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Found 7 results

  1. The Housing Bubble Release Date - NYC Premiere Wednesday - June 26 - 6:30 pm Panel: Tom Woods, James Grant, Peter Schiff, Gene Epstein, David Tice, Jimmy Morrison Tickets - Pre-orders Instant Online Access for Crowdfunders The world premiere of our film The Housing Bubble earned an Audience Award at the Anthem Film Festival when over 300 people showed up for the screening. Legendary investors Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Doug Casey, and Peter Schiff star in the film alongside economists Joseph Salerno, Ron Paul, Robert Murphy, Jeff Herbener, Mark Thornton, Roger Garrison, and Patrick Barron. Financial writers Jim Grant, David Stockman, and Gene Epstein also join the cast. David Tice is an Executive Producer. Naomi Brockwell narrates the film and is also a producer. Tom Woods co-wrote the film with me. The Housing Bubble will be released June 26th during our NYC premiere at the Angelika Film Center, the legendary indie theater that has hosted Oscar winning directors Sofia Coppola, Casey Affleck, & Barry Jenkins, as well as actors like Rami Malek, Sam Elliott, & Tom Hiddleston. Our panel will include Tom Woods, Jim Grant, Peter Schiff, Gene Epstein, David Tice, and myself. Despite not yet being released, the film has been seen in 37 states and 19 countries, including events at Hillsdale College, Mises Canada, Mises Poland, Mises Estonia, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, Freedom Fest, Mises University, Anarchapulco, and the Mercatus Center. Can't make the premiere? Contact us about bringing the film to your city, or let us know if you're screening the film with your friends. Crowdfunding Please join us in promoting The Housing Bubble and help contribute finishing funds, so that we can finish editing the sequel The Bigger Bubble. Please share our site with your friends and rate us on IMDB! Thank you so much for all your support!!! Writer/Director Jimmy Morrison Let Us Disagree Productions 563.260.6451
  2. Stephen Hicks interviews Douglas Den Uyl on the essence of capitalism (link). Den Uyl gives four views, one being Ayn Rand's.
  3. Honesty, integrity, rationality - gak! - about as useful as a bullet to the brain. Few people were influenced more deeply by Ayn Rand than I was, and I bought the whole package, every word of it. How many Objectivists were elected or appointed to public office? - zero. Paul Ryan disavowed her. Alan Greenspan was famous for incomprehensibly vague Congressional testimony and tossed hard money under the welfare state steamroller. How many Objectivists became film directors, novelists, playwrights? - hahahaha. The cottage industry of Rand scholarship turned out swell. She was a covert Hegelian or a Jewish mystic. Handsome young homosexuals buried her and cashed in by going squishy on no-fault subjectivism. Film rights went to a certifiable dolt who sold it to an amatuer who hired a schlock horror promoter and soap actors. Eddie Willers became a cute black guy. Not bitter, just reality oriented. When Margaret Thatcher quoted Rand ("There is no such thing as society") it ended her career, after splurging on Soviet-style NHS health care and a fat welfare state pillow for unemployed miners. Rand's influence in Britain today? - none. Here in America? - hahahahahaha. Black Lives Matter. To equal the payola a single mom gets from various Federal and state welfare programs, she'd have to earn $70,000 a year with no high school diploma. If Rand had lived to see homosexual marriage and Hillary's cakewalk to the Oval Office, I can see her repatriating to Russia in disgust. Vladimir Putin's puny iron fist makes more sense than U.S. foreign policy past, present, and future. $2 trillion to invade and occupy Iraq, at least 100,000 dead and 1.5 million refugees. Billions in cash "missing" from Bremer's idiotic fiefdom that gave way to Iranian-backed Shia militias and breakaway Kurds backed by Israel. Not good enough for Obama. He and Hillary fucked up Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Anbar, and Syria, promoting and funding the "Arab Spring" in bed with the Saudis who promoted and funded 9/11 and the Taliban. Jesus H. Christ! -- could there be anything worse for American foreign policy interests? Yes, there could. A deal with Iran to hand them a nuclear bomb and ICBMs, with a pallet of Swiss francs for dessert, after the Republican-led Senate waived advice and consent on unknown terms and conditions. Really, you can't make this shit up. No one would believe it. So here we are, solemnly swearing how honest and honorable we are as Objectivists. That cuts no ice in the real world. Sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton, honest and honorable and you can't prove otherwise, because -- oh, that? -- old news. What matters now is the first female president, an historic gesture to gender equality, the antithesis of Rand's thinking about sex roles. I don't mind being "old fashioned" as my professional colleagues frequently remark, but I draw the line at honesty, the most dangerous of all virtues in the modern world. Speak the truth and die like Andrew Breitbart, or run for your life like Edward Snowden. The world belongs to Suge Knight and Rahm Immanuel. Fuck with them and they'll drop you head first in a sewer. But nothing tops the first class evil practiced by the electronic media and their hallowed bankrupt dead tree institutions. A couple years ago I worked for a leading trade publisher. I was aghast at the bullshit they peddled in praise of shale hucksters Floyd Wilson and Aubrey McClendon. The truth was fraud, bankruptcy, and fat Wall Street fees on high yield debt that will never pay off, never had a hope in hell of paying off. All I could do was roll my eyes at Sean Hannity yelping about "energy independence" -- a theme that The Donald picked up like a stolen tiara he found in the trash. Want to know the truth about oil and gas? -- I doubt it. Conventional production stalled in 2005, no new proved reserves anywhere on earth. Shale fracking in the Bakken costs $70 a barrel to produce and has to be shipped by rail because Keystone XL was killed by Obama. They don't separate out ultra-volatile condensate, and when trains derail they blow up. The environmental disaster at Ft. McMurry is worse. Canadian tar has to be diluted with volatile condensate to pump it anywhere, and when it arrives at a refinery, the first thing that gets produced is tar ash, mile-long piles of it in Detroit. Same financial hurdle, costs $70 a barrel to dig up, boil, dilute, transport, and upgrade into usable crude oil. When WTI collapsed to $30, hundreds of thousands of skilled staff were laid off, rigs idled, capex decimated. Guess why the price of oil fell? -- world demand collapsed. (shakes head) You will not get anywhere with the truth, bub. It doesn't matter what Hillary or Donald promise or propose, no matter how reasonable it sounds. Perhaps you're aware of a "post-modern" paradigm in art and lifestyle? In a similar way, we are in a "post-modern" world economy. The problem isn't us buying cheap shit from China, instead of nonexistent and hypothetical Made In USA cheap shit. The problem is collapse of demand worldwide. Throwing more paper around like Alan Greenspan will shoot flames of inflation higher and break Social Security, which is sinking to negative cash flow and can't pay a COLA increase. Honesty is boring and often scary. Better to speak cheerily of Objectivism. (smile)
  4. Objective eyes on November: Roundtable - May 11, 2016 Roger Bissell, Robert Campbell, and William Scott Scherk look through Objective(ish) eyes at the US presidential election. Get to know the spirit, humour and wit of the three amigos in the first of a series. Presented as an audio-only podcast at Conversations with the Greats | Show notes at November Eyes Notes
  5. If you aren’t familiar with the phenomenal podcast series available at www.econtalk.org, I highly recommend selecting an episode or two from the archive and listening during your daily commute or exercise. One could select virtually any of the podcasts as a rich starting point for discussion, but one episode in particular had a profound impact on my intellectual framework, and I would like to share it here: www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/01/david_rose_on_t.html In this episode, economist/author David Rose discusses some of the central themes of his book, The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior, with host of the program Russ Roberts. It’s best to listen to the hour-long podcast for yourself if you have the time, but here is the main idea of his argument: “This book explains why moral beliefs can and likely do play an important role in the development and operation of market economies. It provides new arguments for why it is important that people genuinely trust others-even those whom they know don't particularly care about them-because in key circumstances institutions are incapable of combating opportunism. It then identifies specific characteristics that moral beliefs must have for the people who possess them to be regarded as trustworthy. When such moral beliefs are held with sufficient conviction by a sufficiently high proportion of the population, a high trust society emerges that supports maximum cooperation and creativity while permitting honest competition at the same time.” (Source: Amazon.com) Before adopting Rose’s framework of evaluating economic behavior, I was much more influenced by utilitarian principles such as those espoused by legal theorist/economist Richard Posner. To take an example, Posner’s “efficient breach of contracts” theory – arguably the dominant view in modern jurisprudence - holds that one party should be legally (and morally) free to breach a contract and pay damages to the other party if the overall outcome is more efficient. In the amoral view of contracts, the ends justify the means of the breaching party. Simply evaluate the likely outcome of breach, and if the benefits outweigh the costs, then the actions were justified. Everyone wins in such situations, right? Rose argues that there is no such thing as this free lunch. The costs of Posner ‘s utilitarianism are less easily quantified than the benefits, but nevertheless the costs are very real in the form of eroded social trust. A society in which people act according to a principled moral foundation, Rose explains, is more efficient because individuals will engage in a wide variety of economic behaviors they otherwise could not have in a utilitarian culture because of fear of being sacrificed to a “greater good” or prohibitively high transaction costs. This is one reason why I reject utilitarian tolerance of skyrocketing social security disability fraud as the easiest way of "buying off" individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find employment. I believe - and I think Rose would agree - that tolerating this deceitful behavior fosters a culture in which individuals will breach trust and cheat each other as long as they can identify some benefit outweighing those costs. It’s also why I reject utilitarian platform elements integral to the Progressive movement, such as affirmative action. If individuals fear they are in danger of being sacrificed to a greater good by the elite, they will no longer place trust in the system and they will instead engage in defensive, protectionist behavior with high social and economic costs for everyone. In a world where promises are categorically kept, there is a much lower need for government protectionism. This is why I feel Rose’s position is more in line with libertarian and objectivist principles than Posner’s, and why we should reject progressive utilitarianism and its view that individual eggs are expendable in creating a more perfect social omelet.
  6. One of the strangest progressive memes of the past few years has got to be the following, which is currently making the rounds on social media: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/10/1141724/-Walmart-fuels-inequality-epidemic-taking-advantage-of-our-safety-net http://activism.thenation.com/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11116&tag=twitter Stripping away the many superfluous adjectives, the argument goes something like this: - Walmart pays low wages and limited healthcare benefits to many of its employees - Some of the employees are eligible for food stamps and Medicaid because of their low compensation. - Therefore, Walmart is using social safety nets as an integral part of its business model (Walmart = Welfare Queen) There are too many logical fallacies wrapped into this argument to give proper treatment in one post. Aside from the dubious employment-as-exploitation framework upon which the argument rests, it is uniformly assumed that Walmart's low-wage workers are welfare recipients because of the widely accepted progressive truism that "it's impossible to live on such wages." One problem with this assumption - and with the broader category of "living wage" arguments - is that many low-wage workers are in fact living in households with pooled resources. A few obvious complicating factors in the analysis are marriage, roommates, teenagers living with parents, and other sources of income. For the argument to carry any semblance of merit, one must further assume that Walmart wages are in fact adjusted downward in proportion to the availability of government programs like food stamps and Medicaid rather than being based on competitive market conditions. To my knowledge, there is no evidence whatsoever to support this conclusion, nor is such a hypothesis even testable in the first place.
  7. A progressive writer for Slate by the name of Matt Yglesias (formerly associated with the Center for American Progress, and apparently a big deal in that community) posted a statement to his Twitter account yesterday that I found interesting. Though I don’t follow Yglesias on Twitter and had not heard of him before, the post came to my attention when it was retweeted by a buffoonish progressive blogger I do follow for the sole purpose of publicly shaming him in what can be best analogized as a regular pheasant hunt on the grounds of my digital estate. Yglesias’s tweet, most likely written in response to the National Spelling Bee coverage, was as follows: “English’s inordinately difficult spelling makes for entertaining contests, but it’s horrible for social mobility. Reform is needed.” Presumably, Yglesias’s argument goes something like this: poor people don’t have the same opportunities to learn spelling as the other classes; therefore, English spelling rules function as barriers to social blending and must be overhauled. Putting aside the obvious practical concerns surrounding such an action (philosopher kings don't concern themselves with such matters), Yglesias’s view of English as a top-down control mechanism – a tinker’s tool for producing desirable social outcomes – runs counter to what Hayekians might point to as the emergent nature of language. We don't know if Yglesias would recommend the creation of such a body, but there is no Central Authority that controls spelling or vocabulary for all of society. Language is, and has been for centuries, shaped by each one of us, through usage, every day. Literally anyone can invent a word or adopt a new spelling at any time, and if enough people use it, it becomes a part of our shared means of communication - a part of our culture and social norms. It’s indicative of the core temperamental differences between libertarians and progressives that my take on spelling is the polar opposite of Yglesias’s. Whereas Yglesias sees spelling as a tool of oppression beating down the poor, I view it as a great equalizing opportunity *for anyone willing to put in the effort.* Spelling is nothing more than a system of rules and exceptions learned through experience, memorization, and practice. Unlike in the past, when books were true rarities affordable only by the elite, the entirety of the English language is now directly accessible to anyone with a library, book store, or computer. With a simple grammar book and a bit of practice, there is nothing preventing the poorest of the poor from learning to express themselves every bit as eloquently as the richest of the rich. Compare the written word to mansions, luxury cars, finely tailored clothing, and other social status symbols long beyond the grasp of all but the super wealthy. Or compare it to exclusionary factors not so easily changed, such as accent, mannerisms, or physical appearance. If language is a barrier for the lower classes, what a cheap and accessible barrier it is, and once you've climbed over that initial hurdle, nobody can rightly tell the prince from the pauper on the other side.