Wednesday, April 21, 2004


Amusing: The two almost universally-known icons of American business are arguably McDonalds and Coca Cola. McDonald's is now headed by an Australian and the outgoing head of Cocal Cola, Douglas Daft, is also an Australian. Watch out KFC! The international marketplace in skills certainly produces results that no planner would ever dream of.

Marginal Revolution points out two new Hayek sites. One of them is CafeHayek -- which has this comment on the many millions of Americans who pay zero tax: "But the political economy of large numbers of people paying little or no tax is a bit frightening for the long-run growth of government. When you pay little or nothing for something, you tend to want a lot more of it."

Charles Murray on how to give taxpayers more say over where the dollars go. Marginal Revolution on where US tax dollars actually go. Health and welfare is the big item -- nearly three times bigger than defence spending.

"Free trade is again under assault. If there is one reason for the perennial attack it is likely the one Frederic Bastiat made so much of: the failure to look for what is "unseen." The costs of free trade (temporary job loss, closed firms) are easily traced to the free movement of goods, services, and capital. The benefits (lower-priced goods, new products, new job opportunities), though great and impossible to produce any other way, are not readily traceable to that movement.... Bastiat illustrated the point with his tale about Crusoe and the plank that washes ashore. Crusoe had intended to make a plank. Should he destroy the free one in order to protect the plank-making job he anticipated? Or should he welcome the good fortune because now the hours earmarked for plank-making are free for coconut-gathering, hammock-weaving, or leisure? The answer is obvious.... Import restrictions intended to protect jobs inevitably reduce foreigners' export-buying power; that costs Americans well-paying jobs. The restrictions also tend to provoke protectionist retaliation, which harms still more Americans. Living standards just don't stagnate; they drop."

"They call him 'rightwing extremist' and 'xenophobic' among many other epithets but this hasn't stopped Switzerland's Christoph Blocher from standing tall in his love of limited government, independence and sound finances. Just last week, he made the tourist promotion people upset by suggesting that the government reduce the subsidy it gives them to a mere 30 centimes (about 25 US cents). Their sceaming and name calling echoed all through the Gotthard tunnel but the message was clear. Why should the taxpayer subsidize any industry?"


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