Issue CCCIII

October 31, 2011

Return to Issue CCCII.                                 Proceed to Issue CCCIV.
Recommend this page.                                   Submit Items to TRA.

A sample image

Culture
The Perils of Cultural Homogeneity
G. Stolyarov II

October 31, 2011

Mr. Stolyarov outlines the extreme dangers of enforced cultural homogeneity – and there is no other kind of cultural homogeneity possible. In doing so, he hopes to provide a defense of genuine cultural diversity, a concept he hopes to rehabilitate from its current misuse by the political Left.

Economics

Fed Policy and Asset Prices
Robert P. Murphy

October 31, 2011

Recently Ben Bernanke caused a stir when he suggested that, in the future, the Fed should play a role in combating asset bubbles. Although his specific ideas are analogous to asking Al Capone to combat organized crime, Bernanke's suggestion does involve a genuine debate among academic economists: When assessing the tightness or looseness of monetary policy, should we focus narrowly on consumer prices in the current period, or should we also look at the central bank's impact on asset prices?
Dr. Robert Murphy reminds us that the Austrians have always warned that a single-minded focus on consumer prices could lead to disaster.

What's Cost Got to Do With It?
Douglas French

October 31, 2011

Book buyers have been used to hardback books being the most expensive, with softcover versions being priced much less, while e-book versions are cheaper still. This pricing scheme comports with David Ricardo's doctrine that the value of consumption goods are determined by the "cost of production" or the labor theory of value. Obviously the production cost of a hardback book is greater than that for a paperback, with both of these far and away more expensive to produce than a Kindle or ePub version. 
So for those thinking David Ricardo had it right, expensive hardbacks and cheap e-books make all the sense in the world. But, writes Douglas French, Austrians see the world differently. Consumers set prices based on their preferences. It doesn't matter what a book costs; what matters is what a reader will pay for it. Likewise, consumers in the Western world determine the prices — not by haggling — but by buying or not buying.

Literary Analysis
Executive Suite: A Story of Corporate Success and Succession
Edward W. Younkins

October 31, 2011

Cameron Hawley provides an honorable and favorable account of the majority of businessmen in his excellent, suspenseful, and engaging 1952 novel, Executive Suite. A 1954 film adaptation of the book stays rather close to the novel but is a bit more negative in its depiction of people in business. Both the novel and film have a Randian feel reminding one of an Ayn Rand novel. Overall, writes Dr. Edward Younkins, both versions provide a realistic and positive image of the businessman, show the actual machinations and politics of corporate life, communicate the drama and romance of business, and make excellent business school case studies.

History
When "Liberal" Meant Something: A Review of Christopher Pennington's The Destiny of Canada
Bradley Doucet

October 31, 2011

The Canadian federal election of 1891, fought 120 years ago, pitted two legendary Canadians against each other for the first and only time. In the Conservative corner was the incumbent, Sir John A. Macdonald, a Father of Confederation and Canada’s first Prime Minister, who had led the young country for all but five of its first 24 years. Hoping to wrest the title of Prime Minister from his grip was Liberal Wilfrid Laurier, who would eventually become just as much of an icon as his famous opponent. The story of this great contest—which turned on the issue of continental free trade but could just as easily have torn the country apart along linguistic and religious lines—is engagingly recounted by Christopher Pennington in The Destiny of Canada: Macdonald, Laurier, and the Election of 1891, published by Penguin as a part of its History of Canada Series. Bradley Doucet writes that the young historian makes a good case in his Preface for why this largely neglected election is actually a pivotal episode in Canadian history that richly deserves a proper book-length treatment. In the 300 pages that follow, Pennington does a splendid job of providing one.

Politics
Leaving Iraq?
Ron Paul

October 31, 2011

It is not too often that Rep. Ron Paul is pleased by the foreign-policy announcements from the Obama administration, but last week's announcement that the war in Iraq was in its final stage and all the troops may be home for Christmas did sound promising.  Dr. Paul has long said that we should simply declare victory and come home.  It should not have taken us nearly a decade to do so, and it was supposed to be a priority for the new administration.  Instead, it will be one of the last things done before the critical re-election campaign gets into full swing.  Better late than never, but, examining the fine print, is there really much here to get excited about?  Are all of our men and women really coming home, and is Iraq now to regain its sovereignty?  And in this time of economic crisis, are we going to stop hemorrhaging money in Iraq? Sadly, it doesn't look that way.

China: Wealth But Not Freedom
James A. Dorn

October 31, 2011

China can be proud of the rapid economic progress it has made since 1978, when it was still a centrally planned economy with little foreign trade.  Today, as the world’s second largest economy, the People’s Republic (PRC) has gained wealth but not freedom. The Chinese people have a vastly wider range of economic and social opportunities than under the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, but, writes James Dorn, their basic human rights continue to be denied by a Communist Party determined to maintain its monopoly on power.

It's Libel - Except When Mike Does It
Paul Driessen

October 31, 2011

Paul Driessen calls attention to an absurd lawsuit by Penn State climatologist Michael Mann, who has sued Canadian climate scientist Tim Ball for allegedly defaming him through a little joke that played word games with “Penn State” and alluded to some of Mann’s questionable research practices. What’s truly strange is that, just a couple weeks ago, Mann accused another climate scientist of “dishonest smears that have been manufactured by fossil fuel industry-funded climate change deniers, and those who do their bidding by lying to the public about the science.” This string of libels Mann does not consider libelous. But a little joke is. Nevertheless, Mann’s lawsuit has put a lot of strain on Dr. Ball, who is now working with lawyers, preparing to defend himself – and launch a counteroffensive. In addition to explaining the facts surrounding this idiotic defamation suit, Mr. Driessen's article encourages people to support Dr. Ball’s legal defense fund – and in so doing protect their own freedoms and living standards.

Videos
The Heinous Precedent of the Awlaki Assassination - Video
G. Stolyarov II

October 31, 2011

The assassination of American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan by the United States Central Intelligence Agency constitutes a dramatic escalation of the powers of the US federal government. Now it no longer simply presumes to have the authority to kill any of its own citizens -- the very persons whom it was created to protect -- while they are abroad; it has actually exercised this authority. Mr. Stolyarov focuses on an area of the debate on this subject that has been neglected so far -- namely, the question of who might be next.

Prudent Principles for Advancing Liberty - Video
G. Stolyarov II

October 31, 2011

Those who value individual liberty will hopefully not content themselves with viewing liberty as a mere beautiful abstraction, without relevance to day-to-day life. But if we are to actually live in a free world, as opposed to simply thinking about it, what should we do, and how should we go about doing it? Mr. Stolyarov hopes to provide guidance to friends of liberty with regard to general habits, assumptions, and rules of conduct that will enable them to more effectively infuse the ideas of freedom into concrete reality.

 "The federal government has no right to treat all Americans as criminals by spying on their relationship with their doctors, employers, or bankers." 
~ Ron Paul