The Purposes of Iran

Iranian Soldier

Al Qaeda and ISIS are not the only islamic jihadist organizations to worry about; there is Iran as well. The Washington Times has cited a release from the Iranian Fars News Agency, which quoted Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamanei as saying:

Those [Iranians] who want to promote negotiations and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason.

Also he was quoted as saying

The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic … Logic and reason command that Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself. Today’s world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor … [who] commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world.   Continue Reading…

The Ideal Tax Regime – 1

TaxCube

Taxes are nothing but destructive to all parts of society with the exception of government and its employees. Unless you are obscenely rich or abjectly poor, you probably have your own complaints about how much government rips away from you. When dollars pass from you to government, the loss of assets you could have used for your own purposes reduces your opportunities and personal freedom. Perhaps because of this loss you can no longer take that ocean cruise in the Caribbean you so desired. Perhaps that house you wanted is beyond your reach.

Nevertheless, taxes are a necessary evil, as I am sure you are aware. Continue Reading…

The Proper Functions of Government

U.S. Constitution

The most fundamental ideological division between progressives and conservatives concerns their beliefs on the proper functions of government. What roles do we think should be given to government and what powers should be granted it to fulfill these roles? The answers to these two questions define our duties to each other as well as to what degree we can have individual freedom from the demands of our fellow humans. To answer these questions we should consider not only what we want, but also the general nature of society, and what is possible for government to accomplish.  Continue Reading…

Federal Budget Deficits and Spending Restraints

Expenditure Growth stops

Budget Stops Growing!               Image Credit: International Liberty

A tip of the hat to Dan Mitchell, who blogs on the website International Liberty! The motto for his website is “Restraining Government in America and Around the World“, so if by chance you have detected my biases from my posts, you can understand why I have been attracted to his website. In January he had posted on some very interesting developments on federal expenditures, namely that they have stopped growing! In support of this observation, he put the chart shown above in his post. As you can see from the chart, spending has skyrocketed from about $1.7 trillion in the year 2000 to $3.5 trillion in 2009. Then from 2010 through 2014 spending has remained relatively constant. Continue Reading…

The Growing Threat of Russia

Russian Tanks

Vladimir Putin has an itch. An itch for empire. We know the President of Russia considers the breakup of the Soviet Union as the major geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. More than that he has acted in a number of ways to start regaining the former possessions of the USSR in eastern Europe. First in 2008 he invaded the Eurasian country of Georgia, gobbling up the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of the eventual cease fire negotiated by France. Continue Reading…

The Morality of Wealth

Monopoly set

Almost nothing divides the political Left from the Right more than their mutually exclusive views of wealth. Listen to President Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Hillary Clinton, or Senator Bernie Sanders for long and you get an impression of the rich as social parasites. Obama is constantly excoriating the rich for “not paying their fair share” and for having the gall to think they built their own businesses. Elizabeth Warren repeated this canard and added in another speech that Citigroup should be broken into pieces. Hillary Clinton meanwhile has declared that corporations and businesses do not create jobs. Bernie Sanders is so far left, he has said that a 90% tax rate on the rich is not too high.   Continue Reading…

Monetary Rules

$100 bills

Left to their own devices, the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee will more often than not adopt a policy of “easy money”. Rather than adopting a monetary policy that stabilizes the value of the dollar, the FOMC has preferred to use a policy they think will drive unemployment down. The way in which they ran their Quantitative Easing (QE) program might actually have caused deflation with little or no economic stimulation (see here and here and here and here and here and here).   Continue Reading…

Division in the Fed

Evidence of the division between those in the Fed who want tighter money and the Keynesians on the FOMC who want easy money to continue has just appeared. The vice president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank, Stephen D. Williamson, has published a white paper saying there is no evidence that Quantitative Easing (QE) has done anything to stimulate the economy.   Continue Reading…

Bending History

We may be approaching in economics what Thomas Kuhn in his seminal book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (reference [S2]), called a paradigm shift. Kuhn laid out scientific history in periods of “normal science”, “scientific crisis”, and “paradigm shift”, to be followed yet again with a period of normal science with the new normal being defined by a new paradigm. This would continue until the normal science could no longer describe observed phenomena with accuracy, causing a scientific crisis. During the crisis scientists would search for a new paradigm to describe these phenomena. Once a successful paradigm was generally accepted, history would progress to a new normal science period.

All over the world under the influence of Keynesian economics, economies are performing horribly. This is especially true in China, Europe, Japan, and the United States.   Continue Reading…

Why What Happens in China Matters

Forbidden City Temple

Last week for two straight days, China reminded us of how much we have shrunk as an economic power when they devalued their currency. The U.S. stock market promptly tanked. Because of the volume of trade between the U.S. and China, this was an entirely rational response. Among the first casualties of this devaluation should be U.S. imports to China, as it will take more yuan (or renminbi, as the two terms are functionally identical) to buy goods with prices set in dollars. Many have decried China’s action as an open declaration of currency war on the rest of the world (also see here and here). As if the U.S. and Europe were not doing the exact same thing!   Continue Reading…

Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” and Evolution

Image of The Thinker

I was inspired to write this post by a person named Cai in a comment on Clouds and Global Warming. Not that the suggestive part of Cai’s comment had anything to do with global warming, but was motivated by previous comments exchanged between us concerning capitalism, socialism, and Adam Smith’s invisible hand. For readers who have not followed the economic ideas explored on this website, Adam Smith’s invisible hand is the price system of a free market economy that seemingly spontaneously organizes producers of goods to provide for the needs of society.

Cai’s suggestion was to take a look at a post on the website bigthink.com that featured a discussion between the famous evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson (DSW) and the author of the post, Jag Bhalla (JB). Continue Reading…

Solar Power Output and Global Warming

Sun over clouds

Without the Sun we die! Yet how many of us give frequent thought to whether we can can continue to absorb its gift of energy? Or whether that gift will wax or wane? The true believers in Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) think we are keeping a lot more of that gift than is good for us, due to our increasing emissions of CO2. However, even though they consider carbon dioxide to be the major cause of global warming, even they (in the guise of NASA) will grant that rising solar power output contributes about 25% of observable global warming. In our last post on global warming, we found evidence that decreasing cloud cover possibly accounts for all the global warming observed since 1971. Certainly the combination of decreasing cloud screening of incident solar radiation in combination with increasing solar output is more than enough to explain what we have experienced.

So what has the power received from the Sun been as a function of time? Continue Reading…

Dialogues and Quora

Plato's School

I have just found a wonderful place on the internet at Quora.com for carrying on dialogues on serious subjects. Readers of this website will recall that inspiring such conversations was a major motivation for building this weblog. The Quora community is fairly easy to join. The price of admission is the answering of a few easy questions on your knowledge, experience, and interests.

Quora is organized around questions on any topic that any member may post. After a question is posted, any member can post an answer or comment on another member’s answer. In this way multi-sided conversations between people with differing views progress. In posting questions, answers, or comments, there are tools available to input images and URL links to other sources of information. It appears to me to be an ideal internet location for carrying on fascinating conversations, and I highly recommend it to you.

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