Showing posts with label free market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label free market. Show all posts

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Traveling Fun

Yesterday we went to Praha (aka Prague). It was totally amazing. It is probably the most amazing city we have been to yet in Europe. Thanks to missing out on the large scale destruction other cities faced in WWII and then getting stuck behind the communist iron curtain for decades after the city is very well preserved. The food is great also. The beer is great. Thanks to a free market economy and not being on the Euro stuff is cheap. I got a nice beer stein as a souvenir for 25USD.

We drove there and spent the remainder of the day sight seeing. At about 8:30 we had a real nice dinner at a place near the castle. Headed back to our hotel from there. Woke up this morning and after a quick breakfast we did some more sight seeing. Spent the afternoon and evening driving back home. A couple staus and a bit of rain added hours to the trip. Really it was too long of a drive for a one night trip. I am pretty tired and Wifey though she lived the trip is totally done for.

That really doesn't have much to do with anything except that we did it and it was a lot of fun.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stop Backing Yourself Into a Corner

One of the wonderful things about America is that it is a very free country. Maybe not quite as free as it was at some other point but people living in the good ole USA have more rights, protections and freedom to do what they please than in just about every other country in the world.

So often people back themselves into a corner in terms of lifestyle and the resulting debt/ expenses. They have to live in this kind of house, drive this type of vehicle (or even a vehicle at all), charge stuff they can't afford and whatever. The result is that they are in an uncomfortable situation. These folks often turn around and blame everybody but themselves for their circumstances. It is a big picture version of eating a big mac and extra jumbo fries with a large milkshake for lunch every day and blaming other people for why you are fat.

If you don't like the amount of money you can make then get a degree or some certification or skill to become more valuable to an employer or customer. It is a lot more productive than whining. If you do not want a mortgage then find some kind of alternate housing you can afford to pay cash for. Maybe get a little piece of land paid for free and clear. Hate the idea of an HOA then don't buy a house in one. If zoning restrictions in your current location prevent this kind of action and you really still want to do it then MOVE to somewhere you can do what you want. If you want to home school your kids then move to a home school friendly area. Don't like the tax laws in your state? Move to a different one. Don't like your city/ states gun laws? Vote with your feet. If you want to be able to shoot an AK-47 from the front porch naked at 3 in the morning then start in a state that is cool with the AK-47 and then find a place with no nearby neighbors. If you don't want to deal with car insurance, registration and such then don't have a car. Live within biking/ walking range or public transport routes to the places you need to go. Maybe arrange to go to Costco with a cool neighbor who has a big van every month or two. If you don't want a credit card then don't have one. Don't like debt; too easy simply do not borrow money from anybody. If you hate paying taxes then make conscious (legal of course) choices to limit your tax liability.  This is checkers, not chess. Simply make choices to not be involved in things you don't want to be involved with and to be in the situation you want to be in. 

Of course because this is simple doesn't mean it is easy. Just like dieting or household budgets knowing what you should do and easy implimentation are very different things. Every decision has second and third order effects. You might like some parts of an area (family, work, recreation, etc) and hate the restrictive laws. Not having a vehicle sucks but you don't need insurance or vehicle inspections. Living in a nice house is more spacious and comfortable than a travel trailer or a shack/ tent. Generally places where you can buy a piece of land for the price of a decent pistol and do whatever you want on it kind of suck. They are far from jobs, may not have water or are otherwise undesirable. Hence the name junk land.

The thing is that you have to make a choice as to what is more important. Often nice places to live where there are plenty of good jobs and fun things to do have expensive housing costs. So either move to a place where you can afford to live comfortably or stay where you are and gripe about the rent/ mortgage/ taxes.

The old saying about construction comes to mind; a job can be done fast, cheap and right but you only get to pick two of them. Inevitably there are difficult choices and compromises to be made on all fronts (housing, location, work, vehicles, debt, tax and gun laws, zoning, etc).

The important word in that last paragraph is CHOICES. I'm not telling you that you must do anything (though it would be nice if you clicked on one of our ads and suggested the blog to a friend;) but am telling you that you can choose. The real interesting part is that this stuff can snowball big time. If you don't need to make a big rent/ mortgage payment then maybe you can quit that horrible job. You could then try a business idea that has been in your head for awhile. If you don't need to impress people at that fancy job then maybe an older paid off vehicle (or no vehicle at all) will work just fine. With all that time you aren't at work all kinds of things could be done.

Take some responsibility and ownership over your life. Figure out what is really important to you. Think outside the box and focus on what is important to you and your family, not the Johnson's, or anybody else. Make the inevitable hard choices and create the kind of life that you really want to have.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A New Contest With CSN Stores

Awhile back CSN stores got in contact with me about advertising. We put something together and in my usual fashion I sort of sat on it for a week. So here is how it works. Basically just get the word out about Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest on your own website/ blog, forums you hang out at, in an email to friends you think would like the blog or whatever. Write a paragraph (my memories of basic English say a paragraph is at least 3-4 sentences) which describes what you like about this blog. I figure you must like something or you wouldn't be here. Include a link with our blog name Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest which leads back here.

Send me a link to go check out your link or CC me on an email and you are entered. There is no limit to how many times you can enter. Conceivable you could put links on your blogs,  in your favorite forum and one in an email to your preparedness and shooting buddies.
The contest will run for two weeks and the prize is a $150 gift certificate. They aren't exactly a strictly preparedness company but do have some cool stuff in the kitchen area. Or you can just get something for the house.  (My advice to male readers would be to just give it to your spouse!)

Good Luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Americans Want Smaller Government

A substantial majority of Americans prefer smaller government to bigger government.

APThat's the finding of an Associated Press poll conducted between October 29 and November 8, 2009.

The poll asked this question:

"If you had to choose, would you favor a smaller government providing fewer services, or a bigger government providing more services?"

Fully 55% chose a smaller government providing fewer services.

Only 39% favored a bigger government providing more services.

(5% said they didn't know; 1% refused to answer.)

Now if someone will just tell Congress...

TOR adds: I got this from the Liberator Online. They have a newsletter and publish a real gem from time to time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

quote of the day

" the long run the aggregate of decisions of individual businessmen, exercising individual judgments in a free economy, even if often mistaken, is less likely to do harm than the centralized decisions of a government; and certainly the harm is likely to be counteracted faster."
-John Cowperthwaite (colonial financial secretary, Hong Kong)

Friday, September 11, 2009

quote of the day

"If Americans paid attention, they might realize that the "Red Experiment" didn't work in Czech any better than it worked in Slovakia, or any other former ComBloc nation...and they would be very circumspect about where those in power are working so hard to take us. The Red Experiment didn't work there, and it will not work here...but then again, those who forget the lessons of history....."
-Gabe Suarez

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Conversation with "Helga"

Last night I had an fairly interesting conversation with my friend Helga. A little background on her: she was born in Siberia, USSR, moved to Germany, and finally ended up in the USofA. She is very liberal by American standards, a moderate by German standards, and a libertarian by Soviet standards.

Anyway, we were chatting about market economics, and improvements made to life post industrial revolution (Don't ask). I mention that when my grandmother moved to my family's farm, there was no indoor pluming. I chuckled, noting that not having indoor pluming indicates how poor and backwards we were. Helga then noted she didn't have indoor pluming until she was 12.

Please note, my grandmother is now 97; Helga is 25. Grandma got indoor pluming in 1947; Helga got it in 1995. This fact demonstrates the value of free markets. What a relatively free market was able to produce in the 1940's, restraining markets prohibited the same results until the mid-90's. More instructive is that the USSR collapsed in the late 80's. What restrained markets failed to achieve in 70 years, a free market produced in under 10.

We then started talking about the post-Soviet era economic collapse. This is out of my area of expertise, but according to Helga, what happened, is once Communism fell, there was basically little paper currency to facilitate free markets. Thus, the "logical" thing is to increase currency, leading to massive inflation, and economic collapse, the scope of which had not been seen since pre-WWII Germany. They basically monetized the fact that there was no economic activity, which killed everything.

Does anyone see any parallels with what is happening right now?

Now, if there is anyone who reacts negatively to arguments focused on "X does something, so we should too," its me. The sole fact that Europe has universal health care is not a reason for us to do it. However, I do believe in looking to things which other countries have done, which don't work. Should we be Fascists? I say no, it didn't work out well last time someone tried it. We are currently moving to socialism (or more socialism). How did the extreme version work out? No toilets until 1995. We are monetizing our debt. How did that work out last time? We have lots to learn from others about things not to do.

On a side note, TOR and I go to great lengths to keep who we are as people separate from who we are on the blog. The reason for this is there are social consequences to completely uncensored speech. In order to say what we think, we can't be ourselves. Right now, I am being more careful then normal, because I am looking for jobs, and strangely, libertarians are not overly popular in certain legal circles which I am attempting to penetrate. Sorry for the fake names, and sorry I can't come up with a better name then Helga.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Modern Economics

"What kind of society isn't structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system."
-- Milton Friedman

Today we are in the middle of the worse economic meltdown since, depending on who you listen to, The Dutch Tulip Mania, The Mississippi Bubble, The South Sea Bubble, The Dutch Wind Trade of 1720, The Stock Market Crash of 1929, The Cornfeld Bubble (1969), The Crash of October 1987, The Japanese Asset Price Bubble, The Dot-Com Bubble... In short, no one has any idea of what is going on, let alone how to classify it.

Basically, our problem is this. The free market theory has 5 basic assumptions: Rational Actors, Zero Transactional Costs (things which add cost without adding value), Perfect Information, No Externalities (things outside the transaction itself), and Perfect Competition (no barriers to entering the market or transaction). The further away from these things we get, the poorer our markets do. The standard I am basing this evaluation on is that of maximum utility. There are a limited amount of goods in the world. Those goods should go to those people who value them the most, and can do the most with them. In other words, the people who will use those goods efficiently.

This is basically the purpose of the free market. The person who is willing the pay the most for something is the one who gets it. If they don't use it wisely, they are replaced by someone who will.

The problems with free markets is that there are winners and losers. Some people thrive through competition, and those who have been found lacking, well, don't. The problem with this is that it makes people sad. When people are sad, they either fix their own problems, do nothing, or get someone else to fix it (the government). This is basically what we have happening here.

This creates a problem because it throws the whole free market system into a tailspin. For example, look to the bailout of the "Big 3." Here we have 3 auto companies who have failed, for numerous reasons, but namely, high overheads, and low income. They have been found wanting by the free market, and the invisible hand of the market place is moving in to remove them. This is a classic market self-correction. If I buy a bunch of Glocks, and decide that I am not going to sell any of them for less then $90,000, no one will buy the guns, and I will go out of business. However, with the car companies, the government has decided to keep them alive.

Here is the problem. The reason for the car companies life support has nothing to do with the free market. We talk about the jobs lost, and how much that will harm the economy. We talk about how much it will suck to loose your job if you are 55 and have no other skills. Both those things are true, market corrections are rarely, if ever fun. However, what we don't talk about is how this will fix anything. If the car companies survive for another few months, the same basic problems will exist. The free market has decided they are to die, and then die they shall. Short of an extreme change in the American auto industry, they are still not utilizing goods to their maximum potential, while others are. I drive a Honda, because it is a good car, gets good gas mileage, doesn't break often, is cheep to repair, and lasts forever. I don't own a Chevy for basically the same reasons... Honda makes better cars for less money (I haven't shopped for a car recently, so that might have changed).

My solution: Let the free market do what the free market does. It works well most of the time, it gives us wealth and good results most of the time, and when we artificially inflate it, through insane credit, it self corrects. Not screwing up the free market is easy... Leave it alone.

Now I am not a total free market guy. I believe that some regulation is important, and beneficial. For example, patients are a good idea, and spur innovation and competition. They use human greed for the betterment of all. I also think anti-trust laws, over all (in theory) are good. Note, Rockefeller made more money after the breakup of Standard Oil than before. These things supplement the free market, making it more free markety (I doubt that is a word, but I am using it anyway). What is not a good regulation is something that interferes with the workings of the free market. The invisible hand of the market place is going to do its thing, no matter what we do, and if we piss it off, it will bitch slap us.

Transactions suck, but in the long run, staying with the market is better than messing it up.

To close, another quote from Milton Friedman:

"Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant relatively little to the wealthy. The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefitted hardly at all from modern plumbing : running servants replaced running water. Television and radio? The Patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading actors as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets - all these and many other modern developments woul have added little to their life. The great achievements of Western Capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive perogative of the rich and powerful."
-- Milton Friedman, "Free To Choose"
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