The basis for value

For a Keynesian, value is determined by demand. For classical economists it is production costs in relation to scarcity that determines the exchange value of a good or service.

More to the point, however, do they mean value in use or value in exchange? Unless you know, both the question and the answer are meaningless.

And as for the answers given, the one thing that never determines exchange value are consumers by themselves. Ever seen a supply curve?

My visit to the Berlin Wall

This being the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I thought I might tell the story when I was there myself. I was hitchhiking in Europe in 1973 and as we were at the East German border already, thought we (me and my girlfriend) might head off to Berlin by hitching along the highway from the West German border into Berlin. A longish way, but if you were picked up a ride at all, there was only one destination the driver would have been heading for. And we ended up being picked up by a man in a Mercedes, so that an hour and a half or so later, we were in Berlin. And the moment we exited the car, in the dead centre of West Berlin, right on the Kurfürstendamm, we were approached by three members of the American military who took out a joint which we smoked right there and then. Welcome to Berlin.

West Berlin was quite an adventure in so many ways, but I will stick to the main event which was to go to the Wall, and then afterwards to travel into East Berlin. Now I must confess that at the time, I was a very long-haired person, which in those days was something of a novelty, specially in Europe. So we went to the Wall, got up on the observation deck, looked through binoculars into this no-mans-land space between the two walls (both built by the East Germans so that they could trap anyone caught in the middle – barbed wire everywhere). I then looked over at the watchtower about 100 metres off in the distance in which there were two East German guards with their own binoculars looking back at me.

The next day – and how surprisingly vivid these memories are – we crossed over at the one checkpoint where crossings were permitted. To leave the Allied section for the Soviet Zone was nothing at all. You just went over the line and no one would stop you. But then there was the East German border where we each first had to change ten marks (which was actually real money back then) into the worthless East German currency. And then we got to the border guard who checked our passports who, when he looked at my passport photo and then at me, reached out and swept the hair from my face to make sure it was really me and that was really my passport. And with the passport stamped and the money exchanged – and this might have taken an hour or so – we went towards the gate into East Berlin.

And before we exited, there to greet us was a very upbeat official greeter from East Germany who spoke with a French Canadian accent. Incredible, I said, how did you end up speaking English with a French Canadian accent? Because, he said, he had been a prisoner of war in Quebec.

Then into East Berlin where we went first to the dreariest coffee shop I have ever seen. Near the wall, but the first place you could go to. If you wanted to demonstrate how awful communism is, that was the way to do it, and it did it very well.

Then past all of the buildings that were along the border wall, that were relics of the old German Reich. Every building still had bullet holes and chipped stone from the rifle fire that were relics from a war that had ended 28 years before. Nothing of the kind remained in the western half of the city.

Then went to the museum of course which I remember little of. But what is indelible was the War Memorial for which the changing of the guard was the highlight. I stuck around to watch it at least twice, and maybe even one more time after that. Was it at the museum, I don’t know. But what got me was that even with only two guards going and two guards plus their commander coming out and then returning, the goose-stepping of just five soldiers made the entire square shake. Have just found a video someone must have taken back then, but the sound quality gives you no sense of any of it. What an entire army must have sounded like would have been incredible.

Then as night fell, back through the gate which you had to get through by 6:00 pm or something. But along the way there were all kinds of men dressed in black who wanted to change money and would speak to you out of the side of their mouths and in very subdued tones. But with the unimaginable creepiness of it, there was no way I would have ever talked to any of them, never mind attempted to change money.

Whether this was an important part of my education in turning my back on the left, it was no doubt part of it. Communism is gone, but there are always enough crazies around who want to put it back. Dark, dark times, now gone, but you never know your future. There are always people stupid enough to give others genuine power who promise paradise on earth, or at least free stuff, but will only put you in chains. This is a bit of a reminder of what it’s like, but you know what, there are still socialists everywhere who think, this time it will be different.

An obvious suicide

If you are a threat to the Clintons, what else do you expect. All three posts below are from Instapundit. You will not see any of it in the local paper, or on the ABC which is well-known for its support of violence.

LET’S PLAY A ROUND OF “WHISTLEBLOWER SHIT-SHOW!”  Well, CBS fired Ashley Bianco, producer formerly of ABC for allegedly releasing the video that outlines how ABC spiked an investigation of pedophile and Clinton mega-donor Jefferey Epstein. Megyn Kelly interviews her and she tearfully denies it. On the same day, James O’Keefe published a letter from the real whistleblower.

In the meantime both networks are following the DNC-talking points about investigating leakers: When the President does it, it’s bad. When they do it…crickets.

Where to start? I wish Kelly had asked Bianco what CBS told her when they fired her. That aside, I’ve been asked a lot about her legal remedies. Honestly, you could take what I know about Labor Law, put in your eye and still see pretty well. As I understand it, NY is an “at-will” state, meaning they can fire you for no reason unless it’s a race/age/gender thing.

Defamation? Maybe, but defamation claims in NY require “in hac verbae”, that is a pleading of the actual defamatory statement in the Complaint. And you can bet that both CBS and ABC would fight coughing up any docs for years, and would resist pre-action discovery to depose the HR departments to find out what ABC said to CBS. I doubt this lady has the financial wherewithal for that kind of fight.

But, this may be one of the rare instances where a cause of action for Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress might work. Very generally, the tort requires that the plaintiff must have been in the “zone of danger” of the defendant’s negligent act, or it must have been foreseeable that the defendant’s negligent conduct would have caused the plaintiff emotional harm. (And New York does not, like a few states, require physical harm or contact). And if CBS fired an employee on ABC’s mistaken say-so, well, that’s pretty damned negligent. Dare I even say “collusion”?

Who’s taking odds that CBS writes a check to make this go away?

BTW, Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself.

 
Then this.

Not to mention this.

It’s sort of all taken as something of a joke, but with today the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it’s kind of spooky how ignorant so many people in the media and among the general population are.

We’re all gonna die

First from Australia.

Malcolm Roberts 

@MRobertsQLD
Adam, Can you confirm the credentials of Professor Micky Mouse from the Micky Mouse Institute For The Blind that is included in your list of “scientists”? Unprecedented propaganda.

Image

Quote Tweet
Adam Bandt
@AdamBandt
·
This is unprecedented. 11,000 scientists from around world unite to declare global climate emergency. Governments, including our own, have not got global warming under control. #Greens will press on with getting Aust Parl to declare a climate emergency. https://sbs.com.au/news/11-000-scientists-from-around-the-world-unite-to-declare-global-climate-emergency
5:24 PM · Nov 6, 2019·Twitter Web App
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And then from Canada.

Classical economics explained by someone who thinks classical economic theory was the most accurate economic theory ever devised

I have finally submitted the manuscript for my Summary and Translation of Classical Economic Theory into a format that can be read by a modern economist. This is part of the note that went with the submission.

I think and hope I have now completed everything I need to do to submit my manuscript. I have adjusted the title, but am still looking for something that really says in compact form what I mean, which is that if you want to understand how an economy works, you will have to return to the economic theories of the classical economists. That is what the book is about, plus also being about how to understand a classical text since one must first work through how economic terminology has changed since classical times. If you read the word “saving” as a Keynesian does, you will not only not understand a classical text, you will also not be able to make sense of how an economy works.

The embedded notion that is almost explicit in the text is that only by understanding classical economic theory can one understand how an economy works, which also says, and the text discusses, that you cannot understand the operation of an economy using mainstream theory, any version of socialist economic theory, New Classical economics, Austrian economics or, for that matter, the economic theories of the early classical economists, such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

It is only with the publication of John Stuart Mill’s Principles in 1848, and then from within his last edition published during his lifetime in 1871, can one discover the actual operation of an economy. What that theory is no one any longer knows, other than a few specialists who number fewer than 100 across the world. And then, amongst those, there is oddly only a single one who believes that Mill’s text is the lost ideal of economic theory. I perfectly well understand how ridiculous it is to believe any such thing, but I do. The classicals laid it all out before the arrival of the Marginal Revolution which turned economics from the supply side to the demand side. But what has completely collapsed economic theory as a sound means to make sense of an economy was the advent of the Keynesian Revolution in the decade after the publication of The General Theory in 1936, where not only was everything overturned, but a new set of technical terms was introduced whose use makes a classical text all but incomprehensible to a modern economist. You will need my text to understand classical economic theory. You cannot do it on your own since you won’t know either the meaning of the terms or the presuppositions that underpinned the theory.

Our economies have managed, but only just, to maintain the role of the entrepreneur in directing our private sector firms, but the pretence found in modern macro that public spending – G – is as productive or as value-adding as private investment – I – is tearing our economies down, with no understanding of what is happening, least of all among our economists. That capitalists have been transformed into crony capitalists, who are now among the major welfare recipients taken from the massive tax revenues collected by governments, is a large part of the problem. What to do is hard to say, but first the problem needs to be recognised. That is what this book attempts to do.

Neither a socialist nor a libertarian be

You don’t often seem something like this, an article pointing out the dead heart of libertarian philosophy by a conservative who understands the problem: How Libertarianism Makes People Susceptible To Huge Government. Title doesn’t really get there for me, but the text of the article does.

:Libertarianism has become less about a commitment to limited government and more a philosophy of autonomous individualism. The latter is an ideology that undermines the possibility of the former, in large part because it really does leave people alone.

If libertarians were actually conservatives, I would take the point. But the article makes the case that what libertarians lack is an understanding of the fundamental point made by conservatives. Libertarian philosophy is as dead as socialism while pretending to be on the other side. Let me begin by pointing out from the article that what is missing is conservative philosophy. It is the presuppositions in libertarian thought that make it so empty.

Astute libertarians (or classical liberals, for those who prefer that label) recognize that political liberty has cultural prerequisites. We are born neither free nor rational, but come into this world dependent and lacking in reason. Care and instruction are necessary for us to attain even some freedom and rationality, along with the virtues needed to exercise them well.

In essence, for a libertarian society to exist requires everyone to be born into a classical liberal society, learn their morality from an existing social structure, not be continually menaced by socialists in their midst, and then, but only then, be allowed to get on with their lives.

Only a virtuous people is capable of sustaining self-government.

The often-tenuous conservative-libertarian alliance has rested upon this truth … while remaining aware that limited government is dependent upon cultural antecedents that promote and protect the virtues required for self-government. Practical libertarianism requires strong families, churches, and communities, which provide stability, a sense of belonging, and the moral instruction that enables self-government….

Many libertarians appear to have forgotten or never learned this insight, as they now seem eager to condemn cultural conservatism as incompatible with individual autonomy. Such libertarianism is hostile to traditional forms of community, especially the family and church, which it sees as repressive and restrictive….

Today’s libertarianism allows and even encourages the destruction of the virtues and associations necessary for successful self-government.

Here is the central point.

Those of us who value liberty must not only promote virtue in the private sphere, but also wrestle with how government intervention is to promote it and how much intervention is necessary….

The paradox of libertarianism is that it depends upon cultural capital it cannot replenish.

Libertarians presuppose the continuing existence of all of the institutional structures that make our societies operate, in the same way that socialists presuppose the continuing existence of all of the necessary elements of a productive economy. A libertarian society has never been attempted, nor is it even possible, so there will never be a real-world example to demonstrate its inevitable failure. But like socialists who have seen many failures in the many attempts to set up a socialist economic structure, the end result is always the declaration that real socialism has not yet been tried. It would thus be said when the first libertarian state had broken down that a real libertarian society has never been tried. In this case, it will always remain true because it never will be tried.

A hoax and a scam

We just get used to it but these people on the left, these people in the media. these socialist nobodies, wish to overturn the democratic process. They should be put in jail. Not only are these people corrupt to the core, not only are these people ignorant, not only are they attempting to overturn our political system, they are as incompetent in their inability to make sound policy as it is possible to be. We treat much of this like a joke, but that is only because they have been unsuccessful. In fact, they have only been partly unsuccessful. They should be treated as the traitorous scum they actually are.

AND LET ME ADD THIS about the person the left is trying to overturn as president: Trump will lead the NYC parade he saved. The Democrats are soul-sick and vermin. Their leading presidential candidates are policy fools and with not a single moral scruple between them. They are liars and thieves, all of which is known. But this is the real Donald Trump, with a story that goes back to 1995 when he was not running for anything.

In August 1995, organizers for the annual Veterans Day Parade in New York City looked at how much money they had three months before the big day.

$1.21.

The New York Times reported, “A request to airlines to donate blankets for aging veterans was turned down because logos might not be visible on television.”

Wow.

The Times reported, “Then Donald Trump, a non-veteran, agreed to throw in $200,000 as well as raise money from his friends, in exchange for being named grand marshal.”

In short order, they had $2.4 million, saving the parade and the city’s honor.

On Veterans Day 1995, United Press International reported, “More than 500,000 people jammed the sidewalks of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Saturday to watch three generations of veterans march in the Nation’s Parade. The crowd cheered as 25,000 veterans marched in one of the last national events marking the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. The mood of the parade was festive despite the blustery weather, with marching veterans smiling and onlookers shouting ‘Thank you.'”

The story also said, “Organizers, who placed the turnout at closer to a million, said the parade would not have been a success if it hadn’t been for real estate developer Donald Trump, who contributed $200,000.

“‘Donald Trump saved the parade,’ said parade director Tom Fox, himself a Vietnam veteran. ‘We had asked for donations from 200 corporations, and none of them came through,’ he said.

“‘This donation is the single most important thing I’ve ever done,’ said a beaming Trump. ‘This is more important than all of my buildings and my casinos. This is my way of saying thank you to all the men and women in the armed services who have made it possible for me to become a success. Without them freedom and liberty would be gone.'”

And now it is without Donald Trump freedom and liberty would be gone. We live in very dangerous times.

Lying about how many and how often

When I was around 15-16 I read a Playboy article about “Sex on Campus” where they had a set of statistics on how many times someone had had sexual relations among university students. I don’t recall any of the data other than that the highest possible category was “8 times or more”. I assume that more than once with the same partner only counted as one. This was pre-pill and pre Sexual Revolution, which soon made “8 or more” into a nonsense figure so far as university students were concerned. It must look absurd to today’s Millennials. We thought we were “liberated” back then, although decadent seems more like it. The only time I made my Mother really angry with something I said was quoting from this friend of mine who said, “Better a sexual revolution than no revolution at all”. I now side with my Mother on this, but that was a whole lifetime ago.

The reason I bring this up is because of an article I have just come across on Dating Deception: When Sex Is On Our Minds, Lying Comes Naturally. Not surprising I suppose, but this did surprise me.

For what it’s worth, both men and women tended to report lower falsified numbers of sexual partners in the presence of an attractive individual, and on average the most common false statistic given was seven previous partners.

I was not surprised to find the number shaded since no one wants to look like a complete tart, yet it does suggest that the old morality about sleeping around still lurks somewhere in the culture. But it was the number that everyone now thinks of as a moderate, not particularly loose kind of person, that got to me. The potential for disease and heartbreak must be enormous since there must be some kind of commitment required, or so I would hope.

Although this may sound preposterous today, when I started out “dating” – such an odd term today, does anyone now “date? – you were looking for someone to marry. You might be 13-14, but there was only one end-game in mind which was to find a life-long companion to live with, have children with and to see each other through old age. Sleeping with someone meant in virtually all cases that you had decided to marry each other. Lots of people I still know married the first person they ever slept with, and often enough not until they actually were married.

I don’t know what the rules are today, but from what I see from a very great distance it all looks bleak and dreary.

And let me add in this which I have just come across at InstapunditInstapundit.

READ’EM AND WEEP, LIBS: Institute for Family Studies demonstrates that multiple research studies find conservatives are consistently, measurably happier than non-conservatives. And it gets even better (or worse, depending on your POV), according to Glenn Stanton.

Seems to make my own point in a different kind of way. From one of the articles linked.

Conservatives are also vastly more likely than liberals to believe marriage is essential in creating and maintaining strong families. They are also much more likely to actually be married, 62 versus 39 percent, thus benefiting from all the ways marriage improves overall well-being and contentment, personal happiness, economic security, long-term employment, longevity, better physical and mental health, and more.

About time

From RJC Releases Brutal Ad Hitting Democrats For Anti-Israel Agenda but it’s not “brutal” in any way.