Some Links

by Don Boudreaux on June 9, 2013

in Complexity & Emergence, Immigration, Monetary Policy, Politics, Science, Scientism, Trade

Steve Landsburg exposes a particularly egregious piece of misleading and nasty grandstanding by a member of the world’s greatest deliberative body – and Steve exposes also a prominent pundit’s partisan applause for the preposterous performance of this perfidious politician (please pardon the pleonasm).

The detestable – if typical – events in the U.S. Senate referred to above involve the on-going debate over austerity, a word and concept that easily misleads.  My Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy does some clarifying work.

My old friend from New York City Bob Gelfond – founder and chairman of MagiQ Technologies - writes optimistically in Friday’s Wall Street Journal about the future of free-market-supplied money.  Here’s Bob’s conclusion:

It is impossible to predict what kinds of money a truly free market will create in an increasingly digitized world. But we can be confident in predicting that just as markets improve the quality of all products, they will do the same for money.

John Cochrane writes about immigration.  Here’s a slice:

The vague charge that immigrants will “take jobs” and lower American’s wages is not established at all in economics, and it doesn’t make much sense anyway.  It surely doesn’t explain why we keep out people who want to start businesses.  Our ancestors didn’t steal Native Americans’ jobs to get rich; they created new businesses and opportunities. Land and capital are plentiful in the United States, so why would we expect new immigrants to be any different?

I would add to Cochrane’s final sentence above only the recognition that capital can be created – the capital stock expanded – both by immigrants themselves and by immigrant and nonimmigrant entrepreneurs in response to the deeper division of labor and other economic opportunities opened by freer immigration.

Here’s another entry from John Cochrane, this time on some economic-ignorance-fueled special-interest-group bipartisan rent-seeking efforts on Capitol Hill.  Several prominent members of the U.S. Congress, of course, want to punish Americans for buying Chinese-made goods that are allegedly made too inexpensive for Americans by the Chinese government’s monetary policy.  Mercantilist nostrums are like cockroaches: pests impossible to eliminate.

(One of the worst-offending mercantilists in Congress today is Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-SC], who once whined that the Chinese “already have enough advantages.”  Yep.  Nothing like still being very poor, lorded over by a still quite corrupt government, and having only relatively recently emerged from being victimized by one of history’s most beastly tyrants to give you advantages – sort of like the advantages enjoyed in late-19th century America by former chattel slaves.  Weren’t they the lucky ones!  I wrote this letter in response to Sen. Graham’s lack of economic understanding.)

In his post on mercantilism, Cochrane appropriately invokes the Easter Bunny.  In a post over at EconLog, on a different matter, so, too, does David Henderson.

Mark Perry exposes an instance of the public-choice truth that too many business people express support for free-market forces only when they believe that such forces will raise their profits.  The moment, however, they smell profits rents in having government restrict or otherwise interfere with market forces, business people too frequently abandon the free market by demanding government intervention on their behalf.  Such business people, of course, have no principles when it comes to markets and freedom.  They are hypocrites who do great damage to the cause of prosperity and freedom.

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