Quote of the day

A party is not a person. It does not have beliefs; it cannot be persuaded by philosophical arguments. To say that a party holds certain views is an abbreviated way of describing the outcome of the internal political processes of that party — the processes that determine what positions are published as the party’s platform and, often more important, what positions are pushed by the party’s candidates and acted upon if they gain office.

— David Friedman from The Machinery of Freedom

Quote of the day

“But property rights are not the rights of property; they are the rights of humans with regard to property. They are a particular kind of human right”

The Machinery of Freedom – David Friedman

The Road to Serfdom: Despotism, Then and Now

“Every economy has its contradictions.… What counts is results, and there can be no doubt that the Soviet planning system has been a powerful engine for economic growth.” — Paul Samuelson, Economics, 1985 edition

“Contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, the Soviet economy is proof that … a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.” — Paul Samuelson, Economics, 1989 edition

“Two-thirds of a century after [The Road to Serfdom] got written, hindsight confirms how inaccurate its innuendo about the future turned out to be.” — Paul Samuelson, 2009

via Study Hayek’s Road to Serfdom with Tom DiLorenzo

“For a number of years, mainland Chinese buyers have accounted for nearly all new apartment sales in Melbourne and Sydney. On numbers I’ve seen, they have been investing between A$2 billion and $3 billion a year.”

via http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com

The mean does matter

bq. The desire to force upon the people a creed which is regarded as salutary for them is, of course, not a thing that is new or particular to our time. New, however, is the argument by which many of our intellectuals try to justify such attempts. There is no real freedom of thought in our society, so it is said, because the opinions and tastes of the masses are shaped by propaganda, by advertising, by the example of the upper classes, and by other environmental factors which inevitably force the thinking of the people into well-worn grooves. From this it is concluded that if the ideals and tastes of the great majority are always fashioned by circumstances which we can control, we ought to use this power deliberately to turn the thoughts of the people in what we think is a desirable direction.

bq. Probably, it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe. It shows a complete confusion of thought to suggest that, because under any sort of system the majority of people follow the lead of somebody; it makes no difference if everybody has to follow the same lead. To deprecate the value of intellectual freedom because it will never mean for everybody the same possibility of independent thought is completely to miss the reasons which give intellectual freedom its value. What is essential to make it serve its function as the prime mover of intellectual progress is not that everybody maybe able to think or write anything but that any cause or idea maybe argued by somebody. So long as dissent is not suppressed, there will always be some who will query the ideas ruling their contemporaries and put new ideas to the test of argument and propaganda.

_F.A. Hayek – The Road to Serfdom (Eleven: The End of Truth)_

On the Value of Internet Properties

The dotcom boom of the late 90s was often referred to as the internet land rush – the thinking being that as with land, there was a limited amount of space and as with early market movers in traditional industries (governed largely by control of physical distribution channels) the early settlers would be able to build strongly defended market positions.

This thinking continues today, despite a long list of dotcoms that were said at some point to be “taking over the world” which are now, only a few years later, seen as relics. Wasn’t Friendster supposed to “own” the social networking market (until Facebook)? Wasn’t Geocities supposed to own the personal webpage market (until myspace)? Wasn’t Yahoo supposed to own search (until Google)? Etc.

The pattern seems to be an ever increasing rate of production new, more specialized forms of tools and communication. For example, flickr is a social network of photography, youtube is a social network of video, lookbook.nu is a social network of fashion and goodreads.com is social network of avid readers. Will some Facebook app replace these? It seems more likely to me that we will instead see these networks diverging into ever more specialized interests.

And as the rate of divergence increases, the ability to control the market for any (wide) amount of time plummets. Eventually, the model of large investments to take market share reaping large profits in the long run dies, as there will be no long run for large market shares.

from “dekorte.com”:http://dekorte.com/blog/blog.cgi?do=item&id=4057

Why the Meltdown Should Have Surprised No One

“Peter Schiff”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Schiff talked about many actual causes of the current economy problems. Few random points I still remember from the talk. At a time Yahoo was worth twice than the entire New Zealand. Clinton created an artificial boom that finally came back to bite us now – Bush just prolonged the recession and made it even bigger. Everyone wants to go back to a strict lending standard, but wants to keep the bubble housing prices; noone will be able to afford that price without all those gimmicks. Everyone is greedy, but in a (really) free-market greed is balanced by risk, but the gov removed the risk. The gov “guaranties”:http://www.fdic.gov/about/mission/index.html bank deposits, hence noone cares about which banks are good banks anymore. Obama has not changed anything policy-wise.

There are a lot good points in the talk, even you don’t agree with him, it is worth to watch.

Via “dekorte”:http://dekorte.com