Economics

  • The Experiment: Capitalism versus Socialism

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    There has been no clearer comparison between capitalism and socialism than the two Germanys that were created at the end of World War II — socialist/communist East Germany, under Soviet hegemony, and capitalist West Germany, with strong ties to Western Europe and the United States. Clearly, West Germany’s capitalist system produced better results for its people — and only recently have East Germans begun to prosper after many years of freedom.

  • What’s up with prices at the pump and why it could be a good sign

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    All of us loved paying less than $2 a gallon at the pump. The AAA reports: “Americans paid cheapest quarterly gas prices in 12 years”—which resulted in savings of nearly $10 billion compared to the same period last year. However, oil (and, therefore gasoline) has been creeping upward since the February low—topping $45 a barrel, […]

  • Dirty facts behind Obama’s Clean Power Plan

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    The Clean Power Plan might be more aptly named the Grab Power Plan — as its intent is to empower the EPA to grab power over electricity regulation and force a shift toward unproven renewable energy (if it were clearly a better deal, there would be no need for mandates). States are lining up to oppose this power grab, which might result in massive energy shortages long before 2030.

  • Regcession—why Americans aren’t feeling Obama’s “vigorous recovery”

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    Marita Noon asks, rather than complain when U.S. businesses take jobs overseas, why not just create a more favorable business climate here at home? One reason, she notes, is the penchant for the EPA and other federal agencies to over-regulate business and industry, adding costs and shrinking opportunities. She encourages everyone to watch a new film, “Regcession: The EPA is Destroying America,” on YouTube.

  • Meanwhile in Europe

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    It’s quite natural that all attention is focused on the American elections. In Europe, the focus seems to be two-fold; continuous focus on politics we can’t afford and reluctant, though desperate in rhetorics, on what is a real crisis.

    Italy and Spain seem to have at least survived the first shock of the Euro crisis, while Greece is still  hanging on a limb with riots in the streets. Eurocrats look concerned while turning a blind eye, focusing instead on protecting their own interests in the ongoing – long-term – budget process.

  • C’est en Septembre

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    A Great Comedy for a Rainy Day

    Al Gore for less than a Euro. Fine with me. It’s been a while since someone mentioned that movie. Incidentally, yesterday, I friend told me that when her daughter had to watch it in class, she gave her a list with the ten worst fallacies in the movie. To her surprise, the public school teacher copied it and distributed for the following discussion.

    Those are the sorts of things that can brighten a rainy summer day. The other thing is to take the time to read all the newspapers, even though really interesting news normally are scarce this time of year. The global warming hysteria really seems to have slowed down and the IPCC people seem busy trying to find their own explanations to the lack of warming the past decade. Still people, especially in the media – on all sides – still hastily interpret any change in the ever changing weather as either a sign that they were right. And then about the weather forecasts not being reliable. They never have been.

    One thing that is fairly predictable, and sometimes devastating – in Russia this year, tragic – is flooding. Right now an emergency in many parts of Northern Europe. Local flooding is fairly possible to predict, and risk areas ought to be rather easy to identify by now. As every year, take precautions, and think twice before building that dream house on that extraordinarily cheap piece of land on the river bank.

  • They Don’t Want To Hurt You – They Just Want Your Money

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Might appreciate some real support - not corruption and stupidity

    The heroic boy scouts collected money, went to a village in deepest Africa and helped develop a well. A few month later, excessive use had dried it up and the final result was an extension of the desert.

    Examples of unintended consequences (and sometimes plain stupidity) in development aid are numerous, some probably myths by now. Distributing loads of pork to Muslim countries. Rushing factory building until the installation collapse on top of people. The literature is also quite extensive. A useful introduction, or summary may be this.

    Important to remember is that humanitarian catastrophes are seldom, if ever, caused by real villains in these cases, hence the words unintended and aid. Wars, planned famine and genocides are indeed orchestrated by evil, but they are never intended by the do-gooders.

    The problems occur both with voluntary help and government programs, though the latter, for natural reason, tend to be more dangerous. As a matter of fact, lot’s of people working with government aid are smart, caring people, but often trapped in the system. One such hazard is the idea, launched some decades ago, and implemented in some countries, to legislate allocation of a minimum level of GDP to the foreign aid budget. Both the government, and the associated authorities are then forced to spend the annual funds.

    Some countries try to make the best of the situation, for example by allocating funds to emergency help rather than budget support. Pouring money into a corrupt countries state budget most often leads to, in the less evil scenario, the money going straight into a Swiss bank account, or, which is worse, into buying weaponry used against neighbours or the country’s own population. On the other hand, budget support can also be the only way to boost investments in infrastructure. An alternative to building governmental roads and airports is of course to let private companies both develop, build and own. Such investments tend, if they are even allowed, however to be quite risky for the entrepreneur, facing the constant threat of both war and plain nationalization. The only simple solution, if not sufficient, seems to be to, to the extent possible, minimize governmental aid and let the not so small private, international networks do the job.

  • Just Politics as Usual

    by Einar Du Rietz

    All the players are gearing up for the Durban festivities in a month. Though only accounting for about 11 percent of the worlds carbon emissions, the European Union, not surprisingly wants to play a major role.

    Euractiv gives an update:

    “Environment ministers of the European Union – responsible for only 11% of global carbon emissions – said they would commit to a new phase of the Kyoto climate change pact, on the condition that nations blamed for the rest join up too.

    The environment council conclusions, agreed in Luxembourg on 10 October, outline the bloc’s negotiating position ahead of the next global climate conference in Durban, South Africa, which starts at the end of November.

    However.

  • If it Aint Broken – Don’t Fix it

    by Einar Du Rietz

    A screwdriver often comes in handy. But not as a soup ingredient. Black pepper is essential in any cooking. But don’t try repairing your bike with it.

    Calculation of GDP is, not only among laymen like myself, but also among skilled economists, regarded as a tricky tool indeed. Still, it’ very useful, also for the general public, in trying to grasp all sorts of economic facts and development.

    Since the mid 90’s, scientists, but predominantly politicians, have been playing with the concept of a Green GDP, expanding the data to include environmental costs. This process is now gaining speed, e.g., in the World Bank.

    This is a questionable path. Even as, naturally, growth and hardship can be linked to environmental factors, it’s not the same thing as to say that environmental factors should be regarded as exclusive data in their own right. Further, changing the calculation methods is difficult for several reasons. You need an international consensus, otherwise comparisons will be meaningless. GDP figures are used to calculate changes over time. If you mess with it, you will have to – somehow – compensate against historical figures.

  • Green taxes v. green research v. productivity

    UK green energy researchers seek exemption from green energy taxes The Guardian reports that “world-class research into future sources of green energy is under threat in Britain from an environmental tax designed to boost energy efficiency and drive down carbon emissions.”  Researchers at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy complained to The Guardian that, “considering […]

  • Memo to America: Don’t do carbon trading!

    The United States must learn from Europe’s mistakes – not repeat them ROGER HELMER, MEP Senator Harry Reid has repeatedly denounced opposition to carbon trading as “dangerous.” Senator Reid is wrong. It is the House and Senate climate and renewable energy bills that are dangerous. Fortunately, the recent elections and the ongoing dissension at the […]

  • Global Warming Out Debated

    Oxford Union Chooses Economic Growth Over Climate Change

    Debate Win for CFACT Advisor Lord Christopher Monckton

    Last week the Oxford Union, one of the world’s premier debate societies, chose economic growth over climate change by a vote of 133-110.  The vote by students at an elite U.K. university illustrates the continued shift of  public support away from the global warming scare.

    The proponents of global warming policy always seem to lose whenever they encounter a fair forum where both sides receive equal time.  Key warmists such as Nobel Laureate Al Gore and the IPCC’s Rajendra Pachauri avoid debate at all costs.   Lord Monckton has repeatedly offered to debate Mr. Gore.  Mr. Gore if you truly want us all to agree to massive restrictions to our freedom and a lower standard of living it’s time you step up and debate.

  • Create Prosperity – Not Hypocrisy

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Investing your money and savings for your pension in funds that advertise themselves as more “ethical” than others? Maybe it’s time to think again.

    Environmental watchdogs are increasingly pointing out funds as dubious, because of investments in different energy companies. In a recent – undercover – study (Swedish) non of the four checked banks proved to offer the clean investments they advertise.

    Fraud? Not really, but certainly hypocrisy.

  • Happy Easter, Mr President

    by Einar Du Rietz

    The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez is a most innovative man. With his peculiar combination of home made socialism, populist nationalism and impulsive despotism, you never can tell what the next brilliant idea will be.

    He decided to change his country’s time zone with half an hour, presumably just for fun. He managed to create a shortage of coffee, in one of the major coffee producing countries in the world, by introducing price controls. And he has managed to stay in power.

  • Let’s Relax For A Minute

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Sometimes, just having fun is the best option

    The Copenhagen process, or what has become the official name, is strolling along. Most countries (read: politicians) have signed the no-one-knows-really-what-to-call- it document, though some after deadline. Reviving Kyoto is still on the table, recently half heartedly suggested by the European Union (read: a bunch of politicians from countries with different agendas).

    At the same time, the UN (read: even more people with different agendas) has decided to let new people have another look at the IPCC report that was the official document before the above mentioned became desperate to at least take some action. Before it became apparent that the report in many aspects was flawed. No one suggests it was altogether wrong.

    The scientific work is starting – hopefully – all over again. The political game continues as if nothing, really, has happened.

    In real life, people are constantly, sometimes more seriously confronted with choices. Make a huge investment? Buy  a house? Get married? Buy a dog?