January 26, 2010
From Eddie Izzard’s website:
It has come to our attention that various ticket agencies are offering Eddie tickets at extortionate marked-up prices. Frustratingly this is something that is out of our control despite the imposing of a 6 ticket limit per purchase policy. Eddie was particularly adamant that ticket prices should be kept to a minimum. £30 outside London and £35 in London. If you want to purchase tickets at the original price, check only ticketweb.co.uk or go direct to the venues. If you can’t find a specific seat or ticket you want, then try the other sites (which are all ticket scalper or ticket tout sites and who will charge you a lot more for your purchase – for no reason. Just for their profit). Until legislation is passed, the only way to stop scalpers is to not use their websites.
Stick to comedy, not economics, Eddie. I particularly love the last sentence. I think I’m going to adopt my own version of it:
Until the state solves the problem, the only way to solve it is anarchism.
October 2, 2009
At the time of this post, Wikipedia says:
The economic calculation problem is a criticism of socialist economics, or more precisely central economic planning. It was first proposed by Ludwig von Mises in 1920 and later expounded by Friedrich Hayek.
However, Hayek himself would tell you that Mises was not the first to make the argument. In his Collectivist Economic Planning (1935), he published an English translation of Enrico Barone’s paper, “The Ministry of Production in the Collectivist State” from the Italian Giornale degli Economisti in 1908.
Robert Vienneau posted a fun excerpt from this paper that I’m reprinting below. Of particular note is the use of the term ‘anarchist production’ to contrast with the Ministry of Production; not even Mises would go there. Also interesting is the emphasis on experiment, which has a mutualist spirit to it. You will also get a glimpse of what Enrico might have said if asked about firms classed as “too big to fail”.
25. But it is frankly inconceivable that the economic determination of the technical coefficients can be made a priori, in such a way as to satisfy the condition of the minimum cost of production which is an essential condition for obtaining that maximum to which we have referred. The economic variability of the technical coefficients is certainly neglected by the collectivists; but that it is one of the most important sides of the question Pareto has already very clearly shown in one of his many ingenious contributions to the science.
The determination of the coefficients economically most advantageous can only be done in an experimental way: and not on a small scale, as could be done in a laboratory, but with experiments on a very large scale, because often the advantage of the variation has its origin precisely in a new and greater dimension of the undertaking. Experiments may be successful in the sense that they may lead to a lower cost combination of factors; or they may be unsuccessful, in which case that particular organization may not be copied and repeated and others will be preferred, which experimentally have given a better result.
The Ministry of Production could not do without these experiments for the determination of the economically most advantageous technical if it would realize the condition of the minimum cost of production which is essential for the attainment of the maximum collective welfare.
It is on this account that the equations of the equilibrium with the maximum collective welfare are not soluble a priori, on paper.
26. Some collectivist writers, bewailing the continual destruction of firms (those with higher costs) by free competition, think that the creation of enterprises to be destroyed later can be avoided and hope that with organized production it is possible to avoid the dissipation and destruction of wealth which such experiments involve, and which they believe to be the peculiar property of ‘anarchist’ production. Thereby these writers simply show that they have no clear idea of what production really is, and that they are not even disposed to probe a little deeper into the problem which will concern the Ministry which will be established for the purpose in the Collectivist State.
We repeat, that if the Ministry will not remain bound by the traditional technical coefficients, which would produce a destruction of wealth in another sense – in the sense that the greater wealth which could have been realized will not be realized – it has no other means of determining a priori the technical coefficients most advantageous economically, and must of necessity resort to experiments on a large scale in order to decide afterwards which are the most appropriate organizations, which it is advantageous to maintain in existence and to enlarge to obtain the collective maximum more easily, and which, on the other hand, it is best to discard as failures.
27. Conclusions. From what we have seen and demonstrated hitherto, it is obvious how fantastic those doctrines are which imagine that the production in the collectivist regime would be ordered in a manner substantially different from that of ‘anarchist’ production.
If the Ministry of Production proposes to obtain the collective maximum – which it obviously must, whatever law of distribution may be adopted – all the economic categories of the old regime must reappear, though maybe with other names: prices, salaries, interest, rent, profit, saving, etc…
It is worth noting, as David A. Reisman does in Schumpeter’s Market, that “Barone…wanted market socialism. They should, Hayek believed, have gone for the free market instead.”
August 28, 2009
Thom Hartmann = Economics FAIL.
I have to wonder why Thom is afraid to take it all the way. Why not really embrace the idea and push for a retirement age of 30 coupled with a mandatory 4-hour workweek maximum? That should result in even more prosperity, tax revenues (because we need more of those) and lower unemployment.
Butts in seats! That’s the ticket, baby! And screw you if you worked your ass off for thirty years to finally get that senior position at age 55. Can’t you see that Junior here needs your job? He’s obviously just as qualified. I’m off to break some more windows.
For comparison’s sake, put George Reisman’s suggestions (I’m so losing leftie points for this) next to Harmann’s.
April 27, 2009
Mark Helprin was on NPR yesterday reminding me that I am barbaric. His new book, Digital Barbarism: A Writer’s Manifesto, argues for an extension of current copyright protection.
Included with the link above (along with the audio of the broadcast) is an excerpt from the book. It is simultaneously frustrating and hilarious. Here is a selection (but be sure to read it all). Put down your drink because the following howler is likely to make you spit from your nose: Read the rest of this entry »
March 7, 2009
But more deep than that is the fact that Karl [Hess] after having been an anarcho-capitalist for some time shifted over to become an anarcho-communist or anarcho-syndicalist. I don’t really see any basis for collaboration between the two groups, because even if we are both against the existing state, they would very quickly come up with another state. I don’t think you can be an anarcho-communist or an anarcho-syndicalist. You know if the commune runs everything, and decides for everything, whether it is a neighborhood commune or a mass country commune – it really does not matter in this case, somebody’s got to make the communal decision. You can’t tell me that you’ll have participatory democracy and that everybody is going to equally participate. There is obviously going to be a small group, the officiating board or the statistical administrative board or whatever they want to call it, whatever it’s going to be, it’s going to be the same damn group making decisions for everybody. In other words, it’s going to be a coercive decision for the collective property. It will be another state again, as far as I can see. So I really can’t see any basis for collaboration. That is really part of a broader analysis of the communist versus the individualist position.
However, I see a big blind spot in the logic here. It operates from the view that in an anarcho-capitalist society, all interactions will be market interactions and that there will be nothing approaching the social anarchist’s “preferred institutions”. There won’t be “a small group of elites controlling and planning the economy”. But what about the firm? Is the firm not a large part of life? Read the rest of this entry »
January 16, 2009
When you ask most capitalists what a capitalist system is, they will usually say a system of free markets and private property.
I confess to being perplexed by this. I’m certainly no expert in philology but it seems a very strange choice of root word for such a definition. It is important, I think, to remind ourselves of the real economic meaning of capital. Read the rest of this entry »