Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock

Posts Tagged ‘news’

Radically hating the State

Posted by Jesse on March 9, 2009

Last on the Colbert Agenda was an author, I missed his name, but he mentioned Joseph Priestley. He made the claim that Priestley and others were very influential in the beginnings of the American nation, despite the fact its not exactly a household name.

In Rothbards Do you Hate the State? he credits Priestley among others of being radical in a true sense of the word.

Perhaps the word that best defines our distinction is “radical.” Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated intellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and anti-statism that integrates reason and emotion, heart and soul.

Furthermore, in contrast to what seems to be true nowadays, you don’t have to be an anarchist to be radical in our sense, just as you can be an anarchist while missing the radical spark. I can think of hardly a single limited governmentalist of the present day who is radical – a truly amazing phenomenon, when we think of our classical liberal forbears who were genuinely radical, who hated statism and the States of their day with a beautifully integrated passion: the Levellers, Patrick Henry, Tom Paine, Joseph Priestley, the Jacksonians, Richard Cobden, and on and on, a veritable roll call of the greats of the past. Tom Paine’s radical hatred of the State and statism was and is far more important to the cause of liberty than the fact that he never crossed the divide between laissez-faire and anarchism.

This in turn recalled a book I read last year: The Betrayal of the American Right. In Chapter 2 Rothbard mentions Priestley, among others. He says:

The conventional historical wisdom asserts that while the radical movements in America were indeed laissez-faire individualist before the Civil War, that afterwards, the laissez-fairists became conservatives, and the radical mantle then fell to groups more familiar to the modern Left: the Socialists and Populists. But this is a distortion of the truth. For it was elderly New England Brahmins, laissez-faire merchants and industrialists like Edward Atkinson, who had financed John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry, who were the ones to leap in and oppose the U.S. imperialism of the Spanish-American War with all their might. No opposition to that war was more thoroughgoing than that of the laissez-faire economist and sociologist William Graham Sumner or than that of Atkinson who, as head of the Anti-Imperialist League, mailed antiwar pamphlets to American troops then engaged in conquering the Philippines. Atkinson’s pamphlets urged our troops to mutiny, and were consequently seized by the US postal authorities.

In taking this stand, Atkinson, Sumner and their colleagues were not being “sports”; they were following an antiwar, anti-imperialist tradition as old as classical liberalism itself. This was the tradition of Price, Priestley, and the late eighteenth-century British radicals that earned them repeated imprisonment by the British war machine; and of Richard Cobden, John Bright, and the laissez-faire Manchester School of the mid-nineteenth century. Cobden, in particular, had fearlessly denounced every war and every imperial maneuver of the British regime. We are now so used to thinking of opposition to imperialism as Marxian that this kind of movement seems almost inconceivable to us today.1

See the article on Mises.org

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Bill Kristol lies. Hussein on CIA payroll since 1958.

Posted by Jesse on March 9, 2008

Co-author of Our Kamf talks about neoconservatives, Kuwait, Saddam and war.
Good interview for those that claim to be Republicans and Democrats who think that their party is any better. I thought we were all American.
Listen to this interview here. (40:25)

Bill Kristol and Daniel Ellsberg on “Washington Journal” just after the Iraq invasion.

our-kamf.jpg

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US agents caught in car bombs. 1 million Iraqi Civilians dead since 2003

Posted by Jesse on March 9, 2008

From antiwar.com:

Unembedded reporter Dahr Jamail discusses the continuing quagmire in Iraq, how the “surge” was just to appease Americans and buy time, how the decline in murders is due to the ethnic cleansing being complete, U.S. support for Iraqi separatists, U.S. claims of Iranian meddling in Iraq while we have over 300,000 occupiers and possible consequences for U.S. troops in Iraq in the event of war with Iran.

Listen to the interview. (26:59)

In late 2003, Weary of the overall failure of the US media to accurately report on the realities of the war in Iraq for the Iraqi people and US soldiers, Dahr Jamail went to Iraq to report on the war himself.

His dispatches were quickly recognized as an important media resource. He is now writing for the Inter Press Service, The Asia Times and many other outlets. His reports have also been published with The Nation, The Sunday Herald, Islam Online, the Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, and the Independent to name just a few. Dahr’s dispatches and hard news stories have been translated into French, Polish, German, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Turkish. On radio as well as television, Dahr reports for Democracy Now!, the BBC, and numerous other stations around the globe. Dahr is also special correspondent for Flashpoints.

Dahr has spent a total of 8 months in occupied Iraq as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country. In the MidEast, Dahr has also has reported from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Dahr uses the DahrJamailIraq.com website and his popular mailing list to disseminate his dispatches.

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Russia’s KGB Putin-Americans Sovietized.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

MP3 here. (43:13)

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis

Award winning author, columnist, and broadcaster Eric S. Margolis has covered 14 wars and is a leading authority on military affairs, the Middle East, South Asia, and Islamic movements.

Eric Margolis, foreign correspondent for Sun National Media and the American Conservative magazine, discusses the state of emergency in Pakistan, the history of the Musharraf dictatorship, his relationship with Dick Cheney, the return of Benazir Bhutto, her accusation that Musharraf was behind the recent suicide bomb attacks, the Islamists in Waziristan, the cause of their insurgency, Pakistan’s feudal system and the slim chance that crazies could get their hands on the nukes, the tension between Pakistan and India, the collision course coming this way as the Kurdish PKK attacks Turkey and vice versa, the U.S. and Israel’s policy of splitting off Kurdistan Iraq while simultaneously backing the Turks, U.S. support for Kurdish terrorism against Iran and the plan for long term occupation of Iraq.

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Keynes’ General Theory. Much like cluster bombs for the world.

Posted by Jesse on March 5, 2008

The Crisis Point of the Inflationary Boom
By Sean Corrigan

Posted on 3/4/2008

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In a recent survey — jointly conducted by CFO magazine and Duke University — one of the top concerns being expressed by industry executives across the United States, Europe, and Asia was that of the rising cost and — to a slightly lesser extent — the reduced availability of labor, especially that of the skilled variety.

The worry most forcibly competing with this angst was that of whether “consumer demand” would hold up in coming months.

For a Keynesian this conflict can have no meaning, for the central chicanery around which the General Theory is constructed is that depressions can be warded off through monetary debasement, simply by stuffing the workers’ pockets with extra cash, while simultaneously fooling them as to the real value of the nominal wages being received in such a newly clipped coinage.

In the case where wages are rising (labor costs are mounting) because employment is near full (suitable candidates for work are hard to find) then, assuming the mythical “propensity to consume” remains broadly constant, consumer demand should be a shoe-in, and unlearned industrialists need not lose too much sleep over their prospects for either sales or profits.

Granted, “end demand” could also become (temporarily) curtailed by a sudden outbreak of thrift, that virulent, unpredictable strain of global pandemic feared by the macromancers more than dirty bombs, bird flu, melting ice caps, and a direct asteroid strike, combined, for its potency in disrupting the pristine, academic beauty of their consumption functions and ISLM curves.

The unlikelihood of this taking place in a world whose mail boxes bulge daily with unsolicited offers of new credit, and whose masses have been conditioned to view shopping as a sacramental rite, should be all too apparent.

In fact, what our survey results really display are the classic symptoms of the unhealthy discoordination that an unbacked credit expansion induces in the body economic.

What we see here is that most of the businessmen canvassed are finding their costs are rising and, in particular, the dominant cost they typically bear: that associated with retaining a competent and motivated workforce. At the same time, those who do not directly play a part in satisfying the needs of end consumers (an overriding majority, if our sample is representative of industrial and commercial organization as a whole) are beginning to fret about a slackening of demand for their (mainly higher and intermediate goods) output.

As Mises, Hayek, et al. took great pains to explain, what this means is that the seemingly golden age — in reality, a thinly gilded one — during which the first, most favored issuers of cheap credit and artificially boosted equity prices enjoyed almost effortless success, has reached the limit of its ability to postpone the workings of fundamental economic law.

Even if financial capital once appeared so abundant as to provoke strange, Swiftian fantasies about the “saving glut” and the “asset shortage,” real, physical capital was never called into being quite so readily, since its creation requires not the staccato keystroke of a fiat banker, but entrepreneurial vision, hard work, and genuine saving.

By that last we mean a voluntary abstention from current consumption, undertaken in order to improve the chance of greater plenty in the future, and not the corrupt preemption of a man’s spending power — effected with monetary trickery — which inflationists laud as “forced saving.” Being a species of initially unrecognized compulsion, this is a deceit doomed to fatal self-contradiction, once its dupes wake up to the nature of the con being practiced upon them.

Since the boom has been driven forward according to the projections of the borrowers and the low-hurdle eagerness of their lenders, rather than being predicated on meeting the imperatives of consumer sovereignty, we eventually find ambition has come to overmaster achievability and hope to have triumphed over hardheaded calculation.

To be harmonious and self-consistent, production should be guided by the wants of those whose ability to express them comes by virtue of being in harness to the same web of mutually supportive processes that help satisfy the needs of others, in turn. If not, scarce physical resources will be squandered in trying to realize misplaced visions of a world as overbrimming with affordable means as the unnaturally low interest rate treacherously seems to imply.

Worse still, once the fever of the boom spreads from its initial promoters and their preferred clients to infect the populace at large, sobriety and forbearance tends to vanish in a kind of Gresham’s Law of the spirit. A world awash with “liquidity” is not one where the steady flame of good husbandry can outshine the neon-lit promise of instant gain.

To recap, what then we find is that not only does the availability of financial capital become wholly divorced from the extent of the pool of physical capital goods; not only does much of that pool become misused (and, hence, ultimately, stripped of its original “capitalness”); but that the wellspring of capital maintenance and augmentation — namely, voluntary saving — is concreted over to provide a gaudy, Baroque fountain of greater exhaustive consumption.

As this happens, many final-goods prices will rise as they are revealed to have been undersupplied in relation to the monetary means now pouring into the hands of their would-be consumers. Where such goods also comprise inputs to production taking place further upstream (as is archetypically the case with, say, energy), this increase in expense will primarily add to costs and may therefore begin to sap profitability, if these are not either offset with greater efficiencies or fully recouped in higher selling prices.

Furthermore, as they find their standards of living slipping, those workers who are so enabled — and they will be legion at the height of the boom — will be far less shy about insisting upon more from their employers, by way of compensation for their efforts. Labor costs will now feature in the list of boardroom anxieties.

Simultaneously, since “demand” will have come to a white-hot focus of insistency on end-consumer items, all those who can do so will be shifting resources towards meeting it. If this means abandoning half-completed schemes for long-duration projects in favor of pursuing more mundane but now more lucrative goals, such as putting food on the average man’s table and keeping his boiler stoked with fuel in the here-and-now, so be it.

Unfortunately for the Keynesians, with their quaint, quasi-hydraulic depiction of the economy, such intensified end demand will not automatically translate into higher revenues for all the businesses strung out along the chain of production, just as a sudden appetite for beef will not instantly cause the grass upon which the cattle feed to grow more luxuriantly in the pasture.

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What it will tend to do instead is to strip those not immediately involved in meeting that end demand of their ability to call upon productive resources on the same terms as before.

Squeezing margins as in a vice, this development may also diminish the orders received from those closer to the shop front, since these erstwhile business customers will now be too busy scrambling to restack their emptying shelves to contemplate closing off the sales area for a refit, much less to ponder the purchase of a gimmicky new IT system, or to think of splashing out on an expensive and distinctly nonessential corporate makeover.

This last may not wholly be a matter of discretion since, besides seeing their own wage bill expand, consumer-goods merchants are likely to see inventory replacement come complete with higher invoices, so working-capital needs may soon start to crowd out much more deferrable fixed-investment schedules.

Costs up, labor more pricey, yet demand flagging: this is the fate of all too many of the myriad businesses which comprise the vast, hidden, submarine bulk of the iceberg that is our modern, highly specialized, vertically stratified, distributed assembly-line economy — to the befuddlement of a mainstream lacking a proper theory of capital or a true appreciation of the role of time.

Welcome to the crisis point of the inflationary boom!

Sean Corrigan is Chief Investment Strategist at Diapason Commodities Management. Send him mail. See his articles. Comment on the blog.

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