Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Idiocy in Print

They obviously don't teach enough economics in journalism schools, or the right kind of economics, which is why stories like this one, touting storms as economic stimulus, get written with a straight face.

Most reporters are economic illiterates. Few understand the so-called broken windows fallacy, or the concept of "opportunity cost." They see only what is seen, having not read Bastiat, and seldom bother to look for the unseen. That's why we can find serious journalists seriously asking whether hurricanes are a benefit to the economy. Just imagine how good the U.S. economy would be if we got slammed by one every week!

I've come to conclude that the fight for America's survival is not between the Right and the Left, the black and the white, the secular and the religious, the haves and the have-nots. The real dividing line is between the economically literate and the economically illiterate: between those who can still connect the dots, and those who can't.

The latter have an edge over the former as long as our newswriters are of their ilk.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Burning Questions about Burning Man

The business side of Burning Man is explored in this New York Times piece, which is a subject worth studying for students of economics. It's nice to read that some Burners embrace capitalism, despite their counterculture attitudes -- perhaps because it's about voluntary, free, mutually-beneficial exchange, which is what makes the economy of Black Rock City tick. That economy may not involve cash, and it may shun overt displays of crass commercialism, but it is freedom-oriented and thus capitalist in the purest sense of the word.

The 10 Principles embraced by burners may on first glance appear anti-capitalist, since they diss commercialism and include a left-sounding slam on so-called "exploitation," but they in many ways mirror the image of a society built around libertarian, free-market principles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Animal Cruelty

Those who've been trying to "re-wild" today's far more developed, densely-populated "new West" with large predators, based on the fantasy that we can magically return to the "old West" of 1855, should be indicted on charges of mass animal cruelty -- since it's the animals that pay the price for this nutty science fair project run amok.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Green Bubble Bursting

Defy the logic of the market and the market will eventually have its revenge.

Panacea-peddling politicos have been using our tax dollars to prop up "green economy" fantasies that don't make market sense. And that "bubble" -- like all the government-induced bubbles before it -- is destined to burst.

Nothing will really improve in America as long as good intentions continue to be an acceptable excuse for bad results.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Seeing the Light

Solar cycles have been cited by some experts as one plausible explanation for climate change. But this explanation doesn't generate research grant windfalls, empower government regulators or keep Al Gore in the headlines, so it doesn't get much play.

Here's a key quote from this story about an upsurge in solar flares:

"With solar activity expected to peak around 2013, the Sun is entering a particularly active time and big flares like recent one will likely be common during the next few years."

The phrase "expected to peak" suggests to this layperson and science class slacker that this isn't an isolated flare-up, but part of a cycle, which may be approaching a crescendo. If this activity can inflict all the Earthly damage described in the linked article, might it not also be responsible for relatively sudden or seemingly-dramatic temperature fluctuations on Earth?

Nah. Couldn't be. Just doesn't fit with the human-bashing narrative that eco-masochists prefer.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Radical Departure

The Orwellian phrase of this week is "domestic radicalism," which on the surface seems like something aimed at heading-off the nurturing of potential domestic terrorists, but which could, under the Obama administration, easily become an effort to marginalize and intimidate anyone who says anything harsh about the government. If they want to purge "radicalism" from schools, they could start by banning the extreme left-wing and environmentalist teachings that have become part of the accepted curriculum. Where do you think Earth-Firsters and other eco-terrorists get the idea that "saving the planet" justifies acts of vandalism and violence?