Category Archives: Marks

EDITORIAL: Riddled with Government

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and editor

How can government services be more efficient than private services when government service provision is separated from the payment for them? The greatest Australian politician and journalist, Bert Kelly, when he was 72 wrote:

When I die, I hope people will remember me by the proverb: “You can always tell a man who is dining out on an expense account by the enthusiasm with which he summons the waiter.”

(Think of the passion of advocates of government spending.)

Free-market advocates could not go wrong adding more such knockout punches, sharp wit, debate reframers, pickup lines, fresh bait and new strategies to their repertoire. That’s what this issue of Capitalism.HK aims to provide, especially in the last five articles. Read the rest of this entry

EDITORIAL: About the Cover Photo

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and 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

EDITORIAL: Secession is Patriotic

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and editor

Why is it that Beijing allows Special Economic Zones like Hong Kong, but Canberra doesn’t allow Western Australia to secede? Why does Canberra insist on being so centralising, controlling and all-powerful?

Instead of saying, “Good day” and “How are you going?,” Australians say, “G’day” and “Owya?” Long-windedness, as is displayed in the buzzword-filled attempts to oppose secession and support extra layers of bureaucracy, is not an Australian virtue. Australians support secession.

Our long-winded politicians in Canberra might be well-meaning, but when they start showing concern about voluntarily-contracted foreign workers and voluntarily-acquired foreign ownership of property in Australia, they are succumbing to ideas whose origin is unAustralian, and they have not been voluntarily accepted by Australian property owners.

The Australian mining legend Ronald Kitching called Australia’s capital the Canberra Kremlin. It is a foreign power, using long-windedness against the short quick independent language of Australia proper.

Karl Marx was not an Australian.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was not an Australian.

Maynard Keynes was not an Australian. Read the rest of this entry

Letters to the editor

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and editor

Dear Ed,

My name is Mavis, and I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for three weeks now. He’s alright, but when we talk about politics, he says he’s a Marxist and votes for the Labor Party. What should I do?

Mavis Coombes, from Balmain, Sydney, Australia

Thanks Mavis. This must be a difficult time for you. This serious situation may require more than one of the following remedies:

Firstly, if he’s really sympathetic to Marxism, it is not clear why he would vote for the Labor Party rather than the Liberal Party. They both decrease the scope for free-markets and believe in exactly the same (lack of) principles, differing only in degree. And they both support nearly all of the short-term communist aims as outlined in, say, The Communist Manifesto.

Secondly, he cannot possibly be a Marxist. Read the rest of this entry

EDITORIAL: Government is a Creep

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and editor

Last issue, with our cover story on “Hong Kong’s Coming Slavery,” we saw how each government intervention leads to justifications for further interventions. One example Herbert Spencer gave was how it is impossible to have any principled objection to forcefeeding the bodies of children, if you think it is right to forcefeed their minds through compulsory attendance laws, compulsory curriculum laws, compulsory financing laws and compulsory teacher training laws. There is no place for government schooling in a capitalist society, same as there is no place for a monopoly supplier of food, especially one that forces itself on the population.

In Australia we can see an example of this government creep playing out in the mining sector, with those who have accepted that all resources are government property and are merely licensed to private prospectors and capitalists. I cannot find anyone in the Australian mining industry who has not conceded this starting principle, this foundational platform, to the government. I am not so cruel as to say the mining industry deserves what’s coming to them, but how long do they want to wait before they put forward a positive explanation of the justice and beneficence of mining, rather than continue compromising with the extremists who believe that the resources are government property? Read the rest of this entry

Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and editor

Politicians at sporting events attract attention, because, among other reasons: (1) the political world is such a contrast to the sporting world; and (2) they attend precisely to attract attention to themselves, realising that people prefer politicians who: (a) like sport; (b) have similar interests; (c) have recognisable faces; and (d) they imagine to be easily reachable.

This essay aims, among other things, to have all politicians banned from sporting events and from being involved with sport in any way. Read the rest of this entry

CLIMATE POLICY/MINIMUM WAGE: The Short and Sharp Knockout Punch to End the Climate Debate

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and editor

It is staggering to witness the self-proclaimed intellectual prowess of the advocates of government intervention to prevent human-induced fossil fuel emissions to prevent global warming.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to blow their argument to smithereens without needing to reference any climate science at all. And that is to point out the fact that almost all advocates of government intervention to prevent carbon emissions also support minimum wage laws.

The minimum wage is one of the most basic and fundamental benchmarks of logical reasoning. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Libertarian Film Is …

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and 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 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