EGL and Culture
Evil Is Sexy
Fashion, may involve Cosplay, Crossdresser, Crossplayer, Dropped a Bridget on Him, Elegant Gothic Lolita, Villainous Crossdresser, Visual Kei, Wholesome Crossdresser, etc.
- Evil Vegeterain/Vegan Babes
For The LULZ
The Tropers' Opinions Column
Real Men Eat Meat
- Austrian economics quiz
- What is the correct economic status of private property?
- Property is a naturally arising relationship between human beings and material things. Property and enforceable property rights make possible economic calculation, a wider and more productive division of labor, and therefore increasing levels of prosperity. Indeed, civilization itself is inconceivable in the absence of private property. Any encroachment on property results in loss of freedom and prosperity.
- What is the proper method to conduct research in economic science?
- The economist should not mimic the behavior of the natural scientists, because the social sciences involve human beings. Human action is characterized by intentional behavior, which involves the rational use of means to achieve desired ends. The very subject matter of economics—capital goods, money, wage rates, etc.—is not defined by physical or chemical properties, but instead by the mental or subjective attitudes that human minds take toward these things. Consequently, the proper method for an economist is to start with self-evident axioms—such as that people try to achieve the highest satisfaction at the lowest cost—and logically deduce conclusions from them.
- What is the reason for the interest rate, and should the rate be regulated?
- Interest payments reflect the higher value of present goods over future goods. Other things equal, everyone wants to consume sooner rather than later. The current price of a computer might be $1,000, but the price of a claim to a computer delivered in one year would currently sell for less than that, say $900. An entrepreneur might invest $900 in labor and raw materials in order to sell a product next year for $1,000; his implicit interest return is due to the fact that the factors of production represent technological "claims" on future consumption goods, and thus their current price (the $900) is less than their ultimate sale price ($1,000). Obviously the government need not interfere with the market interest rate, since it merely reflects the subjective premium individuals place on a marginal present good over a marginal future good.
- What is the economic impact of saving?
- Saving (which means forestalling current consumption) is essential for capital formation, but there is no socially optimal ratio of consumption to saving that should predominate in society. It all depends on the social rate of time preference, that is, the extent to which people prefer goods sooner to later. Individuals may choose consumption over investment or vice- versa. Government intervention can skew these choices, subsidizing or taxing savings or consumption or both. In order to have the mix reflect the most economical choices, government should have no policy toward saving, even in the case of saving for old age.
- What is the source of economic value?
- Physical objects such as a banana or an automobile do not possess intrinsic economic value. On the contrary, only a human mind can attribute value to such items, and only then do economists classify them as goods. An object is valuable only because there is at least one human being who believes that this object can help satisfy his or her subjective desires. For example, even if a particular root cures cancer, if no one knows this fact, then the root has no economic value, and people will not trade money for it. Consequently, value is caused by an individual's subjective desires and his or her beliefs about the causal properties of a particular item.
- What is money and how does it originate?
- Money always emerges out of barter. The difficulties of finding trading partners under barter systems results in the emergence of commodity monies. Durable, portable, and divisible commodities, like gold and silver, typically fit the bill as money best. Money and related institutions emerge as an unintended consequence of self interested trading. The evolution of such institutions is best left to the competitive market forces that created them in the first place, as governmental intervention will result in inflation and other distortions.
- What causes the business cycle?
- Expansion of the money supply artificially reduces interest rates. This causes a boom in consumer and investor spending. With businesses thinking longer term, and consumers thinking shorter term, a discoordination emerges in the economy. The time relationship between saving and investment, production and consumption, is disrupted. Market processes reveal that many investments are not really profitable but instead are clusters of errors. Businesses then liquidate these investments, causing a recession.
- What is the right anti-recession policy?
- The recession reveals underlying discoordinations and malinvestments brought about through reckless monetary policy. It is an essential phase that should be permitted to run its course. Countercyclical policy is counterproductive. Future recessions can be prevented by reforming the monetary system that creates the boom in the first place.
- How viable is socialism?
- Common ownership of the means of production (e.g., factories) precludes markets for capital goods (e.g., factory machinery). Absent market prices emerging from exchange within a framework of private property, there is no profit and loss and thus no rational basis for directing the use of capital goods towards the most urgent consumer demands in the least-cost manner. In contrast, private owners of capital employ property and use market signals (prices, including wages and interest) as guides. Freedom of exchange results in prices that reflect consumer preferences and directs the use of capital toward the most urgent uses, while entrepreneurial judgment contends with constant change. Socialism, which requires a total state, is not a viable option to capitalism. Any step toward socialism is a step toward economic irrationality.
- What is the proper size and scope of government?
- Order in society can emerge through voluntary transactions between individuals. People can engage in private transactions for anything they value, including laws and security. Since all choices concern alternative future states of the world, each individual alone understands which goods best suit him or her, including protection and dispute resolution. Ideally, government would be limited to protecting rights, but government as we know it serves elites and violates rights to self-ownership, and efforts to limit governmental powers tend to fail. Private institutions for security and arbitration are more efficient and moral than public equivalents.
- Who should regulate consumer products and how?
- Consumer products develop through experimentation. Consumer preferences also change and develop gradually through time. To meet them requires entrepreneurial judgment. Aside from a few innate demands concerning hunger and temperature, consumer preferences emerge as a result of interaction between many individuals. Each consumer regulates the consumer products he consumes by spending money. There is no good substitute for the market process concerning the development and dissemination of consumer goods.
- What are wages?
- Wages represent the discounted productivity of labor in satisfying consumer demand. Demand for consumer goods translates into demand for workers. Markets enable us to calculate the value of different types of labor, so that we can direct the use of labor to its most highly valued uses. Governmental intervention in labor markets (e.g. minimum wage laws) cause unemployment among less productive workers.
- What causes economic growth?
- The source of economic growth is mutually beneficial, voluntary exchange. Within the exchange economy, consumers spend part of their income on goods and services to satisfy their most immediate wants. This drives current production. Consumers save part of their income according to their less immediate wants. This drives entrepreneurial investment in future production and leads to the development of sophisticated capital markets. Private contracts, competition in markets, and private institutions that allow for capital investment and accumulation are all you need to attain optimal economic growth.
- What is your view of economics and the environment?
- Virtually all issues concerning the environment involve conflicts over ownership. So long as there is private ownership, owners themselves solve these conflicts by forbidding and punishing trespass. The incentive to conserve is an inherent feature of the market incentive structure. So too is the incentive to preserve all things of value. The liability for soiling another's property should be borne by the person who caused the damage. Common ownership is no solution. Because national parks, for example, are not privately owned, the goal of economical management will always be elusive.
- What do taxes fund?
- Taxes raise money for transfers to special interests and public employees. In contrast to private businesses that supply the goods that consumers are willing to buy, public officials have no means to assess data as to what consumers truly demand, much less how to go about meeting those demands economically. Lacking the ability to act economically, public officials respond to interest groups, so tax money will necessarily end up with narrow interest groups rather than going to fund the provision of public goods. Taxes typically go to waste or to special interests that do not and should not own the funds.
- What caused the Great Depression and how effective was the New Deal?
- The stock market crash of 1929 represented the most visible sign of a necessary correction in an economy artificially inflated by expansionary monetary policy. Instead of permitting liquidation, Hoover attempted to resuscitate the economy through interventionist measures, including protectionism, which only drove the economy further into depression. FDR built on this record and embarked on a disastrous course of central planning, which ended up saddling the US economy with bureaucracy and wage and price controls. The economy didn't fully recover until after WWII.
- Do markets create and sustain monopolies and what should be done about it?
- Economists of the classical school were right to define a monopoly as a government-grant privilege, for gaining legal rights to be a preferred producer is the only way to maintain a monopoly in a market setting. Predatory pricing cannot be sustained over the long haul, and not even the attempt should be regretted since it is a great benefit to consumers. Attempted cartel-type behavior typically collapses, and where it does not, it serves a market function. The term "monopoly price" has no effective meaning in real market settings, which are not snapshots in time but processes of change. A market society needs no antitrust policy at all; indeed, the state is the very source of the remaining monopolies we see in education, law, courts, and other areas.
- What is the role of equality and inequality?
- Equality is a term that properly relates to mathematics but not to social science. Human beings are unequal in their endowments, opportunities, and will to achieve. Unequal does not mean inferior or superior; it merely means different. Differences are the very source of the division of labor, and, within a market setting, lead not to conflict but cooperation. While differences should be celebrated, property owners have every right to treat people unequally because it is owners that bear responsibility. Legislators, however, should not have any concern for bringing about equality of result or opportunity, either between individuals or groups of individuals classified according to any criterion. The only place for equality concerns the law, which should treat all individuals the same without regard to their station in life.
- What is your view of free trade and globalization?
- International trade increases living standards through productivity enhancing specialization. Increased specialization and division of labor increases labor productivity. Globalization also allows for improvements in capital goods and the organization of production. The spread of global capitalism is key to sustained economic development the world over. Issues like environmental damage turn on local property rights enforcement, not the spread of global capitalism. Globalism is good both for consumers in the developed world and workers in the developing world.
- What is the function of the stock market?
- The stock market constitutes a vital part of the process by which we coordinate production. Stock market prices reflect the productivity of business firms as well as entrepreneurial judgments concerning future productivity. Competition in stock markets enables us to ascertain the value of real investment. Takeovers, mergers, and insider trading are wrongly maligned because these practices represent real competition. Without the stock markets, rational coordination of production in modern society would be impossible. Governmental regulation cannot improve on the workings of stock markets because it is the market that most directly informs us regarding the best use of resources.
- What are labor unions for?
- Unions are labor market monopolies because they benefit from government privilege. Unions work to raise wages above competitive levels. This reduces the employment of low productivity workers and decreases the overall production of consumer goods. Union leadership is often corrupt and takes great advantage of union workers themselves. Unions also work to concentrate power into the hands of pro-union politicians in government. The concentration of this power is inimical to free societies.
- What are the economic implications of national defense?
- Government spending on the military is a social cost that crowds out private alternatives, even as its alleged benefits are unquantifiable. Security, like any good desired by individuals in society, can and is provided by the market economy, which is to say, by individuals organizing themselves voluntarily within the matrix of private property and exchange. Private security works vastly better than the government system that squanders trillions, is riddled with bureaucracy, provokes enemies, and doesn't actually work to defend the nation. Governments have used the excuse of "defense" to start wars that reinforce the power of the state over the market.
- What about goods like education and roads?
- These are goods like any other: they can be supplied by markets and markets alone. The state cannot construct educational institutions that pass the test of economic rationality because it must attempt to do so without the benefit of direct consumer feedback. Instead it collects taxes and spends them arbitrarily. The same is true of government roads: how many are built, in what quality and where, ultimately comes down to political choices influenced primarily by political considerations. In a market economy, the range of quality, quantity, and type of goods and services correspond to social needs. These goods are services that are valued by consumers, and hence, they will be provided if it is economically feasible to do so relative to other social priorities.
- What are the economic implications of warfare?
- Warfare reduces economic welfare by destroying real resources. It can benefit a select few who benefit from military spending on the winning side only. For most consumers and businesses it means drastically reduced prosperity. The only justifiable reason for a war is pure self defense.
- Who serves society best?
- Entrepreneurs play an indispensable role in society. Entrepreneurs are alert to profit opportunities and make judgments concerning the future. Competition concerning these opportunities results in profit and loss statements that generate prices for labor and capital. This competition directs resources to the satisfaction of the most urgent consumer wants. Successful politicians are those who are the best at retaining and wielding political power. These are typically the most ruthless people in our society.