Arky speaks to Dr. Richard Peppard

Posted in Guest Post | 6 Comments

Vaclav Klaus on Peter Bauer

h/t Jessie on the open thread. A very elegant tribute to a man who was a true scholar and a gentleman as well.

He came in Sydney in 1989 to visit the Centre for Independent Studies en route to a Mont Pelerin conference in Christchurch. He landed at noon on Melbourne Cup day and the office at CIS was set up for festivities. There was some alarm that Lord Peter Bauer the international scholar and sage would find this frivolity disconcerting.

Far from it, the Lord was the son of a Hungarian refugee who was a bookmaker by profession and he loved the turf and everything connected with it. So he was delighted especially when he was given some important function to perform like announcing the winner of the sweep.

The other link that Jessie provided, Bauer rubbishing Keynes.

More on Bauer and also Bill Hutt on industrial relations and Ian Hancock on Australian protectionism. And the role of gambling in the rise of cricket.

Posted in Classical Economics, Rafe | 6 Comments

Flow-on from the Trump tax cuts

Good news from our man in DC.

Not much to see in Australia yet. Funny thing that.

Posted in Rafe, Taxation | 4 Comments

Coal-fired power stations under construction around the world

What do we know that they don’t?

From the Global Coal Plant Tracker. Coal Plants by Country (Power Stations) to July 2018 30MW and larger. The total for the top 100 countries is 270 (file not fully loading). China 130 under construction and 106 Announced, pre-Permit or Permitted; India 41 and 47; Indonesia 20 (50); Vietnam 9 (27); Turkey 3 (39); Bangladesh 4 (19); Philippines 9 (16); Japan 13 (13); Pakistan 4 (10); Mongolia 3, Poland 4, Taiwan 2, Russia 3 etc.

There is another table Coal Plants by Country (Units) with larger numbers adding up to 491 under construction with 790 Announced, Pre-Permit and Permitted. This seems to indicate that plants can have more than one unit.

Regardless of the way you cut it, the coal miners of the world are going to be digging for a few decades yet and you can see why an international agency has projected that wind and solar will only be contributing 4% of the world’s energy at the mid-century.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 31 Comments

It’s not just their lies, but what they ignore

All picked up today.

CNN Caught Putting Socialist on Panel to Pretend He’s a Disillusioned Trump Voter

Left Working Furiously To Bury Feinstein Spy Story

Media Silent: Linda Sarsour Connected to Terrorist Training Compound in New Mexico

OMAROSA CALLED OUT By Conservative Pollster For Claiming That Trump Used A Racist Term: “Flat-Out False”

Journalists or Activists? CNN, Which Admitted They Were Responsible for Getting Alex Jones Deplatformed from YouTube, Apple, and FaceBook, Now Admits It’s Also Pressuring Twitter to Deplatform Him

LOL: ABC Stages Fake Scene With Actors Harassing Leftist At Restaurant To Portray Libs As Victims

Terrorist Truth Is Scarier Than Fiction, But The News Media Yawns

You didn’t want to know anyway, but if you did want to know you are an obvious sociopathic racist oppressor so they are absolutely right not to tell you.

AND THIS JUST IN: Newspaper calls for war of words against Trump media attacks. On the left, even idiots get to call the plays.

A Boston newspaper is proposing a coordinated editorial response from publications across the U.S. to President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on the news media.

“We are not the enemy of the people,” said Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor for the editorial page of The Boston Globe, referring to a characterization of journalists that Trump has used in the past. The president, who contends he has largely been covered unfairly by the press, also employs the term “fake news” often when describing the media.

The Globe has reached out to editorial boards nationwide to write and publish editorials on Aug. 16 denouncing what the newspaper called a “dirty war against the free press.”

And from my dealings with the people who read these papers and watch the ABC, it is clear that they are desperate not to be informed and literally do not want to know. It’s a sickness, and may yet be a sickness unto death for our way of life.

Posted in Media | 27 Comments

20th century literature of liberalism

For a single book it is hard to beat Ludwig von Mises Liberalism that you can download as a PDF or read in various other formats including a book made out of paper!

This is Mises’s classic statement in defense of a free society, one of the last statements of the old liberal school and a text from which we can continue to learn. It has been the conscience of a global movement for liberty for 80 years. This new edition, a gorgeous hardback from the Mises Institute, features a new foreword by Thomas Woods.

It first appeared in 1927, as a followup to both his devastating 1922 book showing that socialism would fail, and his 1926 book on interventionism.

It was written to address the burning question: if not socialism, and if not fascism or interventionism, what form of social arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing? Mises’s answer is summed up in the title, by which he meant classical liberalism.

Mises did more than restate classical doctrine. He gave a thoroughly modern defense of freedom, one that corrected the errors of the old liberal school by rooting the idea of liberty in the institution of private property (a subject on which the classical school was sometimes unclear). Here is the grand contribution of this volume.

Two of my favourites are Peter Bauer and Bill Hutt, profiled here.

Some of my other go-to people for western civilisation at large include Yvor Winters, Jacques Barzun and the Australian James McAuley profiled here. Also Barry Humphries and Liam Hudson here and Rene Wellek and the husband and wife team of Karl and Charlotte Buhler.

Finally, an early contribution to the cultural agenda published by the Centre For Independent Studies.

The publication of this occasional paper signals an ambition on the part of the Centre for Independent Studies to pay more attention to broad cultural issues. This is not to say that such issues have been entirely overlooked in the past. But because of the need to maintain priorities for the allocation of limited resources, there has been an emphasis on economic and social issues. Of course liberalism is not just an economic doctrine, and its intellectual leadership from Adam Smith to Hayek has spoken to the human condition in the round. The cultural initiative extends the exploration of the liberal principles of freedom and individual responsibility into areas such as education arid the arts, which are afflicted by excessive state interference and debilitating fashions.

Those who are concerned with public policy might question a turn to cultural issues on the ground that these do not really call for any government initiatives at all. But governments at all levels are becoming increasingly involved in cultural matters. This needs to be challenged, or, at the very least, monitored and subjected to appraisal. A ‘cultural agenda’ might include issues like the threat to free speech posed by ‘political correctness’, government subsidies for the arts, intellectual property rights, and obscurantist fashions in the humanities.

Posted in civil society, Conservative politics, Rafe | 1 Comment

Electric cars leave carbon emissions behind?

From a story about the innovative subsidy farmer Elon Musk in The Weekend Australian.

Technology commentator Anthony Agius in Melbourne said he put his name down for the Model 3 in 2017.

The focus was simply on leaving carbon emissions behind by owning an electric car.

Where does this technology commentator think the electricity is going to come from?

Last year the news from inside the Chinese bureaucracy was about a big push for electric cars to reduce air pollution. Someone must have realised where the power comes from so they have resumed construction of coal-fired power plants. In any case CO2 is not pollution, it is plant food, and it is well below the optimum level for plant growth.

PS Alan Kohler is amusing on the power issue as well:)

Another Kohler gig. helping the Australian Conservation Foundation to save the Galilee Basin.

Posted in Global warming and climate change policy, Rafe | 32 Comments

23.9% and Taxation by other means

The Liberal-National Coalition Government has a stated budget policy of not collecting more than 23.9% of GDP in tax. What a laughable objective. It reminds Spartacus of a “strategy” executive in an organisation he once work for who convinced the CEO to set a business objective of generating $500 million of “profitable revenue”.

When it comes to tax, the reality is that the true rate of taxation is actually government spending because this spending has to be paid for either the current year through taxes or in future years through taxes.  We should not be fooled by the accounting trick of moving flows between reporting periods.

Total tax = tax collected yesterday + tax collected today + tax collected tomorrow. 

But worse, the 23.9% objective is a sham for the reason that the government generates other taxes elsewhere although by a different name and through other means. And no, Spartacus does not refer to the “Tax Expenditures Statement” but rather other government policies which forcibly extract money from citizens.

Let’s start with the most obvious being compulsory superannuation contributions. The reason this is really a tax is not only because it is mandatory (at threat of property, life and liberty) but when comparing tax rates to other countries, those other countries (eg US, UK, France) have their retirement savings schemes wash through the government’s accounts and hence within tax numbers. Thus Australia needs to automatically add in some extra percentages for this.

But then Australia needs also to account for the equivalent of the tax penalty for not maintain private health insurance. There is also the raft of “user” and “industry” charges imposed by ASIC, APRA and Austrac which collectively amount to $1b per annum. If you run a financial services business in Australia, you have to pay the piper, and these are not licence or company registration fees.

There are a raft of things citizens are forced to pay for and the the suggestion that this Liberal National government is a low taxing one is as laughable as the suggestion that Australia is a low taxing country.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Catallaxy Exclusive – Spartacus Satire

Your correspond Spartacus has recently posted a number of satirical posts designed to highlight the folly and lunacy of our political overlords.  The most recent of these posts was:

Catallaxy Exclusive – Labor Promises to Expand ACMA and ACCC Armory.

Based on some of the comments that followed these posts, it seems that some Cats don’t seem to recognize the satire.  This could be because either Spartacus is a really good writer or because the policy pronouncements from our Crazed Canberra Crew are so bad that the silliness of Spartacus’ posts don’t appear that silly.

Spartacus’ money is in the latter (ie he is not that good a writer).

For future reference, when Spartacus starts a post with “Catallaxy Exclusive”, this is a guide that what will follow is folly not fact.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Open Forum: August 11, 2018

Posted in Open Forum | 1,235 Comments