“Freedom is not worth living if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that previous right.”—
Poverty is what happens when groups of people fail to cooperate, or are prevented from finding ways to cooperate. Cooperation is in our genes; the ability to be social is a big part of what makes us human. It takes actions by powerful actors such as states, or cruel accidents such as deep historical or ethnic animosities, to prevent people from cooperating. Everywhere you look, if people are prosperous it’s because they are cooperating, working together. If people are desperately poor, it’s because they are denied some of the means of cooperating, the institutions for reducing the transaction costs of decentralized Voluntary Private Cooperation.
“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.
—William Lloyd Garrison”—
Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2014) – The Cato Institute announced today that Leszek Balcerowicz, former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland, will receive the 2014 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, an award presented to an individual for achievement in promoting freedom and individual liberty.
Balcerowicz has been widely credited with the economic transformation of Poland.
“Leszek Balcerowicz’s contributions to the advancement of liberty and free markets in Eastern Europe cannot be overstated,” said Cato CEO John Allison. “Poland now serves as a model that other countries may follow in transitioning from socialism to a humane economy based on individual responsibility and the rule of law.”
The very process of industrialization and development, of which sweatshops are part, is ultimately the cure for sweatshops. As capital accumulates, technology improves, and as workers build skills productivity rises. As firms compete with each other for the productive workers, total compensation gets bid up. This process raises wages and improves working conditions, and it occurred in virtually all of the wealthy countries of the world today.
I have studied sweatshops for the past ten years. In that time I have become convinced that many well-meaning people advocate actions that are detrimental to the lives of sweatshop workers because they do not understand the economic forces that govern the creation of sweatshops and their alternatives….
Rather than hold protests that risk cutting the process of development short by destroying sweatshop jobs, activists should instead buy products made in these factories and embrace the forces of economic development that will improve the lives of sweatshop workers.
“One of the worst fallacies in the field of economics - propagated by Karl Marx and accepted by almost everyone today, including many businessmen - is the notion that the development of monopolies in an inescapable and intrinsic result of the operation of a free, unregulated economy. In fact, the exact opposite is true. It is a free market that makes monopolies impossible.”—Nathaniel Branden (via craiganthonywells)
Daniel Benjamin takes us through the common claims asserted on behalf of the multi-billion dollar recycling programs that are generally presumed to be wise public policy. Benjamin applies careful analysis to the claims made over the years about the “need” for mandatory recycling—and finds them to be bogus.
“Of government, at least in democratic states, it may be said briefly that it is an agency engaged wholesale, and as a matter of solemn duty, in the performance of acts which all self-respecting individuals refrain from as a matter of common decency.”—H.L. Mencken
David Brooks is arguing on a deeper level: we need big government because we need authority to tell us what to do; it is positively good for us on a metaphysical level, never mind its practical effects.
“Calling someone who is a criminal in the making “helpless and ill,” the poor victim of a mental or psychological “trip on the staircase of life” feeds in to exactly the kind of victim and entitlement thinking which every parasite-criminal requires in order to “function.” By buying this slop that much of the media uncritically serves up, you’re not helping anyone and you’re not being compassionate. Quite the opposite: You’re making the world that much of a safer place for criminals by suggesting that they’re victims of illness rather than the product of their own warped thinking and actions over time (which research and honest thinking tells us they are.)
I sincerely wish that people who know absolutely nothing about the field of psychology would stop spreading these ridiculous and even dangerous myths.”—
“To ban discrimination is to ban freedom of thought and freedom of association. Everyone in a free society should have the right to think whatever he wants to think about anyone else and to choose to associate or not associate, in both personal or business relationships, with anyone on the basis of those thoughts. His thoughts may be erroneous, illogical, irrational, or unreasonable, his opinions may be based on stereotypes, prejudice, bigotry, or racism—but in a free society everyone is entitled to his own thoughts and opinions.”—Laurence Vance
“A great system of National Parks has been built up. It might have been a beneficent thing if it meant that the natural beauty of the regions now embraced in the National Parks were to be preserved. But as a matter of fact it means nothing of the kind. During a period of over 30 years I used to go in the summers, with some interruptions, to Mt. Desert Island, Maine. When I first went there it was about the sweetest and most beautiful lake and mountain region that could possibly be imagined. It really seemed as though no human being would have the heart to destroy the delicate charm of those woods. But then came Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and the Lafayette (later Acadia), National Park, and all was changed. Huge roads now scar practically every mountainside and skirt the shores of practically every lake. The woods near the roads have been ruthlessly ‘cleaned up.’ The natural beauty of the region has been systematically destroyed. When I go into that National Park, with its dreary regularity and its officialdom, I almost feel as though I were in some kind of penal institution. I feel somewhat as I do when I am in Los Angeles or any of the other over-regulated cities of the West, where pedestrians meekly wait around on the street corners for non-existent traffic and cross the streets only at the sound of the prison gong. Certain it is at any rate that the best way to destroy true recreation is for government to go into the business of promoting it.”—J. Gresham Machen