The Unnameable Russian

Uses of Money

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We are all familiar with one use of money: spending it to buy something we want.  it might be a new car, kitchen appliances, a nicer home in a nicer place. There are other uses of money.  I sort of think of money as distilled power. We all know powerful people. The cop who stops
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Thank Goodness The Government is Helping us Afford Housing, Education and Health Care.

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The Government has many programs to help us acquire affordable housing, affordable health care and affordable higher education. Thank goodness. Think how painfully expensive these things would be if we let the free market deliver them, like we pretty much do with food, household consumables, clothing, shoes, transportation, electronics and energy. What thirty year old
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a camel is a horse designed by a committee

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In the early days of the Internet people connected to it over their ordinary telephone lines. They were called POTS lines, standing for “Plain Old Telephone Service”.  It required use a modem, a device like a fax machine that turned digital data into modulations of sound that traveled over voice lines. Everyone wanted speed, because
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Capitalism is not an ism at All

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To me, capitalism is simply the absence of force in human economic relations. If you wanted people to be able to deal with each other freely by voluntary agreement, you would get private property and capitalism. It is not an “ism” at all. Alright. I have to fend off some common attacks. Capitalism requires private
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The End of Work

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Conventional economic wisdom is that the world suffers from a lack of [aggregate] demand. In plain words, people and businesses are not willing to purchase as much stuff as can be produced. There are many suspected causes. Past debt may be causing people to not take on new debt. Stuff purchased with borrowed money is
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America is Japan

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What ails America is obvious. You will never hear it from the media, academia or the US government. We have the Japan disease. Japan had a huge  asset bubble, probably caused by its central bank but definitely caused by its government. Rents per square foot in Tokyo prime districts exceeded rents anywhere on earth. Homes
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Businesses Do Not Exist to Provide Jobs

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If you listen to any politician, the reason we have businesses is to provide good, stable, well paying jobs for the voters. Absolute nonsense. A business exists for one reason and one reason alone. It exists to add value to the world. A business takes value out of the world. It uses real estate, spending
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Protectionism

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Some debates keep going on forever. Does the minimum wage hurt, or help, poorly skilled workers? Do gun control laws reduce “gun violence,” or do permissive carry laws reduce violent crime? Is free trade a good or an evil? Surprisingly, there is a lot of empirical evidence to help us evaluate these claims. As Thomas
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Why do Politicians Promise Affordable Health Care

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Often we have no choice but to buy health care services.  No one likes to pay money for a purchase forced upon them.  The need for health care may strike arbitrarily due to no fault of the sufferer.  Health care can be ruinously expensive. It all makes it seem unjust and painful to devote lots
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Trade or Comparative Advantage (cont.)

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Last post I claimed that trade could improve the lot of all participants, be they more productive or less productive, higher cost producers or lower cost producers, advanced or backwards. I even claimed that if you are better then me at every productive activity, I can benefit from trade with you. This is the opposite
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