Monthly Archives: March 2012

VOL 1 NO 1 – Contents and Cover – Special Collectors Edition

  1. Editorial
  2. COVER STORY: Hong Kong’s Coming Slavery, by Herbert Spencer
  3. LIGHT BULB BANS: How Big Government Is Literally Killing You, by Dr Robert Hanson
  4. U.S. POLITICS: How Ron Paul Will Become President, by Murray Rothbard
  5. CENTREFOLD: How Hayek Got Inflation By The Balls, by Ronald Kitching
  6. MINIMUM WAGE: Minimum Wage Gives No Hope To The Needy, by Hannah Berdal
  7. COMPETITION LAW: Hong Kong Wrong To Follow Socialistic Australia On Competition Law, by Hannah Berdal
  8. INTERVIEW: Peter Wong Answers Everything You Want To Know About Hong Kong (audio here)
  9. FILM: The Best Libertarian Film Is …, by Benjamin Marks
  10. THEATRE: A Short Note Defending Politics As Entertainment, by Benjamin Marks

Light Bulb Bans – How Big Government Is Literally Killing You

by Dr Robert Hanson
Dr Hanson holds a PhD in the Built Environment from The Bartlett University College London. He worked in the energy industry in England where he was involved in calculating energy prices and setting tariffs under both competitive and nationalized conditions.

Contents

I: Introduction
II: How We Got Into This Mess
III: Liberal Fascism or Free Markets
IV: Moral Wrongs of Government Bans and Subsidies
V: Cancer Causing Energy Saving Bulbs
VI: Radiation from CFL Bulbs
VII: Toxic LEDs
VIII: Poisons Released from Broken ‘Energy Efficient Bulbs’
IX: ‘Energy Saving Bulbs’ Poison Workers
X: Energy Saving Lamps are Energy Wasting Lamps and Should Be Discouraged from Use
XI: ‘Energy Saving Bulbs’ Poison the Environment
XII: Dark Side of Green
XIII: Conclusion
XIV: References

Part I: Introduction

When governments intervene in things, they often get things spectacularly wrong. No more so than with the ban on incandescent light bulbs. In banning safe incandescent bulbs, Big Government is now bullying people into using toxic ‘energy saving bulbs’ — in their own homes.

‘Energy saving’ bulbs are the asbestos of the 21st Century. Just using an ‘energy saving bulb’ can make you feel tired, cause eye strain, headaches, skin rashes and even skin cancer. If you are exposed to a broken ‘energy saving bulb’, you run the risk of developing long term cancer of the liver, kidneys and brain. Believing the claim that ‘energy saving bulbs’ are safe, and save energy, is a bit like believing Blair’s claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Read the rest of this entry

U.S. POLITICS: How Ron Paul Will Become President

by Murray Rothbard, with an introduction from the editor

Ron Paul is doing well raising money and gaining attention for the cause of free-markets. In 2007 he raised more money in one day than any other political fund-raiser: over 6 million dollars, breaking his own record set a few months earlier of over 4 million dollars. One way he might be able to raise money and illustrate the fact that fractional reserve banking is fraudulent is if all his supporters took all their on-demand deposits out of the bank at the same time, and then gave some fraction of it to the campaign.

Ideally, this will lead to a run on the banks (as people learn that the banks do not actually have the money people have deposited on hand, but have lent it out, turning an on-demand deposit into a loan), fractional reserve banking will be exposed as fraudulent and Paul will become President. Read the rest of this entry

CENTREFOLD: How Hayek Got Inflation By The Balls

by Ronald Kitching

The great Nobel Prize winning economist/social scientist F. A. Hayek made a month long lecture tour of Australia in October 1976. There is a bit of an inside story to this tour which so far few know about. Hayek was invited to Australia for a lecture tour by economist Mark Tier. However, Hayek, at that time, had to decline, but as circumstances changed and as he did not know anybody else in Australia, he wrote a note to Sydney Economist/Barrister Roger Randerson, whom he once tutored at The London School of Economics, saying that he could squeeze in a month before going on previously scheduled visits to New Zealand and Japan.

Roger and I were good mates so he rang me with the good news. I then suggested to Roger that he immediately write back to Hayek and ask what his fee would be. I can still quote the answer. Hayek replied saying: Read the rest of this entry

Minimum Wage Gives No Hope To The Needy

by Hannah Berdal
Hannah Berdal is in her third year at the University of Western Australia, studying a combined degree in Law and Commerce with an Economics major. Hannah is currently involved in the Students in Free Enterprise society at her university as an executive member and was recently an intern at the Lion Rock Institute.

Hong Kong’s minimum wage policy has a lot to answer for. As a scheme that prides itself as a champion of the labour market, it seems hard to believe that our most vulnerable workers are being put at the greatest risk of joblessness at a time when employment should be fiercely defended.

For advocates of the minimum wage, the outcomes seem flawless. Many claim that increases to the standard of living for the poorest of the poor and the protection of workers’ rights are the fundamental reasons for enacting the scheme — a seemingly perfect example of government regulation, one would think.

Unfortunately, history shows us that minimum wage doesn’t work. In fact, the end product from such legislation leaves our most unskilled, ill equipped workers out of work and a puts significant strain on Hong Kong’s small and medium sized businesses as they struggle to keep workers amidst the pressures of increasing labour costs and a gloomy economy. Read the rest of this entry

Hong Kong’s Competition Law: Friend or Foe?

by Hannah Berdal
Hannah Berdal is in her third year at the University of Western Australia, studying a combined degree in Law and Commerce with an Economics major. Hannah is currently involved in the Students in Free Enterprise society at her university as an executive member and was recently an intern at The Lion Rock Institute.

Hong Kong’s Competition Bill has been a long time coming. With the law already enshrined throughout most western economies and anti-trust cases frequently making the headlines overseas, it was only a matter of time before pressure to implement similar legislation reached its peak. However, considering that Hong Kong already outperforms the rest of the world’s economies in open market competitiveness without such legislation, will the local consumer really benefit from such a law governed by the monopoly of the State? And why are SME’s (small-to-medium enterprises), one of the law’s supposedly major beneficiaries, so vocal against enacting this law? With many overseas nations suffering a turbulent and questionable history with the law, the rationale for its adoption in an already cutting edge economy remains unclear. Hong Kong must study the track record of this law elsewhere in the world and review similarly established policies, like those in Australia, to provide useful insight as to its effectiveness and ramifications for the Hong Kong business community. Read the rest of this entry

Peter Wong Answers Everything You Want To Know About Hong Kong

by Peter Wong, audio of this interview available here
Peter Wong is the Executive Director of The Lion Rock Institute. He is a columnist for The Hong Kong Economic Journal. Besides giving commentaries in various TV stations in Greater China, he is currently a presenter at Hong Kong government’s RTHK radio and also speaks at private radio stations such as Metro Radio and DBC.

Contents

I: Introduction
II: About Lion Rock
III: Hong Kong’s Freedom
IV: HK Falling for “Peer” Pressure
V: HK Benefited from Benign Neglect
VI: The Future
VII: Pegging HK$ to US$, Terrifying
VIII: Prosperity Follows Freedom
IX: Taxes in HK
X: HK During Downturns
XI: Pessimistic But Worse Elsewhere
XII: Call To Action

Part I: Introduction

Jerry Bowyer: Good afternoon and welcome to the program, you’re listening to American Entrepreneur Radio, but we aren’t really talking about American entrepreneurship at the moment; we’re talking about Asian entrepreneurship. As you know, if you’re a listener to this program, when I’m here at this microphone I like to talk to you about the rest of the world. The United States was for many generations the freest country in the world and therefore undoubtedly the best place to invest, but it isn’t the freest nation in the world anymore and it hasn’t been for some time now, actually. As a lot of the world has moved towards freedom, the United States has moved away from freedom, which means you as an entrepreneur or investor or a business manager need to take that into account when you’re making decisions about where to start businesses, where to expand businesses and what businesses to invest in. So, I’ve asked Peter Wong to be with us. Peter is with the Lion Rock Institute which is the leading free-market educational foundation — think-tank, is what we call them, in the United States — in Hong Kong, which is by a number of measures the nation with the freest economy in the world. Peter, welcome to American Entrepreneur radio. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Libertarian Film Is …

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and Economics.org.au editor

Easily, the best libertarian film — yes, I have seen every film — is: Monsieur Verdoux (1947). This is a film so neglected that even libertarians have failed to acknowledge its existence. The film is readily available to everyone, and has been for generations. It is not some obscure foreign-language film; in fact, it features the most famous Western person ever.

Prompted by Orson Welles, Charles Chaplin produced, directed, wrote, composed the music and starred in this loose re-enactment of the real life of Henri Désiré Landru. (During WW1 Landru advertised in the lonely hearts section of Paris newspapers that he was a widower and desired to meet a widow with view to matrimony. In 1921 Landru was convicted of murdering 10 women and the teenage son of one of them.)

The eponymous protagonist, played by Chaplin, is one of those rare creatures: a brazen benevolent beguiling bigamous bluebeard (I’ve always wanted to say that). He is the sole income provider for his wheelchair-bound wife and their young child. After losing his job and failing to find employment elsewhere, he gains access, under various fraudulent guises, to the money of wealthy single women by befriending, marrying and — continuing the progression — killing them. His only motive is the welfare of his family; that is, his first wife — often referred to as the “invalid” wife (not the best word choice) — and their young son. When they die, his shenanigans draw to a close. Read the rest of this entry

Short Note Defending Politics As Entertainment

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and Economics.org.au editor

George Jean Nathan is a credible judge of the entertainment value of politics. He was a brilliant theatre critic and a long-time co-editor with H.L. Mencken, who is the most famous U.S. journalist and libertarian. One of Nathan’s claims to fame is fighting for the right of theatre critics to leave after the first act.

He criticised the entertainment value of politics on the following grounds: Read the rest of this entry

Hong Kong’s Coming Slavery

Excerpt from Herbert Spencer’s 1884 essay, “The Coming Slavery,” The Man Versus the State (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1982), pp. 44-51, 53-57.

The blank form of an inquiry daily made is — “We have already done this; why should we not do that?” And the regard for precedent suggested by it, is ever pushing on regulative legislation.

Having had brought within their sphere of operation more and more numerous businesses, the Acts restricting hours of employment and dictating the treatment of workers are now to be made applicable to shops.

From inspecting lodging-houses to limit the numbers of occupants and enforce sanitary conditions, we have passed to inspecting all houses below a certain rent in which there are members of more than one family, and are now passing to a kindred inspection of all small houses.

The buying and working of telegraphs by the State is made a reason for urging that the State should buy and work the railways.

Supplying children with food for their minds by public agency is being followed in some cases by supplying food for their bodies; and after the practice has been made gradually more general, we may anticipate that the supply, now proposed to be made gratis in the one case, will eventually be proposed to be made gratis in the other: the argument that good bodies as well as good minds are needful to make good citizens, being logically urged as a reason for the extension. Read the rest of this entry