Cafe HayekCafe Hayek - where orders emerge - Article Feed
Some Non-Covid Links
Posted: 30 May 2021 03:28 AM PDT
George Will decries the racism against Asians that many Americans today
including many Progressives proudly embrace. A slice:
The school principal, who is fluent in the flowery, obfuscating argot
resorted to when recommending racial spoils systems, says TJ “is a rich
tapestry of heritages” but does not “reflect” the county’s “racial
composition.” As the district judge said in allowing the parents’ suit
against the county to proceed, “You can say all sorts of beautiful things
while you’re doing others.” Many have noted that the use, by TJ and others,
of “holistic” metrics to limit Asian American admissions and fine-tune a
school’s “culture” resembles the use of geographic preferences and
“character” considerations employed by Ivy League universities to restrict
Jews, before being recycled to restrict Asian Americans.
Its simply infuriating to read of such wanton abuses of power.
Steve Davies has written an important new paper titled Grounds for Debate.
David Henderson wisely worries about some likely ill consequences of a
universal basic income.
Id never before heard of MEHKO legislation, but like Baylen Linnekin, I
hope America gets more of it.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis deserves applause for his refusal to lock
Floridians down during Covid, but he deserves criticism for his support of
legislation that intrudes into decision-making by private companies.
Ethan Yang celebrates the country of Taiwan.
Heres Chris Edwards on Bidens proposed budget.
Heres Simon Lester on country-of-origin labelling.
Alejo José G. Sison and Dulce M. Redín have written a new paper titled
Francisco de Vitoria on the Right to Free Trade and Justice. (HT Walter
Grinder). Heres the abstract:
In 1538–39 Francisco de Vitoria delivered two relections: de indis and De
iure belli. This article distills from these writings the topic of free
trade as a “human right” in accordance with ius gentium or the “law of
peoples.” The right to free trade is rooted in a more fundamental right to
communication and association. The rights to travel, to dwell, and to
migrate precede the right to trade, which is also closely connected to the
rights to preach, to protect converts, and to constitute Christian princes.
This has significant repercussions on the field of business ethics: the
right to free trade is ultimately founded directly on natural law and
indirectly on divine law; trade is not independent of ethics; and trade is
presented as an opportunity to develop the virtues of justice and
friendship, among other repercussions. Vitoria is portrayed as a defender
of private initiative and free markets.
Ian Rowe and Nique Fajors talk with Jason Riley about the legacy of Thomas
Tim Worstall writes about the long thread of lessening labor. Heres his
We all have more leisure now than our forebears did. We have more time to
do as we wish and fewer needs that force us to do as we must. But this
wonderful outcome of human progress is obscured by the fact that, in large
part, it is the household labor that has been automated away. Sure,
the Roomba might not be a great leap forward, but it is just the latest
iteration of a process that began a thousand years ago. And there is no
sign of it ending.
Quotation of the Day
Posted: 30 May 2021 02:00 AM PDT
is from page 14 of the first volume (“Rules and Order,” 1973) of F.A.
Hayek’s brilliant trilogy, Law, Legislation, and Liberty:
In civilized society it is indeed not so much the greater knowledge that
the individual can acquire, as the greater benefit he receives from the
knowledge possessed by others, which is the cause of his ability to pursue
an infinitely wider range of ends than merely the satisfaction of his most
pressing physical needs. Indeed, a ‘civilized’ individual may be very
ignorant, more ignorant than many a savage, and yet greatly benefit from
the civilization in which he lives.
DBx: Who can seriously doubt either the truth or the significance of this
Think of any five-minute slice of your life today: you munching on
breakfast; you showering; you putting in your contact lenses; you driving
to the gym; you using your smartphone to chat with your mother or with your
child or with your business associate; you reading this blog post; you
having a hard roof above your head and with your feet and furniture resting
firmly on hard floors. You having indoor plumbing and artificial lighting.
It’s impossible to comprehend all the uncountable different bits of
knowledge that were put to use, almost all by strangers, to make each of
these experiences possible for you.
You know virtually nothing about how to make any of these experiences a
reality. And yet these experiences are not only a reality, their reality is
so regular and reliable that you (as do we all) take them for granted. Each
of us in modern society, every moment of every day, is served by the
knowledge and efforts of billions of strangers.
Why are you not in awe of this amazingness? Why do you believe that the
relatively few glitches, real or unreal, in the modern economy Damn, my
Internet connection just went down! or Damn, Amazon’s delivery of my
gourmet Keurig coffee pods is delayed by 24 hours! or Damn! Thomas Piketty
has graphs that reveal that some people have lots more money in their
financial portfolios than I have in mine! are the relevant facts to focus
on rather than the sheer amazingness of modernity for ordinary people?
I’ve often said that this book by Hayek volume one of Law, Legislation,
and Liberty is the single most important book that I’ve ever read. I’m now
re-reading it, cover to cover, for what is probably the fourth time since I
first read it as a senior in college in 1979. My assessment of it stands.
It’s not perfect, but it’s sublime. No book has had as big an impact on my
worldview as has this one. Some works have come close: Leonard Read’s I,
Pencil; Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity; Frederic Bastiat’s Economic
Sophisms; Richard Dawkins’s The Blind Watchmaker; Julian Simons’s The
Ultimate Resource 2; Armen Alchian’s Economic Forces at Work; Adam Smith’s
An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations; H.L.
Mencken’s A Mencken Chrestomathy; James Buchanan’s and Richard Wagner’s
Democracy in Deficit; Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions; Geoffrey
Brennan’s and Loren Lomasky’s Democracy and Decision; Robert Higgs’s Crisis
and Leviathan; Richard Epstein’s Simple Rules for a Complex World; Don
Lavoie’s National Economic Planning: What Is Left?; Paul Heyne’s textbook,
The Economic Way of Thinking; Oliver Williamson’s The Economic Institutions
of Capitalism; Etienne de la Boetie’s The Politics of Obedience but none
quite matches the first volume of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty.
Bonus Quotation of the Day
Posted: 29 May 2021 01:09 PM PDT
is from page 113 of Thomas Sowell’s superb 1984 book, Civil Rights:
Rhetoric or Reality?:
From an economic point of view, to say that any group is systematically
underpaid or systematically denied as much credit as they deserve is the
same as saying that an opportunity for unusually high profit exists for
anyone who will hire them or lend to them.
DBx: This point, at once so obvious, is obviously overlooked in too many
cases. How many are the professors, pundits, preachers, and politicians who
insist that women as a group are underpaid? That blacks as a group are
underpaid? That low-wage workers as a group are underpaid? That CEOs as a
group are over-paid? That minorities as a group are denied adequate access
to credit? Some of the people who so insist even claim to have empirical
data to support their insistence. Yet almost none of these people act with
their own resources on their words, despite in each case being able to
personally profit from the alleged market imperfection.
Instead, people who assert that members of some group are systematically
underpaid (or overpaid) issue their assertions as a means of prodding
government to intervene by, say, imposing minimum-wage requirements (or
caps on the incomes of employees who are allegedly overpaid). People who
make such assertions, and who offer such policies, systematically fail to
put their own money where their mouths are. This fact alone is sufficient
to discredit the assertions issued by such people.
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