Category Archives: 030 Economics

Bitcoin is a better PayPal and PayPal knows it – Oh, and Paypal is changing its terms of service…

“PayPal has joined forces with Bitcoin as a sort of keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies closer tactic. Bitcoin is designed to overtake and make obsolete services like Paypal and Western Union. It is faster, less expensive, and doesn’t require their third-party services to accomplish the same objectives. It is a better PayPal, and they know it.

Now that the Internet has borne this superior option, it would be wise for PayPal to foster a stronger connection with its customer base to keep them happy and in the fold, no? PayPal doesn’t see it that way. In fact, they may be looking to drive more people towards the freedom and convenience of Bitcoin with their upcoming changes this summer.

PayPal’s Terms of Service to change July 1st, 2015

If you haven’t seen this, you should, and you should share this with your friends, family, anyone who used PayPal in connection with a website providing online content. On July 1st, 2015, Paypal will update it’s TOS agreement to take away any and all intellectual rights to any content you provide online. If you use Paypal to accept PayPal, they will attempt to take ownership of any online content you add to your business or website. Here is a key excerpt that basically starts the new PayPal TOS…”

(Via.) cryptocoinsnews.com 

Where does science fall on the gun control debate? John Lott replies to David Hemenway

“Sixty percent of respondents in Hemenway’s survey agreed that “evidence indicates that background checks can help keep guns out of the hands of a significant number of violent people.”  But only 31% of all those surveyed thought that the evidence was either strong (24%) or very strong (7%).  And even these numbers seem unrealistically high.  Study after study by criminologists and economists find that background checks have no effect on crime rates.  

Economists have done a lot of work on crime.  Unlike the vast majority of work in public health, it is usually much more rigorous with more detailed statistical evidence dealing with issues of causality. Economists are also much more open to the notion of deterrence than the vast majority of authors surveyed by Hemenway.  I myself was chief economist at the United States Sentencing Commission.  But Hemenway steers away from economics journals.  In addition, looking at publications from only 2011 through 2013 also picks up a recent surge in public health studies and skews the sample towards those types of authors.

I was included in the list of those surveyed, but when I emailed Hemenway reporting that my responses weren’t be recorded, my emails were ignored.

Ironically, despite over 300 studies on firearms published over about three years, Hemenway frequently complains that firearms researchers just aren’t getting enough money…”

(Via.) Fox News <—Read more here

Rebel Farmers And Government Cartels: How The New Deal Cartelized U.S. Agriculture

“Marvin Horne doesn’t look like a man in open rebellion against the United States government, but the 70-year-old raisin farmer and his wife Laura have had enough. If they get their way, they’re not going to let the U.S. Raisin Administrative Committee take their raisins anymore.

Yes, there’s a Raisin Administrative Committee.

This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Horne’s case challenging the Raisin Administrative Committee. It’s the New-Deal case that took 80 years to bring.

Like an agency pulled from the pages of an Ayn Rand novel, the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) oversees many parts of U.S. raisin production. The 47-member committee consists of different representatives from the raisin industry, including ‘handlers,’ those who pack the raisins and prepare them for sale, and ‘growers,’ those who grow and dry grapes. They meet in an office in Fresno and issue ‘marketing orders,’ which decide, among other things, how many raisins should be diverted into the National Raisin Reserve each year. By taking raisins off the open market, the RAC maintains an artificially high price for raisins and keeps many, but obviously not all, raisin farmers happy. Think of it as a raisin cartel, a raisin OPEC.”

(Via.) Forbes <—Read more here

How a maple syrup rebellion is growing in Quebec

“STE-CLOTILDE-DE-BEAUCE, QC. • On an April morning, Angèle Grenier tramps on snowshoes through her sugar maple forest. Her vest pockets bulge with plastic spouts, tube connectors, clamps, wire ties, a tool for twisting the ties, surveyor’s tape, tube-cutters, and a snack: a molasses cookie in a Ziploc bag.

At each maple Grenier stops and taps a spout with her mallet, securing it in a hole. Maple sap flows from these spouts through pipes, down the hill to a reservoir in her sugar shack. The tap of her mallet and a crow’s call are all that disturb the stillness of the sugar bush.

This diminutive, twinkle-eyed grandmother hardly looks the part of a guerilla. Yet in recent years Grenier and other maple syrup producers in Quebec have sent the Fédération des producteurs acéricoles du Québec — the provincial syrup producers’ union — into paroxysms of rage. There is a maple syrup insurgency afoot, and the union is doing everything it can to thwart the subversive activity of Grenier and her fellow insurrectionist syrup producers.

Backed by the Quebec justice system and the provincial police, sheriffs have raided sugar shacks down country roads and seized barrels of maple syrup, using trucks and front-end loaders. The federation’s goal: enforcing a supply management system that controls the sale and proceeds of maple syrup in Quebec. Angèle Grenier taps maple trees in the

‘They have more power than police,’ says Daniel Gaudreau, a syrup producer in Scotstown, Que. ‘They can come into my house anytime they want.’”

(Via.) Financial Post <—Read more here

Earth Day: 22 Ways to Think about the Climate-Change Debate

“Reasonable people can disagree about the nature and extent of climate change. But no one should sally forth into this hostile territory without reason and reflection.

‘Some scientists make ‘period, end of story’ claims,’ writes biologist and naturalist Daniel Botkin in the Wall Street Journal, ‘that human-induced global warming definitely, absolutely either is or isn’t happening.’

These scientists, as well as the network of activists and cronies their science supports, I will refer to as the Climate Orthodoxy. These are the folks who urge, generally, that (a) global warming is occurring, (b) it is almost entirely man-made, and (c) it is occurring at a rate and severity that makes it an impending planetary emergency requiring political action. A Climate Agnostic questions at least one of those premises.

Trying to point out the problems of the Climate Orthodoxy to its adherents is like trying to talk the Archbishop of Canterbury into questioning the existence of God. In that green temple, many climatologists and climate activists have become one in the same: fueled both by government grants and zealous fervor.”

(Via.) Foundation for Economic Education

18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year

“Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: ‘There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.’ In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the ‘environmental grievance hustlers.’”

(Via.)  AEIdeas <—Read more here

Flakka, hyperbole, yellow journalism and feeding the nanny states failed “war on drugs”

“Tales of superhuman strength have been associated with various drugs over the years, including cocaine in the early 1900s, marijuana in the 1920s and ’30s, and PCP (a.k.a. angel dust) in the 1970s and ’80s. “The notion that drugs produce superhuman strength is simply not true,” says Columbia University neuropsychopharmacologist Carl Hart, who studies the effects of stimulants such as crack cocaine and methamphetamine. “It has never been shown. This is just a continuation of the theme. It should raise red flags for people if they see ‘superhuman strength.

Hart notes that people who drink too much may become ‘out of control or difficult to manage,’ but ‘you can’t say [someone has] superhuman strength with alcohol because no one will believe you.’ Similarly, ‘you can no longer make up those stories about marijuana, because there are many people in our society who have used marijuana, so if you say that, you instantly lose credibility with all of those people.’ By contrast, ‘you can say it with these new synthetic drugs because people don’t know what these drugs are. And if they don’t know, maybe it’s true. They want to believe it. It’s a great story.’

The reality is less exciting. ‘When you look at the effects of cathinones in the laboratory,’ Hart says, ‘they just look like any other stimulant.’ While the agitation and paranoid delusions described in stories about flakka might be seen in some people at high doses, he says, ‘that’s a rare sort of thing,’ and the bizarre behavior may be due to other factors, such as sleep deprivation or pre-existing psychological problems. Potentially fatal reactions such as heart attacks and hyperthermia likewise are ‘possible in limited and extreme situations,’ he says, but ‘unlikely.'”

(Via.) Reason.com <—Read more here

Chicago’s Economic Death Spiral

“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, after winning reelection, pronounced Chicago ‘the greatest city in America.’ Run by Democrats for more than eight decades, Chicago should serve as a showplace that reflects the wonderful world of ‘progressive policies.’

Public schools are a mess, and the city’s finances place their bonds at near junk level. In 2013, the city averaged 36 homicides a month, with the majority of them unsolved.”

(Via.) – Larry Elder – Townhall.com <—Read more here

Ron Paul’s Texas Straight Talk 4/13/15: You Are the New Enemy

“So who is the real enemy? The Russians?

No, the real enemy is the taxpayer. The real enemy is the middle class and the productive sectors of the economy. We are the victims of this new runaway military spending. Every dollar or euro spent on a contrived threat is a dollar or euro taken out of the real economy and wasted on military Keynesianism. It is a dollar stolen from a small business owner that will not be invested in innovation, spent on research to combat disease, or even donated to charities that help the needy.

One of the most pervasive and dangerous myths of our time is that military spending benefits an economy. This could not be further from the truth. Such spending benefits a thin layer of well-connected and well-paid elites. It diverts scarce resources from meeting the needs and desires of a population and channels them into manufacturing tools of destruction. The costs may be hidden by the money-printing of the central banks, but they are eventually realized in the steady destruction of a currency.

The elites are terrified that peace may finally break out, which will be bad for their profits. That is why they are trying to scuttle the Iran deal, nix the Cuba thaw, and drum up a new ‘Red Scare’ coming from Moscow. We must not be fooled into believing their lies.”

(Via.) Liberty Crier <—Read more/listen to the talk here

New York’s expensive startup initiative only created 76 jobs

“When Governor Andrew Cuomo launched Start-Up New York in late 2013, his office called it a ‘game-changing’ initiative that promised ‘a windfall’ of innovation. The program established 356 tax-free zones in order to ‘attract high-tech and other start-ups.’ However, a new report from the state’s Department of Economic Development found that the initiative only created 76 jobs in 2014, despite a $28 million ad campaign.

Cuomo’s senior economic aide told Capital New York that 76 jobs was ‘a good number that we can stand behind,’ and it was only a matter of time before the other jobs materialized.

The zones created by Start-Up New York were tied to 62 sponsoring colleges and universities. The program allowed companies to operate tax-free for 10 years ‘on eligible campuses and spaces.’ According to the report, those 76 jobs came from 30 companies in industries like software, biotech, and manufacturing. The companies were supposed to invest $91 million over five years, but only invested $1.7 million.”

(Via.) The Verge

The Costs of Hysteria

“Suppose the scientific consensus on climate change is right. Let’s also stipulate, for the sake of argument, that the computer projections used by the United Nations and the US government are correct, and that economists are able to translate those data into meaningful projections about costs and benefits to people living in the future with climate change.

Despite what the public has been led to believe, the situation is not a crisis at all — and certainly not something that demands drastic government actions to avert serious damage to the environment. In fact, implementing the wrong policy can cause far more damage than it can prevent.”

(Via.) Foundation for Economic Education <— Read more here

Brownells Announces the Edge program

Brownness, the worlds largest supplier of firearms accessories, gun parts, and gunsmithing tools has announced the “Edge” program. Akin to Amazon Prime memberships, the program includes:

  • Free Standard Shipping* On all Orders
  • Discounts On 2-Day & Overnight Shipping
  • Free Return Shipping
  • Special Members-Only Offers & Discounts
  • Risk-free Ordering
  • Their 100% Forever Guarantee

From Brownells website: “Brownells EDGE is our latest innovation to make shopping with us even easier and more convenient for you. Place as many orders as you want – standard shipping on all of them is covered by the $49.95 annual membership fee. With FREE shipping*, your membership fee will be paid for with just a few orders. Bought the wrong item? Not what you needed? Just send it back. WE pay return shipping charges. Coupled with our already-famous, industry-exclusive Forever Satisfaction Guarantee, a Brownells EDGE membership assures a totally risk-free shopping experience!”

(Via.) BROWNELLS

For Privacy or Transparency, Bitcoin Benefits Liberty

“Proponents of Bitcoin, myself included, tend to focus on the potential for privacy it offers against increasing government intrusion into our financial affairs. But Bitcoin is not only a tool for those who wish to remain hidden—scofflaws, paranoid conspiracy nuts, crypto-anarchists, and of course the ever-present three-headed bogeyman of terrorists, drug dealers, and child abusers. It is also a tool for those who value transparency. Does that sound like a paradox? Well, it isn’t. A major characteristic of a technology that increases freedom is that it can be used for a widely varying range of choices.

I’ll talk a bit more about how that works in the case of Bitcoin later on, but first I’d like to submit as evidence for the transparency benefits of Bitcoin the recent discovery of extensive corruption on the part of two government agents involved in the Silk Road seizure. The agents—DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun W. Bridges of the Secret Service—are allegedly jointly responsible for, amongst other crimes, the misappropriation and laundering of over a million dollars worth of bitcoin (estimated at the price at which they would have sold at the time they were obtained) confiscated from the Silk Road website. Carl Force was also a major investor in, and employee of, Bitcoin exchange CoinMTK while involved in the case, and is accused of having stolen customer funds while there.”

(Via.) Bitcoin Benefits Liberty <— Read the rest of the story here

Learn How This Family Grows 6,000 Lbs Of Food on Just 1/10th Acre

“Ever thought of growing your own food but didn’t think it was possible? It’s more that possible! It might even be the way of the future. If the Dervaes family can do it while living in Los Angeles, I think you can to.

The Dervaes family live on 1/10th of an acre 15 minutes from downtown L.A.. In itself that’s not strange. What’s crazy is that they manage to maintain a sustainable and independent urban farm. Complete with animals!

In a year they produce around 4,300 pounds of veggies, 900 chicken eggs, 1000 duck eggs, 25 lbs honey, and pounds of seasonal fruit. There are over 400 species of plants. What?! They have everything they need to ‘live off the land.’ From beets to bees. Chickens to chickpeas.

What the family doesn’t eat they sell from their porch, making around $20,000 a year. Local organic food is so popular that they don’t have any problems finding customs. Even chefs from restaurants seek them out.”

(Via.) DIY Cozy Home <—Video here! H/T The Liberty Crier

iSpy: The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple’s Secrets

“The revelations that the CIA has waged a secret campaign to defeat the security mechanisms built into Apple’s devices come as Apple and other tech giants are loudly resisting pressure from senior U.S. and U.K. government officials to weaken the security of their products. Law enforcement agencies want the companies to maintain the government’s ability to bypass security tools built into wireless devices. Perhaps more than any other corporate leader, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has taken a stand for privacy as a core value, while sharply criticizing the actions of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”

(Via.) Firstollok.org: The Intersept

Texas Town Experiences 61% Drop in Crime After Firing Their Police Department | The Free Thought Project

Another aspect, and possibly the most important, that sets privatized police apart from agents of the state, is that they have a negative incentive to initiate force. Force and violence are vastly more expensive than today’s police lead us to believe.

Causing injury or death, or wrongfully depriving someone of their rights is very expensive if these costs are realized for the ones who cause them. The state does not care, however. They can and will defer their liability to the tax farm.

The act of deferment of liability is a function solely reserved for the state, and it creates an incentive to act in an unethical manner. In the case of SEAL Security, each of their officers, as well as their entire operation, can be held liable, both criminally and financially. This is something about which the state knows nothing.

As guns.com points out, over 70 communities in Harris County and most of the major management districts have contracted with SEAL. They’re less expensive, better at crime prevention, they do not target citizens for revenue, and, best of all, each officer is personally accountable for his or her actions.

It’s time Americans start seriously considering this option.

Law enforcement is a product that we are forced to buy. When any product is not subject to the forces of consumer demand, there is no way of changing it. It is time we applied the fundamental lesson of competition to our supposed protectors.

via The Free Thought Project

UA-56674165-2