Archive for 6 months ago
Free trade fallacies

Grosse Arbeitslosigkeit auch in England ! Im Monat Juli wurden in England über 2 Millionen Arbeitslose gezählt. Es ist eine Ziffer, wie sie England noch nicht aufzuweisen hatte. Arbeitslose vor dem Gewerkschaftshaus in London auf Arbeit wartend.

Steve Kates explains why Trump’s attitude to trade may conform to Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage:

The free trade argument concludes that nations jointly maximize their levels of consumption to their mutual benefit when firms within the nations are allowed to engage in trade unhindered by arbitrary interventions by government especially those intended to shield some industries from foreign competition. Hindering such trade through the imposition of tariffs or quotas is called protectionism. His principle and approach have been the basis for subsequent expansion and development of the free trade idea, and are still taught in principles textbooks.

This is true enough but it is built on a foundation which no longer holds:

The major prerequisite for the benefits of free trade to hold: it is assumed that capital and labor stay within each country. They are reallocated within a country, but not between them. That means that outsourcing of, say labor, is not an example illustrating free trade nor are those who object to outsourcing promoting protectionism. In short, maintaining the Ricardian prerequisite is not anti-free trade.

The key concept which drives this conclusion is the distinction between comparative and absolute cost advantages. A country may be able in absolute cost terms to produce something more cheaply than its trading partner (using fewer workers, for example). However, it still may find it advantageous to let its trading partner produce this good, if its own alternative uses of (labor) resources allows it to be still more productive. Subsequent trade between the two countries will be to their mutual benefit. The essence of the free trade principle then is comparative not absolute advantage. Yet when corporations scan the globe for the cheapest labor to move their factories to or hire their services from, they are looking for absolute not comparative advantage–a situation that goes beyond the bounds of the free trade principle. It is not a tenet of free market economics that losing one’s productive assets is beneficial for the nation, however much it may benefit a particular corporation. Current US experience makes the point very clear: the middle class continues to shrink while paupers and billionaires continue to grow. This is not the hallmark of a healthy economy.

Armed with this distinction we are liberated to adjust policy (within limits) without losing our economic integrity to free markets. We can, for instance, admit that there are situations where a complete free trade or laissez-faire approach is unwise. These are situations not considered in the Ricardian analysis but which subsequent work has shown complicate the picture of benefits and costs arising from international trade and which do call for prudent policy interventions.

Ideologues have thrown the free trade baby benefits out with the bathwater.

The coalition signed up to the Trans Pacific Partnership. If anything marks them as unfit to govern, that does.

Too many economists, public servants and politicians have substituted mouthing slogans and repeating received notions, for thinking. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. It creates fertile ground for the growth of the Dunning-Kruger Effect:

Incompetent people are significantly less able to recognise their own lack of skill, the extent of their inadequacy, and even to gauge the skill of others. Furthermore, they are only able to acknowledge their own incompetence after they have been exposed to training in that skill.

Dunning-Kruger Effect is running out of control. It appears to be particularly widespread among those who should know better. This may be an  unforeseen consequences of the rampant expansion of the university sector. It has not just wasted time and money, but has actually undermined the competence of those exposed to it.

Our governing class may not be too dumb for their own good. But they certainly are for ours. Over educated group thinking mouthpieces. Lacking in the breadth of experience necessary to spot BS when we are up to our necks in it. They are fine, floating along on their perks and privilege. Complaining of the stink from those they deem beneath them. Blissfully unaware of the sewer they are turning society into.

 
Idiots in high places

no-privacy

New GOP bill seeks to let ISPs sell your web history to advertisers. If the NSA can’t keep its data secure, what hope has every ISP in the land? If collected and kept, it will become available.

Quick: Name five people you’d love to show all the internet traffic that has ever gone through your router. Every page you and anyone else using your unsecured Wi-Fi ever visited, every ad ever served to you from any of those pages, how long you lingered on the pages you visited, whether you scrolled down or signed up or bought anything, and all of it time-stamped. Better yet, would you donate that information to a private mindshare broker, which brags about using a botnet AI to conduct psy ops and sway elections for the highest bidder?

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have introduced Congressional Review Act resolutions that would overturn the FCC’s privacy rules for ISPs. The resolutions will allow ISPs to sell the web histories of their customers to whatever “trusted partner” they wish.”

In Australia, it is already spread far and wide within the Commonwealth Government. If anyone is careless with the data or hacked it will become widely available. The Coalition passed the Act which made that possible. Bless the little dears. They have the intellect of infants.

Which side of politics are public servants going to leak against?

 
Warrantless searches

citizenfourbanner

Something rotten in the State of Denmark. The NSA spying revealed by the CIA “Vault 7” leak shows the US government cares not one bit for the privacy of its citizens. Yet, the spark which led to the American revolution may have been government breaches of privacy.

 

Colonial authorities…began issuing … a kind of blanket search warrant… (We would now call them “National Security Letters.”) Attorney James Otis took the case of 50 merchants who sued the British crown over these overly broad warrantless searches, and his powerful speech condemning these practices was heard by John Adams, who considered it the spark that led to the American Revolution.
George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776 forbade these writs of assistance.

Thomas Jefferson depended heavily on that document when he authored the Declaration of Independence. When he talks about “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” one of the things he means by liberty is that the government shouldn’t be able to snoop at will through your private letters.

The sentiment against warrantless searches and overly broad writs of assistance was put into the constitution by James Madison, with what became the 4th Amendment.”

Warrantless searches were seen as inimical to liberty and the rights of Englishmen. This was because they are. Imagine the control those with access to everything you have ever said on phone, written in an email, typed on a browser or seen on a site will have. Blackmail will be the least of it. Yet a database of this information is what the US is creating and the Obama administration authorised for widespread dissemination:

 

With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people.

New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA—which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy—share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report today by the New York Times.

That’s a huge and troubling shift in the way those intelligence agencies receive information collected by the NSA. Domestic agencies like the FBI are subject to more privacy protections, including warrant requirements. Previously, the NSA shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information, including about innocent people whose communications were swept up the NSA’s massive surveillance operations.

 

In Australia questions were recently raised about why the supposedly current center-right government was to the left of past center-left governments. The question ought to be asked of conservatives in the US. Neocon support for the surveillance state takes them further along the big government path than any previous administration. Current Australian conservatives are similarly to the left of all prior Australian administrations in the rights of the individual against government. They impose fiscal penalties on the parents of children who are not vaccinated. Something previous left leaning governments did not do. Even Australia’s libertarian party succumbed to the big government “do gooder” mentality:

Parents have the right to not immunise their children; they do not have the right to put other children at risk.

That’s why Liberal Democrats WA will make immunisation a requirement to attend state school in Western Australia.

No exceptions to conscientious objectors.
Senator David Leyonhjelm Facebook post

 

As a commentator states:

Better stop parents from driving. Have you seen how many of them run over kids? “they do not have the right to put other children at risk.”

Government taxation will have deprived many of the ability to pay private school fees. You know this. Or have you spent too long supping on the taxpayer teat in Canberra? At the least allow conscientious objectors to put the school per pupil funding to other uses. Be it private school fees or freeing up a parent for homeschooling.

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions. But why can’t we turn around and walk back up it? Every government impost seems to be almost impossible to roll right back. The Republican shenanigans around the repeal of Obama care being just the latest example.

 

Those elected to defend our freedom, our inherited rights do not even know what they are giving up. The left have corrupted the conceptual framework through which the right views the world. It is a global phenomena. Even the internet is threatened.

 

The inventor the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, warns:

 

Even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far,” he said, in an allusion to WikiLeaks’ disclosure of what documents claim is a vast CIA surveillance operation. “It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion…

 

Berners-Lee is just the latest high-profile technologist to share concerns over what former Cisco Systems executive Monique Morrow calls a fundamental assault on privacy and cybersecurity, with critical infrastructure — banking systems, the grid — hanging in the balance…

 

Proliferation of cyberweapons pose a significantly greater threat — especially smartphones in the hands of unwitting consumers, and eavesdropping TVs in their living rooms — because they spread at a faster rate than physical weapons, says Phil Reitinger, CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance and a former director of the National Cyber Security Center.

 

Over-educated intellectual pygmies have allowed this to happen. No previous generation considered this level of surveillance acceptable in a free democratic society. Even when in wars against existential threats.   Yet our supposed leaders cast our hard won rights aside, with nary a second thought. America once rebelled to secure their rights as Englishmen. They enjoyed much support in England. Support which was strongest in those areas which once supported Parliament against the king in the English civil war.

It is time to turn the road to hell into a road from hell. It’s time to restore our freedoms. Let us make our own paradise, rather than suffer under the hell of the “do gooders”:

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

 

They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell on earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (p.292) by C. S. Lewis: