Wednesday, March 25, 2020
The Destructiveness of the Covid-19 Shutdown.
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!
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
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
The Economists' Petition
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
HET II Walras Part 2
HET II Walras Part 1
Whoa! More HET! Leon Walras!
HET II: F.Y. Edgeworth
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Full Speed Ahead 21 03 2020
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Stop shortages with Free Market prices!
Note: in keeping with our DiLorenzo redaction rule, please close your eyes when you get to the parts identifying my affiliation.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
CoronaCash 17 03 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Happy π Day!
Happy π Day! The entire staff of Unforeseen Contingencies wishes all our readers (all 3.14159 etc. of them) the happiest of Pi Days and hope your day has been full of running and pie. It is believed that π wards off Covid-19, as do running and pie. So dose yourself heavily with all three and stay safe and well.
We will have an exclusive Unforeseen Contingencies special on Covid-19 shortly.
Photo: Pi pie baked by Charles N. Steele at UCHQ.
Thursday, March 05, 2020
Presidential Primary Endorsement!
...our very own commander, chief blogger, and bottle-washer, Charles N. Steele! This may come as a surprise to readers, but our case is airtight. Consider:
1. Steele has spent substantially less campaigning than little Michael Bloomberg ($0.00 vs. $550,000,000.00) yet was not that far behind the little man.
2. Now that Buttgig, Rosa Klebbuchar, Little Mike, and Pocahontas are out, there are only three other remaining candidates: two geriatrics who appear to be on their last legs, and Tulsi Gabbard. Comrade Sanders appears to be on the verge of another heart attack. Crazy Uncle Joe Biden is way off the deep end mentally -- whether it is the effects of aging or simply that he's always been like this is unclear, but he's not in good shape. Neither of them is up to the rigors of a long, hard campaign. They'll be out soon. That leaves Tulsi Gabbard...
3. This is where it gets exciting. Steele is only one delegate behind Gabbard! It's zero to one. That's such a tiny gap as to be meaningless. And Steele hasn't even begun to campaign!
4. What about the obvious objection that Steele is not a member of the Democrat Party? Well, that didn't disqualify Sanders or Bloomberg, so it sure won't stop Steele!
5. Qualifications? Heck, yes, we're qualified! First, unlike some candidates of recent times, we can actually almost prove we were probably born in the United States, most likely, and are American citizens by birth, very possibly. We can also show we have substantial Russian, Ukrainian, and Chinese connections, which appears to be a required qualification these days. And we can show we don't have any felony convictions and aren't and never were members of any organization that stands for the violent overthrow of the United States (wait, is that a requirement?)
6. Platform...yes, we have a wonderful platform, one sure to appeal to the Democrat base. FREE STUFF! That's what the Dems are all about these days, isn't it? So we promise... free speech! free press! thinking and religious belief and practice? absolutely free! free enterprise! free movement! free kittens! (We don't actually have any kittens yet, but we'll get some to distribute by inauguration time.)
7. But do we have a path to the nomination? Yes! once Sanders and Biden are out, we will challenge Gabbard to a pushup contest. She's actually pretty good, but we're better and will humiliate her publicly. All delegates previously committed to Biden will switch to us, since pushup prowess is one of the features that most attracts them. And Sanders supporters, like Sanders, believe no woman can be president, so we'll already have them in the bag. This will not be a brokered convention, we'll win on the first round and unite the party! And then, on to November!
"Are you serious?" asks the reader who has made it this far. We answer "yes, of course!" As evidence of our commitment, note how quickly we switched into the third person plural to refer to ourselves a few points back, a sure sign of sufficient hubris to run! Dream big! Join us in our vision!
Photo: Steele with running mate Chaos. See? We're even green!
Tuesday, March 03, 2020
Super Tuesday...early returns
Massachusetts is telling. Pocahontas is having a bad time of it... she's in third place in her home state, which "experts" were predicting would go to Sanders. It appears the dead voters of Boston (or maybe Chicago) outnumber the voters of Antifa, because Biden is well ahead of Sanders, who is well ahead of Po.
It looks like Comrade Sanders now will get to run from behind, for the nomination of a party that is against him and that plays very, very dirty. Удачи, товарищ! I hope for the worst for Comrade Sanders.
Last week I had the opportunity to hear a speaker here at [redacted] who is a refugee from Maduro's Venezuela, and just tonight two former citizens of the P.R. China. All three of them condemned Bernie Sanders in the harshest terms; all three said he is obviously a Communist and should never, ever be allowed to have power. And all are adamant that we Americans retain our firearms if we expect to avoid the totalitarian systems they've escaped.
They are right.