Posts

Showing posts from September, 2009

Inventions as Scientific Discoveries and IP

Image
In an LDS Liberty group topic about intellectual property, I had these thoughts about inventions being scientific discoveries and the consequences of that. My particular example is the cure for cancer, but the same point applies to any drug that saves lives, or invention that makes life easier:

I thought I'd turn this on it's head a little. Considering patents for drugs. I see inventions as nothing more than scientific discoveries. A discovery that if I combine this widget with that widget, I have an invention I can do this with. Likewise, if I combine this chemical with that chemical, I have a new drug that fights this disease.

Now, regardless of how many resources I've expended leading to the new discovered drug, once discovered, what right does the discoverer have to monopolize it? Let's pretend someone finds the cure for cancer. He immediately patents it and takes it to market. As one producer with a monopoly on the cure for cancer, he's able to charge a higher…

Some Personal Views on Government

Image
In one of the many discussions I've been involved with at the LDS Liberty discussion group, a friend asks, "How long can self government by self sustaining?" I'd like to share here my latest reply to his inquiring on how I (and the others in the group) see things. This is not all-encompassing when it comes to my personal views on government:
Gabriel,

A few points and then I can answer some of your questions:

(This is from my own understanding. I consider myself a student, and probably always will.)

First, Minarchism is the political philosophy that holds limited-government as the ideal. Many libertarians and Constitutionalists are minarchists, at least on the Federal level. I've heard from Constitutionalists that held rather statists views when it comes to State and local governments. I've also heard from libertarians that advocated centralized, Constitutionalism (14th amendment promoters). Wikpedia's entry on minarchism is found here: http://en.wikipedia…

The Income Tax and State Sovereignty

Image
J. Bracken Lee was the Governor of the State of Utah from 1949-1957. He wrote the forward for a book titled The Income Tax: Root of All Evil by Frank Chodorov. This book is on my to-buy list. What Lee wrote is well worth a read:
This was, to be sure, "the home of the free and the land of the brave." Americans were free simply because the government was too weak to intervene in the private affairs of the people — it did not have the money to do so — and they were brave because a free people is always venturesome. The obligation of freedom is a willingness to stand on your own feet.

The early American wanted it that way. He was wary of government, especially one that was out of his reach. He had just rid himself of a faraway and self-sufficient political establishment and he was not going to tolerate anything like it in his newly founded country. He recognized the need of some sort of government, to keep order, to protect him in the exercise of his rights, and to look after his…

Do We Ever Get Out of Anarchy?

Image
I've encountered a very interesting essay that asks whether or not we ever get completely out of anarchy, by Alfred G. Cuzan. Anarchy, as defined by libertarian-anarchists, in this case our author, is "a social order without Government, subject only to the economic laws of the market." And Government is "an agent external to society, a 'third-party' with the power to coerce all other parties to relations in society into accepting its conceptions of those relations." Contrast big-g Government, or the State, fitting this definition, to little-g government, or governance. In the words of John Hasnas, anarchy "is a society without [G]overnment, not a society without governance."

It must also be mentioned that anarchy and chaos or disorder are often used synonymously. This is an error. Although chaos and disorder may arise in an anarchic society, they are not synonymous with anarchy. Disorder and chaos may also arise in the total State society, as …

TIME Interviews Ron Paul

This is a fantastic interview by TIME with Ron Paul. He is currently the most principled politician in Washington, and we would all be better off listening to his arguments, (YouTube, 6m, 21s):

Free-market Regulation

Image
This week, I took my bed-ridden wife (temperamental pregnancy) for a walk in a wheel-chair. We decided to go to a new El Salvadorean restaurant a few blocks away and try it out. The restaurant is located within a small residential-area strip mall. This particular residential area is mostly middle to low income class. The restaurant was small and had about 5 tables. It didn't have much by way of decorations, but was painted yellow and brown on the inside. The owner, who took our order, is an El Salvadorean immigrant and was extremely friendly. He's trying to start a business, after all.

We ordered and he shortly brought us our food. As we sat their eating, I began to reflect on what types of inspections and certifications he must have gone through in order to get permission to serve us. As I looked around at the place, at the floor, and into the kitchen, it occurred to me that the only person's opinion that counts on whether or not this restaurant is a fit place to eat, is …

Free-market Health-care Solution

Image
It's not too difficult to understand:


Spectacular Failures

Image
David Z at the no third solution blog had this to say about U.S. government failures:
For the record:
Social Security was established in 1935 – they’ve had 74 years to get it right; it is broke.Fannie Mae was established in 1938 – they’ve had 71 years to get it right; it is broke. Freddie Mac was established in 1970 – they’ve had 39 years to get it right; it is broke. Together Fannie and Freddie have now led the entire world into the worst economic collapse in 80 years.The War on Poverty was started in 1964 – they’ve had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our hard earned money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor”; it hasn’t worked.Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965 – they’ve had 44 years to get it right; they are both broke; and now our government dares to mention them as models for all US health care.AMTRAK was established in 1970 – they’ve had 39 years to get it right; last year they bailed it out as it continues to run at a loss!This year, a trilli…

The Boom-Bust Cycle in Few Words

Image
In a review for Ron Paul's latest bookEnd the Fed, David Gordon gives a short and precise description of the boom-bust cycle (or business cycle, or trade cycle):
Far from being a means to maintain monetary stability, as its supporters falsely insist, the Fed through expansion of bank credit bears primary responsibility for the business cycle. The expansion temporarily lowers the money rate of interest below the true market rate, largely determined by people’s time preference, i.e., their preference for present over future goods. Businesses, with money available, expand; but the new projects cannot be sustained. When the monetary expansion ceases (if it doesn’t, we will have hyperinflation, with disastrous consequences), these new investments must be liquidated. The process of doing so is the depression.Explaining this has been one of the greatest advancements in economic theory over the last century, yet too few understand it. Much more in depth analyses can be found here and here

The Man Who Saved a Planet III

Image
I just couldn't pass this by without sharing it here. Donald Boudreaux, in his usual eloquent sting comments on Borlaug's contribution, from a 2004 Cafe Hayek post:
Relatively few people recognize Mr. Borlaug’s name. Makes me think of the world as a place in which melodramatic loud-mouths thunder to and fro in the foreground while actually doing very little of any value but stealing all of the credit for civilization and its benefits. Meanwhile, in the background, millions upon millions of decent, creative people work diligently at their specialties – welding, waiting tables, writing computer code, performing orthopedic surgery, designing shopping malls, running think-tanks – each contributing to the prosperity of the rest. Some contributions are larger than others – as Dr. Borlaug’s certainly is – but even a contribution as colossal as his is quickly taken for granted, any potential notice of it submerged beneath the swagger and bellicosity of the political classes who pretend…

The Man Who Saved a Planet II

Image
The father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug, passed away today at the ripe-old age of 95. Many don't know who he is. I recommend reading up on him through the links offered on my first Borlaug post, found here. Economist Steven Horwitz on the passing:
The man who saved countless millions, if not billions, of lives as the father of the Green Revolution has died at 95. If you've never heard of Borlaug, you should have. And the fact that you haven't, and that the media pay orders of magnitude more attention to dead politicians of all parties who achieved their fame by killing and impoverishing about as many of our fellow humans, is one of the tragedies of our day.

Hopefully the advances that Borlaug's work made possible will not be lost in a rising tide of radical environmentalist criticisms. The Green Revolution wasn't perfect, but no other 20th century event did more for the betterment of humanity on balance. Think of it this way: Borlaug's legacy is…

Minarchism & Anarchism

Image
I consider myself a student when it comes to libertarian thought. There's still much to learn and explore. One of the biggest debates among libertarians is between minarchy, minimal or limited public government, such as that established by the U.S. Constitution, and anarchy, the absence of public government or the absence of the state.

Among my so far limited amount of study between the two, I have yet to encounter a truly appealing and constructive view into what is called market-anarchy. (This is also called anarcho-capitalism.) That is until I read this article by the libertarian philosopher Roderick T. Long. I am not yet prepared to come down on either side, but this essay is deserving of my sharing it here. He explores the possible fulfillment of constitutionalism in market anarchy. His introduction:
A legal system is any institution or set of institutions in a given society that provides dispute resolution in a systematic and reasonably predictable way. It does so through the…

My Kids Would Stay Home Too

Thinking about Obama's upcoming speech to school children, I too would keep my kids home, and here's why. I'm sure that what he's going to tell them regarding the importance of education I would agree with. But my problem with the speech isn't the message, it's the messenger.

When it comes to values, such as valuing education, the only people I want influencing my children, that is who I want my children looking up to, honoring, and learning from, are their parents, grand-parents, church leaders, and God. And that's it. I do not want them looking for value lessons from celebrities, lawyers, criminals, or politicians. Especially politicians who believe the government is the answer to everything, such as Barack Obama.

As a parent, it is my natural right to approve or disapprove of who my child looks up to. And if I have the ability to prevent someone who's values I disagree with from captivating my children, I will exercise it. Fortunately for me, my chil…