And how was your week?

All from Drudge today:

U.S. bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover . . .

US, Russia reach deal on Syria cease-fire . . .

Explosions in sky as Pyongyang celebrates ICBM launch . . .

Iran Still on the Hunt for Nuclear Weapons Technology Across Germany

PARIS EVACUATES NEARLY 2,800 MIGRANTS AS ARRIVALS SURGE . . .

Violent G20 protests as Hamburg police call for backup

Well, tomorrow is another day.

“If we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again”

Dinner with the family tonight, our last before moving on. And as a going away present, I have bought each of the youngest cousins a copy of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty which had come up in an earlier conversation. And perhaps strangely to others but not to myself, I was reminded of Mill in listening to Trump’s speech in Poland. He was here discussing what we too easily take for granted.

We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.

We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.

We reward brilliance, we strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.

We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success.

We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives.

And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything, so that we can better know ourselves.

And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom.

That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies and as a civilization.

What we have, what we inherited from our — and — and you know this better than anybody and you see it today, with this incredible group of people — what we’ve inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.

I agree with every word he said. Mill is unreadable today. His nineteenth century prose is too difficult but his ideas are not. They are the core values of the West. The cultural-Marxism that pervades so much has made Trump, like Mill, incomprehensible across much of the world in which we live. This is the great tragedy of our times, but there may yet be worse to come.

Australia’s infrastructure “woes” as seen from Canada

From the front page of today’s Globe and Mail: Infrastructure bank seeks to avoid woes of Australian peer.

Politics is a clear dividing line in Australia when it comes to infrastructure. Since 2013, Australia has been led by the Liberal Party of Australia, which is more conservative than the left-leaning Australian Labor Party, the country’s other main political party. Australia is divided into six states and two territories.

The Australian Liberal government brought in an incentive program in 2014 called asset recycling that provided a financial reward to state governments that privatized assets. State reaction to the incentive largely broke down along partisan lines, with likeminded New South Wales praising the program as the “secret sauce” of success, while some Labor-led states declined to participate. Australia cancelled the program in 2016. . . .

John Quiggin, an economics professor at the University of Queensland, said other privately financed projects such as a $4.8billion toll road tunnel to the Brisbane airport, led to “disastrous losses for investors” as the original consortium went into receivership. He said it would appear from Mr. Sohi’s Sydney itinerary that he would have received a one-sided view of Australia’s experience. Prof. Quiggin said there have been several recent examples of Australian governments moving in the opposite direction, expanding public ownership in areas such as power generation.

“Looking at the itinerary, the minister will have spoken almost exclusively to advocates of private infrastructure, who will have told a rosy tale,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The fact is that these guys have lost the debate, as witnessed by the sudden surge of new public enterprises.”

Jeff Kennett, a former Liberal premier of the state of Victoria who approved his state’s first private toll road in the 1990s, has said those types of deals don’t make sense for governments with healthy finances. The toll highway, known as CityLink, opened in 1999 at a cost of $1.8-billion. Australian newspaper The Age estimated that the private owner, Transurban, is on pace to collect more than $20-billion in revenue by 2034.

Beats me what the point is but was nice to see all the usual gang on the front page of the local paper.

Mann overboard

It looks as though Michael Mann has lost big big time, refusing to provide his data in court.

Penn State climate scientist, Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann commits contempt of court in the ‘climate science trial of the century.’ Prominent alarmist shockingly defies judge and refuses to surrender data for open court examination. Only possible outcome: Mann’s humiliation, defeat and likely criminal investigation in the U.S.

The defendant in the libel trial, the 79-year-old Canadian climatologist, Dr Tim Ball (above, right) is expected to instruct his British Columbia attorneys to trigger mandatory punitive court sanctions, including a ruling that Mann did act with criminal intent when using public funds to commit climate data fraud. Mann’s imminent defeat is set to send shock waves worldwide within the climate science community as the outcome will be both a legal and scientific vindication of U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that climate scare stories are a “hoax.”

It may not be the end, or even the beginning of the end, but it is definitely the end of the beginning.

Political primitives

As I continue to wend my way through the anti-Trump crowds I meet at every turn, I remain at a loss even to work out how to engage them at all without making them my bitterest enemies. These are people I have known all my life but there is no forgiveness for taking the side in politics that I do. A small sample, perhaps, but they not only disagree with what I say but they are wildly hostile to any thoughts I might have about politics. I can and do talk to them, in the way an anthropologist might meet with some tribe of primitives, and they are just as you see them on CNN. PC may be a disease but it is highly contagious. I no longer even mention my book on the election; even Economics for Infants are many steps too far. Think of what the national conversation should be about with this the top item at Drudge:

North Korea launches missile, nearing Japanese waters.

All that comes with these:

FLEW 40 MINUTES…
ALMOST 600 MILES…
LANDS IN SEA OF JAPAN…

Instead, the issue is Trump’s high stakes tweeting even among serious commentators.

It is certainly unconventional but personally I am all in for whatever works.

SO LET ME JUST ADD THIS: More on Trump tweets from someone who thinks there are other things to worry about.

The psuedo-cons don’t care, yet cynically exploit this nonsense to undercut Trump to regain their diminished status. All you soft boys whose mommy and/or daddy handed you a conservative magazine and made you think you had a divine right to be taken seriously by us normals, pay attention. The issues Trump is talking about matter to us. Sometimes it’s our livelihoods, sometimes it’s our very lives – often put at risk in wars you pushed from behind your laptop. I get that under Hillary Clinton, your mediocre positions in the big DC/NY scheme of things would’ve been secure, but I’ve got to break it to you – we don’t care. Your pathetic status as obedient gimp-cons serving your liberal masters in the establishment big house may mean everything you, but it means nothing to us.

Normal Americans – the ones you hold in utter contempt – are hurting, and the only person who paid any attention was Donald Trump. You sure didn’t. You would have fed us to Hillary Clinton if you had your way, because under her your measly positions would have been secure, and under Trump everyone sees that we don’t need you.

We followed you for years, but when it came time to fight for what you said you believed in and risking your mediocre sinecures, you defected to the other side. You betrayed us. Don’t you ever dare talk to me about honor.

In an ideal world, I would love to get back to presidency dominated by gentlemen like Ronald Reagan. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Here’s the ugly reality – there is a cultural war going on, one that could get worse. This isn’t a game; there are real stakes. If you volunteer to join conservatism’s enemies to allegedly protect an ideal of decorum that this culture has long since left behind, you’re being played for a sucker. You’re either serious about winning, or you’re serious about losing.

If you think the left has any answers to the problems we have given what we have seen for the past half century, you are about as debased in your judgement as it is possible to be.

“We are not going to take part in the madness of the Brussels elite”

Read every word of this story: Europe’s Migrant Crisis: Views from Central Europe.

Many so-called asylum seekers have refused to relocate to Central and Eastern Europe because the financial benefits there are not as generous as in France, Germany or Scandinavia. In addition, hundreds of migrants who have been relocated to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which rank among the poorest EU countries, have since fled to Germany and other wealthier countries in the bloc.

“It needs to be said clearly and directly: This is an attack on Europe, on our culture, on our traditions.” — Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydło.

“I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country. That is a historical experience for us.” — Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, referring to Hungary’s occupation by the Ottoman Empire from 1541 to 1699.

Nothing can make sense of what is being done in Western Europe other than corruption at the very heart of the European “elite”.

Mill’s Fourth Proposition criticism of my position

My paper criticised in the June 2017 Journal of the History of Economic Thought: KATES ON MILL’S FOURTH PROPOSITION. I particularly like the start:

KATES ON MILL’S FOURTH PROPOSITION
ON CAPITAL: WHY ALL THE FUSS?
BY
ROY H. GRIEVE

Steven Kates is probably the best-known present-day proponent of the old “classical” macroeconomics of Jean-Baptiste Say, James Mill, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill. He affirms his belief in Say’s Law—a theorem that was “accepted by every economist for more than a hundred years up until 1936, [but has] apparently [become] an impassable obstacle in the modern world,” thus blocking present-day theorists’ access to earlier understanding (Kates 2014, p. 9). Kates has “written books and papers, monographs and articles” (ibid.) in a long-sustained effort to persuade the economics profession to see its way around that “obstacle.” Most recently, in this journal (“Mill’s Fourth Proposition on Capital: A Paradox Explained” [Kates 2015]), he has focused on Mill’s puzzling “fourth fundamental proposition on capital.” The proposition states notoriously (in the modern reader’s view) that “demand for commodities is not demand for labour.” Kates evidently means to settle, once and for all, the status of that contentious proposition by providing an explanation and defence of it.

Kates makes much of the fact that economists writing after Mill—eminent theorists such as Alfred Marshall, Friedrich von Hayek, Allyn Young, and Samuel Hollander—cannot make sense of Mill’s fourth proposition.1 Their difficulty he attributes to a theoretical “discontinuity” separating their vision of the functioning of the economy from that of Mill and his contemporaries. There may indeed be a discontinuity, but that is not the point. The point is that Kates apparently does not even think of the possibility that modern theorists cannot make sense of Mill’s “paradoxical” proposition for the reason that its basic premise is no longer deemed acceptable: the fourth proposition is simply wrong.

From Kates’s explanation it emerges clearly that Mill is offering a proposition that derives from his obsolete “supply-side” (Say’s Law) approach to understanding the economy. Kates can explain what Mill is at, because he shares Mill’s basic “supply-side” understanding (to wit, that supply does create demand—the mere availability of productive resources ensures their utilization in supporting labor in production). From that perspective, the fourth proposition is in no way paradoxical. But that is of no relevance today. What Kates (like Mill) cannot understand is that in the real world of uncertainty, resources are invested to support labor in employment on the basis of expectations—forecasts as to conditions in the markets for the output that labor will produce. If prospects appear unpropitious, funds may be retained in liquid form rather than committed to specific real assets. Both the volume and direction of production do depend on demand. Mill’s proposition is evidently nonsense.

Ironically, Kates’s elucidation of Mill demonstrates the opposite of what he intended. The puzzle is not why there are no takers for Mill’s proposition, but why Steven Kates is so committed to its defence.

1 Kates’s perspective reminds one of that of the fond mother watching her soldier son on parade: “they’re a’oot o’ step but oor Wullie.”

REFERENCES
Kates, Steven. 2014. “Keynesian Economics’ Dangerous Return.”
https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2014/03/dangerous-return-keynesian-economics-five-years/. Accessed 28 December 2016.

———. 2015. “Mill’s Fourth Proposition on Capital: A Paradox Explained.” Journal of the History of Economic Thought 37 (1): 39–56.

And for a longer, more extended version: KEYNES, MILL, AND SAY’S LAW: THE LEGITIMATE CASE KEYNES DIDN’T MAKE AGAINST J. S. MILL