Video 24 Apr

Bitcoin Decrypted: Part III - Social Theory Aspects is an introduction to Bitcoin that spans practical, technical, historical, and social-theory perspectives in an integrated narrative. For those with already an interest in Austrian Economics and an understanding of money, this is the one to watch.

Video 23 Apr 3 notes

Bitcoin Decrypted: Part II - Technical Aspects is an introduction to Bitcoin that spans practical, technical, historical, and social-theory perspectives in an integrated narrative.

Video 22 Apr 3 notes

Bitcoin Decrypted: Part I - Context and Overview is an introduction to Bitcoin that spans practical, technical, historical, and social-theory perspectives in an integrated narrative.

Text 19 Apr 3 notes The Immigration Solution

"Similarly, the private ownership of all streets would resolve the problem of the "human right" to freedom of immigration. There is no question about the fact that current immigration barriers restrict not so much a "human right" to immigrate, but the right of property owners to rent or sell property to immigrants. There can be no human right to immigrate, for on whose property does someone else have the right to trample? In short, if "Primus" wishes to migrate now from some other country to the United States, we cannot say that he has the absolute right to immigrate to this land area; for what of those property owners who don’t want him on their property? On the other hand, there may be, and undoubtedly are, other property owners who would jump at the chance to rent or sell property to Primus, and the current laws now invade their property rights by preventing them from doing so.

The libertarian society would resolve the entire “immigration question” within the matrix of absolute property rights. For people only have the right to move to those properties and lands where the owners desire to rent or sell to them. In the free society, they would, in first instance, have the right to travel only on those streets whose owners agree to have them there, and then to rent or buy housing from willing owners. Again, just as in the case of daily movement on streets, a diverse and varying pattern of access of migration would undoubtedly arise.”

          — Murray Rothbard

Photo 18 Apr 2 notes Horsing around #cycling #wymtm #rapha #riding (at Upper Brookfield)

Horsing around #cycling #wymtm #rapha #riding (at Upper Brookfield)

Text 18 Apr 7 notes The Laffer Curve

Myth 9: An income tax cut helps everyone; not only the taxpayer but also the government will benefit, since tax revenues will rise when the rate is cut.

"This is the so-called "Laffer curve," set forth by California economist Arthur Laffer. It was advanced as a means of allowing politicians to square the circle; to come out for tax cuts, keeping spending at the current level, and balance the budget all at the same time. In that way, the public would enjoy its tax cut, be happy at the balanced budget, and still receive the same level of subsidies from the government.

It is true that if tax rates are 99%, and they are cut to 95%, tax revenue will go up. But there is no reason to assume such simple connections at any other time. In fact, this relationship works much better for a local excise tax than for a national income tax. A few years ago, the government of the District of Columbia decided to procure some revenue by sharply raising the District’s gasoline tax. But, then, drivers could simply nip over the border to Virginia or Maryland and fill up at a much cheaper price. D.C. gasoline tax revenues fell, and much to the chagrin and confusion of D.C. bureaucrats, they had to repeal the tax.

But this is not likely to happen with the income tax. People are not going to stop working or leave the country because of a relatively small tax hike, or do the reverse because of a tax cut.

There are some other problems with the Laffer curve. The amount of time it is supposed to take for the Laffer effect to work is never specified. But still more important: Laffer assumes that what all of us want is to maximize tax revenue to the government. If—a big if—we are really at the upper half of the Laffer Curve, we should then all want to set tax rates at that “optimum” point. But why? Why should it be the objective of every one of us to maximize government revenue? To push to the maximum, in short, the share of private product that gets siphoned off to the activities of government? I should think we would be more interested in minimizing government revenue by pushing tax rates far, far below whatever the Laffer Optimum might happen to be.”

          — Murray Rothbard

Text 17 Apr 14 notes Mises Converted Hayek from Socialism

"…Like many students of economics then and since, Hayek chose the subject not for its own sake, but because he wanted to improve social conditions—the poverty of postwar Vienna serving as a daily reminder of such a need. Socialism seemed to provide a solution. Then in 1922 Mises published his Die Gemeinwirtschaft, later translated as Socialism. "To none of us young men who read the book when it appeared," Hayek recalled, "the world was ever the same again" (Hayek, 1956, p. 133). Socialism, an elaboration of Mises’s pioneering article from two years before, argued that economic calculation requires a market for the means of production; without such a market there is no way to establish the values of those means and, consequently, no way to find their proper uses in production. Mises’s devastating attack on central planning converted Hayek to laissez-faire, along with contemporaries like Wilhelm Röpke, Lionel Robbins, and Bertil Ohlin…”

          — Peter G. Klein, Biography of F.A. Hayek

It is also probably worth pointing out that; there are in a sense two Hayek’s. As indicated:

  • "Some observers charge that Hayek’s later work, particularly after he began to turn away from technical economics, shows more influence of his friend Sir Karl Popper than of Carl Menger or Mises: one critic speaks of "Hayek I" and "Hayek II"; another writes on "Hayek’s Transformation."[See ft note 22 for more, as well as: Why Mises (and Not Hayek)?]
Video 16 Apr 7 notes

Rothbard on His Conversion

Murray N. Rothbard presented this speech at the 1981 National Libertarian Party Convention. This is an excerpt where he discusses the story of how he converted to anarchism.

Text 15 Apr 10 notes Argumentation Ethics: Summarised

"Argumentation Ethics states that no moral (or I argue more specifically legal; it is about property rights and the justifiability of aggression, after all) argument against the NAP can be successfully justified in discourse without performative contradiction in the act of doing so. The above looks like just another typical failure to understand AE followed by a straw man attack on things that no one actually claims. Of course, a person is capable of running around shouting about how they cannot run and shout but in that case it is harder to find people to take them seriously. So in summary, AE shows certain minimal conditions under which claims about rights can or cannot possibly be successful as valid arguments according to the laws of logic (non-contradiction). It never claims that people are incapable of making invalid and internally contradictory arguments. They certainly are known to do so regularly.”

          — Konrad Graf

Text 14 Apr 4 notes Mises and “felt-uneasiness”

Rothbard,[…] describes how, in his economic treatise Man, Economy, and State, he took care to revise precisely this Misesian doctrine:

"[Most important was a thorough revision of the very first eight pages of the work—the pages which state the original axioms upon which the entire work is based.] The revision purged the original formulation of its definite philosophical pessimism, of the idea that human beings are constantly in a state of dissatisfaction and that man could only be happy in a state of inactive rest, such as in Paradise. Such a philosophical view is contrary to the nature state of man, which is at its happiest precisely when it is engaged in productive activity. The revised part eliminates the philosophical pessimism from praxeology." (Correspondence quoted in Stromberg 2005, xl [Intro to MES])

Accordingly, Rothbard [citation] acknowledges the possibility of “satisfaction in the labor itself,” and so grounds the “disutility of labor” not in labor’s being inherently distasteful, but in the fact that “labor always involves the forgoing of leisure,” which is also a value—though not pace Mises, the ultimate value. The fact that leisure has value for us explains why we prefer to economize on labor, thus allowing Rothbard to draw all the essential conclusions for which Mises thought he needed the mistaken Nirvana premise.

I have argued that the features of Misesian praxeology that Rand found most objectionable—its aprioristic methodology, its value-subjectivism, and its claims about motivational psychology—can be reinterpreted in ways that make them congenial to Rand’s philosophical principles while still preserving the essential points that Mises was seeking to make. Hence there is no reason for those of a Randian philosophical bent to deprive themselves of the powerful methodological instrument developed by Mises and his fellow Austrians: praxeology, the a priori science of human action”.

          — Roderick T. Long, Praxeology: Who Needs It”, p12 was written for the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies but essentially attempts to clear the language up regarding the ‘differences’. Anyway the part about Mises and “felt-uneasiness” condition is enlightening. If you’re dealing with objectivist’s who aren’t fans of praxeology/Mises formulation this would be the text to refer to.

(Source: facebook.com)

Quote 13 Apr 6 notes
Friedrich Hayek once told me how much he admired the account of the business cycle in Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression, an account that rests on Rothbard’s understanding of monetary theory; and the Nobel laureate Maurice Allais has also praised the book.
Quote 12 Apr 8 notes
As a reflection of this fundamental realism-anti-utopianism-of his private-property anarchism, Rothbard, unlike most contemporary political philosophers, accorded central importance to the subject of punishment. For him, private property and the right to physical defense were inseparable. No one can be said to be the owner of something if he is not permitted to defend his property by physical violence against possible invaders and invasions.
Text 11 Apr 2 notes Just Facts, No Theory?

Indeed, there is no “presuppositionless observation of ‘facts,’[1] as Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) pointed out:

There is no such thing as a mere recording of unadulterated facts apart from any reference to theories. As soon as two events are recorded together or integrated into a class of events, a theory is operative.[2]

The notion of “letting the facts speak for themselves” without taking recourse to a theory is nonsensical.[3] Mises was aware that people’s “reasoning may be faulty and the theory incorrect; but thinking and theorizing are not lacking in any action.”[4]

          — Thorsten Polleit

Text 10 Apr 8 notes The First-Appropriation Principle

"The relevant axioms, in the sense of irrefutable starting places, are non-contradiction, action, and argumentation. The first appropriation principle is something that logically follows. I personally have also been taking this in the direction of "self-ownership" (which is a confusing concept anyway) being a special case of the first-appropriation principle, which is the more precise and universalizable concept. Also, the word “homesteading” seems a little silly to me, as it has such strong historical associations with government-run farm and ranch land parcelling programs, and we are trying to talk in this context about timeless and universal social principles.”

          — Konrad Graf

Quote 9 Apr 7 notes
If … an action is performed that uninvitedly invades or changes the physical integrity of another person’s body and puts this body to a use that is not to this very person’s own liking, this action … is called aggression … Next to the concept of action, property is the most basic category in the social sciences. As a matter of fact, all other concepts to be introduced in this chapter—aggression, contract, capitalism and socialism—are definable in terms of property: aggression being aggression against property, contract being a nonaggressive relationship between property owners, socialism being an institutionalized policy of aggression against property, and capitalism being an institutionalized policy of the recognition of property and contractualism.
— Hans-Hermann Hoppe, A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism

(Source: conza)


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