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Israel should not attack Iran. Nor should it solicit American action to that end. Based on historical precedents, if Israel had a surgical way to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, it would have done so already. Hence, on the assumption that such an elegant solution is not available, the cost of an Israeli strike does not seem commensurate with the reward. Further, the potential cost, and likelihood, of living with a nuclear Iran does not seem high enough to justify a wager of this kind.
"The importance which the certainty of law has for the smooth and efficient running of a free society can hardly be exaggerated. There is probably no single factor which has contributed more to the prosperity of the West than the relative certainty of law which has prevailed here."
'There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.'The above quote from Ludwig von Mises's Human Action (1949) pretty much sums up where we are and where we're headed. There are two ways out of this mess: Allowing bad banks and bad companies to go bankrupt and take some pain in the short term; or bail them out through government "creation" of more money and cheap credit. Looks like the world has opted for the second option.
"People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It's not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past"
"Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, Governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some... As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery.John Meynard Keynes wrote the above in 1919, in an essay about Inflation and Deflation. This is the same Keynes whose theoretical work and policy recommendations serve to justify current calls for increased government spending, money printing, and cheap credit. How does one reconcile his views on the peril of inflation with the solutions that are being proposed in his name? More on this next time.
Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of Society than to debauce the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."
"Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?...The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
'One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.'The above was not written by the speaker of China's Communist Party; it was not published on China Daily or the Global Times. It was written by Thomas Friedman and appeared in yesterday's New York Times. Friedman is so in love with central-planning, that he is willing to give up his so-called liberal ideology and dismiss China's ruthless and violent control mechanism - which holds 20% of the world's population under considerable oppression - as a system with some "drawbacks", led by "enlightened people".
Yesterday, a friend of mine pointed out that the current crisis was created under George W. Bush. If free markets and small government are really the solution, how come a "right-wing" president who "reduced taxes" brought us into this mess?
That's a great question, and president Bush is a perfect example of all the misconceptions people have about economic policy and the right-left division in US politics. How so? Let's look at the numbers.
Bush may have reduced (some) taxes, but federal spending during his two terms went up 19.7% and 25.3% respectively, not including defense spending. If you include spending on security and other adventures, the growth is almost 50%.
"Instead of furthering the inevitable liquidation of the maladjustments brought about by the boom during the last three years, all conceivable means have been used to prevent that readjustment from taking place; and one of these means, which has been repeatedly tried though without success, from the earliest to the most recent stages of depression, has been this deliberate policy of credit expansion....To combat the depression by a forced credit expansion is to attempt to cure the evil by the very means which brought it about; because we are suffering from a misdirection of production, we want to create further misdirection - a procedure that can only lead to a much more severe crisis as soon as the credit expansion comes to an end.... It is probably to this experiment, together with the attempts to prevent liquidation once the crisis had come, that we owe the exceptional severity and duration of the depression."Karl Marx once wrote that every historical occurnce happens twice: first as a tragedy, second as a farce. Above is an excerpt from an essay published by F.A. Hayek in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. It is based on an essay he published in German in 1928. Not much has changed.