At 10 p.m. ET, Fox News host Sean Hannity will host another of his week-long series entitled “Stoned in America.” As the name suggests, there is a built-in skepticism about recreational marijuana being legal. The show features a panel of about two dozen commentators, and I am a vocal part of the outnumbered legalize-it caucus. I don’t know how the thing will play on television, but it was a pretty amazing exchange in the room, and I suspect that Hit & Run readers might find it of interest….
From the 2014 AERC: At the Authors’ Forum this year, Mark Thornton discussed the origins and scope of The Bastiat Reader a new collection of Bastiat’s writings to become widely available later this year. Full audio here. See also The Bastiat Collection.
In the last few years, there has been a big emphasis in entrepreneurship on “lean” startups. Being lean basically means avoiding unnecessary costs early in the development of a new venture, thus minimizing waste and reducing the negative effects of uncertainty. For example, a common lean strategy involves using consumers to test a limited run of an unfinished product in order to furnish data before going to market. This allows the firm to gauge the likelihood of success before committing resources to full-scale production, which is expensive and uncertain. The conventional wisdom, which in some ways is just economic common sense, is that a new firm should stay lean for as long as possible. Yet one implication that is sometimes
SPECIAL LIMITED TIME OFFER: Enroll in “Basics of Economics: Government Intervention” (formerly titled “How Government Wrecks the Economy”), which is the third and final course in Robert Murphy’s Basics of Economics series, before the first lecture (April 24, 5:30 pm Eastern) and also receive free enrollment in the archived versions of the preceding two courses in the series: Action and Exchange and Introduction to the Free Market. That’s 3 courses for the price of 1, and a complete series of 20 lectures covering all the basics of sound economics from the ground up! And you’ll have permanent access, so you can go through the lectures, readings, and quizzes at your leisure. No need to do anything other than sign up for the upcoming course, and we’ll enroll you
It is worth recalling that Congress during the first Clinton administration passed legislation limiting cash compensation for CEO’s of public companies to $1 million. The result was that compensation swung to stock options. This in turn encouraged CEO’s to borrow in order to buy in company stock, which helped stoke the subsequent stock market bubble. When the accounting profession then sought to rein in the use of options, which at the time did not have to be treated as corporate expenses, several congressmen and senators, Joe Liberman in particular, publicly threatened them with legislation that would take away their authority over options. The actions of the Fed were far more important in creating the stock market bubble that subsequently popped
Further to Hunter’s remarks: Piketty understands “capital” as a homogeneous, liquid pool of funds, not a heterogeneous stock of capital assets. This is not merely a terminological issue, as those familiar with the debates on capital theory from the 1930s and 1940s are well aware. Piketty’s approach focuses on the quantity of capital and, more importantly, the rate of return on capital. But these concepts make little sense from the perspective of Austrian capital theory, which emphasizes the complexity, variety, and quality of the economy’s capital structure. There is no way to measure the quantity of capital, nor would such a number be meaningful. The value of heterogeneous capital goods depends on their place in an entrepreneur’s subjective production plan. Production
From Jeff Deist: An important but overlooked story is Walmart’s recent announcement that it will offer cheap store-to-store money transfers. Given the ubiquity of Walmart stores (which are large and strategically located), this development represents a real threat to the existing wire-transfer industry. But what if Walmart reduced or eliminated the transfer fee, provided the transmitted funds could be spent only at Walmart? Why not create some kind of Walmart scrip? This is nothing more than an extension of retail store gift cards, or existing scrip programs such as Disney Dollars. But since virtually everything one needs to live (other than luxury type goods) can be purchased in Walmart stores, its scrip might begin to circulate among the public (as casino chips
This 42 year economist from French academe has written a hot new book: Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The US edition has been published by Harvard University Press and, remarkably, is leading the best seller list, the first time that a Harvard book has done so. A recent review describes Piketty as the man “who exposed capitalism’s fatal flaw.” So what is this flaw? Supposedly under capitalism the rich get steadily richer in relation to everyone else; inequality gets worse and worse. It is all baked into the cake, unavoidable. To support this, Piketty offers some dubious and unsupported financial logic, but also what he calls “a spectacular graph” of historical data. What does the graph actually show? The amount
Julain Adorney writes in today’s Mises Daily: CEO turnover has reached its highest peak since 2009, which indicates two things. First, CEOs who do not fully grasp the rapid technological change their companies are living through are being let go. Being a CEO is not a secure job; you earn your keep or you find yourself on the street. Second, CEOs who do have a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the evolving economy are in high demand; many may leave their current job for a better offer with a new company. If this sounds like the labor market for a lot of other workers, that’s because they’re very similar. The labor market for the top 1 percent is not
Mark Skousen, through his Economic Logic and The Structure of Production, has been leading the fight for years for a measurement of economic activity that more closely aligns with a capital structure based macroeconomics. GDP is truly a Keynesian–based view of the economy; a data set that often hampers rather than helps advance Austrian macroeconomics. Misguided use of the data set encourages counterproductive active management of aggregate demand. Both Hayek and Rothbard highlighted the inadequacies of national product measures of the economy. From a Hayekian perspective, investment as measured by product and income accounts, greatly understates the role of capital or future-oriented expenditures in the economy. Hayek raised the point in his criticism of Foster and Catchings’s misguided underconsumption approach