Counterblast - Bloggsíða Willy Sutton
May 30, 2004
 
Tvær skýrslur
Í Fréttablaðinu í dag er fjallað um 2 skýrslur á sömu síðunni, án þess að þær séu settar í samhengi við hvora aðra.

Fyrst er fjallað um skýrslu sem Rannveig Guðmundsdóttir bað um og er nú fyrst tilbúin, 18 mánuðum síðar. Þar er um fjallað um verð á matvælum á Íslandi en það er víst hátt og vesalings þingmennirnir hreinlega vissu ekki af hverju. Það þarf engan snilling til að átta sig á því og kemur fram í skýrslunni að skattar og tollar, auk flutningskostnaðar, smæðar markaðarins, hás gengis og lítillar samkeppni, séu orsök fyrir háu vöruverði. Auðvitað eru há laun einnig örsök, en tæplega pólitíst rétt að minnast á það.

Síðan er vitnað í Mörðs Árnason sem bað um skýrslu um hvalveiðar, sem 'svo mikilvægt' var að vinna.

"Sú skýrsla sem ég bað um kostar ekki 22 milljónir. Það myndi taka vanan mann þrjár til fjórar vikur að vinna hana."

Án efa ódýrasta og minnsta skýrsla í manna minnum.


 
Leysir frjálshyggjan umhverfisvandamál

Our economics fails to see, let alone measure, the full value of major parts of our world...Much of what we don't see with our economics involves the accelerating destruction of the environment. – Al Gore, Earth in the Balance.

It is true that where a considerable part of the costs incurred are external costs from the point of view of the acting individuals or firms, the economic calculation established by them is manifestly defective and their results deceptive. But this is not the outcome of alleged deficiencies inherent in the system of private ownership of the means of production. It is on the contrary a consequence of loopholes left in the system. It could be removed by a reform of the laws concerning liability for damages inflicted and by rescinding the institutional barriers preventing the full operation of private ownership. – Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics.

The statements above capture the significant differences between the contemporary collectivist and classical liberal perspectives on environmental protection. The collectivist vision is well represented by former Vice President Al Gore (quote above). He and most other environmental activists are convinced that the classical liberal order cannot protect the environment. They believe that markets are rife with market failures—that externalities are everywhere, and that environmental public goods are undersupplied. In a world of pervasive externalities, government intervention must also be pervasive. To the more theological wing of the environmental movement—the eco-theocrats—mankind has sinned against Nature, so we must expiate for our wicked ways. And this expiation is no mild thing—it requires nothing less than a “wrenching transformation of civilization.”

In contrast, the classical liberal vision is well captured in the quote from Ludwig von Mises. To classical liberals, the environment is but one of the many important areas that different people value to differing degrees. Given the vast array of resources that make the environment, and the diversity of taste about these resources, classical liberals argue that a comparable control over these resources is needed. Classical liberals seek to provide that protection by integrating ecological resources into the market, by extending property rights and the rule of law to them. The environment values deserve as much—but no more—protection than other values. Nature cannot protect itself. Trees cannot have standing as legal actors, but behind every tree can stand an owner who, by protecting his property, protects it for all. The classical liberal approach is not to seek more efficient ways to advance some politically determined goal, but rather to create an institutional framework to facilitate exchanges and trade offs between individuals, empowering them to make their own choices

Hér að ofan er úrdráttur úr grein sem ég fann á síðu The Competitive Enterprise Institute. Það er vel þess virði að lesa greinina, þar sem alræðis-sinnar reyna eins og þeir geta nú á dögum að koma böndum á markaðinn þar sem 'það er svo mikilvægt' að vernda umhverfið. Ekki það að ríkisforsjá leysi umhverfisvandamál að neinu marki. Auðvitað er ekki til neitt eitt system sem sér öllum fyrir hámarks-lífsgæðum (customized) og verndar umhverfið í leiðinni. Mestu umhverfisslys sögunar eru í gömlu Sovíet þar sem enginn átti neitt og enginn hafði vald til að berjast gegn umhverfisspjöllum sem svo sannarlega var ljóst að myndi valda þeim miklum skaða.


May 21, 2004
 
Are oil prices high?
Ok, the oil prices are rising and people are worried. Someone told me that some politicians in the US are talking about price caps. No bother verifying that, I believe him. But how high is the oil price, historically speaking of course, but people tend to forget that one needs to look back more than few weeks in order to do that:

"The same is true, by the way, for the cost of oil. Adjusted for wage growth, oil is slightly cheaper today than it was 20, 30, and 50 years ago, and five-times cheaper than 100 years ago. How can gas and oil be cheaper since we've used so much of it over time? Well, thanks to human innovation, we are always finding new sources of oil, while at the same time technology makes it cheaper to drill for it."


May 20, 2004
 
Henry Hazlitt. Four online books
For those that have not figured it out, there are four free online books by Henry Hazlitt on the net.

Foundations of Morality, Conquest of Poverty, Time Will Run Back and The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt.

The books can be found here, as well as having a permanent place on the link-bar on the right.


May 19, 2004
 
Leiðbeinandi verð

Hvað skyldi Hazlitt segja um 'leiðbeinandi' verðið fyrir bókina sína.

Annars er óhætt að mæla með þessari bók. Auðlesin og engin gröf eða óskiljanleg tölfræði.


 
Franska vinnuvikan og Henry Hazlitt
NAFN Á MYNDEitt af hinum fögru loforðum, sem hljóma svo vel korteri fyrir kosningar, er 'stytting vinnuvikunnar'. Það þarf ekki að spyrja að því, allir vilja vinna minna og alveg sérstaklega ef launin lækka ekki við það. Hér á landi hefur þessi vinnuviku-della ekki náð eins langt og í Evrópu. Frakkar gengu fyrir skemmstu skrefinu lengra og styttu vinnuvikuna í 35 tíma.

Þessar aðgerðir fara ekki vel með efnahagslífið eins og við er að búast þegar stjórnmálamenn koma með einhverjar 'sértækar aðgerðir'. Það er afleitt að sjá efnahagslífið (þ.e. efnahagur fólksins) líða fyrir aðgerðir sem fæstir vilja í raun. Það á ekki að koma á óvart að fólk kjósi frekar peninga en ríkis-úthlutað frí, jafnvel í Frakklandi.

Hugmyndafræðin gengur út á að fleiri fái störf ef höft séu sett á hversu mikið í viku hverri. Þetta er gömul hagfræði-villa sem Hazlitt og fleiri hafa sýnt fram á fyrir mörgum áratugum að er meingölluð, hér ræðir Hazlitt hvað mun gerast ef lög um hámarksvinnu eru sett, að því gefnu að tímakaup sé óbreytt (að gefa sér hækkað tímakaup jafngildir því að einhverjum hafi tekist að rækta peningatré) og að allt fari á besta veg; nýju starfsmennirnir eru jafn hæfir hinum sem fyrir voru og framleiðslukostaður hækki ekki:


Þó fleiri starfsmenn verði ráðnir, mun hver um sig vinna færri stundir og því fjölgar vinnustundunum ekki. Ólíklegt er að nokkur framleiðniaukning verði svo heitið geti og heildarlaun sem útborguð eru og "kaupmáttur" verða ekki meir. Allt sem gerist í raun, jafnvel þótt gert sé ráð fyrir hinu besta (sem þó yrði sjaldan), er að starfsmenn sem áður höfðu vinnu munu styrkja þá sem áður vor atvinnulausir. Það stafar af því, að nýju starfsmennirnir fái hver um sig þjá fjórðu þess vikukaups sem gömlu starfsmennirnir voru vanir að fá, verða gömlu starfsmennirnir sjálfir að láta sér nægja að fá aðeins þrjá fjórðu sem þeir fengu áður. Það er rétt að gömlu starfsmennirnir munu nú vinna færri klukkustundir; en þeir keyptu þennan dýra frítíma væntanlega ekki vegna þess að þeim þótti hann þess virði: Greiðslan fyrir frítímann er fórn sem færð er til að útvega öðrum störf.

Auðvitað eru þeir stjórnmálamenn sem taka þessar vondu ákvarðanir ekki neitt verr gefnir en aðrir í þeirra 'stétt'. Hinsvegar hlusta þeir á þá sem gjamma hæst, og af einhverri ólekkans ástæðu þá er það hagur forustumanna stéttarfélaga að berjast fyrir 'skjólstæðingum' sínum með þessum hætti. Hver vill ekki 'vernda' félagsmenn frá óheftum þrældómi og hvað ættu nú þessir ágætu menn að gera, nema að berjast fyrir einhverju. Ekki gengur það að láta menn gera samninga sín á milli, án milligöngu þeirra. 'Atvinnuöryggi' þeirra byggist á því að það gerist ekki.

Hazlitt er ekki búinn. Í hinni ágætu, og fríu net-bók, The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt, fjallar hann um skyld mál, nefnanlega yfirvinnukaup, en það er víst við líði hér á landi:

A similar judgment must be passed on all "spread-the-work" schemes. The existing Federal Wage-Hour Law has been on the books for many years. It provides that the employer must pay a 50 percent penalty overtime rate for all hours that an employee works in excess of 40 a week, no matter how high the employee's regular hourly rate of pay.

This provision was inserted at the insistence of the unions. Its purpose was to make it so costly for the employer to work men overtime that he would be obliged to take on additional workers.

Experience shows that the provision has in fact had the effect of narrowly restricting the length of the working week. In the ten year period, 1960 to 1969 inclusive, the average annual work week in manufacturing varied only between a low of 39.7 hours in 1960 and a high of 41.3 hours in 1966. Even monthly changes do not show much variation. The lowest average working week in manufacturing in the fourteen months from June, 1969 to July, 1970 was 39.7 hours and the highest was 41 hours.

But it does not follow that the hour-restriction either created more long-term jobs or yielded higher total payrolls than would have existed without the compulsory 50 percent overtime rate. No doubt in isolated cases more men have been employed than would otherwise have been. But the chief effect of the over time law has been to raise production costs. Firms already working full standard time often have to refuse new orders because they cannot afford to pay the penalty overtime necessary to fill those orders. They cannot afford to take on new employees to meet what may be only a temporarily higher demand because they may also have to install an equivalent number of additional machines.

Higher production costs mean higher prices. They must therefore mean narrowed markets and smaller sales. They mean that fewer goods and services are produced. In the long run the interests of the whole body of workers must be adversely affected by compulsory overtime penalties.

All this is not to argue that there ought to be a longer work week, but rather that the length of the work week, and the scale of overtime rates, ought to be left to voluntary agreement between individual workers or unions and their employers. In any case, legal restrictions on the length of the working week cannot in the long run increase the number of jobs. To the extent that they can do that in the short run, it must necessarily be at the expense of production and of the real income of the whole body of workers. The Wisdom of Henry Hazlitt: Chapter 23: False Remedies for Poverty

Nóg um vinstrivillur í dag, enda fagurt vorkvöld og margt annað hægt að gera en að sitja heima fyrir framan tölvuna.


May 16, 2004
 
The Austrian School of Economics
The Austrian School of Economics.

Nokkuð gott safn af Austurrískum hagfræðigreinum. Eins og ávalt með austurríska hagfræði, þá eru þessar greinar flestar vel læsilegar og auðskildar. Ekkert um hinn óþægilega ávana hagfræðinga að kaffæra lesandann í jargoni og óskiljanlegum (og of ósönnuðum) formúlum.


May 15, 2004
 
Stórverslanir og neytandinn
Það hefur mikið verið rætt um hinar vondu verslunarkeðjur sem ryðja úr vegi smærri verslunum og sniðganga heildsala ef þeir gefa ekki magnafslátt. Það er án efa mikið til í gagnrýnisröddum, enda engar líkur á að fólk hætti að tapa í viðskiptum einn daginn, og án efa hafa stóru keðjurnar farið á svig við 'góða viðskiptahætti' oftar en ekki, því það starfsmenn og eigendur stórfyrirtækja eru engir englar frekar en aðrir.

Hinsvegar er margt sem er hreinlega ekki rétt sem gagnrýnismenn segja og sumt á sér engar stoðir í raunvöruleikanum. Til dæmis er það ekkert gefið mál að smákaupmaður sem hættir í bransanum tapi neitt á því. Oftar en ekki er verslunin keypt upp af stærri keðju og menn tala að þessi eða hinn hafi nú verið keyptur upp, eins og það sé eitthvað slæmt mál. Oft fer 'litli aðilinn' vel úr þessum viðskiptum því það er algengt að fyrirtæki í útþenslu borgi yfirverð fyrir það sem stjórnendur hafa bitið í sig að sé nauðsin að komast yfir.

Einnig breytist eðli markaðarins með tímanum. Fyrir nokkrum áratugum var það ekki svo slæm hugmynd að opna hverfisverslun. Í raun er það þannig sem allar stóru verslunarkeðjurnar hér á Íslandi hafa byrjað og erlendis hefur það sama gerst einnig. Í dag er það gáfulegra að stofna sérverslun, ef einhver vill hasla sér völl í verslun á Íslandi í dag.

Fyrir þá heildsala sem neyðast til að gefa stórmörkuðum afslátt, þá vorkenni ég þeim ekki neitt. Oft er það nú ágætis viðskipti að hafa mikla veltu með lítilli álagningu í stað þess að eltast við fjölmarga kúnna þó álagningin sé meiri þar. Ef neytandinn vill fá ódýra vöru óháð opnunartíma eða þjónustu eða fjölbreytni, þá er gott að vita að hann getur það á Íslandi þótt sumir reyni að setja stein í götu hans.


May 13, 2004
 
Einka skólar
Af hverju er það talið merki um sérlegt ríkisdæmi að senda börn í einkaskóla? Eru hlutirnir ódýrari hjá ríkinu, þar sem það þarf sér valið ráð ef á að skipta um ljósaperu, kennarar vinna æ styttri vinnutíma og ýmsar reglur eru settar á hverjir hafa forgang í störfin.

Þetta þarf ekki að vera svona.

Private schools in developing countries produce greater student achievement than government schools, and they do so without leaving the poor behind, concludes a new report by the Liberales Institut in Switzerland.

According to researcher James Tooley, contrary to popular belief, private school enrollment is fairly common in developing countries. For instance, 80 percent of youths in India's urban areas attend private schools. Pakistan also has high rates of enrollment, where even 37 percent of the poorest students attend private schools as compared to 40 percent in government schools. He says the poor have enjoyed access to private education. Private Education Benefits the World's Poor

Ef þau geta það...


May 12, 2004
 
Libertyhaven.com
Libertyhaven Nokkuð góð síða eins og má geta sér til um í kynningu á efni hennar:

Libertyhaven now has over 5,000 articles, all full-text searchable from our search engine, as well as discussion groups and free e-mail. Follow the main subject headings above to find such sub-categories as Austrian economics, Ludwig Von Mises, public choice theory, Henry Hazlitt, gun control, free trade, Friedrich Von Hayek, economic cycles and depressions, Adam Smith, economic history, Milton Friedman, ethics, Ayn Rand, privatization, and many, many more.


May 11, 2004
 
þjóðareign - sameign þjóðarinnar - þjóð-viljinn.
Þjóðareign - ekki ríkiseign, nýr variant af gamalli klisju vinstri manna. 'Ríkið' er ekki fallið til vinsælda á slagorðaspjöldum Samfylkingarinnar og þá er bara að fara í smiðju áróðursmeistara fyrri alda sem notuðu þjóðarkonseptið með miklum ágætum.


May 10, 2004
 
Það er gert í Svíþjóð
Svíþjóð í klemmuÉg hef oft talað um 'það er gert í Svíþjóð' rökin, en þau eru variant af 'það er gert víða erlendis' rökunum. Auðvitað eru þessar rökfærslur alger ó-rök því það heimurinn er stór og það er auðvelt að finna dæmi um allt mögulegt og ómögulegt sem er regluvætt á einhvern hátt einhverstaðar erlendis, eða þá í 'okkar helstu nágrannalöndum'.

Nú hefur Svíþjóð verið fyrirmyndar ríki margra hér á landi. Nýlega nefndi ungur stjórnmálamaður á vinstri vængnum Svíþjóð sem dæmi um hversu gott það væri fyrir efnahaginn að hafa sterkt ríkisvald. Sko, sjáiði bara Svíþjóð, þar er ríkið sterkt og bætir upp fyrir 'markaðsbresti', og efnahagurinn blómstrar.

Það er rétt að það er betra að búa í Svíþjóð en mörgum öðrum löndum en það þarf að fara langann veg frá Malmö til þess að finna lönd þar sem ástandið er miklu verra. Ísland er til dæmis með 30 þúsund dollara per mann í GDP en Svíþjóð er með um 26 Þúsund USD (bæði tölur fyrir 2002, reyndar ber smá óvissa með þessar tölur m.a. vegna stöðu gjaldmiðla).

Tilefni þessarar greinar er að ég rakst á skýrslu um þróun efnahagsmála í Svíþjóð eftir Nils Karlson, en hann starfar hjá Ratio stofnuninni í Stokkhólmi. (það er vel þess virði að skoða þessa síðu).

Hann dregur ekki upp fagra mynd af heimalandi sínu og súmmerar upp vandamál Svíþjóðar í upphafi greinarinnar:

I. No job on net have been produced in the private sector since 1950.

II. None of the top 50 companies on the Stockholm stock exchange has been started since 1970.

III. Sweden has dropped from fourth to 14th place in 2002 among the OECD countries in terms of GDP per capita since 1970.

IV. Well over one million people out of a work force of around five millions do not work in 2003 but live on various kinds of public welfare programmes such a pre-pension schemes, unemployment benefits, sick-leave programmes etc.

V. A majority of the adult population are either employed by the state or clients of the state in the sense that they have a majority of the income coming from public subsidies.

Á fyrri hluta síðustu aldar var mikill vöxtur í Sænsku atvinnulífi. Það var ekki bara það að hún slapp við beina þáttöku í tveimur heimsstyrjöldum, en efnahagslífið hafði gengist undir afreglun (deregulation) og skattar voru ekki miklir (svipuð þróun í US og fleiri löndum reyndar, eins og Hayek spáði fyrir um, jókst hlutur ríkisins mikið út öldina).

Ef við sjáum skattahækkanir sjáum við einnig hækkun á ríkisútgjöldum en þau hækkuðu meira í Svíþjóð en í flestum sambærilegum löndum og slöguðu í 70% af þjóðarframleiðslu. Nú síðust ár hefur orðin einhver stefnubreyting því efnahagslífið gat ekki staðið undir bákninu.

Greinin eftir Karlson er nokkuð góð og ég mæli eindregið með henni, sérstaklega seinni hlutanum en hann fjallar um efnahagslíf Sverige á nokkuð Austurískan máta.


 
Álitsgerð um samkeppnisumhverfi í landbúnaði
Í dag kom alveg makalaus skýrsla sem Eiríkur Tómasson prófessor og Árni Vilhjálmsson gerðu fyrir landbúnaðar ráðherra. Þar koma fram hugmyndir sem Guðni hafði rætt um opinberlega áður. Ómögulegt er að segja til um hvort þessar delluhugmyndir séu komnar frá Eiríki og Árna eða hvort skýrsluhöfundar hafi sett í skýrsluna það sem greiðanda myndi líka við.

Lokaorð skýrslunar eru mjög fróðleg. Í raun er það alveg makalegt að einhverjir lögfræðingar útí bæ skuli vera að semja sósíalískar lagagreinar.

"Kæmi því til greina að sett yrði nýtt ákvæði í búvörulög, svohljóðandi:
"Framleiðslukostnaður nautgripakjöts, sauðfjárafurða, svínakjöts og kjúklinga, miðað við meðalbú, skal reiknaður út og skráður að Hagþjónustu landbúnaðarins. Fari heildsöluverð á einhverri þessara afurða niður fyrir 50% af reiknuðum framleiðslukostnaði er landbúnaðarráðherra heimilt að ákvarða lágmarksverð í heildsölu af þeirri afurð, þó þannig að það verð nemi ekki hærra hlutfalli af reiknuðum framleiðslukostnaði en 80%. Ákvörðun um slíkt lágmarksverð má vara í allt að sex mánuði í senn."

"Jafnframt yrði að taka upp í lögin ákvæði um viðurlög við brotum á umræddu ákvæði, svo og hvernig haga skuli eftirliti." Álitsgerð um samkeppnisumhverfi í landbúnaði. Eiríkur Tómasson prófessor og Árni Vilhjálmsson hrl.

Hvernig væri að taka upp viðurlög Robespierre við brotum á lögum um hámarksverð.


May 09, 2004
 
10 Mistakes of Karl Marx
I found this nice piece floating around in the www. Originally published in the ed in The Freeman in 1982.

Some Mistakes of Marx

William Henry Chamberlin

"The evil that men do lives after them." This maxim applies with singular force to the work of Karl Marx. The life of this apostle of socialism, communism, and class war was spent, for the most part, in obscure and sometimes squalid poverty. Marx was unable to make even a humble living as a writer and journalist; he had no other trade or profession. He would probably have had to go on poor relief, in his time less generous in England than it is now, if it had not been for handouts from his disciple and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, who enjoyed the advantage of having a successful capitalist father.

Marx's record of political achievement at the time of his death seemed quite sterile. Because, in a moment of bravado, he renounced Prussian citizenship, he was unable to go to Germany or take any intimate part in the German socialist movement. He played no role in English politics.

To put it mildly, Marx was not a mellow or lovable character. His habits of excommunicating from the socialist movement everyone who disagreed with him kept his circle of friends very limited.

There is an abundance of historical evidence for Max Eastman's caustic profile of Marx in Reflections on the Failure of Socialism:

If he ever performed a generous act, it is not to be found in the record. He was a totally undisciplined, vain, slovenly, and egotistical spoiled child. He was ready at the drop of a hat with spiteful hate. He could be devious, disloyal, snobbish, anti-Semitic, anti-Negro. He was by habit a sponge, an intriguer, a tyrannical bigot who would rather wreck his party than see it succeed under another leader.

But if there were few mourners, literally or figuratively, at the grave of Marx the man, the idea of Marxism, the vision of a world in which the proletariat, oppressed by capitalism, was to become the architect of new millennial. order, marched from success to success.

Before World War I Marx was revered as the founding father of the socialist parties which had sprung up in most European countries. Because a Russian genius of revolutionary action, Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin, swallowed Marx's ideas whole without conscious reservation, Marxism became the creed of the new communist regime in Russia.

William Henry Chamberlin (18971969) was a frequent contributor to The Freeman. Author of the Russian Revolution and numerous other books and articles on world affairs, he was uniquely qualified to discuss Marxian errors by having lived and traveled where such mistakes are obvious.

It is especially timely to review what Chamberlin reported More than twenty--five years ago to be some of the mistakes of Marx. This article is reprinted from the May 1956 Freeman.

This regime, which has never wavered in its belief that someday its power will encompass the entire world, represents a revolt against all the values of Western civilization, against religion and the moral law, against civil and personal liberties, against the right to own property, which is one of the first and most indispensable of human liberties. After World War II communism, the offspring of Marxist teaching, extended its dominion over China, over the countries of Eastern Europe, so that today [19561 it has been imposed as a dogmatic faith on more than one third of the population of the world.

And the influence of Marx is by no means restricted to nations under communist rule. The appeal of Marxian ideas to European socialists, to the half-baked intellectuals of newly emancipated countries in Asia has been considerable. And, although the number of persons who can honestly claim to have read through with comprehension the dry and abstruse Capital must be small, the simplified version of Marxist theory presented in The Communist Manifesto and elsewhere possesses strong psychological appeal. Marx Sets the Proletariat Against the Bourgeoisie

Marx professed to know all the answers, to offer a complete explanation of human activity on the basis of historic materialism. In the Marxian scheme there is a hero, the proletariat, a villain, the bourgeoisie; and the hero is represented as a certain ultimate winner. There is a vision of revolutionary victory that will transform the conditions of human existence and usher in a millennium, of the nature of which, to be sure, Marx offers few and vague hints. To trusting minds which accept Marx's premises and assumptions without question there comes an intoxicating sense of being in step with history, of professing a creed that is based on infallible science.

But it is just this myth of infallibility that is the Achilles' Heel of Marx as a thinker, of Marxism as a system. An examination of the works of Marx and his collaborator Engels reveals ten big mistakes, of which some are so fundamental that they completely discredit, as a preview of the future, the whole superstructure of faith in capitalist misery and doom, and socialist prosperity and triumph, which Marx laboriously reared on a foundation of Hegelian metaphysics and minute research in government reports on the seamy sides of early British capitalism. These mistakes are as follows:

1. The doom of capitalism is assured because under its operation the rich will become richer and fewer; the poor will become poorer and more numerous. To quote one of the more striking rhetorical passages in Capital:

While there is a progressive diminution in the number of the capitalist magnates, there occurs a corresponding increase in the mass of poverty, oppression, enslavement, degeneration and exploitation. But at the same time there is a steady intensification of the wrath of the working class-a class which grows ever more numerous and is disciplined, unified and organized by the very mechanism of the capitalist method of production. Capitalist monopoly becomes a fetter upon the method of production which has flourished with it and under it. The centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labor reach a point where they prove incompatible with their capitalist husk. This bursts asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.

These are resounding words, but utterly empty words, in view of the fact that social and economic development in capitalist countries has proceeded along a precisely opposite direction from the one predicted by Marx. What was in Marx's time a social pyramid has become more like a cube. The capitalist system has brought to the working class not increasing "oppression, enslavement, degeneration and exploitation," but an increasing share of new inventions and comforts that did not even exist for the wealthy a hundred years ago: automobiles, radios, television sets, washing machines, as well as money in the bank, stocks, and bonds.

2. Socialism can only come about when capitalism has exhausted its possibilities of development. Or, as Marx puts it in his Critique of Political Economy:

No form of society declines before it has developed all the forces of production in accordance with its own stage of development.

But, of the three countries which, according to Marx, were ripest for the transition to socialism, as most industrially developed, the United States is still, by and large, the freest economically.

The larger free part of Germany, after the terrific shock of the war, has achieved a remarkable recovery by shedding Nazi and Allied controls and resorting to old -fashioned individualistic incentives. Great Britain has settled for a kind of socialistic New Deal, without violence or outright expropriation and well short of Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat."

On the other hand, the countries where violent revolutions were carried out in the name of Marx, the Soviet Union and China, were, on Marx's own theory, completely unripe for socialism. Capitalism was in a fairly early stage of development in Russia. Much of China lived in precapitalist conditions. Experience has shown that, in precise contradiction of Marxist dogma, capitalism is harder to overthrow as it strikes deeper roots and shows what it can accomplish. A plausible case can be made out for the proposition that, although political and economic change would have come to Russia, there would have been no communist revolution if World War I had been avoided and Stolypin's policy of breaking up the old peasant communes and giving the peasant more sense of individual property had developed long enough to yield results.

3.The "dictatorship of the proletariat" is a just and feasible form of government. This is based on two false assumptions: that the "proletariat," or industrial working class, has some kind of divine right to rule and that governing power can be directly exercised by this group of the population. Both are wrong. Marx never clearly explained why the proletariat, for which he foresaw increasing poverty and degradation, would be qualified to rule. And Soviet experience and Red Chinese experience offer the clearest proofs that dictatorships of the proletariat, in theory, become ruthless dictatorship over the proletariat, in practice. Absolute power in communist states is exercised not by workers in factories, but by bureaucrats, of whom some have never done any manual work; others have long ceased to do any.

4.Under socialism the state will "wither away." This grows out of Marx's belief that the state is an instrument for the suppression of one class by another. In the classless society of socialism, therefore, there will be no need for the state.

Events have played havoc with this theory. Nowhere is the state more powerful, more arbitrary, more of a universal policeman, snooper, and interventionist than in the Soviet Union. Yet it is here that the new regime has abolished private property in means of production, thereby, according to Marx, inaugurating a classless society. One is left to choose between two alternative conclusions. Either the Marxist theory of the state as an instrument of class rule is a humbug or the kind of class rule that prevails in the Soviet Union must be uncommonly crude and ruthless.

5.Capitalism (in the nineteenth century) has exhausted its productive possibilities. This flat statement is made by Marx's alter ego, Engels, in his Anti-Dühring, written before the internal-combustion engine, X-rays, aviation, synthetic chemistry, and a host of other enormously important additions to the productive process, brought into existence by the stimulus of capitalism.

6.All ideas, all forms of intellectual and artistic expression are a mere reflection of the material interests of the class in power. This conception is expressed repeatedly in Marx's writings, notably in German Ideology, where he writes: "The class which has the dominant material power in society is at the same time the dominant spiritual power .... The dominant ideas are nothing but the ideal expression of material conditions." One of the few wisecracks as sociated with the name of Marx is that the Church of England would rather give up all its Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith than one thirty-ninth of its possessions.

The historical record shows that this interpretation of human conduct is crudely one-sided and inaccurate, Men die far more often for ideas than for material interests. The communist victory in Russia was not due to the fact that material conditions for the masses became better after the Bolshevik Revolution. This was emphatically not the case. What did happen was that the organized, disciplined, communist minority acquired an iron grip on the masses by its double weapon of propaganda and terror, kept passions of class hatred and class envy at the boiling point, whipped laggards into line by ruthless regimentation, and thereby preserved their regime through years of civil war and famine. Sometimes the materialistic interpretation of history becomes sheer absurdity, as in the case of a Moscow musical announcer, whom I once heard offer the following bit:

We will now hear Glinka's overture, "Ruslan and Ludmilla." This is a cheerful, buoyant piece of work, because when it was written Russian trade capitalism was expanding and conquering markets in the Near East.

It would seem that, in order to carry any semblance of plausibility, this should have been accompanied by proof that Glinka owned stock in the expanding companies-a highly improbable contingency, if one considers the economic status of Russian musicians.

7.Production depends on class antagonism. To quote Marx, in The Poverty of Philosophy:

From the very moment in which civilization begins, production begins to be based on the antagonism of orders, of states, of classes, and finally on the antagonism between capital and labor. No antagonism, no progress. This is the law which civilization has followed down to our own day.

Like many of Marx's "laws," this is a mere unsupported assertion of a pedantic dogma. No proof is adduced. The greatest human constructive achievements, the cathedrals of the Middle Ages, the great dams and skyscrapers of modern times, are the fruit of cooperation, not of antagonism.

8.Nationalism is a negligible force. Marx and Engels lived in an age of rising national consciousness. Conflicting nationalism was the strongest force that let loose World War I. Yet in all their writings the attitude toward nationalism is one of contemptuous deprecation. As Isaiah Berlin, a fairly sympathetic biographer, writes (Karl Marx, p. 188):

He consistently underestimated the force of rising nationalism; his hatred of all separatism, as of all institutions founded on some purely traditional or emotional basis, blinded him to their actual influence.

9.War is a product of capitalism. This idea has found some acceptance outside the ranks of the Marxist faithful. The temptation to seek an oversimplified scapegoat for war is strong. But while, theoretically, such Marxian motives as struggle for trade, colonies and commercial spheres of influence, might lead to war, there is no serious historical evidence that any major conflict was ever touched off by such considerations. There were differences of economic interest between the industrializing North and the mainly agricultural South before the Civil War. But these could easily have been compromised. What made the fratricidal conflict "irrepressible," in Seward's phrase, were the two big political and moral issues: secession and slavery,

World War I was purely political in origin. There was the clash between Slav nationalism and Austro-Hungarian desire to hold together a ,multinational empire. A system of tight and almost automatic alliances turned what might have been an Austrian punitive expedition against Serbia into a general war.

World War II was the handiwork not of any magnates of capitalism, but of a plebeian dictator, Adolf Hitler, pursuing aspirations of conquest and military glory that far antedate the modem capitalist system. The three countries that were best prepared for war were the communist dictatorship in the Soviet Union, the Nazi dictatorship in Germany, the authoritarian military regime in Japan. Capitalism makes for free trade, free markets, limited governmental power, and peace. And the principal war threat today comes from the expansionist urge of communist imperialism.

10. The worker is cheated because the employer, instead of paying him the full value of his work, holds out on him profit, interest, and rent. Or, as Marx himself states his theory of "surplus value" (Capital, Modern Library edition, p. 585):

All surplus value, whatever particular form (profit, interest, or rent) it may subsequently crystalize into, is in substance the materialization of unpaid labor. The secret of the self-expansion of capital resolves itself into having the disposal of a definite quantity of other people's unpaid labor.

It requires little reflection or research to realize that "surplus value," like many other Marxian catch Phrases, is a myth. How, under any economic system-capitalist, fascist, socialist, communist - could industry expand and provide more goods and more jobs for more people if capital were not withheld from immediate payment to finance future construction? Perhaps the best refutation of Marx's rabble-rousing myth that surplus value is a peculiar dirty trick of capitalists, practiced against workers, is that the extraction of what might be called surplus value is practiced on a gigantic scale in the Soviet Union through the medium of a sales or turnover tax that often exceeds 100 per cent.

A Classic Failure

It is amazing that, with such a demonstrable record of failure to understand either the world in which he was living or the direction in which that world was going, Marx should be hailed as an unerring prophet. The truth is that there is nothing remotely scientific about Marx's socialism. He started with a set of dogmatic a priori assumptions and then scratched around in the British Museum for facts that would seem to bear out these assumptions. Like the Emperor in the fairy tale, Marxism, for all its ponderous appearances, really has no clothes on when examined in light of realities, in Marx's time and in our own. His supposedly infallible system of interpreting history and life is riddled with mistakes, of which the foregoing ten are only the most obvious and the most glaring.


 
Joseph Stiglitz
Það er algengt að grafa upp einhverjar opinberar tölur máli sínu til stuðnings. Það er ekkert að því í eðli sínu, enda er erfitt að tjá sig um hagfræði án þess að vitna í hagtölur. Við getum skilið það að stjórnmálamenn skuli koma með misvísandi tölur, enda er hagfræðilegur skilningur þeirra ekki upp á marga fiska og þeir hafa oftar en ekki beinan hag af því að sannfæra áhlustandann (kjósandann) um eitthvað. Hinsvegar er það allt annað og verra mál þegar hagfræðingar gera sig seka um svona ósóma. Tökum Joseph Stiglitz, Nóbel-verðlaunahafa til dæmis, en hér er hann að svara spurningu blaðamanns Salon.com, en umræðuefnið er hvernig sé best að umbreyta sósíalískum hagkerfum í markaðshagkerfi:

What is a reasonable length of time -- particularly when it comes to identifying what's succeeded and failed?

We are never really sure, but what we do know historically is that if Russia's economy is down 30 percent from what it was [in 1989], and let's say they start growing 4 or 5 percent a year, it's going to take them another decade or two just to get back to where they were. In that sense, yes, there will be ups and downs; the race is never over. But the shock therapy has cost the Russian people enormously, not only in terms of GDP. Their life expectancy is down while the rest of the world has life expectancy increasing. These are the kind of consequences that have resulted. Poverty went from 2 percent of the population to over 40 percent in 1998. These are just enormous changes.

Þarna tekur hann opinberar tölur Sovíet veldisins, 2% fátækt, og slengir þeim fram eins og þær séu heilagur sannleikur. Hver trúir þessum tölum frá gömlu Sovíet herrunum sem eitt sinn neituðu tilvist fatlaðra í ríki sínu. Voru virkilega færri fátækir í Sovíet árið 1989 en á Íslandi 2004, eða er Sovíeska tölfræðin brengluð og fátæktarviðmiðin sett fyrir við hungurmörk? Og auðvitað er hægt að spyrja sig hvaða þýðingu fátæktarhugtakið hafi í þjóðfélagi sem ekki viðurkennir eignarrétt.

Hann minnist einnig á 30% samdrátt í landsframleiðslu og þykist hann vita ástæðuna fyrir þessum óförum, but the shock therapy has cost the Russian people enormously, not only in terms of GDP. Við skulum gefa Stiglitz það forskot að segja að tölurnar séu réttar; þessi 30% eru raunvörulegur samdráttur hagvaxtarins og lítum einnig framhjá því að það sem framleitt var í Sovíet var drasl sem var dömpað á landsmenn sem og á önnur ríki sem nutu verndar Sovíet. Er þá einhver önnur skýring á þessum samdrætti en einhver 'shock theraphy' sem einhverjir frjálshyggjupúkar nörruðu Rússland til að taka upp (gefum Stiglitz einnig það forskot að ráðamenn Rússlands hafi fengið tilsögn í sannri frjálshyggju 'shock theraphy' markaðsvæðingu og þeir farið eftir því sem fyrir þá var lagt).

Rússland er ógnar stórt land og hefur nú um 140 miljónir íbúa og er nærri tvöfalt stærra en US, sem hefur 100 miljónum fleiri íbúa, og er stór partur af landinu í órafjarlægð frá vestur Evrópu. Hvað verður um gríðarlega stórt land sem hefur verið stýrt með miðstjórnarháttum í nærri heila öld og var að sligast undan eigin þunga þegar Sovíet veldið liðaðist í sundur. Hvað varð um markaðina fyrir allt Sovíet draslið? Hver endurnýjar framleiðslutækin í Úral fjöllunum og í Magnitogorsk? Hvaða áhrif hefur það á hagkerfi Rússlands að landið liðaðist í sundur? Hver eru áhrif Tjetjéníu stríðsins? Hvaða jólasveinn stjórnaði landinu á sínum tíma? Hvað með spillinguna sem var allsráðandi strax eftir fall Sovíet, þar sem var erfitt að greina á milli mafíósa og valdamanna?

Í mínu auðmjúka áliti, ég tel að margt annað hafi hrjáð Rússland annað en frjálshyggju 'shock therapy', þótt ýmislegt hafi án efa mátt betur fara. Vandamálin sem Sovíetríkin höfðu hlaðið upp voru gríðarleg og löndin sem áður mynduðu þau þurfa áratugi til þess að vinna sig úr þessri efnahagslegu og þjóðfélagslegu hít. Sama hver hefði tekið við völdum í Rússlandi eftir upplausn Sovíet og sama hvaða ráð og stuðning viðkomandi valdhafar hefðu fengið, þá var óstöðugleiki og efnahagsvandræði óumflýjanleg. Einungis spurning um hversu mikil vandræðin myndu verða.


 
Nokkrir frjálshyggju linkar.
Ágætis frjálshyggju flash show sem málverjan Milton Friedman var svo duglegur að benda mér á.

Og enn og aftur Economic Policy eftir von Mises, en hún er álíka auðskilin eins og flash showið hér að ofan.

Asymmetric Information, Austrian style.

International Society for Individual Liberty , margt gott hér.

Where are the chapters on trade and growth, on trade and wages, on trade and unemployment, on global income inequality, on the digital divide, on market forces and the environment, on multinational monopoly, on intellectual property, on migration, on cultural imperialism—on any of the issues, in fact, that most animate the anti-globalist protesters and their far more numerous armchair sympathisers? The merits of globalisation do not rest on whether the Fund was right to call for higher interest rates in East Asia during its attempts to stabilise the region's economies after 1997—the issue that most excites Mr Stiglitz. In fact, these things have almost nothing to do with each other. Ritdómur The Economist: Globalisation and Its Discontents, Joseph E. Stiglitz.

And I agree with you Marge - in theory. In theory, Communism works. In theory. Alveg ágætis blogg.


May 08, 2004
 
Áfengisaldur og Jóhannna
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir er fyrsti flutningsmaður frumvarps til laga um lækkun lágmarksaldursins. Í því er lagt til að aldurstakmark til að kaupa áfengi undir 22% að styrkleika verði lækkað úr 20 árum í 18 ár.

Þetta hljómar ekki svo illa í rauninni og það kom mér á óvart að Jóhanna hafi stolið glæpnum með þessu frumvarpi. Síðan kom það. Í fréttum í kvöld kom það fram að tilgangurinn með lagafrumvarpinu er sá það á að 'breyta neyslumynstrinu'.

Þessi árátta stjórnmálamanna til að reyna að stjórna mannlífinu kemur manni sífellt á óvart.


May 07, 2004
 
Nokkrir linkar
The Pragmatic Libertarian. Alveg ágætis blogg.

Geir með nýtt blogg. Sörverinn fyrir gamla bloggið krassaið og nú byrjaður að blogga á ensku.

Von Mises Institute. Góð síða með fullt af greinum í hæsta gæðaflokki. Síðan er þar það besta safn af fríu efni um efnahagsmál sem ég hef fundið hingað til. Enginn hagfræðingur með snefil af sjálfsvirðingu ætti að láta þetta framhjá sér fara.

Cafe Hayek. Ein af betri bloggsíðum á netinu, enda blogg-collective hagfræðiskors háskóla í V-Virginíu (Deliverance contry).

Brjálaður Ástrali. Ágætis viðkomustaður ef finna á eithvað slæmt um vinstrimenn. Tekst best upp þegar hann skrifar um Hitler, Mússólíni og fleiri ámóta rugludalla.


May 05, 2004
 
The pot at the end of the garbage rainbow
NAFN Á MYNDLast night I was watching the highly politically incorrect 'Penn and Teller Bullshit'. This program was about recycling. I'm not going to cover what was said in the program; recycling does not make any economical sense and we are not drowning in garbage etc. There is this one quote that I want to focus on. This is very interesting and quite telling in how absurd arguments can get, when someone tries to defend one economic fallacy or another. This is what Neil Seldman said, but he is the President of something called the Institute for Local Self-Reliance:

"That's what we call the pot at the end of the garbage rainbow, that's where the fifteen to twenty dollar an hour jobs, with health insurance etcetera, makes people able to make a decent living through recycling".

This is amazing, he is telling us that if the government takes away our money (I say our, since recycling is subsidised in every country with active recycling programs) only to create shitty jobs. The government destroys many jobs due to high taxes and inches many people closer to poverty, and then creates lousy jobs instead.

The argument that this Neil makes is not something new. Once more I quote Frédéric Bastiat, this time from one of his best work, What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen, where he responds to a similar argument as above:

Now, if I am not mistaken, no sooner will the author of the proposal have descended from the platform, than an orator will rush up and say:

"Discharge a hundred thousand men! What are you thinking of? What will become of them? What will they live on? On their earnings? But do you not know that there is unemployment everywhere? That all occupations are oversupplied? Do you wish to throw them on the market to increase the competition and to depress wage rates? Just at the moment when it is difficult to earn a meagre living, is it not fortunate that the state is giving bread to a hundred thousand individuals? Consider further that the army consumes wine, clothes, and weapons, that it thus spreads business to the factories and the garrison towns, and that it is nothing less than a godsend to its innumerable suppliers. Do you not tremble at the idea of bringing this immense industrial activity to an end?"

This speech, we see, concludes in favour of maintaining a hundred thousand soldiers, not because of the nation's need for the services rendered by the army, but for economic reasons. It is these considerations alone that I propose to refute.

A hundred thousand men, costing the taxpayers a hundred million francs, live as well and provide as good a living for their suppliers as a hundred million francs will allow: that is what is seen.

But a hundred million francs, coming from the pockets of the taxpayers, ceases to provide a living for these taxpayers and their suppliers, to the extent of a hundred million francs: that is what is not seen. Calculate, figure, and tell me where there is any profit for the mass of the people. Frédéric Bastiat, Selected Essays on Political Economy: What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen

The French in the 18th century where a lot more civilized than people today. Now we reduce the employment of thousands of people to sorting through garbage, an activity that is only reserved for the most poor in the third world.


 
Viðskiptahallinn tæklaður

How to get rid of the trade fecifit that most nations suffer so dearly from? It is very simple indeed as the picture above shows. Everyone sees only the negative aspects of this event, but there is indeed a positive side to it: it reduces the trade decifit. The French genius Frédéric Bastiat first came to this realization more than 150 years ago. The argument is as follws:

A French business man bought $1000 worth of goods in France and shipped them to the United States and sold the goods for $1200, thus a $200 profit. He bought cotton for the $1200 and shipped the goods from the United States back to France.

This little endevour did hurt the interest of France in the most serious way, it created unfavourable balance of trade. If the ship had sunk midway in the first voyage, the customs officials would have accounted only for the $1000 worth of goods (in Franks of couse) but not the $1200 worth of goods that came from across the ocean, thus, if that would have happend, the trade decifit of France would have been $1000 more favorable.

The problem was, that although highly beneficial for the trade balance, ships do not sink in a regular and predictable way, so Bastiat came up with a better solution:

There is still a further conclusion to be drawn from all this, namely, that, according to the theory of the balance of trade, France has a quite simple means of doubling her capital at any moment. It suffices merely to pass its products through the customhouse, and then throw them into the sea. In that case the exports will equal the amount of her capital; imports will be nonexistent and even impossible, and we shall gain all that the ocean has swallowed up. Bastiat, Frédéric, Economic Sophisms

Postscript: Is this what the Boston Tea Party was all about?


 
Hitler's Mountain Home
Eagles Nest The gardens are laid out simply enough. Lawns at different levels are planted with flowering shrubs, as well as roses and other blooms in due season. The Führer, I may add, has a passion for cut flowers in his home, as well as for music.

Every morning at nine he goes out for a walk with his gardeners about their day's work. These men, like the chaffeur and air-pilot, are not so much servants as local friends. A life-long vegetarian at table, Hitler's kitchen plots are both varied and heavy in produce. Even in his meatless diet Hitler is something of a gourmet -- as Sir John Simon and Mr. Anthony Eden were surprised to note when they dined with him in the Presidial Palace at Berlin. His Bavarian chef, Herr Kannenberg, contrives an imposing array of vegetarian dishes, savoury and rich, pleasing to the eye as well as to the palate, and all conforming to the dietic standards which Hitler exacts. but at Haus Wachenfeld he keeps a generous table for guests of normal tastes. Here bons viveurs like Field Marshals Göring and von Blomberg, and Joachim von Ribbentrop will forgather at dinner. Elaborate dishes like Caneton à la presse and truite saumoné à la Monseigneur will then be served, with fine wines and liqueurs of von Ribbentrop's expert choosing. Cigars and cigarettes are duly lighted at this terrace feast -- though Hitler himself never smokes, nor does he take alcohol in any form.

All visitors are shown their host's model kennels, where he breeds magnificent Alsatians. Some of his pedigree pets are allowed the run of the house, especially on days when Herr Hitler gives a "Fun Fair" to the local children. On such a day, when State affairs are over, the Squire himself, attended by some of his guests, will stroll through the woods into hamlets above and below. There rustics sit at cottage doors carving trinkets and toys in wood, ivory, and bone. It is then the little ones are invited to the house. Coffee, cakes, fruits, and sweets are laid for them on trestle tables in the grassy orchards. Then Frauen Goebbels and Göring, in dainty Bavarian dress, perform dances and folk-songs, while the bolder spirits are given joy-rides in Herr Hitler's private airplane.

Nor must I forget to mention the archery-butts at the back of the chalet. It is strange to watch the burly Field-Marshall Goring, as chief of the most formidable air force in Europe, taking a turn with the bow and arrow at straw targets of twenty-five yards range. There is as much to-do about those scarlet bulls'-eyes as though the fate of nations depended on a full score.

Séð og Heyrt


 
Hver er maðurinn
Hey, kommon, ekki svindlaHe had been something of a bohemian in his youth, and always regarded young people and their idealism as the key to progress and the overcoming of outmoded prejudices. And he was widely admired by the young people of his country, many of whom belonged to organizations devoted to practicing and propagating his teachings. He had a lifelong passion for music, art, and architecture, and was even something of a painter. He rejected what he regarded as petty bourgeois moral hang-ups, and he and his girlfriend "lived together" for years. He counted a number of homosexuals as friends and collaborators, and took the view that a man's personal morals were none of his business; some scholars of his life believe that he himself may have been homosexual or bisexual. He was ahead of his time where a number of contemporary progressive causes are concerned: he disliked smoking, regarding it as a serious danger to public health, and took steps to combat it; he was a vegetarian and animal lover; he enacted tough gun control laws; and he advocated euthanasia for the incurably ill.

He championed the rights of workers, regarded capitalist society as brutal and unjust, and sought a third way between communism and the free market. In this regard, he and his associates greatly admired the strong steps taken by President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to take large-scale economic decision-making out of private hands and put it into those of government planning agencies. His aim was to institute a brand of socialism that avoided the inefficiencies that plagued the Soviet variety, and many former communists found his program highly congenial. He deplored the selfish individualism he took to be endemic to modern Western society, and wanted to replace it with an ethic of self-sacrifice: "As Christ proclaimed 'love one another'," he said, "so our call -- 'people's community,' 'public need before private greed,' 'communally-minded social consciousness' -- rings out…! This call will echo throughout the world!"

The reference to Christ notwithstanding, he was not personally a Christian, regarding the Catholicism he was baptized into as an irrational superstition. In fact he admired Islam more than Christianity, and he and his policies were highly respected by many of the Muslims of his day. He and his associates had a special distaste for the Catholic Church and, given a choice, preferred modern liberalized Protestantism, taking the view that the best form of Christianity would be one that forsook the traditional other-worldly focus on personal salvation and accommodated itself to the requirements of a program for social justice to be implemented by the state. They also considered the possibility that Christianity might eventually have to be abandoned altogether in favor of a return to paganism, a worldview many of them saw as more humane and truer to the heritage of their people. For he and his associates believed strongly that a people's ethnic and racial heritage was what mattered most. Some endorsed a kind of cultural relativism according to which what is true or false and right or wrong in some sense depends on one's ethnic worldview, and especially on what best promotes the well-being of one's ethnic group.

Svar


May 04, 2004
 
Megalomania

megalomania \meg-uh-lo-MAY-nee-ah; -nyuh\, noun:
1. A mania for grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
2. A mental disorder characterized by delusions of grandeur.

And this is just mind-boggling: The Official Home Page of North-Korea*

* This is a not really the official site, but, as my friend said on occasions, it could be true and therefore it does not mater.


May 02, 2004
 
Hvernig skal fjármagna RÚV án þess að brjóta á neinum
Siðferðisleg vandamál skapast þegar ríkið ákveður að eyða peningum landsmanna í einhver óþarfa verkefni. RÚV er gott dæmi um það og menn undrast að núverandi lög geti lokkað fram Gestapo-manninn í góðborgurum sem vinna kósí 9-2 vinnu hjá ríkinu. Hinsvegar á að breyta þessum reglum víst en það kallar bara á ný vandamál.

Nútímalegir jafnaðarmenn hafa ýmislegt um þetta að segja enda meiga þeir ekki uppgvöta neinn ójöfnuð án þess að siðferðiskennd þeirra verði misboðið:

Ekki nefskatt til að fjármagna RÚV

Flest virðist nú benda til þess að afnotagjöldin í núverandi mynd verði lögð niður og þar með hætt að skattleggja fólk fyrir það eitt að eiga lítið viðtæki.

RÚV á fjárlög eða fjármagnað með sérskatti?
En þá vaknar spurningin hvernig eigi að fjármagna rekstur Ríkisútvarpsins þegar afnotagjöldin verða úr sögunni. Á að gera það með því að veita peninga beint úr ríkiskassanum eða á að halda áfram að innheimta sérskatt sem ætlaður er útvarpinu? Og hvernig ætti sá sérskattur þá að vera? Ætti hann að vera föst prósenta af fasteignamati eða ákveðið hlutfall af launum fólks? Væri kannski langbest að styðjast við svipað fyrirkomulag og er nú notað við innheimtu sóknargjalda? Eða ætti máski að fjármagna Ríkisútvarpið með „nefskatti á alla þá sem eru á aldrinum 18-70 ára“ eins og Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir menntamálaráðherra sagðist vera áhugasöm um í fréttum RÚV á dögunum?

5% skattur á sumarhýruna
Hvaða leið sem verður fyrir valinu vona ég að minnsta kosti að það verði ekki nefskattsleiðin hennar Þorgerðar. Ef Þorgerðarskatturinn yrði ofan á má gera ráð fyrir því að hann yrði á bilinu 10-15 þúsund krónur á ári á sérhvern Íslending á aldrinum 18-70 ára og þyrftu allir að borga sömu krónutölu – algjörlega óháð efnum og aðstæðum. (Það hefði þó einhver áhrif á endanlega fjárhæð nefskattsins ef fyrirtæki og stofnanir þyrftu að greiða hann líka.) Í stað þess að fara fjölmörgum orðum um afhverju ég tel nefskattsleið menntamálaráðherrans óheppilega og ósanngjarna, sem vissulega myndi reynast auðvelt, ætla ég að láta eftirfarandi dæmi nægja:

Gunni, 18 ára framhaldsskólanemi, mun fá 200 þúsund krónur í laun í sumar. Uppáhaldsjónsvarpsþátturinn hans er 70 mínútur á Popptíví með þeim Sveppa, Audda og Pétri Jóhanni. Gunni þarf að borga kringum 5% árslauna sinna í útvarpsnefskatt.

Gréta er 38 ára gamall ráðherra með 700 þúsund krónur á mánuði og reynir alltaf að horfa á Kastljósið. Gréta þarf að borga um það bil 0,1% árslauna sinna í útvarpsnefskatt.

Finnur er 75 ára og fær 250 þúsund krónur á mánuði í eftirlaun. Helgin hjá Finni er ónýt ef hann missir af Laugardagskvöldi með Gísla Marteini. Finnur borgar engan útvarpsnefskatt.

Þarf að segja meira?
Sverrir Teitsson, formaður Ungra jafnaðarmanna í Reykjavík, á Pólitík.is

Ég tek heilshugar undir það sem þessi Sverrir segir þegar hann bendir á annmarka nefskatts. Það er ekkert réttlátt við það að fólk skuli borga stórar prósentur af sínum tekjum fyrir sjónvarp sem það horfir ekki á. Þetta eru rök sem einungis hjartalaust fólk gæti verið ósammála.

Það er hinsvegar hægt að fá einkennilegar tölfræðilegar niðurstöður þegar ríkið er annarsvegar. Til að mynda borgar Gunni framhaldsskólanemi tugi prósenta launa sinna í áfengisskatt á hverju ári, að því gefnu að hann hefur hegðunarmynstur meðaltals menntskælings og heldur áfram að hafa svona afspyrnulélegar tekjur (vinnur hann á vernduðum vinnustað?). Einnig borgar hann um fjórðung launa sinna í áskriftarpakka frá Norðurljósum ef út í það er farið.

Hugsum okkur að nefskatturinn verði lagður á og til þess að lækna tölfræðilegu skekkjuna sem er kynnt hér að ofan, þá verði nefskatturinn tekjutengdur. Þá borgar menntsælingurinn smáaura fyrir 'áskriftina', ráðherran mun meira, kannski ígildi 5 áskriftargjalda og bankastjórinn borgar enn meira, kannski ígildi 15 áskriftargjalda.

Er þá réttlætinu fullnægt? Er það réttlátt að einhver manneskja útí bæ skuli ekki borga áskrift af miðli sem viðkomandi hefur aldrei óskað eftir og notar aldrei, heldur borgar hann margföld áskriftargjöld.

Er þá allt ómögulegt. Ekki gengur flatur nefskattur. Tekjutengdur nefskattur gengur heldur ekki. Núverandi Gestapo ástand er heldur ekki gott. Hvað er til ráða?

Vandamálin sem er lýst hér að ofan leysast ekki nema að hætt sé að neyða fólk til að kaupa sér einhverja vöru.


 
Reglur um Hámarkslaun
2. Maí, Til hamingju með daginn

Þingskjal nr. 23 (var breytingartillaga við þingskjöl nr. 11, 17 og 20) var samþykkt með breytingum. Þetta þingskjal tekur á reglugerð um þátttöku í úrvalsdeild. Helstu breytingarnar voru eftirfarandi: Félög mega mest vera með tvo leikmenn utan Evrópu. Launaþaki er skipt þannig að heildarupphæð er 500.000 krónur á mánuði, og af því má mest nota 300.000 krónur í leikmenn utan Evrópu. Tillögur á ársþingi KKÍ (ath, ekki varanlegur linkur)

Hvað skyldu menn segja núna. Verða hávær mótmæli vegna þessara ólaga Körfuboltasambandsins? Hvað segja verkalýðsforkólfar sem í gær töluðu um hversu illa væri farið með útlendinga í vinnu hér á landi?



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