Monthly Archives: January 2013

VOL 1 NO 4 – Contents and Cover

  1. EDITORIAL: About the Cover Photo
  2. POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY: The Intellectual Cover for Socialism, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
  3. CELEBRATION: The World’s Greatest Inventions, by H.L. Mencken
  4. FINANCE: The Only International Economic Policy that a Country Needs, by Patrick Barron
  5. FINANCE: A Golden Deutsche Mark Can Save the World, by Godfrey Bloom and Patrick Barron
  6. BOOK REVIEW: Beyond Democracy, Toward Freedom, by Chris Bassil, a review of Karel Beckman and Frank Karsten’s Beyond Democracy
  7. HONG KONG’S HANDOVER FROM HOLDOUT TO HANDOUT ECONOMY: A Tale of Two Chinas, by Viv Forbes
  8. HONG KONG COMMENTARY: Head in the Clouds, by Bill Stacey
  9. CALL TO ARMS: How to stand aside when it’s time to be counted, by Bert Kelly
  10. POPULATION POLICY: A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift
  11. LABOUR POLICY: Working Hours, by George Jean Nathan

EDITORIAL: About the Cover Photo

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

The director of Mises Institute Brazil, Fernando Fiori Chiocca, explains the significance of the cover photo: “This can advance libertarianism as never before. Every single person that sees this image will want to know who the heck is this guy with a bow-tie and shorts and what he thinks. Then they will discover freedom.” Read the rest of this entry

The Intellectual Cover for Socialism

by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Originally published in
The Free Market, February 1988.

Compared with life in Western countries, where the socialist sector is sizeable, life under total socialism is miserable.

The standard of living is so deplorable that, in 1961, the socialist East German government built a system of walls, barbed wire, electrified fences, minefields, automatic shooting devices, watchtowers, watchdogs, and watchmen, almost 900 miles long, to keep people from running away from socialism.

The empirical evidence shows that socialism is an obvious failure. And the cause of socialism’s failure is crystal clear: there is almost no private ownership of the means of production, and almost all factors of production are owned in common in precisely the same way that Americans own the Postal Service.

Why, then, do seemingly serious people still advocate socialism? And why are there still thousands of social scientists who want to put more and more factors of production under social instead of private control? Read the rest of this entry

The World’s Greatest Inventions

by H.L. Mencken, first published in the New York American, November 26, 1934. Reprinted in A Second Mencken Chrestomathy, ed. Terry Teachout (New York: Knopf, 1995), pp. 161-63, under the title “Two Benefactors of Mankind.”

When I was a youngster, in the closing decades of the last century, two horrible plagues afflicted the American people. The first was the plague of flies and the second was that of corns. No one, in those days, knew how to get rid of either. We used to sleep under canopies of netting on Summer nights, but they were worse than useless, for on the one hand they kept out the air, and on the other they were no impediment to flies, which wriggled through their meshes and feasted on our carcasses within. By day these same flies gave their show on our dinner-tables, leaving us with cholera morbus or typhoid fever. On Sunday mornings they performed massively on clergy and laity; on weekends they specialized in pedagogues and pupils. Save in the extreme North their season ran from Easter to Thanksgiving. While they raged, every American spent half his time dodging them, banging away at them, and damning them. Read the rest of this entry

Beyond Democracy, Toward Freedom

by Chris Bassil
In addition to his career in medical research, he is a freelance writer in the anarchocapitalist tradition. He has been published on the Mises Institute’s website and runs the Austro-libertarian blog, Hamsterdam Economics.

As Americans, many of us have learned since the time we were small to associate the democratic form of collective decision-making that governs us with the very essence of freedom itself. In fact, many of us have even come to understand these two not as the separate and distinct phenomena that they are, but rather as similar and partnered sides of the same coin. In school, for instance, we have recited the Pledge of Allegiance each and every morning, separating the republic from liberty by little more than a breath before we begin our day. In the media and in politics, we have been fed an obsession with the free world, and have been convinced that much of what lies outside of it must be made safe for democracy. Even in our entertainment programs, we witness the two as inextricably bound up with one another: in the recent premiere of Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO television series The Newsroom, for example, the main character reprimands a neoconservative for his assertion that America’s freedom makes it the best country in the world. “There are 207 sovereign states in the world,” he scoffs, “and, like, 180 of them have freedom.” Read the rest of this entry

HONG KONG’S HANDOVER FROM HOLDOUT TO HANDOUT ECONOMY: A Tale of Two Chinas

This was written on April 27, 1997, by the great Australian commentator Viv Forbes.
Looking at Hong Kong today and the direction of progress, what do you think of this essay?

I was saddened to read, last week, that the first Red Army soldiers had slipped into Hong Kong, like Jackals in the Night.

This marks the end of a huge social experiment lasting for decades and involving millions of people — a contest between the command society and the contract society, between socialism and free enterprise, between the closed economy and free trade. Read the rest of this entry

Head in the Clouds

Bill Stacey, Next Magazine, November 15, 2012, A004.

High above Central in an eyrie so elevated that most people would get dizzy looking down, lies the offices of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). Its primary responsibilities are to maintain currency and banking stability, which require very specific and skilled, but limited, resources. However, the HKMA has always blanched at these constraints and envisioned a wider role as the “central bank of Hong Kong”.

Its expanding role can be seen in many areas. Take the budget. Compound average growth in its administrative budget is 10.4% over the 8 years to 2012 compared to government’s 4.4% in the same period. Its 2012 spending is set to go up by a further 24%. It is worth noting that it is not staff numbers (+4% per annum over 8 years) but staff costs (+5.6% per head, per annum over 8 years) that are amongst the main drivers. Consumer protection and the management of complaints have expanded to as much as 12% of total spending. Read the rest of this entry

CALL TO ACTION: How to stand aside when it’s time to be counted

Bert Kelly, The Australian Financial Review, November 11, 1977, p. 3.

I have never made any secret of the fact that the quality that I envy most in my political colleagues is their fast footwork.

I laboriously clamber on to high points of principle and stand there like Horatio on the bridge or the boy on the burning deck, but my colleagues, being cleverer and fleet of foot, quickly retreat to some other point of political wisdom, leaving your poor Modest Member standing alone, polishing his halo and not quite certain who persuaded him to stand for something about which he is not certain. Read the rest of this entry

POPULATION POLICY: A Modest Proposal

by Jonathan Swift in 1729

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers, instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants: who as they grow up either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes. Read the rest of this entry

George Jean Nathan on Working Hours

George Jean Nathan, The Autobiography of an Attitude (New York: Knopf, 1925), pp. 107-09.

How much does the poor union working man, abused and oppressed by capital, actually work? Read the rest of this entry