Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Message is the Same: THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUTH

Economics has lead me to believe in liberty. The ideas that have been fighting against coercion since the dawn of man promoting the life of any man.

The lessons from economics are simple. Free trade is needed to allow mankind to flourish and deny the pains which are poverty, famine, and death(not that death is a bad thing, but an early death such as the loss of innocent blood). Free trade spreads liberalism which denies any type of servitude, warfare, or coercive action. It is the ability for mankind to interact with each other and to increase their own satisfaction in life. Man lives only to increase his welfare and through trade with each other are we able to increase our own welfare and that of our families & friends.

The lessons from Christianity are simple. Jesus Christ gave us one law to follow, Love one another. Love is the simple answer that can and has changed the world. Love conquers hate. Love enables mutual, satisfactory interactions between individuals while Hate brings servitude, warfare, and a coercion. The Christian Church's message has been to speak out against Hate and to promote Love. This is the message that is spread and at the foundation of the Church is the institutions of friends & families.

The message from economics is that we, those who understand liberalism, must spread the word promoting liberty to whomever we can allowing for material wealth to spread to the corners of the earth increasing the welfare of all the citizens of the world.
The message from Christianity is that we, Christians, must spread the word that Jesus Christ has conquered death, conquered sin, and freed all the citizens of the world from all forms of control through his Love for us. All that is asked is we Love everyone such as He Loved us.
There is only one message; only one truth. Love will set us free and by love you do not create rules to deny the opportunity for an individual to interact with another.

TWO VIDEOS one from the Acton Institute and the second from Karol: A Man Who Became Pope (a touching movie everyone should watch, religious or not)

Tax Freedom Day

Today we celebrate Tax Freedom Day. This is the last day of the year we work to pay off all the taxes that are taken from us by the government. Thanks to The Tax Foundation for the info...
and to celebrate our freedom, they even made a song.

I had thought about it and thought today wouldn't be complete without a little tune from the Beatles:

Austrian Knights: China's Influence in the Western Hemisphere

Last night two Mason students, one a philo/econ major and the other a global affairs major discussed China's influence in the Western Hemisphere. They had found their sources mainly from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in an article title Enter the Dragon; they had also had recorded a lecture series upon the topic which you can find here. The discussion relied upon the actions of China and its effects with Latin America. The state department has assembled their own study of the program here, and the Heritage Foundation has also had some work published here. It should be noted that the State Department's and the Heritage Foundation's work is from 2005 and therefore will not have some things brought to light by the Wilson Center.

For a brief summary of the paper, China wishes to bully Taiwan by taking their customers and intends on making its presence known as a world power by spreading its market network across the globe. China has thus increased its market activity within Latin America relying on the Latin American nations for food, oil, and other necessary resources for the growing economy within China.
The main fear is that the United States will then be surrounded by 21st century socialism and a rise of another cold war as China ties itself to national leaders such as Chavez, Morales, Castro, etc.
What answer are we searching for? The best conclusion has been given without this research, Free trade. If the U.S. would open its borders the ideas of liberty would spread out through out the foreign nations. Is there a policy such a Free Trade Policy needed in order to promote this system? Only if that policy is one sentence "There will be Free Trade"; anything else is unjustified and will deny the spread of liberty.
How then do we spread liberty? Is it the best to trade, to teach and spread the ideas, or is it to have a government involvement?
Note: I do not agree with the government involvement as by reading the conclusion of the State Department's statement, their solution is the Millennium Challenge promoted by Jeffrey Sachs, which most of us know is an insane policy which would not help the foreign nations.
The best answer therefore is to promote trade and the spread of the ideas. We need to get the actors, the artists, the musicians, and the writers to help spread the our views.
What do you think?
Should we fear China or is it just another ploy for the government to involve itself in affairs it has no need to meddle with?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Why Austrians Appear to be so Negative: undergraduate response to Dr. Kling

Arnold Kling on his blog (EconLog) says:
To the extent that Austrians make predictions that sound falsifiable, they tend to be like Paul Krugman (who is not an Austrian), repeating a mantra "bad times are coming, bad times are coming" every year. Then, when bad times come they can say, "See, I told you so." It would be more interesting if every once in a while they predicted good times.
From my studies, I have learned that it is easy to predict occurrences when we have information. Heck, anyone can do that; if poker players knew what each other had in their hand there would be no game. In football, if the opposing team knew something about their opponents offense they have a better chance of stopping them. The Austrians are no different. They continuously call out the bad times when there is government interference. Government intervention allows for more information which with common sense can be applied to predict the outcome.

What was preached by Hayek and now by Austrians such as Easterly? There is no way to predict the future. There is too much information within the market for any individual or group of individuals to be able to make any comprehension of it. Therefore there is no plan on how to predict a good time or a bad time, but when the government intervenes... information is given that allows for a prediction. That Austrians predict only bad times therefore tells us one thing, any government interference is viewed as the cause of a bad time.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Russian Video Conference- An Attack on Consumerism

This morning at 9 a.m. I found myself in a video conference in Research I on the Fairfax campus of GMU with a room full of sociologists studying globalization and a room full of students from Moscow who said they studied global economy. The topic for the discussion was consumerism. Peter Stearns, a provost at Mason, had started the session by giving a brief introduction to what he believes is consumerism and to how he believes it should be viewed and addressed.
The event turned to be a lashing out against what they have taken to be Consumerism.
Peter Stearns had roughly described consumerism as a deep interest of groups in acquiring goods they do not need. The purchase of goods that are not needed for survival.
Historically, Stearns stated, consumerism can be explained, but viewing that many societies were extremely hostile towards it the subject must be studied to comprehend why societies would want such a world. He had correctly turned to the 17th and 18th centuries with the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of the first globalization(trade with the colonies) as the source of the increase wealth which he saw as the reason why individuals began to buy the goods not essential to survive. To Stearns, consumerism grew because individuals wished to have things to identify themselves much like a wealthy person today purchasing a large mansion or designer clothes. He does not view this purchasing of material as a blessing but rather as an absurdity. Stearns had clearly defined his distaste towards the large debts most American citizens acquire in order to purchase these consumer goods. My response is simply, isn't it a good thing? We are receiving goods without even having to pay for them immediately. We are getting the upperhand within this deal. See CafeHayek for their so many blogs on this topic such as this recent one titled, "I [Heart] America's Trade Deficit"

I want to define here that consumer goods is never clearly defined. By defining consumer goods, as those goods which are not needed to survive, who is to say what is needed since what is needed for me is not needed for others. Bread has been the main food source for most of man's history. It was not until recently that man was able to have more choice in his food supply. In Mises' The Free Market and Its Enemies, Mises points out that Queen Anne of England had seventeen children; none made it to adulthood, yet with the Industrial Revolution, with the age of consumerism living standards improved allowing for the mortality rate to improve. Mises says, "from the point of view of the parents the improved life expectancy of their children may not have seemed merely materialistic(consumeristic)." In fact, Mises points towards consumerism as a gift. Before the Industrial Revolution, common man had bought his clothing through second hand stores. Clothing was handmade and a skillful task and therefore was only a good for the wealthy. The global trade with the colonies brought in cotton, a common man's good, which with the growth of industry began to be produced into clothing by mass production. Common man had improved his life by simply specializing and trading. Coffee, tea, sugar to our dear Provost are considered consumer goods, but to the common man in the 18th century this was a good that enabled him to feel as rich as a King. Today, common man can purchase an ice cream cone any day of the week. This is something that not even Kings could have enjoyed any day in the past.
Oh, Dear Provost Stearns... to claim that consumerism is what brings fault to many attacks upon the Jewish people. Throughout most of history, Christians and Muslims had believed charging interest to be a sinful act. They did not understand the necessity of the interest rate (a forward looking process), and as the Jewish faith did not have any law against such a practice, they quickly became the bankers and merchants. This perhaps may be one of the reasons why the Jewish people are viewed as always greedy. They invested and merely wanted their return, but to ask for repayment is sinful to other religions.
Provost Stearn, I was insulted to see your fear in globalization. This fear that consumerism, materialism, or whatever name it is we wish to impose on it is a greed that is useless and is devouring mankind. This materialism has provided for new forms of transportation, better living environments with air conditioning, and an increase of wealth that helps raise members of the society out of poverty. We do not want to spread this?
We have not even addressed the simple concept of comparative advantage.

To the dear Russian professors and students, do not fall for the faux pas. Trade is essential and a brilliant form of interconnecting mankind with one another. Why would anyone not want to have the goods that make you happy? We are not only producers but consumers... we live each day in purpose of bettering ourselves off for tomorrow. History is important so I am not trying to say that Provost Stearn is on the wrong track but to quote Mises' in Human Action. "The subject matter of all historical sciences is the past. They cannot teach us anything which would be valid for all human actions, that is, for the future too. The study of history makes a man wise and judicious. But it does not by itself provide any knowledge and skill which could be utilized for handling concrete tasks."

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Foundation for Economic Education, now participating in university outreach, is hosting a full day of lectures at George Mason University on April 19th.

We have all heard the cries "IT IS NOT FAIR"
Well it is not, and FEE is here to help address the issues that are largely debated but hardly understood.

The issues will be from Foreign Aid; International Labor Standards; even to Institutions, Constitutions, and Economic Growth...

Speakers include Doug Bandow, Geoffrey Lea, and Joshua Hall.
Program for the event can be found here, and don't forget to register here, as it is to guarantee a copy of The Law (already have it? Good! Now get another to pass to someone else you may believe may benefit) and a lunch on Saturday afternoon.

The GMU Economic Society will kick off the FEE event the night before with a social gathering and a chance to hear from our very own Professor Bryan Caplan of The Myth of the Rational Voter fame.

Don't forget to sign up for the wonderful Summer Seminars at FEE in Irvington-on-Hudson, NY just a half hour outside of NYC!!! The seminars are first come first serve if you meet the criteria for the program basis, so act now and apply. Apply to more than one to increase your chances or to be the rare individual who gets to attend more than one...(note: Although you may get accepted to two programs, you may be asked to pay for the hotel accommodations for one of the seminar programs.)
Be on the look out for more information...