A Libertarian thought from Chairman Karl Popper. On the danger of “happiness” as a state policy from chapter 24 of The Open Society and its Enemies.
The political demand for piecemeal (as opposed to Utopian) methods corresponds to the decision that the fight against suffering must be considered a duty, while the right to care for the happiness of others must be considered a privilege confined to the close circle of their friends. In their case, we may perhaps have a certain right to try to impose our scale of values—our preferences regarding music, for example. (And we may even feel it our duty to open to them a world of values which, we trust, can so much contribute to their happiness.) This right of ours exists only if, and because, they can get rid of us; because friendships can be ended. But the use of political means for imposing our scale of values upon others is a very different matter. Pain, suffering, injustice, and their prevention, these are the eternal problems of public morals, the ‘agenda’ of public policy (as Bentham would have said). The ‘higher’ values should very largely be considered as ‘non-agenda’, and should be left to the realm of laissez faire. Thus we might say: help your enemies; assist those in distress, even if they hate you; but love only your friends.”
Not good news. Traffic Jam – spare a thought for the victims of the modern slave trade.
Picketty, drowning us in data. Critical commentary on his contribution from the Mises list.
This chart is astonishing for many reasons. First of all, it suggests that capital earned a 4.5 percent or higher return for the years 0-1800 C.E. This is a crazy number. If the human race had started out with only $10 in year 1 and compounded it at 4.5 percent a year for any series of 1,800 years, by now we would have much, much more than a trillion times the entire world’s wealth today, which is estimated at $241 trillion by Credit Suisse.
Science. A technological fix to bring back the salmon. Not a joy for the Greens.
Literature and life. David Ireland, forgotten Australian novelist. His picture of pub culture in Glass canoe.
Books. “Bucket list” books. A futuristic military adventure by my son Leo. Legion, a story of the American Foreign Legion which was established as a disposable force to deal with colonial conflicts in America’s interstellar empire. A good read if you like the genre. Childrens books from Clouston and Hall remainders.
Around the town: IPA HEY. The Sydney Institute. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Liberty on the Rocks, the notice board for the ATA: Quadrant on line, Mannkal Foundation, Centre for Independent Studies.
Jim Rose, feral and utopian!
This should be a joke but is isn’t (if true). Life in the global public service. Work falls by 90%, staff numbers go down by 10%.
The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has helped funnel almost $400-billion into emission-cutting projects in developing countries by allowing investors to earn carbon credits they can sell to companies and governments of richer nations that use them to meet emission targets.
From 2003, developers flocked to register projects such as destroying heat-trapping waste gasses at Chinese chemical plants or installing hydroelectric power stations in Brazil, and made huge profits by selling the resulting carbon credits for up to $30.40 a tonne in 2008.
But interest has waned while countries wrangled over setting new emission goals under the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), hammering credit prices down to unprofitable levels below $0.30.
At it’s peak the UN CDM Fund employed 160 people to register and issue credits.
The CDM raises funds by charging fees to developers for registering projects and issuing credits, a relatively unique mechanism that helped it grow from a handful of staff in 2003 to more than 160 in 2013 as the number of projects mounted.
In true bureaucratic style now that projects have fallen by 90%, staff numbers have slipped from 160 to 150.
Previously it took 1.6 full time employees to approve and register one project per month. Now with productivity improvements each case only needs a full time staff of … 50.
UN data shows just three projects a month were registered on average this year, against 268 a month at the peak of activity in 2012. This means a staff of 10-20 people would be sufficient, said Axel Michaelowa, a University of Zurich climate policy academic and founding partner of consultancy Perspectives.