MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘F. A. Hayek’

TGIF: Utopianism May Be Hazardous to Your Health | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 15, 2022

So, people, believe what you want and recognize everyone else’s right to the same freedom. Replace your divots! Don’t be fragile — be antifragile; in order for someone to give offense it is necessary that someone else take it. Don’t be that someone. Don’t look for your identity or life’s meaning in what you take offense at.

Finally, let’s each of us agree not to turn to the state to support “my tribe.”

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/tgif-utopianism-hazardous/

by Sheldon Richman

Beware those who claim to have a detailed blueprint for the ideal society. If such a person thinks you stand in the way, you may get run over. That’s how it is with utopians. They want everything just so, and woe betide those who disagree.

The repeated attempts at creating ideal societies haven’t gone so well. To name just a few, see France 1789, Russia 1917, Italy 1922, Germany 1933, Eastern Europe 1945, China 1949, Cambodia 1976, Venezuela 1999.

The problem is that the architects of utopia have little tolerance for those who aren’t wholeheartedly with the program. Any departure from the plan is a move away from the ideal. Dissenters must be dealt with.

In The Road to Serfdom, which still belongs on everyone’s reading list, F. A. Hayek pointed out that a big problem with socialist or fascist central planning — which is another way of saying utopianism — is that regular people will assuredly upset the plan just by attending to their own lives — so they cannot be left free to do so.

Hayek also noted that even if everyone agreed in principle that some kind of top-down social plan was desirable, they certainly would not agree on its details. In a world of scarcity, that would be a problem because everyone’s preferences couldn’t be accommodated. Moreover, Hayek went on, the endless debates over the plan could well give rise to a dictator who promised to stop the idle chatter and act decisively. So much for the promise of democratic planning.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Washington Post: “The economists are right: Rent control is bad”

Posted by M. C. on December 29, 2019

“In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.”–Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/12/washington-post-economists-are-right.html

Wow, as the year ends, some serious progress in the form of sound basic economics out of the Washington Post:


From the Editorial Board:

RENT CONTROL is back. Economists have long criticized government price controls on apartments, a concept that had its first moment in the 1920s and that some cities reintroduced in a modified form in the 1970s. Now, decades later, California and Oregon are moving forward with statewide rent-control laws. Meanwhile, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made a national rent-control standard the centerpiece of his sprawling new housing plan.

The economists are right, and the populists are wrong. Rent-control laws can be good for some privileged beneficiaries, who are often not the people who really need help. But they are bad for many others…

Research also indicates that landlords have less incentive to maintain their properties in a rent-controlled environment. Governments can impose maintenance requirements on landlords — but they are tough to enforce. Depending on how the policy is designed, stiff rent-control policies with few exceptions could also discourage investors from building new homes, which would also constrain rental unit supply. And since rent-stabilization policies often tend to discourage people from moving, they harm worker mobility and the economic dynamism associated with it.

I mean they sound like F.A. Hayek and Walter Block  (See: Rent Control: Myths and Realities–International Evidence of the Effects of Rent Control in Six Countries).

“In many cases, rent control appears to be the most efficient technique presently known to destroy a city—except for bombing.”–Swedish economist Assar Lindbeck.

RW

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Libertarian” Is Just Another Word for (Classical) Liberal | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 16, 2019

https://mises.org/wire/libertarian-just-another-word-classical-liberal

Long post…

But rest assured, Lew Rockwell reminds us, things could be far worse “were it not for the efforts of a relative handful of intellectuals who have fought against socialist theory for more than a century. It might have been 99% in support of socialist tyranny. So there is no sense in saying that these intellectual efforts are wasted.”

Moreover, the success of liberalism is demonstrated in the fact that non-liberals have long attempted to steal the mantle of liberalism for themselves. In the English speaking world, it is no mere accident of history that social democrats and other non-liberal groups often insist on calling themselves liberal. The effort to expropriate the term “liberal” in the twentieth century was a matter of political expediency. Liberalism was a popular and influential ideology throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century. So it only made sense to attempt to apply the term to non-liberal ideologies and coast on liberalism’s past success.3

Today, we continue to see the legacy of liberalism worldwide in discussions over human rights, in efforts to increase freedom in trade, and greater autonomy from state intervention.  The fact that socialists and other types of interventionists win victories proves nothing about the irrelevance of liberalism. They only remind us how much worse things would be were it not for liberalism’s occasional successes. Moreover, efforts by governments to co-opt liberal vocabulary for purposes of building state power are to be expected. We see this often in the call for government managed “human rights” efforts and in calls for globally managed “free trade.” These measures aren’t liberal, but governments know saying liberal things and professing to pursue liberal goals makes for great PR.

Meanwhile, the answer to gains made by social democrats and socialists lies in strengthening the intellectual movement that is liberalism, which over time translates into political action. If liberalism is eclipsed today by other ideologies, the fault lies with us who have done too little, and with the defeatists who declare intellectual fights to be irrelevant to real life, or not worth the trouble.

Liberalism — that is libertarianism — has a long and impressive history that is all too often neglected. But it is, as Raico contended, an indispensable part of “our own civilization.” We’d do well to know more about its history.

Be seeing you

Difference Between Classic Liberalism & Progressivism Defined

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s No Bitcoin: Facebook’s Libra Currency Is Tied to Government Currencies | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2019

Ah, but … and here is the rub, the Libra is not a naturally limited good, as Bitcoin is, but can be multiplied to infinity. It is not stabilized by reference to a basket of commodities as Hayek recommended. Rather, it will be defined by a changeable basket of fiat currencies!

In other words the Zuckerberg’s Libra can be inflated to worthlessness, as has the Continental through the dollar since 1776.

https://mises.org/wire/its-no-bitcoin-facebooks-libra-currency-tied-government-currencies

In 1975 Hayek eventually gave a lecture entitled “Choice of Currency,” in which he articulated for the first time the provocative demand that the state monopoly on money should be repealed. The publication of the monographs Free Choice in Currency and The Denationalization of Money followed a year later, in which he expanded in greater detail on his ideas on competition between private money issuers. …

What shape would an order reflecting these power-sharing principles take, and how could it emerge? Hayek argues that such an order would take shape if the following liberties were granted:

Fast forward nearly a half century and Hayek’s call for the denationalization of money seems to be a real possibility, not just a crank libertarian position safely ignored by the monetary authorities.

The coming of the block chain technology and cryptocurrencies certainly suggest that the original post-World War II Bretton Woods “settlement” of the status of money, that gold and US dollars, redeemable in gold, were the basis for international settlements, failed. As have later revisions of the idea. Thus, an era of monetary uncertainty may give rise to possibilities for market-oriented reforms.

Bitcoin, as an example of “virtual gold,” gains its value from the limited number of units of that cryptocurrency and the expense in “mining” more of those units, not unlike real gold. While Bitcoin is the best known of the cryptocurrencies, CoinMarketCap.com lists over a thousand crypto currencies that are traded (though a significant percentage of these are actually ICOs — Initial Crypto Offerings — a way to raise funds for a particular project). Much of the power of the cryptos is that they can be easily, and privately, bought, sold, and exchanged.

Hayek predicted that normal market forces would apply to the goods we use to facilitate exchange (“currencies”) if only governments would get out of the way. In a free market for money he suggested that major financial institutions would sponsor competing currencies, probably defined by “baskets” of commodities. He speculates on how the market would maintain the value and stability of such currencies, far better than any political system of legal tender.

To some degree, this seems to be happening with cryptocurrencies.

And then along comes the 900 pound gorilla. Facebook, with two billion users, has decided to enter the cryptocurrency market with its Libra coin. Since the Libra would be usable as a currency on Facebook itself, the company probably has calculated that it will have a strong competitive advantage over any of the competing currencies.

Ah, but … and here is the rub, the Libra is not a naturally limited good, as Bitcoin is, but can be multiplied to infinity. It is not stabilized by reference to a basket of commodities as Hayek recommended. Rather, it will be defined by a changeable basket of fiat currencies!

That’s right. Facebook and Libra’s cooperating founding organizations (including PayPal, Visa, Uber …) hope to provide a stable cryptocurrency by tying it to a group of government currencies! According to Techcrunch:

A Libra is a unit of the Libra cryptocurrency that’s represented by a three wavy horizontal line unicode character like the dollar is represented by $. The value of a Libra is meant to stay largely stable, so it’s a good medium of exchange, as merchants can be confident they won’t be paid a Libra today that’s then worth less tomorrow. The Libra’s value is tied to a basket of bank deposits and short-term government securities for a slew of historically stable international currencies, including the dollar, pound, euro, Swiss franc and yen. The Libra Association maintains this basket of assets and can change the balance of its composition if necessary to offset major price fluctuations in any one foreign currency so that the value of a Libra stays consistent.

Well, that’s it. Zuckerberg is no Hayek. And the Libra is no Bitcoin.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »