Friday, 17 November 2017

Zimbabwe: "classiest coup ever"

A friend posts from downtown Harare, where murdering thug Robert Mugabe appears to have been (finally) overthrown, to observe :
"You gotta give it to Zimbos! They even coup in style. People are out shopping, coffee shops and restaurants are occupied by relaxed smiling people. Even the city of Harare staff are out fixing potholes. The only absence is that of traffic police harassing road users. Even the army which is very present at shopping malls and the CBD are watchful but friendly. That is the classiest coup ever!"
And the opposition's Morgan Tsvangirai posts that Mugabe must now formally stand down, that a "roadmap" be set in place for free and fair elections, and that "SADC, the African Union, the UN and the broader international community be the underwriters and guarantors to the roadmap to free and fair elections."
This is the only assurance to an irreversible path to national freedom, happiness and economic prosperity.
   To our neighbours, you now all know the simple choice you face; either support our rights or our refugees.
Nicely put.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Quote of the Day: On the real reason not to require DPB recipients to name the father

"So what is the real reason for the change [to not require DPB recipients to name the father]? It's the imposition of radical feminism whereby women's [alleged] rights are elevated above children's .... with the added bonus of screwing the taxpayer."
~ Lindsay Mitchell, from her post 'The ghost of Metiria and more lies'

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The America's Cup bill keeps racking up

And this is one reason I wasn't celebrating the Ministry of Yachting's America's Cup last win: because these gorgeous bastards will now have their hands in our pockets forever.

The latest cost to the honest taxpayer/ratepayer: upwards of $150 million (plus stuff-ups) to build them a home on the water.

Oh yes, folk will point to studies saying if "we" spend $150 million then "we" will get $300 million back.

Quite apart from the returns rarely if ever being quite as juicy as those studies ever show, the bare fact remains that the "we" in the paragraph above is for the most part not the same people. That is to say, those enjoying the most spectacular returns are rarely those making the most hard-won forced contribution.

To put it another way: is there a reason that those who do except a great return from the Cup shouldn't be the ones who pay? Because if that is their expectation, they would (or should) be quite happy to pay voluntarily, shouldn't they.

Anything else would just be corporate welfare.

And I thought a Labour Government was supposed to be against that.


Q: Do free trade agreement promote free trade? A: No, but ...

Q: Do free trade agreement promote free trade?
A: No, but they're a long way better than trade disagreements -- or no trading with others at all.

Quote of the Day: It matters what you choose to do

"We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it."
~ Steve Jobs on what drives Apple employees

Monday, 13 November 2017

Quote of the Day: "No political system can establish universal rationality by law, but..."

"No political system can establish universal rationality by law (or by force). But capitalism is the only system that functions in a way that rewards rationality and penalises all forms of irrationality, including racism."
~ Ayn Rand, from her 1963 article 'Racism'

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Hayek asks: Has monetary policy has ever done any good?

As the ruling parties work to change the country's monetary policy, Hayek's answer to the question above couldn't be more topical.

Hayek's answer starts with the origins of money, as explained by Carl Menger:
You see, the great trouble is that money wasn’t allowed to develop further. After two or three hundred years of coins all governments put up their hands and stopped any further developments. We’re not allowed to experiment on it — and money hasn’t been improved, rather it has become worse in the course of time.
Because … with law and language and money [you have] the three paradigms of spontaneously [developed] institutions [as explained by Carl Menger and Hume and Mandeville]. Now fortunately, law and language have been allowed to develop; money has originated in original form, but as soon as it was there in its original form [however] it was frozen — government said it must nor develop any further. And what we have had since in development were matters of government invention — mostly wrong, mostly abuses of money — and I have come to the position of asking if monetary policy has ever done any good. I don’t think it has. I think it has done only harm, and that is why I am pleading now for the de-nationalisation of money

In his view, with which I concur, the problem is not what monetary policy the government adopts, but that it has any monetary policy at all.

Watch the full interview (F. A. Hayek on Monetary Policy, the Gold Standard, Deficits, Inflation, and John Maynard Keynes):

Friday, 10 November 2017

Quote of the Day: So why do we still discuss it?

"In the last century capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty, whereas socialism killed 100m people.
Yet we still discuss which is the better system."
~ tweet from Creative Deduction

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Quote of the Day: Why to call Donald J. Trump a liar is to give him too much credit

“A liar retains some respect for the truth: he tries to conceal his lies, weave a web of deception and make it difficult for his victims to discover the facts. Trump does none of this... Trump makes no distinction between truth and falsity, between statements backed by evidence and statements unsupported by any evidence. This is why you can’t catch him in a lie. He doesn’t care ...
"Rand puts it like this: to an anti-intellectual mentality words are not instruments of knowledge but tools of manipulation...”

~ Onkhar Ghate, from his article 'The Anti-Intellectuality of Donald Trump: Why Ayn Rand Would Have Despised a President Trump'
[Hat tip Stuart Hayashi]

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bonus Quote of the Day: On the 'Paradise Papers'

"What exactly are the Paradise Papers exposing? That the very wealthy pay an ever-expanding retinue of financial experts, tax advisers and lawyers to minimise their tax liabilities, and manage their assets and capital? How exactly is something that is well known capable of being exposed? It’s like exposing the sugar content of ice cream, or the toiletry habits of bears in highly wooded areas..."
    "If we are really to pull ourselves out of the economic mire, we need more than grandstanding politicians and smug, broadsheet scandalmongering."
~ Tim Black, from the Spiked article 'The problem with the Paradise Papers'

Here are The Beatles, and an explanation for that song ...


The Reserve Bank is already less responsible than you think

The new Labour-Green-WinstonFirst Government intends to "review and reform the Reserve Bank Act," says Hard Labour's Grant Robertson, expanding the Bank's parameters to deal with more than just its present single-issue focus of inflation. They want it also to focus on things like employment and exchange rates (to which short list others like economist Ganesh Nana would also add happiness, sustainability, and the production of rainbows and unicorns.)

"Bad move," say opponents of the move, criticising both the loss of focus and the Bank's inevitable politicisation. They cite, as Don Brash did on radio this morning, the "incredible" record the Reserve Bank (and other central banks around the world) have maintained in the last two decades in "fighting inflation." Take the hand of the one tiller, they say, and this great record with be destroyed and prices will quickly run amok!

This ignores a great deal.

It's true that a focus on using monetary policy to focus on "employment" for example is an invitation to use the Bank's interest-rate manipulation for political ends. But the claim that central banks have been great at using their control over paper currency to "fight inflation" these last few decades should be seen for the illusion it really is: one need only look at the asset-price inflation in housing (both here and worldwide) and in stock markets (both here and worldwide) to understand what the last decade of historically-low interest rates has done to destroy genuine price and capital formation.

And we should also understand the "role of the average" in measuring the success of their present inflation target -- meaning that averages are not always descriptive: two diners, two steak dinners , for example ... but if one diner eats both, our a"average"leaves us blind.

So it is today, with the more government-laden parts of economies heading for the price stratosphere ... the "average" price inflation targeted by central banks being made to look good by the incredible performance of the less-constrained sectors.

US FIGURES,  with 1996 as the base -- but expect to see the same
sort of spread in every western welfare state with a central bank

This is really the real story of the last few decades, explains Deutsche Bank's Jim Reid, who "contends that the fiat currency system 'is inherently unstable and prone to high inflation'." High price-inflation that has been effectively hidden in plain sight by the rapidly-falling prices generated

by China's rapid economic emergence in the 1970s, and [by] an explosion in the global working-age population, [which] have allowed inflation to be controlled externally.

But that period is also historically unprecedented, he points out.

And that period is now coming to an end.

Reid's basic contention is this: The dominance of the fiat currency system since Richard Nixon decoupled gold from the dollar in 1971 "is inherently unstable and prone to high inflation," and an offsetting disinflationary shock that kept it afloat since 1980 is now slowly reversing.
    If that's the case, Reid says the fiat currency system — a term which describes any currency whose value is backed by the government that issued it, rather than by a commodity like gold or silver — could be "seriously tested" over the next decade.
Disinflationary forces    The basis of Reid's argument is that China's rapid economic emergence in the 1970s, and an explosion in the global working-age population, has allowed inflation to be controlled externally, because a boost in labour supply during a period of globalisation naturally suppressed wages.
    Externally-controlled inflation means policy-makers and central banks can respond with familiar tools: More leverage, loose policy, and extensive money-printing.
"It's not usually this easy as inflation would have normally increased with such stimulus and credit creation," says Reid. In fact, "it could be argued that this external disinflation shock has perhaps 'saved' fiat currencies."
An end to the demographic super-cycle    If this theory is correct, Reid says, then "any reversals in this demographic super cycle could spell problems for the fiat currency system."
    Under that scenario, inflation would pick up externally as the working-age population stopped rising and labour pricing power returned, as demand rose and supply shortened.
    Reid continues:

"Central banks and governments which have ‘dined out’ on the 35 year secular, structural decline in inflation are not able to prevent it rising as raising interest rates to suitable levels would risk serious economic contraction given the huge debt burden economies face.
    As such they are forced to prioritise low interest rates and nominal growth over inflation control which could herald in the beginning of the end of the global fiat currency system that begun with the abandonment of Bretton Woods back in 1971."

After fiat currency
Eventually, Reid says, "it’s possible that inflation becomes more and more uncontrollable and the era of fiat currencies looks vulnerable as people lose faith in paper money."
I think Reid's basic premise is unarguable.

What then for the Reserve Bank Act's central illusion?


Quote of the Day: On voluntary euthanasia

“You don’t have a right to life if you don’t have a right to end it.”
~ Yaron Brook, on the Yaron Brook Radio Show

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Quote of the Day: So perhaps social spending is not really about fixing poverty?

"An alien beamed down to Earth might be forgiven for thinking that we are in the midst of some sort of a catastrophe... It makes no sense that social spending [above] has been increasing alongside rising incomes [below]."
~ Marian Tupy, in his article at the Human Progress website, 'What does it mean to be poor today?'

Monday, 6 November 2017

Quote of the Day: On Labour's "short-term" fuel tax.

"I will bet anyone $1 that the fuel tax will not be just a 'short term solution': A: Not a solution; and B: Not short term."
~ Marcus D. Cook, on Twitter

Sunday, 5 November 2017

"The age of gods is drawing to an end"

In Egypt support for imposing sharia (Islamic law) fell from
84% in 2011 to 34% in 2016. Egyptians are praying less, too...

"The age of gods is drawing to an end," observes Muhammad Syed, president of the Ex-Muslims of North America -- "even in countries dominated by Islam. Goodbye and good riddance to Allah & friends" he enthuses!
“We’re in religious decline,” moans [Egyptian cleric] Sheikh Muhammad, whose despair is shared by clerics in many parts of the Arab world. "
The is great news of (as the chart above shows) a very recent trend. The more the clerics moan, the more reasons to rejoice.

The irony is that as the illusions diminish in countries dominated by Islam, disaffected idiots in the west have become the easiest of recruits.

So the question now is raised: with what ideas do the ex-religionists replace their stale mythologies?

The battle of religions is dying: The battle of ideas can commence.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Definition of the Day: 'Compliance'

Compliance. n. a ruthless, merciless process run by pitiless, uncaring bureaucrats to protect you.

[Hat tip, Keith Weiner]

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The ingenious Phil Twyford

The new minister for housing and transport has found a way to pay the unaffordable bill for Auckland's new public transport infrastructure, and that's to help make Auckland housing even more unaffordable.

What could be more ingenious!

He'd already signalled that Labour's faithful promise to voters neither to raise taxes nor to introduce a capital gains tax was going to constrain him -- he'd already announced plans to get around that simply by raising the 'bright line' period for paying National's own tax lie (the 'capital-tax-in-drag' introduced just because lying governments can) from two years out to five. Because there's no politician like a money-hungry politician, is there.

And with Auckland's council having already borrowed way beyond what it can reasonably repay (in political-speak this is known as the Council being "up against its debt limits," as the new minister is quick to acknowledge) and the new Government having no spare cash to throw around after funding all of their promises plus those of Winston and James, Twyford now has the job of filling the $6 billion black hole in Auckland's transport bill that Len Brown and Phil Goff have helped dig.

But he has "big plans" to do that, he tells faithful recorder Bernard Hickey. "Big plans" to fill the black hole. "Big plans to change the way Auckland's multi-billion dollar light rail projects will be paid for," he says. Which means: big plans about who he is going to soak to pay for all the monuments, of which "light rail" is only the most ill-defined. And the answer in four words, dear reader, is: "motorists and property developers."

Now that smokers have slunk away quietly, motorists are the new lepers. Hitting them with new fuel taxes is only the starting point. He has an endless stream of new ideas about how to soak anyone who drives a car. Lock up your wallet now, while you can.

He also plans to sock property developers, hinting he will hit them with a new super-rates bill on developments. This appears to be in addition to "targeted rates" to repay infrastructure bonds (and in addition to the almost already crippling rates rises that Mayors Len and Phil have been exacting to pay for their grandomania and Rodney Hide's super-sized stuff-up.).

At this stage these are only just hints about his big plans. But any added tax burden on the developers who build Auckland's houses will only make it even more difficult for developers to make a margin on building those houses, making it more likely rather than less that lots more affordable housing for would-be first-home buyers will ever easily be built. (Every single change from every single housing minister has made this hope less likely rather than more, so he does at least follow in a grand tradition.)

But motorists, vendors, and property developers and their erstwhile first home-customers will not be left to suffer alone. Mum and dad and several kids already happily home-owning anywhere near any part of Auckland's expensive upcoming light rail- and rapid transit-building orgy will also be hit with something special too, in the shape of extra special "targeted rates" -- Mr Twyford's favourite new phrase, it seems -- all the better for him "to capture the value uplift in property prices" mum and dad might otherwise enjoy.

What he may miss out on with his 5-year capital gains levy on mum and dad if they don't sell their house within that time frame, he'll claw back from them anyway with his "targeted rates" if they stay put.

And if they don't enjoy any value uplift at all? Fear not. They and everyone else will still receive their share of the disingenuous Mr Twyford's $6 billion bill anyway.



Quote of the Day: How art is different to entertainment or pretty decoration

"This leads us to a second point and an even more remarkable assertion in neuroscience, that our brain/mind requires not satiation but a search for meaning. In his paper 'The Dance Form of the Eyes,' renowned neurophysiologist Ralph D. Ellis ... argues for the search for meaning ..., using art as his vehicle:
… "'Emotions arise from the total life process, which is a dynamical system – not as an isolated chemical event or a causal result of a simple stimulus. For this reason, emotions call not just for satiation or pleasure, but for explication; this is why art is different from entertainment or pretty decoration …  Emotions are not even triggered by simple ’stimuli,' but rather by the meaning for us of a stimulus in a total context determined by on-going and dynamical organismic purposes. Visual art affords not only a meaningful, self-directed dance of the eyes, but also a meaningful dance of this emotional explicating process....
"'In experiencing art, we want a form of symbolisation that can intensify our emotional experience … We want not only to reduce our drives, which brings pleasure in the straightforward sense meant by hedonists, but also to intensify the degree of consciousness we experience -— to fully feel the value of that which we value …'"
~ Barbara Lamprecht, from her paper 'Why Ornament Matters: A User's Guide to the 21st Century'

"Muh roads!"

A young Jeremy Clarkson interviews a few even younger Kalgoorlie, West Australia, locals about the time that, "without permission, the townsfolk built themselves a bypass."

[Video from the BBC, hat tip ABC Goldfields-Esperance and UK Libertarian Discussion Group]

Monday, 30 October 2017

Guest Post: New Zealand’s new PM is clueless about capitalism

She must not understand that the entire world was mired in poverty before free markets took hold, says Washington-based economist Daniel Mitchell in this guest post.

Most politicians are feckless creatures driven by their insecurities to say anything and everything in hopes of getting elected. And, once in power, they will do or say anything and everything in hopes of getting reelected.

Public choice” theory explains how these conventional politicians behave.

But not all politicians fit in that box. There are also evil politicians in the world. Maduro in Venezuela would be a prime example, and you can add the dictators of North Korea, Cuba, and other hellholes to that list.

There are even a few admirable politicians, though that’s a very limited list.

But there’s also another category, at least in my mind. These are the ones who behave conventionally but say things that really blur the line between foolish and despicable. For lack of a better phrase, these are the morally blind officials.

The politicians who eulogised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro belong in this group.

Another example would be Michael Higgins, the President of Ireland, who urged a return to “collective values” and condemned the “Celtic Tiger” era for being too individualistic and selfish – even though that was the period when the people of Ireland enjoyed both rapid income growth and huge improvement in quality-of-life measures ranging from central heating to infant mortality.

Now I have another politician who belongs in this special category.

Statism in New Zealand

The new Prime Minister of New Zealand just demonstrated her profound ignorance of world history and New Zealand history by declaring that capitalism is “a blatant failure.”

New Zealand’s new prime minister called capitalism a “blatant failure”, before citing levels of homelessness and low wages as evidence that “the market has failed” her country’s poor. Jacinda Ardern, who is to become the nation’s youngest leader since 1856, said measures used to gauge economic success “have to change” to take into account “people’s ability to actually have a meaningful life”. …Ms Ardern has pledged her government will increase the minimum wage, write child poverty reduction targets into law, and build thousands of affordable homes. …The Labour leader said her government would judge economic success on more than measures such as GDP.

She sounds like a clueless college student, regurgitating some nonsense she heard in a sociology class. Is she not aware that capitalism is the only successful strategy for reducing poverty? Does she not understand that the entire world was mired in povertybefore free markets took hold?

Is she unaware that horrible material deprivation in countries such as China and India only fell after those nations opened themselves to some economic liberalisation?

I wish some journalist would ask her a version of my two-question challenge. Or, better yet, have Bono talk with her about how to genuinely help poor people. Heck, let’s sign her up for an economic history class with Deirdre McCloskey.

Clueless About Capitalism

She reminds me of Pope Francis, who has a knee-jerk view that capitalism is bad. I’ve explained why those views are wrong, though I’d first recommend reading what Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell wrote on the matter.

By the way, I don’t know enough to comment on homelessness and child poverty in New Zealand, but if their welfare state is anything like the mess in the United States, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the government is actually subsidising destitution and dependency.

But even if that’s not the case, Ms. Ardern is condemning capitalism because it doesn’t solve every problem in society. That might be a fair assertion, except the alternatives to capitalism have never solved any problem. Indeed, the various forms of statism are the cause of much misery around the world.

For what it’s worth, I would not be agitated if she simply had made a conventional left-of-centre argument about being willing to accept less growth to get additional redistribution because the benefits of capitalism aren’t “equally shared,” or something like that. That’s the standard equity-vs-efficiency debate. But she apparently doesn’t have the depth of knowledge even for that discussion.

The bottom line is that New Zealand is now governed by a politician who doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. That doesn’t mean she’ll be any worse than the standard elected official, but I’m not overflowing with optimism that New Zealand will continue to be ranked near the top by any Economic Freedom of the World index.

By the way, I appeared on New Zealand TV earlier this month while in the country for a speech. But we talked about America’s most prominent politician (and his worrisome protectionist mindset) rather than what’s happening in Kiwi-land. Though I did mention that New Zealand made great progress because of sweeping economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. Hopefully, Ms. Ardern won’t have much success in moving her country back in the wrong direction.

P.S. Obama came close to joining the morally blind club when he suggested we could learn from communism. And Bernie Sanders deserves to be in that club but may belong in an even worse category...


Daniel J. Mitchell is a Washington-based economist who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the 'Cayman Financial Review.’ 

Dan’s work has been published in numerous outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Villanova Law Review, Public Choice, Emory Law Journal, Forbes, USA Today, Offshore Investment, Playboy, and Investor’s Business Daily. He has appeared on all the major TV networks, and has given speeches in almost 40 states and more than 30 countries. Dan earned a PhD in economics from George Mason University.
His post previously appeared at International Liberty and FEE.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Quote of the day: On this new government

"For the second time in over 20 years of MMP, the left has got, pretty much, what it wanted in a government....
This government is already opposed to capitalism ... [yet] doesn't even realise that the biggest problems it campaigned on in the election, such as housing, healthcare, education, river pollution and welfare, are almost nothing to do with capitalism, but rather government intervention...    "This government won't do much different from National (yes you'll see uneconomic railway and tram line built instead of motorways), the difference is this lot actually believe in what they are doing."~ Liberty Scott, from his post 'Don't like the government? Blame the National Party'

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Quote of the Day: What free speech isn't ...

"Let’s be clear about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not refer to the unlimited right to say what you want; it refers to the unlimited right to say what you want on your own time or property. There’s a difference."
~ Michael Hurd, from his post 'Let’s Really Understand What Freedom of Speech Means'

Friday, 27 October 2017

Quote of of the Day: On capitalism's 'failure'

"Capitalism is a bicycle. Socialism confiscates the chain and the pedals, and then tells the sheeple that capitalism has failed them."

~ Graham Clark

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Let’s rain on Phil Twyford’s parade

Two big announcements were made yesterday in relation to building and housing. In New Zealand terms they don’t get too much bigger, yet they were totally at odds with each other.

The first was by Fletcher Building, the darling of the former government yet who contrived to lose a fortune on two large government projects, and several other smaller ones. The primary reason, Ralph Norris told disgruntled shareholders, was that "Our project management resources became stretched, impacted by the labour scarcity of the broader sector and our own rapid growth."

To break that down: as they took on too many projects they discovered

  • their own resources are too few to cover them all; and
  •  local labour was too hard to come by.

Keep these points in mind as you read Phil Twyford’s announcement yesterday, repeating in somewhat amended form his pre-election pledges, that he is going to build 100,000 homes in the next decade.

How can that be done with the severe local labour shortage? Easy, said Twyford.

The just-announced Housing Minister told the Herald labour, skills and land shortages in the over-stretched, under-delivering, under-resourced high-priced housing market were planned to be resolved by his regime which will change immigration laws and form public private partnerships with business like Fletcher Residential and Mike Greer Homes.

Do you see the problem?

I’ll make it easy for you:

PROBLEM ONE: Fletchers is already overstretched.
PROBLEM TWO: Local labour is hard to come by.
PROBLEM THREE: Mr Twyford will solve problem #2 by calling on the folk already struggling with problem #1

Tell me how he will square that circle.

Could you?

Could anyone?

Add to that his further and still unsolved problem, which is that his whole scheme to build and/or finance 100,000 houses in a decade within his stated fiscal envelope of $2 billion is financially untenable (i.e., that his numbers simply don't add up, as he himself admitted three years ago when I asked him) and you have a new minister flying a flagship policy with very real problems.

Quote of the Day: 'It isn't for you to decide how consenting adults live their lives'

"The important one is that it isn’t for you to decide, as with me, how consenting adults live their lives. ... For the aim of a liberal state is that as many people as possible get to live how they wish. That’s actually the point." ~ Tim Worstall, from his post 'Err, no, Jess, sorry, but no'

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Another load of politicians’ promises on the way

Seen on Dominion Rd this morning.

Apostrophes aside, it could hardly be more apt.

The bullshit of Red October

It’s been 100 years since the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in October 1917, storming the Winter Palace to throw off the Czar’s yoke and deliver freedom to the Russian masses.

October 25! The day of Red October!

Trouble is, everything about that fairy tale is wrong, including the outcome. It’s fake history. Even the date is bullshit.

The Bolsheviks were lying pissweak murdering parasites, and the ‘glorious October Revolution' was their first grand re-invention.

And 100 years later, and after 100 million deaths due to the communism they helped unleash, you’d think folk would know better than to still peddle all their lies. Even to repent and apologise, as many need to, for cuddling up to the murderous brutality the Bolsheviks released around the world. (This centenary year it’s been the New York Times who’s been best playing Pravda, posting a series of ‘commemorative pieces’ alleging that everything from productivity to family life to women’s sex lives was better under Bolshevism. Fake news about fake history.)

So what actually did happen on October 25, 100 years ago? Answer: nothing very much. The putsch, which is all the takeover amounted to — a bitter little stab in the back — actually happened on November 7, 1917; the October date that's now remembered coming from the Julian Calendar then being used in Russia, rather than the Gregorian Calendar used in the rest of the world. This misunderstanding about dates is a fair metaphor for all the other misunderstandings bundled up in the fairy tale.

Fact is, It wasn't they who swept away the Czar in a heroic seizure of power; they came to power instead in a squalid little coup that squashed like a bug Russia's first stumbling chance at real freedom. The Bolsheviks didn't sweep away oppression; they brought it back.

Remember all those stories and images of people rampaging across Palace Square and storming the Winter Palace? That wasn't the Bolshevik hordes storming the citadel of Czarist oppression — that was a lie. You got it from films and paintings, not from what actually happened.

There were no hordes; there was no storming of the Palace -- not by the Bolsheviks anyway; and the oppressive Czarist regime had already been swept away some months before in the 'Good Revolution' of February, 1917, a largely bloodless revolution that deposed the authoritarian ancien regime, gave power to a democratic Parliament (Duma) and to an interim government under one Alexander Kerensky that swept a breath of free Spring air through Russia's stale and oppressive ordure.

It was nearly everything a freedom-lover could have hoped for to have emerged (in wartime) after centuries of darkness.

By contrast, the Bolshevik’s backroom seizure of power (which is all it was) was a sordid stab in the back that took place nine months later hard on Winter’s traces; the seasonal metaphor could not be more precise: where the February Revolution was a brief taste of Spring’s freedom, the October Revolution brought on an oppressive, marrow-chilling Winter that lasted nearly three-quarters-of-a-century.

So the Bolsheviks were liars. And they were pissweak.

They were pissweak liars who relied on others to do their work for them. If ever there was a time when one muck-stained tail wagged several dogs, this was it.

In a tactic that would become familiar in many a leftist perversion of democracy later, the Bolsheviks used democracy against itself: A small Bolshevik-dominated Petrograd Soviet (ie., Workers Council) wagged the larger Union of Soviets (essentially a national Council of Trades Union); by a series of calculated moves designed to increase the leverage of their small body, the smaller Bolsheviks made themselves the mouth of the larger Union of Soviets. Meanwhile, as the Workers Councils disrupted the country, a Bolshevik minority coalesced with a larger rump to disrupt the democratic Duma, in an attempt to make the Soviet the greater seat of power. Come the October Putsch, the Bolsheviks simply dissolved the Duma, evicted the interim government, and in the name of “democracy” and the “proletariat” called the Petrograd Soviet the centre of power, and let democracy go hang. Along with hundreds of thousands of their enemies.

The Bolsheviks were parasites.

The Bolsheviks were parasites on the February Revolutionists. They didn't just borrow the success of February to produce their phoney myths; without the Good Revolution of the February before, the October Coup could never even have happened. The February Revolutionists took the risks and did the donkey work of ending the Czarist oppression; when the time was ripe for them he Bolsheviks then happily stabbed the February Revolutionists in the back. (And that is not a metaphor.)

The Bolsheviks were parasites on the Kaiser’s regime, who Russia was fighting at the time in a blood-drenched war of survival. A war going very badly for everyone. 1917 was the third year of World War I, and conditions on the Russian Front were as bad as legend remembers them. Seeking some advantage from the Czar's overthrow, in April the Germans sent Swiss-based cafe-dweller Vladimir Lenin back to Russia through Germany in a sealed carriage—“transported in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus" as one astute writer put it, to avoid his virus spreading further. Staggered at first to learn there had even been a revolution in his home country, Lenin saw his chance to pervert from behind the revolution already successfully completed. Germany simply saw “in this obscure fanatic one more bacillus to let loose in tottering and exhausted Russia to spread infection.” The Germans got their military advantage, which is all they were after — once Lenin had others sieze power for him, he gave the Germans all they had wanted: Complete surrender. The capitulation sold out the Baltic States, sold out those Russians who had died defending their country against German invasion, and left the Germans free to throw their resources being used on the Eastern Front into the meat-grinder of the Western Front, extending the carnage there for nearly another year.

The Bolsheviks were parasites on the workers, the workers' councils (known as Workers’ Soviets) formed after the failed 1905 Revolution having become the platform for their grab for power. Once power was achieved however under the banner of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” (which would have been bad enough), all the non-Bolshevik dominated councils were simply dissolved and the real dictatorship was then revealed in all its gory squalor — it by then being abundantly clear that the workers and their organisations were of no more interest to the Bolsheviks than their political opposition, executed without trial in the Red Terror, or the Ukranian Kulaks — left to starve in Stalin's famine.

The 1921 Kronstadt Rebellion and its accompanying general strike was the last major attempts by workers to gain back some of their own freedom lost in the November Coup. Like all the other later attempts, it ended in bloodshed. The Bolsheviks had never wanted to free the workers; they only wanted to enslave them.

As the world was soon to learn, the Bolsheviks were murderers.

The killing started with the Cheka, set up by Lenin immediately on assuming power. It later became the GPU, then the NKVD, and eventually the KGB — all names that still summon up their chief tactic: terror. When the killing ended nearly three-quarters-of-a-century later, 62 million Russians had been murdered, and several million more around the world had their lives cut short or made into a living hell by the bloodstained influence of the Soviet regime. And that's just the murders — epidemics, famine, fighting and the general breakdown after the November Coup meant that in just a few short years after the Bolsheviks siezed power some twenty million souls were slaughtered. The Soviet Union began just the way it was to continue: in cowardice, in destruction, and in death.

The Bolsheviks were lying pissweak murdering parasities. About the 'October Revolution,' there is nothing to celebrate. Nothing at all.

Shame on those who do.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

PM Elect: Capitalism is a "blatant failure”

Capitalism is a "blatant failure" when it comes to housing the poor, says Prime Minister-Elect Jacinda Ardern. Her comment has been much reported. This is what the stories say she said:

"When you have a market economy, it all comes down to whether or not you acknowledge where the market has failed and where intervention is required. Has it failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim you've been successful when you have growth roughly 3 percent, but you've got the worst homelessness in the developed world?"

Capitalism has failed? Really? Is Ms Ardern, or the reporter, aware that capitalism, the market economy, has been shackled here in recent years like a straw man in a sellotape cape?

How can you possibly claim capitalism has failed when the spread of even the growing amount of shackled capitalism around the world — what Ludwig Von Mises called “hampered markets” — have delivered more people out of poverty than at any time ever in history!

  • In 1820, for example, only 60 million people lived lives free of extreme poverty. Today, more than 6.5 billion people do. That’s not from redistributing wealth, that’s from beeing free to grow it.
  • Further: in 1990, 34.8% of people worldwide lived in extreme poverty. In 2015, this number declined by over 72%, to only 9.6%.
  • And as the world is becoming richer, infant mortality is plummeting.
  • And in the places, like Hong Kong, where economic freedom was able to flourish most (thank you Mr Cowperthwaite) … right after WWII, Hong Kong's per capita income was one third of that in Britain. Today, it's over 30 percent higher. And as late as 1960, lives in Hong Kong were four years shorter than those in Britain. Today, they're four years longer.

This should be the biggest story around — not this whimpering about failure. And it’s happened because freer markets have made the world a much better place. And who have been modern capitalism's chief beneficiaries? Answer: the poor. It is an irrefutable historical finding, says Deirdre McCloskey, who is one of many who researches these things.

Is Ms Ardern or those who have spread this report aware of any of this great and historically-uprecedented news?

Do they even care?

But, but ... what about high prices and homelessness here at home, you say? Hasn’t capitalism failed here? Well, how can you possibly claim the local housing market has failed when that market is at the intersection of possibly the three most heavily regulated sectors of life in New Zealand today - those three being land-use, banking and building.

Heavy regulation of all three is the product of both Labour and National Governments over the last many cramptonyears — as this blog among others has been pointing out for much of that time. (Read the archives if you have time. There’s plenty there.)

So, to make things very simple: 
Q: Why is there a housing crisis?

A: Because we’re adding houses less quickly than 

we are adding new buyers with newly-minted money.

It’s clear that housing prices have been responding to all the new monetary demand (induced in large part by the way governments have insisted new money comes into markets) so we know that part of the market is working well enough, i.e., the part that adjusts prices.

That part almost always works well, even when you wish it would’t.

But why isn’t housing supply responding to this resounding price signal? Answer: becuase they grey ones haven’t allowed it to.

As Eric Crampton so cogently pointed out (and we understand at least one Labour Housing Spokesman took the lesson aboard at the time):

Auckland doesn’t have a barber crisis induced by the tens of thousands more people who need haircuts every month as compared to the same time last year.   

But it does have a housing crisis because the regulations on land-use and building have seriously constrained supply. Or to paraphrase it using Eric’s very simple summation:

Pro-density activists made it too hard to expand at the outskirts of town; Not In My Back Yard activists made it too hard to build apartment towers or terraced housing close to downtown. And pro-regulation politicians gave both these activists large amounts of power. And when a city can’t go out or up, prices can only go one way when monetary demand increases.

Capitalism has’t failed New Zealanders, Jacinda. Instead, those like you who’ve shackled it have.

You have three years to correct that, if you’d really like things here to progress.