Issue CCXCII

July 12-16, 2011

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Economics
What's Up With Inflation?
Warren C. Gibson

July 12, 2011

Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been almost nonexistent for several years, though it started creeping higher in the first half of 2011. Yet many prices have been rising at double-digit percentage rates. Are official figures trustworthy? And what of expectations? There is a great deal of buzz right now about inflation but also talk of renewed stagnation with the Fed’s QE2 program having ended in June. Could renewed stagnation trigger enough deflation to counter inflation? Or might we get the worst of both worlds—stagflation—as in the 1970s? Professor Warren Gibson explores these questions.

Subjective-Value Theory
Robert P. Murphy

July 12, 2011

Dr. Robert Murphy lays out the basics of the modern subjectivist approach to price theory and show how it is a clear improvement over the cost theory of value.

How Mathematics Can Make Smart People Dumb
Ben O'Neill

July 16, 2011

Mathematics can sometimes make smart people dumb. The danger of mathematical arguments is that a person can sometimes follow an absurd path of reasoning without being alerted to its absurdity, due to the fact that their mind is so lost in the verbiage of mathematical equations that their common sense fails to penetrate it. As a statistics teacher, Ben O'Neill has to guard against this problem constantly in his students. In this article, Professor O'Neill explains how misunderstandings of mathematics result in crude economic fallacies made in today's debates over carbon taxation.

Fiction
The United States in 2020: Realistic Worst-Case and Best-Case Scenarios
G. Stolyarov II

July 12, 2011

From the standpoint of an advocate of individual liberty, free markets, and technological progress, what are the worst-case and best-case visions of the United States in the year 2020? Mr. Stolyarov presents two scenarios that attempt to exclude clear extremes of low probability. As the future has not happened yet, we can affect things to come. For those of us who desire a freer world and numerous reforms in that direction, outlining these possibilities will also give us some benchmarks to evaluate the success or failure of our endeavors.


Politics
War on Drugs a Smashing Success!
Bradley Doucet

July 12, 2011

In response to the release early this month of the Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which opens with the phrase “The global war on drugs has failed,” the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy quickly sent out a press release saying, in essence, “Nuh-uh!” In this satire, Bradley Doucet writes that the press release, however, was far too timid in its defence of the drug war, citing dubious claims of reductions in the demand for and supply of illegal narcotics. Mr. Doucet attempts to provide a more robust defense.

Al Gore's War on Children
Edward Hudgins

July 16, 2011

The views expressed on limiting human population growth by Al Gore, the Guru of Gaia, appear to Dr. Edward Hudgins to come down clearly against the human race. Dr. Hudgins wishes to thank Al Gore for clarifying the nature of a crucial struggle in the world today. There are those who value the environment separate from its value to humans and thus in conflict with the life of humans. And there are those who value their own lives, families, friends, and everything they gain from this world.

TSA Abuses and Failures
Ron Paul

July 16, 2011

The press reports are horrifying: 95-year-old women humiliated; children molested; disabled people abused; men and women subjected to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas; involuntary radiation exposure.  If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately, in this case the perpetrators are armed federal agents. This is the sorry situation ten years after the creation of the Transportation Security Administration. The requirement that Americans be forced to undergo this appalling treatment simply for the "privilege" of traveling in their own country reveals much about how the federal government feels about our liberties. Rep. Ron Paul writes that the unfortunate fact that we put up with this does not speak well for our willingness to stand up to an abusive federal government.


Competing Currencies: A Defense Against Profligate Federal Spending
Ron Paul

July 16, 2011

Currency is sound only when it is recognized and accepted as such by individuals, through the actions of the market, without coercion. Throughout history, gold and silver have been the two commodities that have most fully satisfied the requirements of sound money.  This is why people around the world are flocking once again to gold and silver as a store of value to replace their rapidly depreciating paper currencies.  Even central banks have come to their senses and have begun to stock up on gold once again.
But in our country today, attempting to use gold and silver as money is severely punished, regardless of the fact that it is the only constitutionally-allowed legal tender! Rep. Ron Paul has introduced legislation that attempts to remedy such injustices.

Can a Principled Libertarian Go to War?
Wendy McElroy

July 16, 2011

Can a principled libertarian go to war? To answer this question requires a definition of war itself. Wendy McElroy explores the criteria for a just war and concludes that these standards set up a situation where condoning any actual war on principle is impossible for a libertarian.

Why Legalize Now?
Mark Thornton

July 16, 2011

Suddenly the world is abuzz with talk about legalizing marijuana and other drugs. Political candidates, politicians, former presidents, interest groups, and even the Global Commission on Drug Policy are all calling for drug-policy reform. Given that we are in a worldwide economic and fiscal crisis, why is everyone interested in drug policy? Have we all suddenly regained our senses and realized that prohibition is irrational? No, writes Mark Thornton, the more important reason for the interest in this issue is economic sense.

 "A free press can exist only where there is private control on the means of production." 
~ Ludwig von Mises