Sunday, September 02, 2012

Free to Choose - If You're Rich

My encounters with libertarians and objectivists lately boil down to "You have to read so and so's book and then you'll understand", with the implication that until I read it I cannot comment on the ideology/philosophy and they do not have to discuss it with me. A clever way to end an argument, but also fair enough, one should read the texts of your opponent. What they don't count on is that I'll actually read it AND detail out a critique on the book. I read fast and I read often.

I'll say straight away that I do not disagree with the entire libertarian position, but I disagree with enough of it (basically anyone who tells me that greed is a perfectly acceptable way to run their affairs. NEWS FLASH: it isn't). The following is notes I made on Milton's writings and the page numbers where he expressed the ideas that triggered my comments.

One complaint about the way I have laid this out is that it may not be all that intuitive to those that do not have the book handy what I am commenting on. To which I would reply that a) I do make some effort to frame Milton's thoughts that I am responding to in my critique and b) this is for people that either have read the work or have a copy and c) this also is my way of saying I have read the work and done the work, so fully regurgitating Milton's work is not necessary nor is it desirable (as this is bloody long enough already).


Pg. 2 Refers to Adam Smith, no force no coercion. Adam had no idea about corporations, monopolies or cartels. For example, Section 34 of Rogers TOS, states that they have the right to charge a customer for 30 days of service or when service is cut off, whichever is later, which means by default you are paying for 30 days of service which you will not receive. If it is larceny is the industry standard you have no choice but to submit to which is thus an unequal bargain.

Pg 2 Thomas Jefferson "We hold that...". Jefferson was a rich white slave owner. Rights in his view were qualified. Economic rights are still qualified.

Pg 3 Economic and political power in the same hands is a recipe for tyranny. He is referring to centralize government but his argument equally applies to Transnational Corporations (TNC).

Pg 4 It is ironic that Milton (MF) on the one hand preaches for a small weak government but on the other hand blames the government for weak policy that lead to the Depression. For a man that places such emphasis of personal responsibility and individuality to blame the government for people taking advantage of lax monetary policy is somewhat ludicrous. I'm not absolving the governments role, but blame must be properly apportioned.

Pg 4 Hayek’s argument that the early success of political and economic freedom lead to the increasing intolerance of perceived evils of inequality and taking advances and prosperity for granted. That is one way of looking at it, the other way of looking at it is our species is maturing, attempting to find the meaning of the word “enough”. Hayek would have us go backwards.

Chapter 1: The Power of the Market

Pg 10 Irony: Milton uses example of a soviet appliance breaking down and how long one would have to wait to get it fixed, this is no different than planned obsolescence in capitalism. Soviet system was better defined as state capitalism than communism. Instead of profit it had production quota’s.

Soviet model not efficient: based on what metric? The West's? From a profit perspective the soviet model was not efficient. Soviet was a growth economy like capitalism, it needed better feedback mechanisms and would have made a better steady state economy.

Pg 11 Correction: not a single person can make an industrially produced pencil. It has more to do with access to capital than actual know how.

Pg 13 Prices disconnect ourselves from the product and its production. Milton says it himself when he says we have no way of knowing where the product comes from. This is necessary in an economy where the players do not know each other which is the environment of TNC and this allows for the players to get away with all sorts of shenanigans to make a profit. If all the end consumer knows is price, the actions taken to deliver that price become irrelevant in the decision.

Pg 14 Prices: transmit information, they chose the least costly production method, they distribute the product (via income). Demand has no way of knowing it's impact on the environment as prices will be reasonable along most of the depletion curve.

Pg 15 Then what is advertising if not clogging the “in” baskets? Advertisers have no way of knowing if someone is in position of acting on the information or not as they spam the ether with their message. Price might be a simple means of transmitting the information because of what it transmits is so narrow to the end user, but the information that makes up how the price is arrived at is lost in the act of translating it into dollars and cents.

17 comments on OPEC but says that government interference is more important in price distortions than private. What about private interference in government?

18 Makes the case that all price information assumes a social good. If the incentive increases (i.e. Price) does that mean it is socially good to fulfill that demand? What social good is fulfilled by products made for one disposable and destructive purpose, i.e. military?

21 Human capital is more costly to maintain and replace than physical capital, so it is an incentive in any business to reduce the reliance on human capital.

23 Price essentially determines the worth of a person. It might be fine if price encompassed all areas of life but the economy routinely does not assign value due to conceptual problems. Assumes that without price as an incentive no saving would be done, so what did we do before money, starve? Assumes no dangerous work would be done, the incentive without price becomes the true incentive, make the work safer. False binary choice offered the only alternative to free market is command economy.

24 He makes a false analogy between everyone owning something and the state owning something. If everyone who lived in the housing had a hand in building it, the level of investment changes.

33 MF blames the weakening of familial cohesion on government paternalism when in fact the reason why family is weakening is because of the culture of robust individualism brought on by an economic model predicated on continual growth, in short the richer we are the more we substitute money for relationships.

Chapter 2: The Tyranny of Controls

40 Capital chases the lowest cost of labour. Every country has a poverty line. If, as MF previously argued, price is a reflection of cost and must be reflected in income, how does it make sense to undermine the means to earn income to gain a small cost advantage. People in general would be willing to pay more for products if they had a good paying job. Since people are price takers, they by default seek the best deal, to channel this behaviour, tariffs are needed to raise the cost of the imports above that of the domestics.

41 The only reason imports and exports make sense is because of the valuation of oil. It is underwritten by mass quantities of cheap energy. In an energy scarce scenario, you produce everything you can locally and import those thing you are unable to produce.

42 Surely he knows this argument is a farce. He should use another currency as an example. Any other currency but the US dollar. As the reserve currency of the world, there will always be a demand for it as long as oil is priced in dollars. The US doesn't have to manufacture anything as long as they maintain their dollar hegemony.

44 So to destroy comparative advantage all we have to do is what exactly? Why is an American worker 1.5 times more productive. Not because he is American, but because of information asymmetry which is protected through proprietary law. If we shared out the knowledge and best business practices, the only comparative advantage that would remain is a willingness to accept low wages and geographically located resources.

52 Britain version of free trade was mercantilism, essentially funneling goods from their colonies to the motherland while impoverishing the same colonies. The "collectivist" state of Hitler's Germany is more astutely framed as the reach of corporate power into the state, the very image of crony capitalism, which is defined, coincidentally, as fascist. Also consider why WWI started, not because some second-tier noble got assassinated but because of Germany's rise to power with the adoption of the American system of economics (which relied on infrastructure development and heavy use of tariff's). This threaten the balance of powers strategy that the English and the French had been employing for centuries.

54 Blames monopolies and cartels on govt regulation/interference. Once again, the cart is before the horse. Govt is an intermediary. Emasculate govt and TNC's would do it directly.

64. I would ask MF where the majority of the govt intervention goes on to benefit? The rich and the corporations. Follow the money and you'll find the root of the problem. I never see libertarians or objectivist protest that vigorously when the rich and too big to fail get bailed out, but talk about food stamps and holy fuck get out the pitchforks, we are going to a commie roast!

66 MF does not acknowledge the imbalance of power between employer and employee.

68 Portrayal of oil execs as victims is laughable. The oil cartel has the strongest lobby in the world, the have direct access to politicians which circumvents one person one vote. They effectively write oil legislation and in fact support regulation as it prevents new market entrants i.e. Porter's five forces.

69 MF goes on to rail against unions and blames govt for their power. All rights and obligations are codified in law and MF has no concept of the history of the struggle labour had to go through to gain these rights.

Chapter 3: The Anatomy of Crisis – No notes, basically the history and use of the Federal Reserve and it’s impact on the Depression.

Chapter 4: Cradle to Grave

98 Does MF not see that his words also apply to corporations? Who do corporations represent if not the predominately rich?

105 What is the point of the moral outrage? "people who would not lie to their children are lying to us...". Is useless rhetoric, meant to persuade by emotion not convince by way of reason.

106 MF thinks moral responsibility ends at the individual. He uses the example of children helping their parents out of love, depending on the same familial bond that has been weakened by robust individualism that he blames on gov’t paternalism on pg 33. What of those that have not even a familial bond, i.e. orphans? In MF’s view, no one needs to take responsibility for them as moral responsibility is individual and by extension familial. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be portrayed as a choice, as it never is a legitimate choice. Should I feed these starving people or should I ignore them and let them starve, this is the choice that MF wants to legitimatize.

107 Director's law. A middle class conspiracy against the rich.

108 MF complains about welfare programs, let us talk about tax cuts for the rich and increase in non-productive military spending. You’ll find that almost every tax cut for the rich and increase in military spending was partially bankrolled by cuts to social spending. Additionally, MF can include income “in kind” when he finally stoops to working out the "conceptual" problems of imputed labour for housework, specifically women's housework (Counting For Nothing, Marilyn Waring).

110 MF has no idea what causes crime. He thinks it is from getting welfare handouts and subsidized housing. So getting rid of government is going to fix crime? Crime is primarily spurred on by poverty and inequality.

122 Negative income tax. Why does this remind me of England's "solution" to poverty in the 1600's, the poor houses? MF seems to believe that people love being on welfare and that if we help them too much they will not bother to help themselves. This isn't true by and large. You'll find a few exceptions but the majority of people wish to be independent, self-sufficient, and feel like they are worth something. A negative income tax won't give them that, even welfare doesn't give them that.

123. MF assumes that private charities will step in to fill the void. The common argument is that communities stepped in to help out before there were governments. This is true, but with the onslaught of ever increasing debt, work hours, two income families, communities have been reduced to neighbors with tall fences. Socialism by government stems from the fact that communities do not/cannot do it anymore. If you want communities/private charities to fill in the gap, then you must reinvest in communities again. Otherwise negative income tax schemes and offloading social concerns on localities smacks of rich people not wanting to pay for well-being of poor people thereby perpetuating the inequality gap.

Additionally, if MF is such a big believer in social and economic Darwinism, why have the “superior” solutions of private charities not overtaken and out-competed the current model? For that matter why have free markets never materialized?

124. He makes one think that it is a free choice how one chooses to fund their retirement. It is a free choice to those with money, does he think that a negative income tax will for someone who is impoverished for most of their life, cover their retirement? Perhaps MF thinks private charities will plug that gap too. Out of sight out of mind. And for an economy that is 3/4 driven by consumer activity, how much capital formation does he expect to take place in an already credit drenched, over extended society?

125. Again radical welfare reform is no different than the rich aristocrats deciding that it was necessary to allow the poor to starve, because without hunger, how else do you expect the poor to work? Asinine. Give a person useful work, give them a sense of purpose, allow them to have some say in how the work is accomplished and that is all the motivation they need.

Chapter 5 – Created Equal

128. Setting up a straw man with equality of outcome. No one expects income distribution to be equal for all players. If you work hard and/or are brilliant you should keep more. Where I take issue is when the rich who may or may not have even worked for their wealth think they can pay proportionately lower taxes than the middle and lower incomes. They are under the impression that they earned the wealth all by themselves when in fact they are wealthy partly because they are hardworking/smart/lucky but also because the environment in which they work is conducive to allowing you to make income. Which is paid for by everyone who can pay, proportionately. When I hear about billionaires who are leaving the country in which they earned their wealth because they do not want to pay their fair share, it strikes me as profoundly ungrateful. You make it and you pay it forward, if you don't the alternative is unrest.

129. Thomas Jefferson = huge irony.

131. Inequality with freedom is an oxymoron. The poor have no freedom in poverty, their every action limited by debt and lack of money. The rich seem to be more free physically, but as a minority they have to spend their lives using their wealth as leverage to insulate themselves from the masses. Ever fearful that those beneath will rise to take from those above. Hence we have authors like Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, Frederich Hayek, Bastiat all justifying the inequality by calling it just and natural and condemning any notion of what is fair as collectivism.

135. Fairness is proportionality. If a middle class person is expected to pay up to 40% of his income in taxes how are we to view a rich person paying an effective rate of 17% as fair or just? Basically MF says that if we don't allow the rich to keep almost all of their money then how else are we going to make the producers produce. At a certain point, vast amounts of money is pointless and more than a little obscene. A doctor make $250K to a couple million a year is just and fair. They provide a much needed service and should be paid commensurate with their experience. A hedge fund manager taking home 10's of millions as a bonus is unnecessary since they do not also assume the downside. The bonus is privatized but the loss is socialized. But in any case both the doctor and the hedge fund manager should pay a proportionate amount in taxes.

136. Ludicrous. Find me someone who actual supports this position that those with talent should be encouraged less than those without? Common sense recognizes that everyone has different strengths, you emphasize the strengths and compensate for the weakness as best you can, no one suggests holding people back. Why else would we live in such a fiercely competitive society with such a fiercely competitive economic system?

137. MF is leading into social Darwinism here. The desire for a society for less inequality doesn't arise because we want to compensate for the lack of nature's gifts, but because we want the security to live with dignity. MF should remember this feeling from his own poverty, but like most formerly poor he wishes to forget his own poverty and protect his new-found wealth. About Ali, what do you think he fought for before he climbed the ranks, about the pay of a dockworker.

139. Rockefeller Foundation, founded as a PR stunt after shooting down union members. MF says there is no inconsistency between the free market and compassion. Perhaps he meant to say there is no intersection between the FM and compassion. One is performed outside of the other, there is no profit in compassion, that is a social decision we make is not a rational market decision. If (rich) D deciding what he will do for (poor) A worked so well, then why did it become necessary for B and C to decide for D? Could it be that D could not, for self-interest in maximization, make the right and just decision? When you espouse a philosophy that puts a premium on self-empowerment and bearing the consequences and fruits of ones own decisions, how do you possibly expect the charitable response of individuals to play out in a positive way?

141 Rather than going on about equality of outcome, how about equality of dignity? As anyone who has had to live only by the sufferance of those better off, dignity is by far the most important virtue and the very least any civilized society should offer without question or judgement: food, drink, medicine, shelter. Something the rich of our society lack is humility, a very Christian virtue. When freedom takes on the shape of one individual buying their own private island while millions starve, this is without question an egregious form of violence. At the very heart of it, when an executive purchases their own private jet, they are saying that the millions of starving are worth nothing. How to rectify? Live reasonably, buy goodwill with your largesse. What is "reasonable" is what is proportional to your wealth. Are you worth a billion dollars, perhaps living on 10% of that is reasonable. And with the other 90% do good works. This is what it is like living in a siphon society as opposed to a funnel society.

142 No one goes into public service to get rich. There are two types of people that go into public service, those that want to do good, and those that want a particular piece of legislation. Also there is no equivalence in the argument of wanting less inequality and wanting everyone to be equal, MF is attempting reductio ab absurdum, but it is in fact another straw man. Under no circumstances do I think a doctor should be paid as much as a waiter. I would be interested to see just which egalitarians are making this argument as MF refers to them, but not by any identifiable name, which makes me think, they do not in fact exist. Also if voluntary redistribution worked in a capitalistic, competitive society, we wouldn't need compulsory taxes to accomplish what must be done and make no mistake, historically speaking, some redistribution must happen to protect the wealth of the upper class. You see this with debt jubilee's, relaxing of debtor laws, granting of labour rights, granting of legal status.

145 Crude criminality does not stem from a drive towards equality (even his equality of outcomes) is stems from deprivation. Poverty is the source of crime, reduce poverty you will reduce crime.

146 Interesting MF uses the words "permitted" because indeed a free market must be permitted by law (imposed) to operate or else it would not exist on a grand scale. Polanyi illustrates this in The Great Transformation, free markets imposed by law, and the spontaneous social action that arose to stop it.

147 So what MF is describing when describing Russia is not an egalitarian society, it is in fact no different from the gradients of poverty and wealth seen in any capitalist society with the exception of a significant middle class.

148 Does not the accumulation of wealth and property require force as well? Force to earn it and force to keep it. And by its accumulation, does it not inflict violence on others so deprived to sustain such wealth?

Chapter 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools

153 The public school system was a reaction to increasing industrialization. Business's required that people have particular skills, but not a wide range i.e. critical thinking. They needed factory workers, not scholars. MF typically blames the gov't when in fact he should be pointing the finger at business.

157 We have to tolerate some inefficiencies from an economic perspective, because a) markets do not internalize all costs into prices b) because some things that are important to our society are external to the market thus unimportant i.e. the environment.

161. Quality of education is deteriorating because it matters less now to business whether kids graduate. The market for those skills has collapsed with outsourcing and automation. The kids that do go on to college and university are enough to satisfy the knowledge and service industries’ steadily shrinking market.

168 Coons and Sugarman are right. For a man who denigrates the Govt so much MF seems quick to allow the Govt to subsidize the choices of the rich. The term economic segregation is clear enough, those that can already afford private schools will then use govt vouchers to drive up the price of the private schools keeping them out of reach for the poor. In essence, nothing changes for the poor except the rich no longer have to directly subsidize their education.

169 Perhaps in America where social costs are frequently a target of politicians looking to make cuts to support tax cuts for the rich and increased military spending, but in other places in the world, socialized education works i.e. Canada.

177 He characterizes state run colleges and universities as places where slackers go to party and drop out. He has no idea why students drop out, but considering most of the students come from a class that can't afford ivory tower tuition, I would hazard to guess money and opportunity are the main reasons for dropping out, a much more plausible reason than laziness, and partying.

179 The invisible hand or the invisible fist? MF makes the argument that education should be primarily available to those with the private incentive to get it i.e. money. I would make the argument that education should be primarily available to those with the interest and the ability. Money should not enter the picture. Since we both agree that education serves both the public and private interest, money should not be the bottleneck that bars the way. His argument that those that go only because it is subsidized do not value it as much if they paid and could pay full cost. He uses the word “willing” and misses the word "able". That is like saying a starving man will not value a subsidized apple because he cannot pay the full cost. Best way to keep the lower classes in their place is to put education out of their reach. What does MF feel about libraries I wonder? Probably don't trouble him much because a library cannot confer a piece of paper that says you know something.

184 In quoting the U of C study he makes it seem like the rich and middle class are having a joke at the expense of the poor. If the poor are not receiving proportional benefit from the subsidy then how by raising the costs of education will it make it more accessible? There are currently private institutions but not one of them is cheaper than the subsidized state run schools. Also let's address the reasons why the poor may not be taking advantage of the subsidy. They may be ill-prepared from a life of deprivation or more likely they are working three jobs to makes ends meet and have not the time or money to avail themselves. Pay or borrow for higher fees. Hmmm trillion dollar student debt bubble? MF hates it when regulations hold someone back but seems to have no problem with money being the gatekeeper. Sure let investor's invest directly in the student by buying a share in future earnings. That has no possibility whatsoever of being abused. /sarc. It is slavery by another name.

Chapter 7 – Who Protects the Consumer?

191 Shout out to EF Schumacher. I do agree that regulation has gotten out of hand. For every regulation/law proposed, 2 should be repealed.

192. How does MF explain planned obsolescence? Government made products tend to be made to last so as not to have to pay for more of the same. It usually involves higher upfront costs, but they last longer. An unfortunate example that comes to mind is the AK-47.

197-199 All I see here are businesses that couldn't accept the free market and tried to circumvent it at ever turn. They found that government is the perfect tool.

215 He blames consumers for pollution not producers. This is not a chicken-egg argument. Beyond our necessities for life, food, drink, shelter, all wants are manipulated by producers advertising their product. How could a consumer want an iPad if none had ever been produced? He is correct that the cost for cleaner air and water must be born by the consumer which leads to another problem inherent in our economic system: inequality. When the gap is so great the amount the majority would have to pay exceeds their ability to sustain themselves. For example pollution primarily driven by China and the US affect the climate in Africa, how are the Africans to pay to offset the effects of pollution when they cannot feed themselves? The rich routinely make decisions with "their" wealth that have real implications for the rest of us. If Director's law is an issue then does not a proportional graduated tax address this? If most regulations benefit the rich and middle class and they pay the greater portion of the taxes proportionately, then what exactly is your beef?

217 Cheapest way to keep down effluent is illegal dumping. You only pay if you get caught.

218 Comparing horseshit to automobile exhaust. I realize this book is somewhat dated, but I can't help but say horseshit never contributed to climate change.

220 I would be interested in MF take on the DEA. I have often thought about the conflict of interest of prosecuting the war on drugs which has essentially grown from a budget of 100 million in 1973 to 20 billion dollars plus today.

222 Private enterprise will never mobilize capital for a profit loss scenario. They cannot. And there are many situations in which governments need to mobilize capital in scenarios in which their can be no profit.

224 Edward Bernays would heartily disagree. We are profoundly influenced by advertising and by others. If we were not then why did MF bother to write this book? It is advertising, some would say propaganda, but it influences none-the-less.

225 MF solution to monopolies is not legislation, it is opening up to international trade. Now I have an unfair advantage because I have the weight of future (his future, my past) events on my side, but how did he not think that same scenario that lead to national monopolies would not also lead to international monopolies/cartels? Introducing the Transnational Corporation.

227 I agree with his alcohol/drug policy.

Chapter 8 – Who Protects the Worker?

228 MF is being deceitful. True, officially recognized unions were few and far between, but union-like behaviour, strikes, work slow downs, protests, petitions existed for a long time and in great numbers. It was workers banding together that won better working conditions long before the govt gave them legal status (indeed the gov’t often sided with the owners). Any other view on this is ahistorical.

229 It was workers willing to stand up to government and capitalists that won the rights and enhanced the working conditions of all workers whether they were in unions or not.

231 Designating the Hippocratic Oath as a precursor to the first union. Paranoid? Just like we wouldn't let just anyone call himself a doctor today, they wouldn't back in ancient Greece. We require competence in our doctors.

232 Apparently the high wage earners in MF's world are those that are part of unions and those that are part of govt. Who are the highest paid workers in the world? CEO's of private companies.

234 Note: I am more than 2/3 of the way through and I do not believe I have heard MF once address military spending. He only attacks social spending. In fact, except for a brief swipe at GI benefits, he goes out of his way to exclude the military from his numbers.

In his argument against unions (union employ fewer people at higher wages forcing people to seek work elsewhere, their numbers bidding down non-union jobs) exposes the same flaw with international trade. Labour, a commodity, gets traded like anything else. Capital chases the lowest cost of labour. Hence access to greater pools of labour (i.e. displaced Mexican corn farmers) drives down the cost of labour. Another thing MF misses or doesn't address is that we need less labour overall due to innovations in technology and energy use. This, combined with access to global labour pools, drives down wages. Unions make up a small portion if anything.

MF says that all raises come from the productivity dividend. It used to, now it goes primarily to SH and management. Any raises that do come now, mostly come from inflation.

Raises in excess of productivity would come from other workers. I can agree with that as it explains the increasing pay gap between management and front-line workers.

235 We all wear the consumer hat at sometime. But in this economic system we must wear the worker hat first before we consume. So giving people high wages, as long as prices are affordable to those wages is no loss. High wages requires that the productivity dividend is shared out more fairly and not hoarded by owners and management.

MF says unions and governments are in cahoots. Laughable. And completely ahistorical. I suggest Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States for a real picture of the governments relationship with unions.

236 Again he complains of the violence used by unions to enforce their demands. MF is either ignorant of history or being willfully deceptive. The violence perpetrated against workers by both owners and govt far exceeded anything workers have done. Any violence would have been in reaction to injustices inflicted upon them. MF perhaps is affected by the hierarchy of force. Any violence that travels down the hierarchy from the upper class to the lower class is acceptable, routine and often invisible. Any violence traveling up the hierarchy is shocking and very visible. Any violence traveling in the wrong direction is dealt with harshly and immediately.

237 I address the minimum wage argument of Jacob Spinney and others in prior post here. They are MF's arguments verbatim.

243 MF takes umbrage at the idea that anyone's salary or pension should be linked to the cost of living. What is the alternative that it should be linked to the price of malnutrition? Anywhere there is inflation wages should be adjusted to compensate to preserve purchasing power. I suspect that the outrage is because to link wages to inflation removes the ability of capitalists to give “raises” that are funded by an increase in the money supply and not from the productivity dividend.

Also just how common was workmen's comp in the private sector, before it was legislated?

246 MF assumes that there is equal power between employers and employees. How could that possible be the case when one sells commodities and one is a commodity? If the supply of labour is greater than the number of jobs and in a global context it always will be, then the employer has more power. MF also assumes that the employee is more mobile than the employer, this is no longer the case when a TNC can move its headquarters through filing some paperwork across international borders, in one day. Lastly, it is a requirement that one works to live, people need money more than employers need people.

247 MF reinforces that the free market and competition lead to growth which provides the excess needs for raises. But historically we know that markets don't always grow, of course MF would maintain that there has never been a true free market, the “No True Scotsman” argument. But his free market experiment got played out again and again through Jeffrey Sachs use of "shock therapy" in places like Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Poland, Russia. It turn out to be pretty good for the rich, not so good for everyone else. And there was nothing voluntary about it. Most packages were created in secret and rushed through voting and had to be enforced forcibly.

Chapter 9 – The Cure for Inflation

254 So far I am mostly in agreement with MF's analysis of inflation. He seems to put the blame squarely at the govt feet, but recall, in the US the Federal Reserve makes monetary policy and the Federal Reserve, despite it's name, is a private institution that happens to have a monopoly on the creation of US currency.

268 The product and placement paid for by printed money matters. To take MF's example of workers building a road where none was before. If the road was built in the middle of nowhere and of little use, inflation will most definitely result. If the road was built to connect a town that up till that point had to pay to fly products in, then the cost of transport will dramatically fall, driving down costs and more than offsetting any inflation and everyone is better off.

283 I wonder if MF thinks centralize spending for the military is socialist?

Chapter 10 – The Tide is Turning

286 Maybe that is the problem, we can no longer have parties of principle but rather expediency and compromise. What are we expediting and with whom are we compromising?

291. Isn't he also describing how the free market works. Do not products work cross-purposes to each other? MF has no problem with waste as long as it is voluntary and in the confines of the free market, because he does not castigate all the legions of free market capitalists that have lost their shirt starting a business that failed. How many start-ups succeed? Something like 10%.

Thought: could the free market solve an impending meteor strike?

305 If price is speech then why is it so garbled?

309 For a word he uses so often did he define what "freedom" means?

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