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Classifying People By Their Government Rather Than Occupation Simply Justifies The Expansion Of State Power

Today, Krugman yet again argues that there is a lack of demand.

Yes, there is a lack of demand, I agree.

There is a lack of demand because our lower classes are unproductive in comparison to their peers in the world. There is a lack of demand for their labor. Since there is a lack of demand for their labor, there is a lack of money for them to spend.

A state is merely one means of classifying people, and it’s a convenient one for statists, whose only purpose is to justify expansion of the state.

In a world of relatively free trade, people are citizens of their occupational sector.

The American upper classes have moved ahead with the rest of the world economy, and the American lower classes have not.

And the reason for that failure is state policy, and in particular, state policy on education.

State policy on education is more concerned with achieving political unity between disparate races and cultures than it is in creating productive citizens who can compete in the world market, and therefore create demand.

Harrison Bergeron writes for TheTimes.

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Four Reasons For The Long Term Decline In Violence

Regarding Pinker’s new book on the decline in violence in the world over time.

I would argue that there are the following reasons for the worldwide decline in violence.

1. The Abstraction Of Property
Stated by an unnamed commenter on The Economist: Odd that no mention is made of the most obvious point: that when one can abstract wealth (for example, into bank accounts and physical property) violence declines proportionately. In some parts of Africa where wealth is largely a function of how many cattle one has, violence is quite prevalent. This is because wealth can be captured by violent means – the risk/reward ratio is favorable. But in the West, what can a mugger hope to get? A few pounds or euros or dollars. The victim’s wealth is largely inaccesible. So only the most desperate resort to violence – far better to become a Wall Street banker and steal billions quite legally without needing to use any physical force at all. The correlation between violence and the abstraction of wealth is well understood so the omission of this fact is quite surprising.

2. Increases In the Likelihood of Punishment.
Contrary to liberal desires, it turns out that longer, and harsher sentences are in fact a deterrent. That’s the data. That’s the fact. Plain and simple.

3. Increasing real wealth
Obviously a deterrent.

4. Cheap Entertainment
A bored male is a dangerous thing.

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List of 20th Century Genocides

The worst genocides of the 20th Century (160 million killed)
– Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50) 49-78,000,000
– Jozef Stalin (USSR, 1932-39) 23,000,000 (the purges plus Ukraine’s famine)
– Adolf Hitler (Germany, 1939-1945) 12,000,000 (concentration camps and civilians WWII)
– Leopold II of Belgium (Congo, 1886-1908) 8,000,000
– Hideki Tojo (Japan, 1941-44) 5,000,000 (civilians in WWII)
– Ismail Enver (Turkey, 1915-20) 1,200,000 Armenians (1915) + 350,000 Greek Pontians and 480,000 Anatolian Greeks (1916-22) + 500,000 Assyrians (1915-20)
– Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79) 1,700,000
– Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94) 1,600,000 (purges and concentration camps)
– Menghistu (Ethiopia, 1975-78) 1,500,000
– Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970) 1,000,000
– Leonid Brezhnev (Afghanistan, 1979-1982) 900,000
– Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994) 800,000
– Saddam Hussein (Iran 1980-1990 and Kurdistan 1987-88) 600,000
– Tito (Yugoslavia, 1945-1987) 570,000
– Sukarno (Communists 1965-66) 500,000
– Fumimaro Konoe (Japan, 1937-39) 500,000? (Chinese civilians)
– Jonas Savimbi (Angola, 1975-2002) 400,000
– Mullah Omar – Taliban (Afghanistan, 1986-2001) 400,000
– Idi Amin (Uganda, 1969-1979) 300,000
– Yahya Khan (Pakistan, 1970-71) 300,000 (Bangladesh)
– Benito Mussolini (Ethiopia, 1936; Libya, 1934-45; Yugoslavia, WWII) 300,000
– Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire, 1965-97) ?
= Charles Taylor (Liberia, 1989-1996) 220,000

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Honduran Experiments In Creating The Libertarian Paradise

Over On The Economist, an unnamed author writes that the Hondurans are sponsoring a libertarian experiment:

, libertarians have a real chance to implement their ideas. In addition to a big special development region, the Honduran government intends to approve two smaller zones. And two libertarian-leaning start-ups have already signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding with the Honduran government to develop them.

Then references this chart which lists other attempts at libertarian utopias.

But they only serve to illustrate the futility of these paradises.

The biggest problem for any libertarian venture, is that the cost of developing an economy on anything other than LAND that contains human beings who may act as consumers is simply too high for an economy to form. The sea is, so to speak, infertile soil. The cost of prohibiting rent-seeking is equally high.

Libertarianism states will be created by the application of violence against those who do not wish to possess freedom, and maintained only by the application of violence against those who would steal freedom.

Silly anarchic fantasies to the contrary.

Monarchy. Rule of the One-Law Under Common Law. Private government. Freedom.

Violence is the source of freedom. Do not surrender your violence without demanding freedom in exchange.

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Pravda Rails Against Fox News Without Realizing That They’re Looking In The Mirror.

Over on Pravda, the popular, nationalistic and jingoistic Russian news agency, Fox News is attacked for it’s nationalist sentiments. I replied:

Fox news is not exactly a minority business. It’s the most popular cable news channel.

A better point of view, would be that Fox caters to the same audience that Pravda does: Nationalists. Just as Russians feel they are a threatened minority, so do white americans. And from that perspective, both the Jingoism of Pravda and Fox news serve the wants of their audiences.

FWIW: Americans were against communism, not Russians, or even a Russian empire. And frankly, if Russians would rebuild their empire, if for no other reason than to secure their borders, the world, and the west, would be a better place. However, forming an alliance of any sort that would assist Iran in becoming the core state of islam, by uniting Syra, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan into a military-political block, is not going to help either Russia or the west. Islam is a political system not just a religion, and it is naturally more despotic than even the byzantines.

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Defining ‘Rich’. It’s Easy: Whomever Can Exit Participation In The Market

On Economix at the NYT, Bruce Bartlett writes that it’s difficult to count who’s ‘rich’.

The first thing to know is that there is no formal definition of who is rich, middle class or poor. Of course, there is an official definition for the poverty rate, but that figure is just a back of the envelope calculation that has simply been increased by the inflation rate since the 1960s. There are many other ways of calculating the poverty rate that could either raise the poverty threshold or reduce it.

Another problem is that one’s social class is a function of both income and wealth. There are many among the elderly who have little income but may have fairly substantial wealth by, for example, owning a home free and clear. At the other end, there are those with high incomes who are, nevertheless, deeply in debt, perhaps even having a negative net worth.

It is certainly possible to calculate who is ‘rich’. The goal of every individual is to exit the market. Whether that individual studies hard to get a good (protected) job in big company, or works for the government which by definition is extra-market (and protected), or seeks a (protected) union job, or whether that person does none of that rent-seeking, and instead, exits the market through saving or investment.

“Rich” means ‘exiting the market’. To exit the market one needs roughly on hundred times the median income, or about 4.5-5M today. It used to be that a million dollars meant something meaningful, but it doesn’t. You can easily burn through it if you’re the kind of person that can make it in the first place.

Rich is a balance sheet calculation, not an income calculation. If a person’s balance sheet exceeds about one hundred times the median income (which is by definition, the 1%) then realistically, it doesn’t matter how much of their income you tax.

I suspect that the various means of calculating maximum utility taxation is closer to 60 or 65% based upon what I can find.

But if you tax the income of a small business person who is trying to exit the market, then we certainly have the right to wipe out social security, wipe out pension programs, fire federal workers and wipe out their savings. Because unless those assets are counted, the definition of ‘rich’ is asymmetrically used to punish people who participate in the market.

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Is Membership In The 1% Club Education Or IQ?

Greg Mankiw makes a case for graduate school education:

Apart from their bank accounts, Gallup finds education to be the greatest difference between the wealthiest 1% of Americans and everyone else. The Gallup analysis reveals that 72% of the wealthiest Americans have a college degree, compared with 31% of those in the lower 99 percentiles. Furthermore, nearly half of those in the wealthiest group have postgraduate education, versus 16% of all others.

But it’s not education that gets people into the 1%.

It’s IQ and hard work.

Education produces little more than signaling.