A color landscape by Ansel Adams. Free speech is under attack as the federal government is attempting to institute a permitting system for photography taken on so-called “public land” controlled by the U.S. Forest Service. Under the directive, professional photographers will be obligated to purchase a “special-use permit” for the privilege of shooting pictures inside tax-funded national forests. In usual form, the restrictions are being manifested gradually — first targeting photographers who make their living off of shooting pictures. Under the proposed directive, commercial photographers will face fees of $30 to $800 per day to professionally document the beauty of the parks. “We take your First Amendment rights very seriously,” paradoxically stated U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “The directive
On Mises’s Birthday: We live in a time in which many people claim to be libertarians or at least hint that they are. This includes many obviously unlibertarian people such as Bill Maher, Paul Ryan, and Michelle Bachmann. It’s arguably a good thing when people who have no real interest in your ideas claim to be part of your movement, although having people identify your ideology with the likes of Paul Ryan and Bachmann certainly has its downside. The antics of ersatz libertarians offers us a reminder that there was once a time when virtually no one was a libertarian, and even fewer admitted to being one. Ludwig von Mises lived through that time, and he was one of a
Some Austrians and libertarians think that managerial hierarchies, even within fully private companies, are inherently inefficient (or, worse, the indirect result of government intervention). I think this view is mistaken, for a variety of reasons (see these links for some discussion). There is nothing inherently inefficient (or illegitimate) about managerial authority. Decentralized forms of organization offer many advantages — effective use of Hayekian “tacit knowledge,” strong performance incentives, the development of esprit de corps — but there are drawbacks too. Under certain conditions, the appropriate use of managerial authority fosters better coordination, more timely responses, stronger incentive alignment, and better use of shared resources. (I need hardly mention that there is nothing “coercive” about voluntary agreements between employers and employees.)
Electronic currencies are typically viewed as “disruptive” innovations that will upset the existing structure of the banking industry (and even the economy and society at large), rather than “sustaining” innovations that generate incremental changes within the existing structure (here I’m borrowing Clayton Christensen’s famous terms). But people sometimes forget that technologies such as Bitcoin are both currencies and payments systems, and in the latter capacity they are integrated into the existing network of payment providers. As Charlotte Bowyer puts it, “the ‘Bitcoin revolution’ (if it is to happen at all) could be less explosive, more incremental, and far more reliant on existing processes than many might believe.” Bowyer argues that existing financial institutions and payments systems and Bitcoin are at least
The shooting death of John Crawford in an Ohio Walmart store well illustrates the difference between private security and monopoly government security which is the final judge of its own actions, and which enjoys essentially limitless access to cash via the taxpayer. The basic facts are these: Crawford picked up a BB gun (which is not in any way a “firearm”). The BB “gun” is store merchandise and is sold in the store by Walmart. Crawford walked around the store holding the non-firearm in a non-threatening manner while talking to the mother of his children on the phone. In response to a phone call from another shopper, police stormed the store, guns drawn, and shot Crawford dead on sight with
Mises Daily Monday: Rothbard explains how Mises laid the foundation for Austrian Business Cycle Theory: In The Theory of Money and Credit, Mises provided the basics for the long-sought explanation for that mysterious and troubling economic phenomenon — the business cycle.
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Mises Daily Monday by Brendan Brown The Japanese government claims it’s still fighting deflation, although there are no signs of it in Japan. Through a mixture of chance, habit, and economic sclerosis, prices have been stable in Japan, but Abenomics makes the future of the yen anyone’s guess.
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