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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

The Power of Compounding

According to an apocryphal story, physicist Albert Einstein, when asked what was the most powerful force in nature, answered “Compound interest.” Whether it’s the most powerful force, it is powerful. Here’s a paragraph from Sterling Futures, October 15, 2021: Including dividends, the S&P 500 Total Return index, in the five years ended September 30, 2021, gained an astonishing +118%, an average annual growth rate of nearly 24%! That’s more than double the stock...

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Why weren’t we polarized in the past?

There’s a lot of recent discussion about how the country has become increasingly polarized. One way of getting at the issue is by looking at the opposite question: Why weren’t we polarized in the past? Here it will be useful to consider the mid-1960s and the late-1980s, two periods in which political polarization might have occurred, but didn’t.  Furthermore, I’ll argue that the reason polarization did not occur in the 1960s is entirely different from the reason it...

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It’s not what you don’t know; it’s what you know that ain’t so

In a recent post, I listed a bunch of myths that we teach to our students. One of them was specifically applicable to the German population—the myth that hyperinflation put the Nazis in power. In fact, it was deflation (and unemployment) that transformed the Nazis from a small political party in 1929 to a major party in 1932. I don’t know if anyone at Bloomberg reads my posts, but just a couple of days later they did a story on this myth. They pointed out that the...

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If you want liberty, aim for success (and vice versa)

I don’t think I have to convince libertarians like myself that liberty often leads to more successful societies, but I’m not sure how many understand that the reverse is also true. It’s not possible to just wave a magic wand and call forth more liberty. Disasters such as war, depression and pandemics often lead to repressive government policies. Thus one way to promote a free society is to do the hard work promoting policies such as peace, prosperity and good public...

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Socialism by Degrees

Is it a socialist law, when the government tells landlords that they may not evict tenants for nonpayment? In other words, landlords are forced to give free housing to nonpaying squatters. How about when the government taxes every landowner, to give out free education services to every child? Or when the government forces everyone to pay 16% of their income into a scheme that promises to pay them a pension in retirement? There is quite a variety of these programs. Each may be a small...

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Some Covid Links

From Emory University: “COVID-19 survivors may possess wide-ranging resistance to the disease.” (HT Martin Kulldorff) Daniel Hannan continues to write insightfully, wisely, and humanely about Covid-19 restrictions. A slice: A nightclub should have the right to insist on vaccine certificates; but it should be under no legal obligation to do so. The default assumption for an open society should be that each club (and each cruise ship and each church and so on) can decide what, if any,...

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First impressions

Three years ago, the Atlanta Hawks traded Luka Doncic to Dallas in exchange for Trae Young and the right to draft Cam Reddish. Over the next three years, there was an almost universal view among NBA basketball fans that the trade was very lopsided, with Atlanta losing badly. Last night, Atlanta was eliminated from the playoffs. Nonetheless, one TV commentator suggested that the trade now looks much more even. Young was spectacular in the playoffs before getting hurt a...

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The wisdom that never works

In a short essay that beautifully encapsulates a few of the most relevant arguments in classical liberalism (Over-Legislation, 1853), Herbert Spencer observed: Did the State fulfill efficiently its unquestionable duties, there would be some excuse for this eagerness to assign it further duties. Were there no complaints of its faulty administration of justice… of its playing the tyrant where it should have been the protector… had we, in short, proved its efficiency as...

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Maintain Your Cafe Hayek Subscriptions

Cafe Hayek Patrons: To maintain your e-mail subscriptions to Cafe Hayek, you’ll have to sign up at the link below. (Doing so takes only a few seconds.) The reason is that, as of tomorrow (July 1st), Feedburner will no longer supply such subscriptions. Thanks!  – Don https://mercatuscenter.formstack.com/forms/cafehayekrssfeed Comments

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John Tamny’s Hayekian Take on Covid Policies

“John Tamny bravely describes the terrible and senseless economic pain caused by politicians panicking in the face of a health concern that—let’s be real—is no worse than a bad flu season.” So writes Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard in his blurb for John Tamny’s latest book, When Politicians Panicked. Let’s see: The worst flu season in the last 100 years was in 1957–1958, when the Asian flu (technically H2N2) killed between 70,000 and 116,000 Americans. If a flu...

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