Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on October 7, 2011

in Crony Capitalism, Other People's Money, Politics, Reality Is Not Optional

… is from Part II, Sec. 5, Chapter 3, para. 3 of Ludwig von Mises’s 1944 book Omnipotent Government:

The policy of democracies is suicidal. Turbulent mobs demand acts which are contrary to society’s and their own best interests. They return to Parliament corrupt demagogues, adventurers, and quacks who praise patent medicines and idiotic remedies. Democracy has resulted in an upheaval of the domestic barbarians against reason, sound policies, and civilization. The masses have firmly established the dictators in many European countries. They may succeed very soon in America too.

(HT Dan Klein)

Mises is certainly correct about the unthinkingness of most of such protesters, and about the political consequences of their, and others, mistaking publicly expressed passion about economic matters for knowledge and wisdom about such matters.

But keep in mind that Mises (a scholar forced to flee his home by one of history’s vilest dictators) penned these words nearly 68 years ago, at a time when the belief in full-fledged socialism still was widespread throughout the western world (and not only in university social-science and liberal-arts departments).  America did not then establish a dictator.  (Who knows, I concede, what would have happened had FDR not died in 1945?  He certainly had all the makings of a first-class secular savior, and was disgustingly insistent upon playing the role.)  Yet despite countless unwise pieces of legislation enacted over the past 80 years, the U.S. economy then remained – and, I argue, today still remains – sufficiently free to permit entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs to bestow enormous, sometimes unmeasurable, benefits through the market upon consumers.  And we are not yet a police state.  (But see David Henderson.)  We are moving in the wrong direction, to be sure – toward more knee-jerk celebration of the collective and away from genuine respect for individual preferences and choices.

But I emphatically dissent from the concern of my more distraught friends who see little too-little substantive difference between the USA circa 2011 and, say, the USSR (circa anytime).

Perhaps the know-nothing know-it-alls today protesting on Wall Street – or their better-coiffed and better-dressed comrades occupying official office in Washington – will fail to transform America into a truly totalitarian regime.

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{ 59 comments }

Methinks1776 October 7, 2011 at 8:15 am

I see plenty of difference between the United States and the USSR. I’m also seeing enough growth in the number and type of similarities to be more than a little uncomfortable. The trajectory of change is not good.

The U.S. doesn’t have to become the the Soviet Union for life in America to get significantly worse as we move along the spectrum.

Don Boudreaux October 7, 2011 at 8:18 am

Agreed. But I remain skeptical that, taking the steps that we have (in the U.S.) taken down that particular road to serfdom means that we are highly likely to continue the journey until we actually come face-to-face with totalitarianism of the sort that haunted Russia and China in the 20th century.

Methinks1776 October 7, 2011 at 8:37 am

Maybe not, Don, but you will not want to live here long before the guns point inward and the mass slaughters start. IMO, it pays to be vigilant – particularly since the United States makes it difficult to be an expat.

Don Boudreaux October 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

Warning well received. Bob and Elizabeth Higgs are moving to Belize, in no small part (I assume) because of the direction policy is taking in this, the land of the not-as-free-as-we-ought-to-be.

jjoxman October 7, 2011 at 9:03 am

That’s very interesting. My wife and I are wondering to where we can escape; never thought of Belize. Might be worth a gander.

Methinks1776 October 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

I’m not surprised. I know quite a few people making such moves. Mostly they’re doing so because government is starting to make it prohibitively expensive to conduct certain business here. “The land of the not-as-free-as-we-ought-to-be” hits the nail on the head.

My adventures in risk management have informed me of just how bad we are at assigning probabilities to outcomes. In particular, I’ve noticed that people tend to assign too small a probability to outcomes they consider very scary. Humans seem to have a built-in bias toward optimism. I think life would be pretty miserable without it. On the other hand, it makes us pretty bad at managing risk.

So, while I agree with you that the probability of full fledged Soviet misery is very low and I can point to major differences between countries that suffered Communist revolutions and the United States to justify my opinion, I do worry from time to time that such a change may take an entirely different path – one that is beyond my imagination. If that’s the case, then I may be underestimating the probability of a total collapse into totalitarian hell. I don’t know and what I don’t know concerns me.

Just a tangential thought.

Mickey Hobart October 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

“land of the not-as-free-as-we-ought-to-be” SAD! :(

SweetLiberty October 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

I do worry from time to time that such a change may take an entirely different path – one that is beyond my imagination.

For me, it is easy to imagine persistent high unemployment, regulatory burdens and taxes which make the US less and less competitive, corrupt politicians, growth stagnation, a financial crisis the likes of which we have never seen before when the national debt and unsustainable entitlements push the economy well beyond its capacity to recover, etc. The reason I can so easily imagine these things is because may of them are already here with most signs pointing to the fact that things will likely only get worse.

SweetLiberty October 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

*many of them…

vidyohs October 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I agree with m’lady Methinks, as someone who was immersed in study and concern with the USSR for 21 years, we aren’t there yet; but there are people who are willing, determined even, to take us there if they can. They have the MSM on their side and the MSM can make it look as if the left enjoys majority support, when in fact they aren’t close to a majority.

That being said, I do believe everyone not a looney lefty should be firming up their minds to the idea that they might have to face fighting in their streets and they might actually have to do what the founding fathers and crew did, kill and risk being killed for that freedom we all claim to love so much. I am firmly convinced from observing the progression of violence in word and deed from the hardcore unionized looney left, and the excessively aggressive attacks on non loonies that come out of the MSM and looney government representatives, elected and appointed, that the looney left has already made up its mind about where the violence will go if they don’t get their way.

Hope it doesn’t have to come to that, but I can’t discount a possibility, just because it hasn’t happened since 1860. .

morganovich October 7, 2011 at 10:08 am

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/06/1234232/calif-appeals-court-approves-cell-phone-searches

this sure doesn’t help.

this is the sort of thing generally reserved for secret police.

add in the wild seizure (and sale) laws of property merely suspected of being used in a crime, and the police are getting awfully close to being a law unto themselves.

if a cop can take your phone and take all the data then seize your car and sell it before you ever even have a trial (or are even charged in some cases), well, how is that different from banditry?

morganovich October 7, 2011 at 10:14 am

jjoxman-

st kitts. my whole family bought dual citizenship there. with a st kitts passport, you can live and work anywhere in the former british commonwealth. that sort of mobility is going to be highly prized if things keep looking like the 30′s. economic downturns and fascism go together like offal and flies.

just as there are purported to be no atheists in foxholes, there are no free market/individual liberty politicians in downturns. the pressure to be seen as “doing somehting on jobs” is just too great. you get terrible battles over which dramatic interventionist policy is the right one, and none ever are. this creates uncertainty that freezes investment and deepens downturns. happened in the 30′s and it’s happening now. it’s a self reinforcing downspiral. policies make it worse, so you look for new and bigger ones. lather, rinse, repeat until people are clamoring for Mussolini.

Methinks1776 October 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

Here’s a list of British Commonwealth countries for those who are interested. Note that Singapore, Australia, Canada and Belize are on it.

http://www.factophile.com/show.content?action=view&pageid=586

nailheadtom October 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

Our particular road to serfdom needn’t result in an exact copy of the totalitarianism that haunted (and continues to haunt) Russia and China. Nevertheless, whatever the conclusion might be, it’s likely to include diminished choices for the individual at the discretion of the state.

dsylexic October 7, 2011 at 9:02 am

investor jim rogers moved out for economic (and political reasons too).but he is a big china bull and the keynesian chinese musical chairs is going to come to a screeching halt before it can clean up &pick up again

muirgeo October 7, 2011 at 9:14 am

“Perhaps the know-nothing know-it-alls today protesting on Wall Street – or their better-coiffed and better-dressed comrades occupying official office in Washington – will fail to transform America into a truly totalitarian thi.”

I’m totally miffed by this. The protestors are supporting the rights of the 99% that are violated by the rent seekers who own our political system.

You guys claim to be supporters of individuals but when the masses of individuals rise up against the excess of the elite class you side with the elites. You pretend to be supporters of individualism but hold elitist views like that in the above quote. Apparently you think you know what’s best for the 99%ers. Back in 76 supporters of the elitist were called Redcoats, Tories and King George Supporters.

The blame for sociatal breakdown and the times it devolves into something totalitarian and awefull goes squarely with the elitist who snobbishly ignore the ills they they put on society as they back the people into a wall of desperation.

Don your quote could easily have been from the revolutionary days directed at the patriots and demostrators who eventually founded this country and paved the way fot people like Edison and Jobs.

Short of what the protestors are doing I’d really be curious to hear your solution to our predicament of living under a government up for auction. It clear to me you have nothing to offer while these people on Wall Street will be the machine of change… hopefully in spite of JP Morgan horrifying Million dollar donation to the New York Police aimed at the protestors.

Captain Profit October 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

“I’d really be curious to hear your solution to our predicament of living under a government up for auction.”

Here we go again. I want to reduce its attractiveness to bidders, you want to sweeten the pot.

Randy October 7, 2011 at 9:45 am

They aren’t the 99% – they just claim to be. They are carrying the standard leftist signs – which all say the same thing to me, “I am completely ignorant of how society really works. I should be producing something of value but instead I’m out here demanding that someone take care of me”.

Ameet October 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

For some reason, I didn’t get the memo that I was part of that 99%. Then again, even though I likely am, those protesters would probably categorize the people commenting here as in the 1% and worthy of hate.

As if a small group of protesters can represent the diverse preferences of 99% of the nation. As if 99% of the nation shares the same vision and dreams of what they want for the future. If they did, then we wouldn’t have different political parties (similar though they seem to libertarians).

SweetLiberty October 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

“…violated by the rent seekers who own our political system.”

It is not enough to just protest the rent seekers without acknowledging and protesting the source of these rents – the givers. Protestors who support an unconstitutional government run amok fail to address the root of the problem when that government supports interests which run counter to their own. Liberals create a ravenous tiger and unleash it, then cry foul when that tiger devours something they think it shouldn’t.

Michael October 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

Do you need a hug?

brotio October 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

You can’t possibly be totally miffed, you didn’t use cap-locks, or F-bombs in your screed, and you didn’t pray to Mother Gaia to sweep Don away in a tidal wave of crude. However, after hearing some of the anti-Semitic rants coming from the protesters, I’m not surprised that you’re defending them.

It’s ironic that the Tea Party is called racist by you bigots and parroted by the dominant liberal media, based on unsubstantiated claims by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, but the same dominant liberal media has been totally uninterested in the documented anti-Semitism of the socialist asswipes you’re so proud of.

Observer October 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

what a bunch of BS and drivel

talk about class warfare: “the Masses”

talk about unable to see the arrow of history: FDR, a giant for Freedom, was followed by Truman, who was hand picked by Roosevelt, and was even more so, and within 40 years all the people of Europe, including Russia, are so far from the masses

the question has to be asked, Why pay attention to someone so wrong on his most basic premise

muirgeo October 7, 2011 at 9:38 am

The reason I pay attention is because their philosophy is the cover used by the elitist to claim they support individualism and freedom while they seek rent and auction off the government… and now apparently pay off the police.

http://www.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/7734-policing-the-prophets-of-wall-street

Jump forward to today. The bailed-out Wall Street megabank JPMorgan Chase gave a tax-deductible $4.6 million donation to the New York City Police Foundation, which has protesters asking: Who is the NYPD paid to protect, the public or the corporations? The 99 percent or the 1 percent?

Marina Sitrin, part of Occupy Wall Street’s legal working group, told me that the protest was going to be based at Chase Plaza, but the NYPD pre-emptively closed it. The protesters moved to Zuccotti Park, which they renamed Liberty Square.

According to an undated press release on JPMorgan Chase’s website, in response to the $4.6 million donation: “New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing ‘profound gratitude’ for the company’s donation.” Given the size of the donation, and the police harassment and violence against the protesters, we must question how Kelly shows his gratitude.

Observer October 7, 2011 at 9:49 am

The reason I pay attention is because their philosophy is the cover used by the elitist to claim they support individualism and freedom

same reason I do

the clap here is nothing but propaganda

Slappy McFee October 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

I am so glad you have finally cleared up your position on force. It’s supportable as long as the ‘right’ people are targeted.

How fascist, oops, I mean progressive of you.

muirgeo October 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I’m, glad I understand your osition on the use of force… as it has been since the dawn of civilization… with the wealthy elite who can only remain so buying their own armies and police. You’re all for letting the wealthy buy off the police are you… you’re a nutcake… with extra nuts!

vidyohs October 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm

I do sincerely hope muirhuahua that you and your asswipe buddies do get to experience the USSR style collectivism you so hunger for…………somewhere else, just not here.

I also sincerely do believe that the USA should split into two camps based on the divide between lovers of freedom and you asswipe communists, since you make up maybe 25% of the population, we should put you all into 25% of the land area – give you your own country. Then sit back and watch you stupid bastards starve to death in about five years time or less, as you all try to live off each other.

Six years into that and we could come in, grind your bleached bones for fertilizer and take back the empty 25%.

muirgeo October 8, 2011 at 9:07 am

Vidyohs,

We are the guys who kicked the Redcoats and their kings ass. Then we kicked the Souths asses…. we indeed should have just left you the south to be one continous with the destitude of Mexico while are states produce people like Steve Jobs, Seri Brin and Bazos and We would then of course have to deal with all the illegal vidyohs immigrants coming intoour country wanting to shine our shoes… but yeah you have a good idea. I say split it. Of course we get the nukes since we invented them

Greg Webb October 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

George, there you go pretending at knowledge again. Regressives supported King George and the Redcoats because regressives believe in big government and the King represents big government. The people who revolted were those who most felt the oppression of the King. And, those people were the productive people of society.

And, you don’t understand the Civil War either. The South, at that time had State governments controlled by statists, like yourself, who benefitted from slavery. Libertarians believe in rights and liberty for the individual, while you regressives beieve in more governmental power over individuals. Thus, regressives, if they had lived back then, would have been the powerful State government slavers.

I do not think the United Stares should be divided. However, it is important to help emotionally and intellectually undeveloped people like libtards and regressives to grow up. Therefore, I propose that all libtards and regressives that support big government be sent to live in other countries with big, invasive government like the Peoples Republic of China. Once you truly experience big government, you will grow up to be a mature, responsible adult that understands why government must be limited to its Constitutionally-prescribed powers to prevent infringement upon individual liberty.

Babinich October 7, 2011 at 10:37 pm

“The protesters moved to Zuccotti Park, which they renamed Liberty Square.”

Liberty Square huh? These useful idiots cannot see the forest through the tress because what they’re promoting is slavery.

Slavery, eternal indebtedness to the state.

Freedom to innovate, take risk and dream are all set adrift by the “99″. Try say give us what we deserve: free homes, free education, free medical care and lives worry free.

How that working in Europe?

Ken October 7, 2011 at 11:49 am

FDR, a giant for Freedom

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! What drivel! Ever heard of the NRA (National Recovery Administration)? This wonderful piece of government made it illegal to sell food (and other commodities) below a certain price. The whole purpose of many of FDR’s policies were to create cartels to fix prices and keep them high. In other words, FDR colluded with businesses to screw over consumers.

Also, ever heard of the Japanese internment camps?

Yeah, that FDR guy, he was a “giant for Freedom”.

Regards,
Ken

vikingvista October 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

“FDR, a giant for Freedom”

By what standard? Because he waged war against Hitler? Does that mean his ally Uncle Joe was a “giant for Freedom” too?

There was no shortage of innocent American businessmen and Japanese Americans who could testify to the tyranny of FDR. Or maybe you think they deserved their persecutions for their political crimes?

kyle8 October 7, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I suspect that Observer and Muirego do indeed think fondly of Stalin.

Gil October 8, 2011 at 1:34 am

Don’t forget FDR’s bulldog Smedley Butler who stopped businessmen from getting FDR out of office before it was too late.

Babinich October 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm

“FDR, a giant for Freedom”

Sure, freedom…

*Implemented counter productive economic programs which prolonged the depression.
*Implemented economic programs in geographic areas for political reasons
*Japanese internment camps
*Suppressed information about Katyn
*Played Churchill off Stalin because he truly trusted Stalin
*FDR trusted Stalin: can you believe it?: after the show trials of the late ’20s, the purges of the late ’30s, the unprovoked strike against Poland, Katyn & many other crimes against nations soon to become Soviet satellites
*Lied to Polish voters in 1944 about his unwavering Polish sovereignty

vikingvista October 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm

FDR was a horrible unjust man, and a disaster to America. His reputation benefits considerably by his comparison to Hitler, Stalin, and Tojo (and the fact that so many historians and biographers are socialists).

Stephen Mauzy October 7, 2011 at 9:22 am

Mises is spot on about the incompetence democracy promotes. Mises must have read Karl Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies and Plato’s comments on government progression: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny. The jury is still out on the United States establishing a dictator.

As a non sequitor, Steve Jobs, whose name Don squeezed into his commentary. Every article since Wednesday on entrepreneurship refers to Steve Jobs, as if he’s the entrepreneurial apotheosis. Yes, Apple products are sleek, engaging, and hip, but would never exist without the entrepreneurial anonymous Morlocks performing the dirty grunt work of harvesting and transforming basic elements into usable plastics and microprocessors. Many of the same people fawning over Jobs and Apple would pump a fist at Charles Koch and Koch Industries, yet Apple couldn’t exist without “dirty” industries like Koch.

Also lost in the hosannas is the fact Apple is ephemeral; it’s the nature of the high-tech business. In 50 years Apple probably won’t exist, unlike unhip low-tech companies Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil, and Philip Morris whose managers satisfy consumer demand anonymously.

The dangerous underlying message in all these Steve Jobs obituaries is that we should pattern ourselves after Steve Jobs, and that’s a recipe for failure.

Observer October 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

Steve Jobs

1) was a Hall of Fame business person, mostly for China, nothing more or less

2) will not be well treated by history, since none of his products are made in the USA.

3) Sloan,of GM, will remain the Giant of American Business

4) to understand what he is, and wasn’t, one must understand that Sloan created a sustainable business model, which is now about 90 years old. Jobs was, apparently, fantastic on execution and world class on design, but he created no business model at Apple that will sustain itself.

Dan H October 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

If by sustainable you mean “hit up the taxpayers when you’re getting crushed by the competition”, then yeah I guess that is sustainable.

Ameet October 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

Observer,

In case you didn’t notice:

1) Apple’s products were conceptualized in the USA, so the majority of the value from those products accrued in the U.S. as profits for Apple’s shareholders (including pension, mutual, and hedge funds as well as individual investors not invested in the above) and salaries and bonuses for Apple employees.

2) You ignore the reality of global supply chains – China was only where the assembly occurred

3) More on global supply chains – the Asian Development Bank Institute estimated in a study that value added for the iPhone in various countries was:
A) China at $6.50, for the labor (imagine how much more expensive the iPhone would be if assembled in the U.S., and how much fewer people would own it);
B) 96.4% of the remaining iPhone cost, $172.52 at the time of the study, was from components from Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and several other countries (so are you saying that Germany, Japan, and South Korea are evil too, and only the U.S. should have done all of this? What if those countries had companies which produced higher quality versions of components than U.S. companies? Then I suppose you’d accept a lower quality iPhone for all parts being sourced from the U.S.?)

4) Apple has not needed to beg for a bailout because it has created products consumers want. Unlike GM. In fact, some investors I know have a bet going on that within the next thirty years, GM will need to get another bailout since the likelihood of their culture truly changing is minimal. After all, it happened to Chrysler, with the first bailout in ’79 and the next in 2008.

I guess what you really want is 100% made in America, because you view international trade as bad. May I make a proposal then? How about 100% made in your own backyard? After all, if international trade is bad because you’re depriving Americans of your precious dollars, then interstate trade is bad because you’re depriving your state of dollars, and so on ad reduction. Which really means you should only trade with yourself to not deprive your one-man economy of dollars.

So you really should have your own farm, forest for wood, steel mill for steel, oil well and refinery for all the oil you need for your car, etc. But wait, if trade is bad, then how are you going to have any fun? You can’t go out to the bar and have a drink, because that’s trade! And good luck finding the time to live beyond more than a subsistence level of life! Maybe that’s why people starting trading in the first place…

dsylexic October 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

uh.no.didnt you get warren’s memo? the social contract says that the political boundaries of the US are where your loyalties and love should lie. all foreigners BAD. all americans -like favorite children

Observer October 7, 2011 at 11:43 am

1) Apple’s value is only one CEO away from what happened to HP

2) Sloan’s business model is followed by every auto manufacturer in the world and many many others. Sloan had nothing to do with how GM or Chrysler executed the model. Bad management equals bad results

3) I have exactly the same amount of loyalty to China as China has to me.

4) Globalization and international trade have destroyed this Country. The few dollars I might “save” because an IPad is made overseas are nothing compared to the social and cultural costs, here, which come straight out of the pocket book in taxes and all other kinds of costs, lost opportunities, etc. etc. Net net, Globalization makes 99% of Americans poorer every day.

dsylexic October 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

why do you want your broad minded outlook to be imposed on others?i prefer to trade only within my county.you scumbag nationalists have destroyed employment in my county .we would prefer to trade among ourselves.

Ameet October 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm

1) That’s your opinion. Are you willing to back it by shorting Apple?

2) I’ll agree that bad management, including bad labor agreements and excessive wages and benefits, equals bad results.

3) Your point being…? Here’s my point – I am no more “loyal” to any one person than another when it comes to trade. Whoever gives me the best deal, wins. If someone in the U.S. is uncompetitive, it’s their loss. I want to get the most bang for my buck. If you don’t, that’s your gig. Just don’t impose your preferences on me.

4) Social and cultural costs… so basically, you’re a bigot? Also, suggested reading: http://www.amazon.com/globalization-irrational-fear-someone-China/dp/0470632437/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318024358&sr=8-1

Also, back to social and cultural costs: care to explain? Any examples? Personally, I thought “globalization,” including learning about other cultures through trade and trading with them in general, was a great thing for the world because we’re less likely to want to go to war with a good trading partner. Peace is not overrated.

Also, in case you haven’t heard, people have different consumer preferences than you. What you think of as cultural trash may be someone’s treasure.

Finally, if Americans are getting poorer, show me the table. Russ gave a good table on another post above, which is at odds with your claim.

5) Okay, not finally. It’s people like you who make me understand why people with means are willing to expatriate to leave this country that is not as free as it should be.

Ameet October 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

If 99% of Americans are becoming poorer everyday, then the Census Bureau is doing a terrible job of calculating numbers.

According to them (from the table Russ linked to), incomes for the bottom fifth of the U.S. has increased, adjusted for inflation, by 6.15% total between 2000 and 2010. Hardly great, but the bottom fifth don’t really have much in marketable skills, so I am not surprised. However, they did not get poorer, unless an increase in income is considered “poorer” by you.

For the second fifth, 14.79% increase. For the third fifth, we we likely have educated college professionals and other workers who add more value than the lower quintiles likely because of education and other skills, they had a 18.95% increase.

For the fourth fifth, where we likely have high performing managers, they had a 23% increase.

And the highest fifth, which looks like MBAs, doctors, lawyers, Small Business and other entrepreneurs who are decently successful, and basically other people who either have skills other people value a lot? 19.42% increase.

All in all, the data shows that those who add a lot of value accrue more income, usually because of their education, skill set or savvy. I don’t see anyone who’s poorer based off of these stats. Though I suppose you could find a few anecdotes, that’s hardly 99% of America.

Unless, as I said above, you distrust the Census Bureau of the U.S. Government. Which would be a cognitive dissonance for a statist.

vidyohs October 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm

“4) Globalization and international trade have destroyed this Country. “

You truly do possess an ignorance so deep, so wide, so dense, that it mimics stupidity, so why not just go ahead and say it. You’re stupid Observer.

Globalization and international trade is exactly what made this nation wealthy right from it very founding. The USA would never have been the wealthy powerful nation it was in 1860 if not for that globalization and international trade. The yankees couldn’t build the Clipper Ships fast enough to haul all the goods overseas and return with good to import into the USA.

The USA is about trade, always has been, and if it ever turns from it, then yes you and your ilk will have destroyed it.

Michael October 7, 2011 at 11:47 am

You realize that computers, as we know them today, wouldn’t exist without the Apple II, right?

Darren October 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm

A Commodore in every home!

Fred October 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I would argue that the Macintosh was the real game changer.
It made the mouse and windows based operating systems the standard.

Michael October 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm

I agree that the first Mac was a game changer–I’m just not sure we’d have ever seen it if it weren’t for the Apple II.

Joe Esty October 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Actually, computers we know today wouldn’t exist without the Xerox Alto, which wouldn’t have existed without previous technology. It’s all evolutionary. Someone else would have stepped into the chain if it hadn’t been Apple.

vikingvista October 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

“will not be well treated by history, since none of his products are made in the USA.”

Forget the economic nonsense you are implying here for a moment. Are you an advocate for nationalism everywhere, or do you think history should judge everyone in the world according to how they advanced the US economy?

Fearsome Tycoon October 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

I see some differences between today and the 1930s. A 70% or 90% tax rate is unthinkable today. The idea animating the old progressive tax system was that, truly, beyond a certain point, you deserved to keep almost nothing. Today, that’s a political nonstarter. Sure, “the rich should pay their fair share” gets bandied about, but good luck proposing a 60% tax rate of any kind and getting elected.

Note also today that Jobs is celebrated as a hero. Yes, it’s inconsistent with the class warfare demagoguery. But in the early 20th century, the government would have responded to the high price of iPads by mandating price controls. It would have responded to iTunes killing the record industry by mandating price floors. Jobs would have been villified as a “robber baron” for successfully developing selling consumer products by the literal truckload, and the next Presidential campaign would have been run primarily on busting the “computer trusts.”

Some things are better, and some things are worse–that’s the story of America.

rbd October 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

The State needn’t confiscate all means of production and institute formal totalitarianism to have the same effect.

Randy October 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

Yes, its like the debate between Orwell and Huxley over which vision of totalitarianism was the more likely. Our progressives have a vision which is not inherently violent (ala 1984), but nonetheless totalitarian. They intend to wipe out all ugliness – through “education” and “redistribution” if possible, but by any means necessary (ala Brave New World).

John H October 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

The protests may take a turn for the better yet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFz1VVXsWRU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

vikingvista October 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Didn’t that guy play Keynes in some rap videos?

Jim October 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I view at least one frightening scenario with a 10%+ final outcome. Make your own guess:

1. Europe does not reform but collapses, resulting in permanent versions of totalitarianism in a number of countries.

2. European bank failure means large American bank failure, resulting in 30%+ unemployment. But unlike the 30s, private debt is high and land ownership (self-sufficiency) is low.

3. Martial law and/or a suspension of elections results, along with government seizure of ‘critical’ failing industries. Progressive pundits in the NYT have long publicly slavered for a Chavez scenario.

We could easily have seen the high water mark for freedom and living standards for some time to come. It is one of the disturbing things about czarist regulative fiat of this administration; it seems so Cloward and Piven.

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