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The Political Economy of Fear

[S]ince love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.  — Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513 All animals experience fear—human beings, perhaps, most of all. Any animal incapable of fear would have been hard pressed to survive, regardless of its size, speed, or other attributes. Fear alerts us to dangers that threaten our well-being and sometimes our very lives. Sensing fear, we respond by running away, by hiding, or by...

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Can the Concept of Exploitation Be Saved?

I ended my article last week with a rash assertion. Marx says that capitalists exploit workers, and I countered that this claim depends on the false labor theory of value. It is vital to bear in mind that when Marx talks about exploitation, he has a technical sense of the concept in mind, rather than the popular sense, in which “exploitation” means unfair treatment. To claim that capitalists exploit workers in this sense need not rest on the labor theory of value. The technical sense arises...

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Jeff Deist on Court Packing Chaos

Jeff Deist comments on the latest Democrat agenda of increasing the number of judges in SCOTUS. Does the expansion bill stand any chance in the house? How can conservatives be forward-looking instead of being reactionary all the time? Should we expect a scandal involving Ron DeSantis? What can we learn from Ludwig von Mises about the bureaucratic and working classes in our society? Find more from David Gornoski on A Neighbor’s Choice. Powered by WPeMatico

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The Foul Jones Act

Juliette Sellgren’s podcast with the Cato Institute’s Colin Grabow is a gem. It’s on the 1920 Jones Act, a particularly nasty piece of still-existing legislation that protects a very small number of U.S. ship owners, ship builders, and maritime workers at the larger expense of the American public. Under the Jones Act, each vessel carrying goods by water between U.S. ports must be: – owned by U.S. companies that are controlled by American citizens with at least 75 percent U.S. percent...

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The Left Understands Taxation Is Theft, That’s Why They Support It

By: Peter St. Onge On March 18, Joe Wiesenthal of Bloomberg Markets had MMT economist Stephanie Kelton on the show. If you’re not familiar with MMT, they think governments should print more money because deficits aren’t a big deal. At one point in the show, Wiesenthal asked, “If we don’t need to worry about deficits, why do we have taxes?” Kelton’s response was illuminating. Now, the traditional excuse for taxes is, paraphrasing Oliver Wendell Holmes, that they are the “price of...

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The Interesting Case of the Zaïre—the Question MMT Cannot Answer

The zaïre lived an interesting life. The zaïre was the basic unit of currency for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Zaire (it’s back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; I’ll just call it Zaire for ease) from 1967 until 1997. Seventy-three of the 79 series of zaïre banknotes featured Ziarian dictator, CIA stooge, and world champion kleptocrat Joseph-Desire Mobuto. For its first two decades, the zaïre was surprisingly stable as far as Sub-Saharan currencies go....

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Beware of Businesses Pandering

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal: Editor: Daniel Henninger rightly denounces CEOs’ pandering to Progressives – pandering that chews cancerously at the market order that alone makes possible not only the success of these CEOs’ companies, but also the wealth that Progressives rely upon to fund their countless schemes (“When CEOs Zoom for Democrats,” April 15). Such venal opportunism, alas, is as old as, well, venal opportunism. In the conclusion of his masterful survey of the...

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Some Covid Links

Joakim Book bemoans the deep and unhinged hostility of so many people to those of us who question Covid-19 lockdowns and the mainstream narrative that supports them. Toby Young makes the case against vaccine passports. A slice: The strongest objection to making access to any service or activity contingent on producing evidence that you don’t have an infectious disease is that it’s an inversion of the Common Law principle that everything should be permitted unless the law specifically...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 573 of the 1988 collection of Lord Acton’s writings (edited by the late J. Rufus Fears), Essays in Religion, Politics, and Morality; specifically, it’s a note drawn from Acton’s extensive papers at Cambridge University; (I can find no date for this passage): Official truth is not actual truth. DBx: Pictured here is a dispenser of official truth. Comments

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The OECD makes sense this time

This not being something we can always say, that the OECD’s economic prescriptions make sense. But - horrendous no doubt - cynicism about international economic bureaucracies aside, this does indeed make sense: Stamp duty should be cut permanently as part of a radical post-Covid overhaul to boost investment and make it easier for people to move to new jobs, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).Transactions taxes are always contra-indicated given...

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