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Andrew Shuen Debates Socialists on the Harm of the Minimum Wage

Newsline Hong Kong ATV debate, May 6, 2012, with Andrew Shuen of The Lion Rock Institute.

Transcript available in the print version of Capitalism.HK, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 16-22.

Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians

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

The Cop and the Anthem

by O. Henry, pen name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), a popular American writer of short stories noted, among other things, for their twist endings

On his bench in Madison Square Soapy moved uneasily. When wild geese honk high of nights, and when women without sealskin coats grow kind to their husbands, and when Soapy moves uneasily on his bench in the park, you may know that winter is near at hand.

A dead leaf fell in Soapy’s lap. That was Jack Frost’s card. Jack is kind to the regular denizens of Madison Square, and gives fair warning of his annual call. At the corners of four streets he hands his pasteboard to the North Wind, footman of the mansion of All Outdoors, so that the inhabitants thereof may make ready.

Soapy’s mind became cognisant of the fact that the time had come for him to resolve himself into a singular Committee of Ways and Means to provide against the coming rigour. And therefore he moved uneasily on his bench.

The hibernatorial ambitions of Soapy were not of the highest. In them there were no considerations of Mediterranean cruises, of soporific Southern skies drifting in the Vesuvian Bay. Three months on the Island was what his soul craved. Three months of assured board and bed and congenial company, safe from Boreas and bluecoats, seemed to Soapy the essence of things desirable. 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 Economics.org.au 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

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

The Economic Sophism that There Are No Absolute Principles

This is chapter 18 of the first series of Frederic Bastiat’s Economic Sophisms, trans. Arthur Goddard (New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996), pp. 96-98.

We cannot but be astonished at the ease with which men resign themselves to ignorance about what it is most important for them to know; and we may be certain that they are determined to remain invincibly ignorant if they once come to consider it as axiomatic that there are no absolute principles. Read the rest of this entry

Tax = Theft

Summary: “Taxes are never, at no level of taxation, consistent with individual freedom and property rights. Taxes are theft. The thieves — the state and its agents and allies — try their very best to conceal this fact, of course, but there is simply no way around it. Obviously, taxes are not normal, voluntary payments for goods and services, because you are not allowed to stop such payments if you are not satisfied with the product.”

Prof Hans-Hermann Hoppe is Property and Freedom Society founder and president, Ludwig von Mises Institute legend and author of such works as Democracy — The God That Failed.

Introduction by Hoppe

A few months ago, a French journalist, Mr. Nicolas Cori, approached me with the request for an interview on the subject of taxation, to be published in the French monthly Philosophie Magazine, in the context of current “tax reform” debates in France.

I agreed to the interview, it was conducted by email in English, Mr. Cori produced a French translation, my friend Dr. Nikolay Gertchev checked and corrected his translation, and I then sent the authorized translation to Mr. Cori. Since then, more than a month ago, and despite repeated promptings, I have not heard from Mr. Cori. I can only speculate as for the reasons of his silence. Most likely, he did not get permission from his superiors to publish the interview, and he does not possess the courtesy and courage to tell me.

In any case, here is the original interview. The authorized French version is available on the translations-page of my website (www.hanshoppe.com).

NC: Are taxes consistent with individual freedom and property rights? Is there a level of taxation where it is no more consistent?

Hoppe: Read the rest of this entry