Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Don’t Talk Dirty To Me, Talk Austrian Economics To Me

In a post titled Opinion Changes, Mike Fagan brings to our attention the following interesting bit of news regarding the recent International Leadership Summit held in Opatija, Croatia, as reported by summit participant and The Cobden Center chief executive Dr. Tim Evans.

Now, beyond the content of our presentations and the debate that ensued, what was really interesting to me about this venture was how every time I or Dan Hannan mentioned the Austrian school of economics, a majority in the audience nodded as if in ‘knowing approval’. Clearly, a small minority of those present were familiar with Austrian school ideas but I suspect the overwhelming majority were not; yet all nodded.

To me, what is interesting about this is that if the gathered selection of people were in anyway representative of similar audiences further afield then maybe Austrian school ideas are starting to spread in such a way that even those ignorant of its details are starting to feign appreciation.

If so, then this all strikes me as being reminiscent of that time in late 1950s when across Western Europe and parts of North America it suddenly became fashionable for’ leaders’, ‘intellectuals’ and ‘opinion formers’ to ‘know’ and be able to comment on Socialism and Marxism. By the time of all the political and social upheavals of the late 1960s, few guests at any smart dinner party in London, Paris or New York wanted to admit that they knew absolutely nothing about these paradigms. So often they gave the impression that they did and in so doing aided a self-fulfilling prophecy much to the advantage of genuine and learned Marxists.

Maybe with the undermining of banking and monetary socialism, a similar whisper is emerging to the great benefit of Austrian ideas. In providing powerful diagnoses and explanations perhaps its ideas are now slowly starting to become fashionable even amongst elements of the so called smart set. Who knows? Only time will tell. But it is an interesting thought.

Now, a bunch of nodding leadership heads tends to inspire me about as much as bobbleheaded Obama, and I am even less inspired by knowing that alleged ‘leaders,’ ‘intellectuals’ and ‘opinion formers’ of the 1950s thought it was fashionable to comment on Socialism and Marxism at that time, because I am quite certain we are currently suffering from their 1950s socialist and marxist fashion sense.

With that said, one can only hope that if what Dr. Evans reports regarding a rise in interest in Austrian economics has some validity to it, that ‘leaders,’ ‘intellectuals,’ and ‘opinion formers’ are causing a run on Ludwig von Mises’ books Human Action and The Theory of Money & Credit, and are signing up, willy nilly, for classes in Austrian economics available through the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

Quote obtained from The Cobden Center article titled A useful nod for the Austrian school of economics?

Posted by John Venlet on 07/05 at 04:39 PM
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Support Your Neighborhood “Domestic Terrorist”

The Department of Homeland Security considers a wide range of Americans domestic terrorists, including 95 year old, in failing health, Depends wearing grandmas.

In a post at Untimely Meditations titled Trading Up – Alternative to the Credit System, Marc Stevens, author of Adventures in Legal Land, notes that Anne Magee Tompkins, United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, is promoting awareness of a new domestic terrorist threat with this statement.

Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism…While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country…We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

I’m wondering if Tompkins is referring to more than just individual promoters of Bitcoin?

Marc Stevens is undertaking a “domestic terrorist” mission which I’m certain will rattle Tompkin’s cage, he is attempting to trade up to a house, without any money changing hands.  Right at the moment, I cannot support Stevens’ neighborhood domestic terrorism mission, as I am not interested in what he is offering for trade, but he has my complete support.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/05 at 12:28 PM
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Government Bailouts and Performance Art

Commenting on militant Greek unions’ attempts to thwart the sell off of public infrastructure to private investors, Perry de Havilland at Samizdata states,

Well anyone buying Greek infrastructures with private money deserves everything they will get… it would be easier and probably less stressful to just flush the money down the toilet and call it ‘performance art’.

True enough.  The problem, though, is that many voting citizens, and private businesses chummy with politicians, do not view government bailouts as necessarily controversial performance art, but rather more as a Gallagher performance.  Good fun complete with large bibs.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/05 at 10:32 AM
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Strauss-Kahn - Attempts to Re-float A Sunk More Equal Pig

Even before word hit the world news wires today that sexual assault charges against Strauss-Kahn will be dropped, because the credibility of maid allegedly raped is supposedly lacking, headlines such as this, France abuzz with talk of comeback for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and this, Dominique Strauss-Kahn trial reaction: French backers want ex-IMF chief to resume presidential run appeared.

When I read those headlines last week I could only conclude that a goodly portion of the French people are quite possibly vacuous air heads whose vacuity could be tapped at will by French powers that be in order to attempt to re-float a sunk more equal pig, if indeed the headlines accurately reflect French peoples’ way of thinking.  If the headlines are accurate, and Strauss-Kahn is put up for president of France and elected, it would be an airbrushed propaganda coup which makes Lenin’s photographic airbrushing out of Trotsky seem amatuerish.

Victor Davis Hanson notes the developments surrounding Strauss-Kahn in a short post titled Not So Fast on Strauss-Kahn, and attempts to displace the vacuous air in French heads with some pertinent reminders.

First, we were given a rare glimpse of the otherwise discreet lifestyle of an aristocratic socialist, and we learned that the life he practices in no way approximates the ideology of equality of result that he embraces.

Second, European lectures about power imbalances, the corrupting influence of money and privilege, etc., do not exactly square with quickie sexual acts — even if mutually consensual, or paid for — in a luxury hotel room with a randomly met West African immigrant maid.

Third, we assume that the most powerful men on the planet, whether governors of New York and California, the president of the United States, or the head of the International Monetary Fund, have an obligation not to let their private lives intrude into their public ones, by reckless sexual behavior of the sort that lessens respect for the office and questions their judgement to such a degree that it affects the lives of those they are pledged to serve.

If the preponderance of evidence in the accuser’s past soon undermines her credibility to such an extent that her word cannot be used against Strauss-Kahn, then we will still be left with a controversy. It will simply be a matter, not of legality, but of Strauss-Kahn’s judgement, morality, and hypocrisy — as is usually the case in high-profile sexual scandals.

I hope their heads don’t blow up.

Posted by John Venlet on 07/05 at 09:00 AM
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