Archive for ASC 2009
The presentation that I gave at the Austrian Scholars Conference 2009 became available on Mises.org today. The title, as you may recall, is “Science and the Free Market: How Government Distorts Scientific Research Through Public Funding.”
It’s exactly 15 minutes and 30 seconds long, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen in. I noticed early on that I was not always clear in my pronoun references, oops! The majority of the time when I used the pronoun “they” I was referring to the government bureaucracy. Oh well, it’s still pretty good!
Please feel free to offer comments. I definitely would appreciate it! Enjoy!
Tags: ASC 2009, audio, economics, science
Libertarian Christians could learn something from our Jewish friends if we would pay attention. I had never heard of Rabbi Daniel Lapin before the Austrian Scholars Conference of 2009, but apparently he is extremely well-known to modern Jews. Rabbi Lapin is the author of dozens of books and audio lecture collections, a few of which I am now the proud owner. He is an engaging speaker and expertly articulates the Old Testament weaved with modern examples.
His talk at the Austrian Scholars Conference was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend (as I said in my blog post that day), and today I am happy to present the recording of his talk as the next LibertarianChristians.com Podcast. The talk is entitled What is Moral About Economic Freedom. Here’s what I live-blogged about it:
“Of principle importance to [Lapin] is the idea that Jews (and I would extend this to Christians) believe implicitly that making money is a good thing. You are de facto doing something good. You don’t have to give it away to validate yourself or your work! Why is this? Because in the relationship that is developed you have provided value to someone else. Lapin’s deep conviction is that by engaging in commerce you are doing something helpful and good for people. You are making them better off. This is firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian system of ethics!”
Thank you, Rabbi Lapin, for your excellent work. May God bless your efforts.
(If the widget above doesn’t show up, you may not have Adobe Flash Player installed on your system. Vista sometimes doesn’t play nice with the Flash player, so in that case you will need to download the audio directly. Enjoy!)
Tags: ASC 2009, economics, Judaism
Here’s a quick post of pictures from the Austrian Scholars Conference 2009, my apologies if it takes a while to load due to the size of the pictures. Most of them are about 1 mb…
Tags: ASC 2009
One of the highlights of the Austrian Scholars Conference last week was the Hazlitt Memorial Lecture, presented by Peter Schiff. He’s a very funny guy, and a great speaker. But this also made the talk pretty bizarre – we’re laughing up a storm as Peter is telling us how horrible things are going to get as the economic crisis continues. Is this libertarian humor, laughing at our own imminent demise? I’m not sure, but the video is now up on YouTube, so watch and decide for yourself. Be warned, you may injure yourself from laughing so hard…
Tags: ASC 2009, economics
First off, thanks to everyone who has been following the ASC via my blog and twitter updates. It has been fun, not to mention challenging, to post what is going on. I apologize for putting this up a day late, but as you might expect after such a conference we were out late enjoying the company of our fellow austro-scholars in a less “intellectual” setting. But for my efforts, I have a video of Bob Murphy doing a karaoke solo, and one of my dear friend Anthony Gregory and I singing a Beatles duet (we are, of course, completely awesome). On Sunday, we had another 14 hour drive ahead of us (it rained cats and dogs most of the way home), so once again I was delayed getting this posted.
But onward to Day 3 at the ASC!
Day 3 opened with the session called “Method and Politics,” during which I presented my paper on Science and the Free Market. Unfortunately, I had to miss the concurrent session on “Religion and Economics,” which I was very much looking forward to. I’ll have to listen to them once the audio files are posted on the Mises.org media page.
There were four papers in my session, including my own. Tomohide Yasuda presented an interesting critique of a highly cited Nature journal article which attempted to put a monetary value on the entirety of the earth’s ecosystem. Kevin Hodgkins talked about the so-called “third sector” of the economy – the non-profit organization. He argued that the government has severely changed the landscape of how charitable organizations operate. Richard Wilke talked about “political capitalism” – how businesses pursue special privileges from government.
I thought my talk went very well. I felt calm and composed, and I thought the flow had improved greatly from my practice talk at Libertarian Longhorns last Monday. Here’s what the “Mises Twitterer” tweeted about my talk, I think she got the main points pretty well nailed:
Horn: Everybody knows that science makes our lives better, through it we improve our well-being.
Horn: I think science is our way of getting back at the gov, so that’s why the government try to control it.
Horn: the gov tries to dupe us into thinking that it’s necessary for science to progress.
Horn: State sponsored science is problematic at best, and deceptive at best.
Horn: The gov has no rational means to determine what research needs to be done and what research doesn’t.
Horn: no rational means to determine how much resources to commit to any research programs.
Horn: the government is effectively the controller of what is researched.
Horn: It’s naive to assumed the gov is “neutral”, they aren’t neutral in anything else…
Horn: science is used as a basis first for fear, and then for control when it’s done by the gov, example: environmental science
Horn: science moves forward when individuals exercise their minds in freedom.
Horn: In the industrial revolution there was very very little gov funding.
Horn: Einstein publish his four major papers while he was working at a patent office. HE did it on the side!
Horn: The bulk of innovation comes from the private industry.
Horn: The free market will demand research because all sound science is based on research, and the market demands sound science.
Horn: Research can be kept internal, but there are advantages to being more open, attracts good will and more scientists!
Horn: implementation of research is a different thing than research itself
Horn: the biggest semi-conductor companies in the world are joining together to collaborate in research!
Horn: publicly-funded research is socialistic in nature and should be eliminated.
All of us were asked some great questions by the attendees, and many of them said afterwards that they thought it was probably the best session they attended.
George Selgin gave the Hayek lecture next, but I ended up not attending because I got into a conversation with James Fogal of the Mises staff about what we have been doing these past few months. He and I became fast friends last ASC and have spent a fair amount of time talking about faith, freedom, and LVMI projects.
The “Applied Economics” session during the afternoon was a ton of fun. Two lectures that stand out to me were Jansen’s talk on the so-called “Carry Tax” proposal and Laurence Vance’s talk on the Fair Tax and the Flat Tax. Here’s a great quote from Rothbard that Vance brought up: “A consumption tax can only be regarded as a payment for permission to live.” Here are my notes from Vance’s lecture, if you don’t want to read this part just skip down for the videos…
- Laurence Vance – The Flat Tax is Not Flat and the Fair Tax is not Fair
- The current income tax system (1913) with 16th amendment began with 1% tax on income above $3000 and 4000 for married couples
- Less than .5% actually paid income tax
- From humble beginnings, through WWI
- Maximum rate to 77% in WWI
- 94% in WWII
- Eventually, 24 brackets from 20% to over 50%
- Eventually 28% on average
- No question that tax code is oppressive and too much
- Lots of organizations about tax reform
- Libertarians who oppose taxes on principle are in the minority
- Flat and fair taxes are fraught with contradictions
- Flat tax is an income tax
- This proposal has been around longest – Milton Friedman (1962)
- 1981 WSJ article called “A Proposal to Simplify our Tax System”
- Steve Forbes: “Flat Tax Revolution”
- Under flat tax, everyone’s income *supposedly* taxed at same rate
- Social security and medicare taxes still in place
- They say no exemptions or brackets, but there are…
- Genuine flat tax: look at medicare tax: 2.9% across the board
- Fair Tax: proponents are vocal and very intolerant
- “The Fair Tax Book” 2005 & 2006
- “Fair Tax: The Truth: Answering the Critics” –> are you in it Laurence?
- Ron Paul, taxpayer’s best friend, won’t support it.
- National retail sales tax of 30% on all goods and services…
- Why is the fair tax not true to its name?
- What is fair about a consumption tax that isn’t fair about an income tax?
- Concedes that the government has a right to people’s wealth
- Rothbard: “A consumption tax can only be regarded as a payment for permission to live.”
- The qualification of “fair” is completely subjective.
- All these plan supporters have done is shift the debate from whether taxes are justified to the manner in which taxes are collected.
Finally, here’s some video footage taken throughout the day…
Lastly, I’m just going to link to the Karaoke videos of Bob, Anthony, and myself. Enjoy!
Tags: ASC 2009, economics