Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Innovation

Ronald Coase, a 102 Year Old Economist, is Still Brilliant!

 

English: Ronald Coase

Ronald Coase (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ronald Coase turns 102 this month, so  it’s time for him to launch a new project Man and the Economy.

According to Wikipedia, he is best known for an article he wrote two years before I was born [I turned 73 today], in 1937, entitled The Nature of the Firm, which rates its own entry at Wikipedia. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1991.

He has been writing about property rights for decades and some of his thinking continues to influence modern organizational economics today.

In his current article, Coase criticizes modern economists who have allowed the field to be coopted into supporting the growth of the state. Listen to what he has to say:

This separation of economics from the working economy has severely damaged both the business community and the academic discipline. Since economics offers little in the way of practical insight, managers and entrepreneurs depend on their own business acumen, personal judgment, and rules of thumb in making decisions.

In times of crisis, when business leaders lose their self-confidence, they often look to political power to fill the void. Government is increasingly seen as the ultimate solution to tough economic problems, from innovation to employment.

Yup. There it is: government as the

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Double-Digit Unemployment May Be the New Normal

AMERICAN PROPAGANDA POSTERS: OBAMA JOBS

(Photo credit: printthetruth)

After parsing the unemployment report that was issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, November 2nd, two scholars at the Heritage Foundation, Rea Hederman and James Sherk,  concluded that at the present jobs growth rate it could take another five years for a full jobs recovery to occur from the Great Recession. That would place the recovery after the next presidential election in 2016 and nearly ten years after the start of the recession in December 2007.

Noting that 125,000 new jobs must be created every month just to keep up with population growth, they turned to the “jobs calculator” offered at the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and asked it to determine how long it would take for job growth to return to normal, based on the average job growth over the past three months (170,000). The answer: the summer of 2017.

This assumption that future job growth would be maintained at that rate is laden with so many difficulties and subject to so many unknowns as to call the entire exercise into question. This is called “straight line thinking in a curvilinear world,” or, put another way, this assumes that the future will look like the past. It probably won’t.

For instance, there is the “fiscal cliff” and the great uncertainty about how the lame duck congress will deal with it, if they deal with it at all. Great speculation abounds about various scenarios but each concludes that

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3-D Printing Technology Soon to Allow Printing Guns at Home

3D Printed Gun

3D Printed Gun (Photo credit: Pete Prodoehl)

Cody Wilson, a 24-year-old law student at the University of Texas, believes in the free flow of information and created a company to promote it. He went online to raise some capital for his idea, using a crowd funding website, IndieGoGo, which has funded more than 100,000 campaigns in areas such as music, charity, films and small business startups.

But when IndieGoGo got word of the kind of information Wilson wanted to offer for free, they closed his site and refunded the contributors’ money.

His information? Blueprints for making guns at home using 3-D printers.

Wilson refused to be deterred and created an Internet “collective” called Defense Distributed, where Wilson, in a seven-minute video, explains

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Financial Stability Oversight Council Runs Amok

Library of Law and Liberty: The Revenge of Richard Nixon: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Spreads Its Tentacles

The institutional structure of the CFPB is novel in American history—not merely an independent agency, it is an independent agency tucked inside another independent agency (the Federal Reserve). Its decision-making is not only independent of any review by the President or Congress, but also from the Federal Reserve itself. Its budget is independent from the congressional appropriations process and is instead drawn directly from the operating revenues of the Federal Reserve, a sum that will rise to 12% of the Federal Reserve’s operating expenses by 2013 (an estimated budget of $448 million). The only check on CFPB’s power is the power of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to veto actions by the CFPB but even then the veto can be exercised only by a 2/3 vote of the Council and only if the proposed action would seriously threaten the safety and soundness of the American financial services system.

Constitution

Constitution (Photo credit: The COM Library)

This so-called agency is the latest example of government run amok: totally unaccountable, run by an unvetted bureaucrat appointed illegally by a socialist president. How about that for comfort in the Constitutional process?

Here’s more from Zywicki:

An agency headed by one person, completely insulated from democratic control and budgetary oversight, guarantees an agency that is vulnerable to all of the excesses that strangled the American economy in the 1970s—regulation that chokes innovation and cripples economic growth. And, indeed, even in its short time in existence the CFPB is already manifesting the problems of cost externalization, undue risk aversion, and other regulatory costs.

In its one-year existence, the agency has not failed to disappoint: one rule that it has issued (illegally, as the agency is not authorized by the Constitution) will impose—ready?—7,684,000 man hours to comply with it! Another one—designed to simplify mortgage disclosures—is 1,099 pages long!

As Zywicki laments:

Regrettably this sort of decision-making was entirely predictable for this agency with inadequate checks and balances.

Inadequate? How about non-existent?

The Pauls Introduce Their New Internet Freedom Manifesto

WASHINGTON - JUNE 22:  U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-...

With Ron Paul’s bill H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, headed for a floor vote in the House in the next two weeks (and likely success at passage with 263 sponsors), he and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are now focusing on the Internet.

His Campaign for Liberty (C4L), started in 2008 with some four million dollars of campaign funds from his unsuccessful run for the White House that year, has issued its manifesto to continue the fight: “The Technology Revolution: A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto.”

Starting with his first term as a member of the House of Representatives from Texas in 1976, Paul has led the fight to expose the secret machinations of the Federal Reserve, making that his primary theme in the freedom fight. That theme can be traced to the publication of his The Revolution: A Manifesto in 2008 to his End the Fed in 2009, and finally to his latest book, Liberty Defined, published in January this year.

But with his campaign for the presidency likely to fail at the Republican Party’s convention next month and his decision not seek reelection to his House seat, Paul is passing the torch to his son. As explained on the C4L website: 

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Privacy-Eliminating CISPA Awaits Fate in the Senate

Stop CISPA

Despite an increasingly noisy chorus of resistance to many of its provisions, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House, 248-168, on April 26. Passage in the House was assured with more than 70 percent of those supported by the Tea Party voting for it. It moved to an uncertain future in the Senate.

That opposition noted that the bill’s many flaws included precious little “protection” for rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, especially those guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In the zeal to “protect” the country against “cybersecurity threats,” Internet providers and other communications companies would be allowed to share their customers’ private information with agencies of the federal government, and vice versa. As Techdirt’s Leigh Breadon explained,

[The] government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a “cybersecurity crime.”

Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul said virtually the same thing in his opposition to CISPA:

CISPA permits both the federal government and private companies to view your private online communications without judicial oversight [as required by the Fourth Amendment] provided that they do so of course in the name of cybersecurity.

The bill is another heavy-handed effort to expand government’s surveillance of private citizens’ communications without restraint. By using words such as “may” instead of “must” and “cybersecurity” without defining the term, the bill creates just the sort of opening through the Fourth Amendment that has, until now, largely

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As Regulations Strangle the Economy, History Provides an Alternative

Small Steps Toward Deregulation

President Barack Obama speaks to a joint sessi...

Because of disappointment over the economy’s rate of recovery which appeared to be confirmed by the March jobs numbers coming in at half the rate expected, the House is making efforts to roll back regulations that are said to be inhibiting the recovery.

The Wall Street Journal explained that, although the jobless rate edged down in March from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent, “that decline was due less to new hiring than people abandoning their job searches.” Indeed, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve a record 88 million people are “not in the labor force,” up from 60 million in the early 1980s.

Regulations emanating from regulatory agencies have turned into a veritable waterfall under the Obama administration, forcing the White House last summer to promise to “review hundreds of regulations that could get streamlined or scrapped in response to criticism from the GOP and business that burdensome rules are holding back the economy.”

Writing at The New American, William Hoar noted that, even if such a review actually took place and then resulted in any kind of rollback of regulations, it would amount to no more than “a speed bump for the diktaks racing out of Washington.” In fact, the White House is a significant part of the problem. Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA) noted that since Obamacare became law it has grown from a 2000-page bill to more than 6,000 pages of regulations in the Federal Register.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) got so exasperated with the regulations threatening to asphyxiate the economy that he announced plans to introduce legislation to abolish every

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Amendment to End Energy Subsidies Fails in the Senate

Senator speaking at CPAC in .

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced the Energy Freedom & Economic Prosperity Act (EFEPA) in February and then offered his bill as an amendment to the Transportation Bill last week. Had it passed it would have eliminated all energy tax credits not only for wind, solar, biomass and biofuels but for coal, oil and natural gas as well. Said DeMint:

Our tax code is riddled with loopholes for special interests and it’s time to end this corporate welfare that is hurting our economy. When Washington picks winners and losers in the energy market, those with the highest paid lobbyists win while the small businesses and taxpayers lose. We shouldn’t favor ethanol over hydrogen, nuclear over natural gas, or oil over renewables. The free market economy works when everyone competes on a level playing field and works to provide Americans with the best, lowest-cost products.

The original bill and the amendment were supported by a raft of free-market advocates including Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, Heritage Action and the National Taxpayers Union. In a letter to its members FreedomWorks urged them to pressure their senators to vote for the amendment, noting that “these subsidies have long distorted the market for new sources of energy by allocating funding to the technologies with the best lobbyists instead of those with the most value to consumers.”

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s study of subsidies to the energy industry completed last July, the federal government in 2010 gave out $37 billion of taxpayer monies, more than double the amount given away in 2007. Biofuels received $6.6 billion, wind received $5 billion, solar and biomass each received $1.1 billion, coal received $1.3 billion while oil and gas received subsidies of

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How Leviathan Works: FDA to Regulate Medical Apps

The press release issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which operates under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), on July 19, 2011, signaled the beginning of its regulatory process, this time concerning “mobile medical apps.” The announcement made it plain that such regulation certainly fell under its jurisdiction, as if declaring it made it so: “The use of mobile medical apps on smart phones and tablets is revolutionizing health care delivery,” according to Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “Our draft approach calls for oversight of only those mobile medical apps that present the greatest risk to patients when they don’t work as intended.”

Beginning its existence in 1927 as the Food, Drug, and Insecticide organization (becoming the Food and Drug Administration in 1930), a significant expansion of the FDA’s reach sprang from the elixir sulfanilamide disaster which resulted in the deaths of more than 100 people in 1937. Under the Roosevelt administration this was an opportunity to be seized, and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) was passed in 1938 under which Congress “gave authority” to the Food and Drug Administration to oversee the safety of food, drugs, and cosmetics.

The July 19 announcement allayed concerns that the FDA was going to regulate every app somehow related to food, or drugs, or cosmetics. The press release said the agency would attempt to regulate only “a small subset of mobile medical apps that impact or may impact the performance or functionality of currently regulated medical devices.” These would include, initially at least: 

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Judge Rules Americans Can Be Forced to Testify Against Themselves

MSI laptop computer

Judge Robert Blackburn of the U.S. District Court of Colorado ruled on Monday that a defendant must decrypt her laptop computer so that prosecutors can open the files containing data they need to complete building their case against her.

On May 14, 2010, the federal government executed search warrants at the home of Ramona Fricosu in Peyton, Colorado, looking for evidence in a case involving bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering as part of a real estate scam in which she and a partner were allegedly involved. During the search they removed a laptop computer which was encrypted with PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) software. When attempts by the government to open the files failed, they asked her to open the files for them. Following advice from her attorney, Phil DuBois, she turned them down, claiming protection under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

DuBois says that the final deposition of the case will have a major impact on individual privacy in the digital age: The defendant can’t be obligated to help the government interpret those files which could be used against her in court.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, say that inability to obtain data from encrypted files would “harm the public interest” by allowing potential criminals to hide evidence that would defeat their efforts to prosecute them.

In the Fricosu case, the prosecutors claim that

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Irony Alert: Keynesian Economists Rip Obama for Failed Keynesian Policies

English: Barack Obama speaking at a rally at t...

The results of a survey by the Associated Press of 36 Keynesian economists—economists who believe that government is the driving force behind a strong economy—are in: President Obama received just “mediocre marks” for his handling of the economy since his inauguration on January 20, 2009. Half of those surveyed rated his performance as “fair” while 13 rated it as “poor.” The remaining five gave the president a rating of “good.” None rated his performance as “excellent.” The survey included explanations for why his performance was so poor even though he has surrounded himself with Keynesians. Some said he didn’t do enough: The stimulus wasn’t big enough. William Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services, said Obama’s administration “generally tried to take the right kinds of measures but [has] often failed to lead with enough vigor to overcome political obstacles.” Some said he tried to do too much and got distracted by hammering Congress into voting for his healthcare takeover. Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics, said, “Health care wasn’t necessarily the most important thing to be dealing with when you’re in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.” Others said he picked the wrong types of projects to fund, relying too much on public works that took too long to get going. Still others said the President just did the very best he could under the circumstances, noting that the Great Recession was well under way when he took office, and offering the bromide that even if his Keynesian policies didn’t perform as expected, at least he

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Each Chevy Volt Costs Taxpayers $250,000

English: 2011 Chevrolet Volt exhibited at the ...

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy just released a study showing that by the time all federal and state loans, grants, subsidies, and tax credits are figured in, each Chevy Volt costs taxpayers upwards of $250,000.

James Hohman, the center’s assistant director of fiscal policy, counted a total of 18 government “deals” but didn’t include the fact that one-quarter of Volt’s manufacturer, General Motors, is owned by the federal government.

He counted not only incentives offered directly to GM or to the ultimate buyer, but also those offered to suppliers of parts and technology for the Volt. The Department of Energy, for example, awarded a $106 million grant to GM’s Brownstone plant that assembles the Volt’s batteries. The State of Michigan awarded $106 million to GM to retain jobs in its Hamtramck assembly plant. And Compact Power, the company that makes the Volt’s batteries, received $100 million in “refundable battery credits.”

Some of the subsidies and credits are extended over varying periods of time and some are dependent upon certain production “milestones” being achieved. He counted them all along with subsidies to companies vying to provide batteries for the Volt such as the support provided to A123 Systems. A123 lost the battery contract to Compact Power, but Hohman included their subsidies in his study as well.

The total of all subsidies, grants and credits is $3 billion: $2.3 billion in federal money and $700 million in Michigan’s money. That’s enough to purchase

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The Story Behind the Best- and Worst-Run States

Seal of Wyoming

In its second annual survey of the best- and worst-run states, 24/7 Wall St. noted some significant changes but the same message: “States can do a great deal to control their fate.”

The report noted:

Well-run states have a great deal in common with well-run corporations. Books are kept balanced. Investment is prudent. Debt is sustainable. Innovation is prized. Workers are well-chosen and well-trained. Executives, including elected and appointed officials, are retained based on merit and not politics.

Based on data collected from numerous sources such as Standard & Poor’s, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Tax Foundation24/7 Wall St. then ranked each state on its performance in 10 categories. The study concluded that the best-run state was

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Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is Overkill

Listen

The first hearing on Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-Texas) bill HR 3261, known as the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), was held Wednesday in Washington by the House Judiciary Committee, which Smith chairs.

The bill was offered back in October by Smith along with 12 cosponsors, including Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) who stated:

Intellectual property is one of America’s chief job creators and competitive advantages in the global marketplace, yet American inventors, authors, and entrepreneurs have been forced to stand by and watch as their works are stolen by foreign infringers beyond the reach of current U.S. laws. This legislation will update the laws to ensure that the economic incentives our Framers enshrined in the Constitution over 220 years ago—to encourage new writings, research, products and services—remain effective in the 21st century’s global marketplace, which will create more American jobs. The bill will also protect consumers from dangerous counterfeit products, such as fake drugs, automobile parts and infant formula.

The bill represents a modification of the Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act, which was reported out of committee last spring but hasn’t yet reached the floor of the Senate for debate.

Supporters and opposition are rapidly lining up, pitting Hollywood’s producers against the Internet content providers, or, as Politico.com called it, the

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The Oil Map of the World Is Shifting to the West

Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline

Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power (which was adapted into a mini-series by PBS in 1992) explored the shift of oil’s epicenter from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere, expressing his surprise that “what appeared to be irreversible is being reversed.” He explains:

The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore deposits found off Brazil.

The transformation is happening not as part of some grand design or major policy effort, but almost accidentally. This shift was not planned—it is a product of

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The Internet: Gutenberg Press of the 21st Century

Gutenberg Press Replica

Image via Flickr

Introduction

In a remarkable coalescence of time and circumstance, Michael Hart typed the Declaration of Independence into his computer on July 4th, 1971, Independence Day, and launched Project Gutenberg, the world’s largest non-profit digital library available on the Internet.

On his way home from a fireworks display, Hart stopped in at a grocery store and was given a copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed on parchment. He typed the text into his computer, intending to send it as an email to his friends on Arpanet. A colleague persuaded him that his message would cause the system to crash and so Hart merely posted a note that the full text could be downloaded instead. And thus, according to the obituary noting his passing on September 6th, 2011 in the New York Times, “Project Gutenberg was born.”

Project Gutenberg now has more than 36,000 free eBooks in 60 languages available to download to a computer, Kindle, Android, iOS or other handheld devices in a number of text formats, and the number is growing daily. Hart’s goal, formulated on that day in 1971, was “to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books to help break down the bars of ignorance and illiteracy.” Even in its early stages, Hart saw the power of the Internet that would allow for the infinite reproduction of information with the potential, according to the Times, of “overturning all established power structures.” (emphasis added) In 1995, Hart wrote:

For the first time in the entire history of the Earth, we have the ability for EVERYONE to get copies of EVERYTHING…to all the people on the Earth, via computers. Think about what you have just read for a moment, please: EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE…

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Lieberman Plans to Kick the Medicare Can

Joe Lieberman Fluffy Flag

Image by Truthout.org via Flickr

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined with Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday in announcing their plan to reform Medicare before it goes “broke and take[s] our government down with it.” Noting that Medicare beneficiaries take almost three times more out of Medicare than they ever put in, Lieberman is persuaded that the flawed welfare-state program can be reformed.

With substantial increases in premiums and extensions of age of eligibility, Lieberman said their plan would save $600 billion over the next 10 years, and reduce Medicare’s unfunded liability from

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Paul Ryan’s Plan Unveiled, Reviled, Applauded

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has unveiled his “Path to Prosperity” budget, nearly all discussion is focusing on the details and not on the proper role of government. Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Ryan said that “our budget … cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt.” He also said that it

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FCC Ruling is Irrelevant

Internet Map. Ninian Smart predicts global com...

Image via Wikipedia

There have been sighs of despair and much hand-wringing coming from observers of the latest attempt by the FCC to intervene in the operations of the Internet. The noisiest came from one of the two commissioners who voted against the ruling, Robert McDowell.

Despite a court ruling earlier this year which limited the FCC’s jurisdiction over the Internet, and Congressional pressure to leave well enough alone, McDowell warned that the FCC’s decision yesterday is “likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices.” He concluded that this decision “may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.”

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American Austerity and the End of “Wars of Choice”

Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City

Image via Wikipedia

Foreign Affairs, the mouthpiece of the Council on Foreign Relations, is like a 500-pound canary: When it speaks, people listen. Gary North referred to the article in the November-December 2010 issue entitled “American Profligacy and American Power” as “a turning point…the first official announcement…that the Federal deficit is out of control…which threatens the survival of America’s position as the world’s most influential political-military participant.”

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann