Issue CCLXIII

October 29 - November 2, 2010

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Culture
The Transformation of Retirement:
Reason

October 31, 2010
In a world where indefinite life extension becomes widespread, how will the practice of retirement change? Reason from The Longevity Meme explores this question. The transformation of retirement can bring immense benefits, but it will face resistance from interests entrenched in the status quo, such as politicians who have a stake in today's pension programs.

Economics
International Trade for Dummies:
Gary Wolfram

October 31, 2010
There is a good deal of confusion over the issue of trade. You can really see it in the advertising being done for different political campaigns, particularly in the Michigan governor's race and the 7th congressional district race. There is talk of "fair trade" and "shipping jobs to China". Much of the discussion misses the fact that trade creates wealth for society as a whole. The discussion also assumes that trade occurs between countries rather than between individuals. Dr. Gary Wolfram thinks it may not be too late to clear up some of these misconceptions prior to the election.

Should the Cost of War Include Interest Payments?:
Robert P. Murphy

November 2, 2010
When tallying up the "total costs" of a government operation, proponents will typically include only the most obvious items, whereas opponents will throw in the kitchen sink. The obvious motivation is to make the operation look relatively cheap (for the proponents) or horribly expensive (for the opponents). In such exercises, one of the tricky items is the government's interest payments on debt that was used to pay for a particular operation. For example, when assessing the "total cost" of the Iraq invasion to date, should we estimate how much of the federal government's interest payments this year are due to the growth in the federal deficit necessary to pay for the invasion in years past? In this article Dr. Robert Murphy looks at both sides of the issue.

QE2 and the Alleged Deflation Threat:
Robert P. Murphy

November 2, 2010
The markets and financial pundits are all abuzz over the prospect of another round of quantitative easing — "QE2" — in which the Fed may start buying yet another trillion dollars in assets after the elections. The justification for this massive bout of new inflation is, of course, the threat of deflation. But if we actually look for ourselves, we see that prices are not falling. The Fed has already fueled another boom in various asset prices, just as it did when trying to provide a "soft landing" after the dot-com crash. Dr. Robert Murphy writes that the economy will never truly recover until the government and central bank let the market process take its course.

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Understanding Intellectual Property: An Interview with Stephan Kinsella:
Jeffrey A. Tucker and Stephan Kinsella

November 2, 2010
Daily, we see horror stories and crazy examples of abuses of intellectual property (IP). People are starting to wonder if these are really abuses of IP or if there's something wrong with IP itself. Jeffrey Tucker interviews Stephan Kinsella, instructor of the Mises Academy's forthcoming course, "Rethinking Intellectual Property: History, Theory, and Economics."

Music
Going, Going Gone:
Rodney Rawlings

October 29, 2010
Composer Rodney Rawlings offers a new arrangement of a song he wrote a long time ago. Length: 3:22

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

October 31, 2010
What if Republicans take control of Congress in the upcoming elections?  As in his previous articles (here and here), Dr. Charles Steele focuses on America’s debt dilemma.

On Voting:
Charles N. Steele

October 31, 2010
Elections are two days away.  Midterm elections in the United States are sometimes ho-hum, but the 2006 election wasn’t, and neither will be 2010.  Both are referendums on how a party holding the presidency and both houses of Congress has performed.  And in both cases, the voters are disgusted. This, writes Dr. Charles Steele, is a good time to reflect a bit on voting and what it means.

Saudi Arms Deal is About Iran:
Ron Paul

November 2, 2010
This month the US Administration notified Congress that it intends to complete one of the largest arms sales in US history to one of the most repressive regimes on earth. Saudi Arabia has been given the green light by the administration to spend $60 billion on some 84 new F-15 aircraft, dozens of the latest helicopters, and other missiles, bombs, and high-tech military products from the US weapons industry.  Why, asks Rep. Ron Paul, would the US government, which spends hundreds of billions of dollars yearly and maintains hundreds of bases overseas to push global democracy, approve a deal like this with such a regime?

Wind Power Mirages:
Jay Dennis

November 2, 2010
We are often told we must end our “addiction” to oil and coal, because they harm the environment and Earth’s climate. “Ecologically friendly” wind energy, some say, will generate 20% of America’s energy in another decade, greatly reducing carbon dioxide emissions and land use impacts from mining and drilling. But, writes Pastor Jay Dennis, America can’t afford to shut down the fossil fuels that make our jobs and living standards possible – or slap huge new climate change taxes on them – before we have a real alternative to replace them, not just mirages. 

"Unreason is now ascendant in the United States — in our schools, in our courts, and in each branch of the federal government." 
~ Sam Harris