Monday, May 18, 2009

Early and late

"Being early like being too late is not much different from being wrong when it comes to love or to business."
Antony Mueller
“Cognizance of the relation between a cause and its effect is the first step toward man’s orientation in the world and is the intellectual condition of any successful activity.” The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, p.20


"Whosoever shall come to us with the sword shall perish by it. Upon this stood and stands the land of Russia". St Prince Alexander Nevsky, in the 13th century

Economists' error

"The economist knows that a single error in his field may do more harm than almost all the sciences taken together can do good--even more, that a mistake in the choice of a social order, quite apart from the immediate effect, may profoundly affect the prospects for generations."
F. A. v. Hayek

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Politics of Obedience

"The fundamental political question is why do people obey a government. The answer is that they tend to enslave themselves, to let themselves be governed by tyrants. Freedom from servitude comes not from violent action, but from the refusal to serve. Tyrants fall when the people withdraw their support."
Étienne de la Boétie
"[Roman] Tyrants would distribute largess, a bushel of wheat, a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly cry, "Long live the King!" The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them. A man might one day be presented with a sesterce and gorge himself at the public feast, lauding Tiberius and Nero for handsome liberality, who on the morrow, would be forced to abandon his property to their avarice, his children to their lust, his very blood to the cruelty of these magnificent emperors, without offering any more resistance than a stone or a tree stump. The mob has always behaved in this way – eagerly open to bribes that cannot be honorably accepted, and dissolutely callous to degradation and insult that cannot be honorably endured."
Étienne de la Boétie

Rothbard on money

"To save our economy from destruction and from the eventual holocaust of run away inflation, we the people must take the money-supply function back from the government. Money is far too important to be left in the hands of bankers and of Establishment economists and financiers. To accomplish this goal, money must be returned to the market economy, with all monetary functions performed within the structure of the rights of private property and of the free-market economy."
Murray Rothbard
"The lies the government and media tell are amplifications of the lies we tell ourselves. To stop being conned, stop conning yourself."
James Wolcott

Friday, May 15, 2009

The learning of not to know

Friedrich A. Hayek (1988, 76):
"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little
they really know about what they imagine they can design."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heroes and other mortals

"There are two broad theories concerning the great men of history. One says that history is made by great men. The other says great men are made by history. But we think they’re both wrong. In our book, great men don’t really exist. They are merely invented by the historians. History needs heroes. Sometimes tragic heroes… sometimes comic… the historians take what they’ve got to work with and set them spinning. But if you look at their leading characters closely, they look little different from the rest of us… just fellow passengers on the big bus."
Bill Bonner

Friday, May 1, 2009

Laissez-faire banking

RF: Describe free banking. How does it differ from the sort of system we have in the United States today?
Selgin: I use the term to mean laissez-faire banking — banking without any special government regulations or restrictions. Like free trade, it’s an ideal concept. It doesn’t refer to any specific or actual banking system, although some, like Scotland’s in the early 19th century, came close.
My own ideal version of free banking would have no special requirements for note issuance. Private banks would be able to issue their own notes on the same basis as they create demand deposits. They would also be free to open branches and invest in all kinds of securities. Finally, there wouldn’t be any sort of implicit or explicit government guarantees, like deposit insurance.

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