Category Archives

Archive of posts published in the category: Economics

Inflation and MMT

Descriptive powers do not naturally unfold into predictive accuracy. Models by their nature must eliminate variables that can be critical. An economy as large and as dynamic as ours is a wonderful and complicated thing and not cooperative to descriptions and predictions according to simple models.

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Capitalism in Perspective

“The best case for capitalism is a case for markets as one crucial set of institutions in a free society deeply rooted in the West’s liberal and pre-liberal soil. It is crucial because at its best it protects every man’s right to the fruits of his labor, encourages virtues crucial to living free, and has proven unbeatably capable of improving everyone’s living standards. But it must remain rooted, because man does not live by bread alone, and because both the market and the larger society depend upon other formative institutions that help us all become better human beings and citizens.”

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Handcuffing the Invisible Hand

Advocates of single payer and free benefits prove to be ignorant of the price system, profit, productivity and how they function.  While they claim to allocate resources better than the ‘greed’ of the market (a claim easy to totally refute), they are clueless on how the wealth is generated in the first place.

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A Culture of Capitalism

They likely do not recognize the legitimacy of individual ideas as property. For them it is not theft, it is a stark difference in political culture. Trump may think he is seeking simple economic fairness, but he is really asking for China to change its civic culture. This is a challenging reconciliation.

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The Prophet of an Irrational Faith

“How delicious that, as we approach the bicentenary of his birth, Karl Marx should have turned into the thing he loathed above all: the prophet of an irrational faith.”

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The Clipboard Tyrant

“Humans make hierarchies of status and privilege for themselves whenever the opportunity avails itself. This is why all socialist systems that do not work within the constraints of a liberal democratic framework of the rule of law inevitably descend into tyrannies. Give the state unbridled power, and the denizens of the state will use that power toward their own ends.”

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Courageous Smoke

“When a politician declares a “right” in a scarce good, it indicates either that he is a simpleton or that he believes you to be, and one’s as good as the other, that being another defect in democracy.”

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Taxes and Inequality

If you prioritize economic growth over social spending, you will have a great measure of both: if you prioritize social spending over growth you will have less of both.

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Economic Thoughts 2019 02 02

Typically, the economy rebounds sharply after a deep recession like 2008.  The slow growth experienced could have shown a delayed effect unleashed by the Trump election.  The market may have been cheering more for the removal of impediments to growth than it was to the prospect of tax cuts and deregulation.  Emerging from a long period of slow growth may have the same effect as emerging from a deep recession.

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The Crash of 1937 and the Rise of Keynes

William Trufant Foster, a former college president, and Waddill Catchings, an industrialist and financier wrote Profits in 1925 and The Road to Plenty in 1928. A decade before Keynes these amateur economists challenged the fundamental principle of Say’s Law that production generates its own supply. They reversed the principle to ‘consumption drives production.’

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The Third Wave of Capitalism

Competition is both wasteful and efficient. Lots of ideas die, but the new ones that emerge more than make up for the loss. Central planning may restrict competitive ideas, but rarely leads to the emergence of great ideas because central planning is reacting to problems and needs that become obsolete before the ink is dry on the plan.

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Corporatism is not Capitalism

Keynes suggested the use of government to make more efficient allocations of capital but was often critical of the incompetence of government officials.  He seems to unknowingly refute himself.  The weak accountability in government action is what distinguishes it from market solutions.  The worst solution is the pairing of select firms to partner with government actors.  When the results fail capitalism is faulted, bur corporatism is not capitalism.

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The Longest Bull

The tariffs and the growing debt are threats, but bull markets do not require perfection. They just require sound fundamentals and a dearth of alternative investments.  

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Failure is Progress

“What can’t be stressed enough about what happened in 2008 is that for economies to grow and markets to rise, it’s necessary that the mediocre and lousy constantly be replaced by the good and brilliant. “

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Elizabeth Warren’s Lunacy

Warren shows no understanding of what profit is.  It is the signal that determines the best allocation of resources.  The better ideas attract the most capital through the profit incentive. Profit is a byproduct of innovation and ideas.  Ms. Warren would substitute this with a government bureaucracy who will determine the proper allocation of resources.  The would not only squelch economic growth and innovation, it would increase corruption exponentially as businesses curried political rather than consumer approval.  Startups would head overseas.

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Is Capitalism Natural?

By acknowledging human flaws and addressing them, conservatives permit human potential to flourish.  By seeking a non existent perfection socialists require central control and power that frustrates human potential and growth.

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Marketization

“What do you imagine would happen to the price of a Honda Civic if the federal government gave every young person in the country ten grand and a subsidized loan that could only be used for the purchase of a Honda Civic? “

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Corruption and Tariffs

“The larger the state is, the more capable it is of picking winners and losers, and the more aggressively it will be lobbied to do so in a particular way. And while it is easily misunderstood in this age of the modern regulatory state, the tariff is perhaps the earliest example of big government — the state intervenes in otherwise free markets to bring about a result it finds socially or economically desirable. “

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The Fatal Conceit of a Trade War

“China targeted pistachios to inflict pain in a region where Republicans are politically vulnerable. About 99% of American pistachios are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley, home of GOP Reps. David Valadao, Jeff Denham and Devin Nunes.”

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Venezuela Meets Hayek

But repression on the Venezuelan model is not extraneous to socialism — it is baked into the socialist cake. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro (and Castro!), Chàvez, Maduro, Honecker, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, the Kim dynasty, Shining Path: No ideology is that unlucky. “

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