Monday, June 22, 2020

Civil war, plague, and other things...

Very little blogging of late.  I've been busy with other things, and in the current clime there's a bit of danger in saying things that the wrong people deem the wrong thing.  But they can't be satisfied, so to hell with them.

My main worry that has limited my commentary is that Unforeseen Contingencies might be taken down.  The platform's proprietor has been working with China's Communist Party to build China's "social credit" system, and has offered to institute a similar system here, all in the name of fighting viral infections, of course.  That's why they call a proposal for government financing of tracing schemes H.R. 6666.  In short, when they got rid of "don't be evil" I think they meant it.  Oh well, on to our subject.

There's not a great deal to say about our current debacle.  In the United States we are in a hot civil war.  Minneapolis burned.  To a lesser extent, so have New York and Washington DC and other places.  Seattle harbors a breakaway "people's republic."  Those trying to overthrow our current constitutional order have attacked around the country (and abroad, the target is Western Civilization and Capitalism, the U.S. is simply the main instantiation of these noble ideas).  Black Lies Matter is a marxist organization, founded and run by self-described marxist organizers.  (See video starting about 6:40.)  Antifa is an international marxist organization.  They receive support  from the likes of George Soros (see Tides & Ruckus, then search them), and other "progressive" donors, the Democrat Party, and foreign governments.  We're at war, but only one side is fighting

Either that will change, and both (or multiple) sides will fight, or the marxists will simply win by default.  In the latter case, I do not expect that the marxists will rule, because I suspect many of their enablers have something else in mind.

Regardless, I think we are in the last of Heinlein's "Crazy Years."  Things are coming to a head.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

We are not shut down

Today, May 9 (Victory Day!) I attended the commissioning of two new lieutenants into the United States Marine Corps.  One of them, Tim R., is my student.  In addition, four more of our students took their oaths of office in other parts on the country, including my student Kyle F. in NJ.

The ceremony here at [redacted] was quite moving.  One of our business profs, a former Marine officer, gave an address that beautifully explained the oath of office, its meaning, its connection to our Constitution and our liberty, and what we all must do if we expect to be free.  It was a brisk morning sunny and a steady breeze.  The ceremony was well attended, with more than 100 people.  Flakes of snow fell at the end.

I sent photos to a number of people -- various friends, relatives, current and past students, profs who couldn't make it.  Responses poured in -- people in at least half a dozen states sent greetings, thnaks, wishes for God's blessings, and saying how heartened they are at seeing this.  Apparently "Oorah!" is more popular with real Americans than "cower in place."














Tuesday, April 14, 2020

HET II Economics of Marxism Leninism Part II

Part 2.


Monday, April 13, 2020

HET II Economics of Marxism-Leninism Part I

Economics of central planning in the Soviet Union, one of my favorite lectures.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Corona Payments 04 04 2020

Just how bad are the economic effects of lockdown and quarantine? And is there any sense to the just-passed Covid-19 spending programs? In this "Corona Conversation" economist Charles N. Steele discusses some survey data that shed light on the scope of the economic problem. He then analyzes several aspects of the federal spending package. Includes a cameo appearance by Chaos.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Destructiveness of the Covid-19 Shutdown.

Unforeseen Contingencies' own Charles N. Steele in The College Fix and The Federalist!

Perhaps the Covid-19 threat is so great that the shutdown is warranted.  I don't know, and the epidemiologists don't seem to either.  Perhaps it is necessary, but I do know that it is destructive.  And so are the the completely unnecessary implicit price controls and threats of prosecuting price "gouging."  I've already addressed price controls here (Detroit News) and here (Economists' Petition).

The Detroit News piece attracted some attention, and College Fix reporter Brianna Kraemer interviewed me for nicely done piece on the subject.  A few of my lines:

"Not letting prices rise is destructive and wasteful. For government officials to begin investigating firms for ‘charging too much’ is pernicious. It’s socially harmful. It hurts consumers...People are already upset by the threat of coronavirus. Now we add to that shortages and economic chaos...Our perverse dislike of free markets, the one thing that could help reduce the chaos, leads us to restrict them even more. Government pursuit of 'price gouging' and calls for price controls are helping to make a bad situation much, much worse."

But even worse will be the economic effects of the shutdown.  I'll not go into detail, but people without paychecks and firms without cash flow cannot survive long; the longer this goes, the more will suffer financial ruin.  Restarting the economy won't be easy, and the political ramifications will be very dangerous.

I cover this in a piece published today by The Federalist.

Read, learn, enjoy!

Unforeseen Contingencies update!

Greetings, beloved Readers!  (I still find it surprising we have readers, but I have been receiving feedback that proves it is so.)  By popular demand (i.e. one request), I've been posting HET (History of Economic Thought) videos here.  I don't really like this, and might start relegating them to my YouTube channel.  If I do this, I'll have a link in the blogroll.

The Covid-19/Wuhan Flu/Communist Chinese Fever shutdown is changing things immensely.  This disease and the consequent panic and shutdown are true unforeseen contingencies.  Whether something is an unforeseen contingency is contingent upon one's expectations, but I've not heard of anyone who was expecting this.  The reactions of governments is extremely interesting.  Wise? Panicked? Opportunistic? Combinations of these?  The opinions of the epidemiology experts I've read diverge so wildly -- from this is nothing to this is the end of the world -- that they make Mises and Keynes look like co-authors.

We'll comment on that soon.  For now, stay well and stay positive!

HET II Vilfredo Pareto

Utility theory!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Economists' Petition

Open letter to politicians and bureaucrats everywhere: Stop the anti-market stupidity!  Set prices free and stop the investigations and threats of prosecution for price gouging!  You are creating shortages and you're going to kill people!

I'll be posting more on this, but here's a petition I just signed.  I included a lengthy comment directed at the power-mad fools in government who think they can run an economy better than free people trading in an unrestricted market can.

Economists’ Petition: Repeal the Anti-Price Gouging Laws To Ensure Our Health and Safety During this Coronavirus Epidemic

HET II Walras Part 3

Finishing Leon Walras!


HET II Walras Part 2


More HET!!!

HET II Walras Part 1



Whoa! More HET! Leon Walras!


HET II: F.Y. Edgeworth

Wow!!! History of Economic Thought!  A favorite subject of the entire staff on Unforeseen Contingencies!  Learn and enjoy!




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