Issue CCLXII

October 28, 2010

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Culture
A Movie That Gets It Right:
Jeffrey A. Tucker

October 28, 2010
Who are the capitalist folk heroes of our time? The Social Network is a film that celebrates one of the greats, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Jeffrey Tucker believes it is probably the finest movie about free enterprise made in our times.

Economics

My Debate Challenge to Paul Krugman:
Robert P. Murphy

October 28, 2010
Last week Dr. Robert Murphy launched a campaign to pressure Paul Krugman into debating him. In just the first week, this 7-minute YouTube video has generated $35,000 in pledges. At this point, Dr. Murphy does not see how Krugman will ever live this down until he debates Dr. Murphy on Austrian versus Keynesian business-cycle theory. In the present article, Dr. Murphy gives a little background of how he came up with the idea. Then he points out the broader implications of this episode, which go well beyond his jousting with Krugman.

Groupon: Another Market Success:
Robert P. Murphy

October 28, 2010
Groupon is a brilliant concept that uses social networking to mobilize shoppers and bring down prices. In contrast to all the mainstream economic models of "market failure," Dr. Robert Murphy explains how Groupon is yet another example of market success.

More Inflation Fears:
Ron Paul

October 28, 2010
Inflation fears heated up this month as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech in Boston on October 15, causing further frantic flight into gold by those fearful of the coming “quantitative easing” the Fed is set to deliver in November. Others who view gold as a short term investment engaged in immediate profit-taking after Bernanke's speech. Rep. Ron Paul's hope is that we can return to the wisdom of the Constitution and get back to sound, commodity-backed money before our dollar suffers a wholesale collapse.

A Spooked Economy in October:
Ron Paul

October 28, 2010
In early October we received worse-than-expected unemployment numbers, challenging recent claims that the recession has come and gone.  Also, as the economy continues to suffer the after-effects of the Federal -Reserve-created bubbles of the last decade, there is renewed interest in gold. Rep. Ron Paul argues that we are reaching a crucial point at which the dollar will no longer function, and in the absence of a functioning dollar, restoring sound money will be the only alternative. The truly scary notion is that those in power might allow our system to collapse so chaotically to the detriment of so many people rather than simply obey the Constitution.

America's Debt Dilemma:
Charles N. Steele

October 28, 2010
This past July CBO issued a study of the possibility that the United States could face a fiscal crisis in the not-too-distant future.  By "fiscal crisis" CBO means a scenario in "which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget, and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates."  In other words, the federal government would be faced with the following choices: pay unsustainable rates of interest on further borrowing, drastically raise taxes, slash spending, or create money.  All of these options, explains Dr. Charles Steele, are bad.

Politics
The Revolving Door That Never Stops Turning:
Mark Lerner

October 28, 2010
Mark Lerner provides a number of reasons you should care about L-1 Identity Solutions, the company Viisage Technology transformed into. He starts by mentioning that Louis Freeh (former Director of the FBI), Admiral Loy (former head of the Transportation Security Agency), George Tenet (former Director of the CIA), Frank Moss (former program manager for the State Department’s E-Passport program), and many others who previously held key positions in the federal government all joined Viisage/L-1 as members of the Board of Directors or as paid employees of Viisage/L-1.   This brings Mr. Lerner to the topic of the revolving door that exists between the federal government and corporations, and of the individual rights and privacy that suffer as a result.

The Economy and the Election: What if the Democrats Win?:
Charles N. Steele

October 28, 2010
What does the upcoming election imply for the economy? Dr. Charles Steele is loath to predict election outcomes: to do so requires one to guess what large numbers of people whom one doesn’t know are thinking.  But given an outcome, predicting is less difficult.  One simply has to understand economics, and the incentives faced by particular political actors.  In this article Dr. Steele tackles what it might mean if the election leaves Democrats in control of Congress.

EPA Regulation of Carbon Emissions:
Gary Wolfram

October 28, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  is finalizing regulations under the Clean Air Act that will add more uncertainty to an already uncertain economic environment.  These regulations, writes Dr. Gary Wolfram, should be opposed for a myriad of reasons.

Science
The Scientific Debate That Will Determine How Long We All Live:
Reason

October 28, 2010
Reason of The Longevity Meme considers it to be unfortunate that the bulk of the pro-longevity aging research camp is focused on an inefficient path forward that will in the end lead to lesser benefits. It is their belief that this is the only practical way ahead: a laborious slog towards complete understanding of aging and metabolism, followed by an even more complex navigation through re-engineering that metabolism to age more slowly. Reason writes that it is likely to be easier and less costly to produce rejuvenation therapies than to produce a reliable and significant slowing of aging.

"Nothing is more sacred than the facts." 
~ Sam Harris