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Three memes about economic thought and capitalism ...

Recent posts

The Emergence of Capitalism -- the primal link between State militarism and early industrial capitalism

  ... or, the difference between mass  production and massive  production. But first -- how do you hide the fact that the US economy depends on weapons production? You probably think it doesn't or at least that nobody hides it, since it's a known fact that the US outspends all of its allies and enemies by miles: according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies , in 2020 the US spent $738 Billion on its defense  budget , which -- in order to equal it -- would require the combined military spending of the next fourteen highest-spending nations to exceed it (China, India, UK, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Australia, Italy, Brazil, Canada, and Israel). That, however, is only a tiny fraction of the story. The US is the world's largest arms exporter , racking up $10.752 Billion in 2020. That actually doesn't seem very large, considering that the entire US exports the same year were valued at $208.6 Billion, meaning that arms expor

Defining Capitalism -- and what the definitions leave out --

Capitalism  and  free markets  (or,  a market economy ) are two really basic, critical terms for libertarians, so much so that many consider the two terms synonyms. They aren't. The purpose of this article  is to examine definitions of capitalism, extract the consensus, and suggest that many of the key factors you need to understand the operation of  free market capitalism  are NOT included in the standard definitions. This will be the first installment of explaining why neither capitalism nor the State ever really act in the way you have been conditioned to believe they will. This is going to be long, because if I am going to piss you off to make you think, then I might as well take the time to do it right. Let's start with definitions of capitalism, initially relying on pretty standard libertarian sources: A proper beginning is with the man most associated with Austrian economics,  Dr. Ludwig von Mises , who defined the terms many times, and (as might be expected) varied the

Libertarians and the "easy rescue" -- a better litmus test than trolleys or a wedding cake

Let's assume a libertarian community, and visualize a swimming pool on private property (what other kind would there be?) at which a lone individual sits in a deck chair by the edge, reading a book and working on a tan. This person is a guest of the property owner, not the owner of the pool. At some point during this fine July afternoon, a four-year-old child wanders into the area. The child is not related to the property owner or the guest, has not been invited onto the property. He or she has somehow gotten away from parents and been led by curiosity to wander the neighborhood ... finding the pool ... ... and falls into the deep end ... and can't swim. I don't know if the guest can swim or not -- it's actually immaterial because there is one of those very long poles with the scoop on the end and a life preserver, both sitting right beside his/her chair. It is likely that the guest doesn't even have to stand up to rescue the child, just reach down and pick up the p

Forgotten heroes -- Sir Arnold Savage and the origination of "no taxation without representation"

I am in the process of working on a new approach to an American History textbook on the collegiate level, which will tell a much broader story that includes not just wars, presidents and social history, but a significant amount of economics, political science, intellectual history et al. The first volume actually begins in 1400 and ends in 1500 -- just eight years after Columbus lands on San Salvador, accidentally sort-of discovering the Americas. It's necessary because students today have no idea of the world into which this country was born. The individual segments are told in present tense (for the purpose of immediacy) and are each limited to 10 numbered paragraphs of no more than about 1,500 words total (so that students might actually read them). So here is the segment on Sir Arnold Savage, the man who engineered the principle that taxation was only legit when approved by the people and their representatives ... in 1404. Because it is the second segment on English history in

Comic books for libertarians -- Authorized Happiness

A state minister being interviewed about the social value of the "Universal Card" From Authorized Happiness   #2 (van Hamme & Griffo) Cinebook has published a tour de force  three-issue series that qualifies as "must reading" for libertarians. Written by Jean van Hamme , with illustrations by Griffo , it begins as a series of seemingly unrelated series of fables about life under a completely over-reaching bureaucratic state ... These are individually entertaining enough, but early on in the second issue you begin to realize that these are not small stories with the same background,  but one very intricate tale with a final twist that will leave you ... what? ... breathless ... vindicated ... gasping ... If you are not familiar with European comics, the Cinebook brand is a great place to start. The entire Authorized Happiness  series is available at Comixology for only $5.99/issue.

A Different Incarnation of The Delaware Libertarian -- the Obligatory Introductory Post You Don't Need to Read.

2013: one of my proudest moments in Delaware Libertarian history as my daughter Alexis (who was 17 at the time) joined the Libertarian Party of Delaware and activist Chuck Mead-e garnering signatures for marriage equality. From late 2007 to Spring 2014 I published The Delaware Libertarian , aided and abetted by an ever-changing cast of co-authors, at a time when blogs (at least in the First State) were the heart and soul of political activism on all points of the spectrum. Between 2011-2013, this blog was the second most widely read political blog in the State. If you care, there are over 3,500 posts in the archives covering (then) current political news on both State & national levels; lots of reporting on Libertarian candidates & party infighting; policy commentaries; analytical pieces; amateur science fiction; and a whole series on Thai Ladyboys and sexual slavery in Southeast Asia. Then life happened, and all of us here got -- not quite bored, but at least uninspired -- an