Friday, June 10, 2005


Stop the mercantilists: "Mercantilism was an insidious economic theory that held Europe in its thrall in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The mercantilists decreed that a nation's economic success could be measured by its stockpile of gold and that the way to make the pile higher was to encourage exports and restrict imports. Adam Smith routed the mercantilists in Book IV of the Wealth of Nations (1776). His lesson was clear: Open markets and trade are 'goods,' not 'bads.' The war, alas, is not over. Mercantilism is back. Its adherents use new lingo and make slightly different arguments -- they hoard jobs, not gold -- but their poisonous creed is in essence the same. It is that a nation can enrich itself by boosting exports and chasing imports away. Mercantilism is behind the campaign to make the Chinese revalue their currency upward. The preposterous notion here is that America would be enriched if Chinese apparel cost a little more."

Bob Herbert, cluelessly class-conscious: "Bob Herbert is still mired in the Marxist mentality which says that what the physical laborers do constitutes the whole of any productive output -- and that anything paid to the entrepreneurs and businessmen who somehow happen along and get their mitts involved in the productive process is merely 'surplus,' i.e., stolen goods, grabbed from the laborers. But if mega-successful entrepreneurs, businessmen, capitalists in fact contribute nothing worthy of their exorbitant compensation, then companies consisting only of laboring workers would enjoy a competitive edge over those companies allegedly dubiously benefiting from the too-pricey guidance of the productive individuals who create and drive a successful company."

In defense of employment-at-will: "Over the past few decades the traditional prerogative of an employer to fire an employee 'at-will' (that is, for any reason whatsoever) has come under legal assault in the United States. Judges in nearly all fifty states have ruled in favor of employees claiming 'unjust' dismissal, forcing companies to rehire the employee or pay damages. Yet despite the emotional appeal of preventing employer 'abuses,' there are compelling reasons to fully restore the so-called 'employment-at-will' doctrine."

Fascinating article here (PDF) on the greater effectivness of private law-enforcement versus public police. Bail bondsmen are a lot better at preventing and grabbing bail-jumpers than the police are.


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