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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Some short things to ponder

It's late and I'll expand on things soon, but for now:
1. It's not unreasonable to believe that economics (and it's violent distortions) plays as much of a role in foreign policy as much as it does in everything else. The people involved are likely not sentimentalists AT ALL.

2. A deeper perspective on the Dot Bomb and Greenspan. This kind of blew my mind, and if you put as much significance on the financial side of things as I do, perhaps it will blow yours too.

3. Bastiat was really important to the history of left libertarianism in a way most people have never focused on (though I've seen it obliquely mentioned). Re-read "things seen" and perhaps "sophisms" to see what I'm getting at.

4. James Leroy Wilson, inspired by Lady Aster: (emphasis mine)
I will add that in many ways direct welfare payments - giving money to people for doing nothing, is not nearly as bad as "make work" programs, corporate welfare, and unnecessary military hardware.

With welfare, money is taken from person A through taxes, to give to person B. So, the economic choices of A are diminished by that amount, and those of person B increased. There are strong economic and moral arguments against this; I am not defending it, though I don't fault the recipients.

But I'd rather a person be on public support than work at a manufacturing plant that produces tanks or aircraft that the military doesn't need, but that brings profits to the corporate contractor and "jobs" to a Congressional District. Not only is he making his living from other people's taxes, his job is actually doing the economy harm. How so? $10 billion spent on manufacturing unwanted and impractical tanks is $10 billion that could have been spent manufacturing computers, x-ray machines, surgical equipment, cars, homes, or other things that people actually want and need. If we paid his salary directly and let him sit at home all day, we'd be better off. Not as well off as if he manufactured something that a free market would demand, but better off nonetheless, because precious resources wouldn't be used for expensive boondoggles.

Government redistribution of incomes is bad, but government redistribution of capital is worse.

He's on to something big there.


Blogger Jeremy said...

James Leroy Wilson is on a roll lately... his articles on the Middle East lately have been SPOT ON. I too was really impressed by Lady Aster's article.

2:09 PM  

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