say that hey, all that wanton destruction of life and property was good for us.
There is no choice but to fight certain wars and they ensure our subsequent survival and economic prosperity. The loss of human lives is the greatest loss of all and anybody who says that we prospered, better not say it in front of me.
Teenagers armed with only a £56 camera and latex balloon have managed to take stunning pictures of space from 20-miles above Earth."