“Corruption Is Just a Symptom, Not the Disease”

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Professors Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson explain Corruption Is Just a Symptom, Not the Disease / To end global poverty, stop tolerating national institutions that serve greedy elites and suck poor countries dry, on 12/5 in the Wall Street Journal.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

Corruption is the highly visible symptom of much deeper issues.

The real problem?

The lack of an operating justice system. The lack of accountability. The lack of a free press that can actually get away with challenging those in power – that means reporters don’t get beat up, thrown in jail, or killed when they irritate political leaders.


Protectionism – Can someone explain to me how that can be moral ?

Protectionism is the idea that the government can protect me from foreign companies that want to sell me something at a lower price that the government thinks is fair. As a result, I pay more than I would otherwise.

Professor Don Boudreaux published a letter to Wall Street Journal editor explaining why protectionism is immoral. Here’s his letter, quoted in full since it is an open letter to the editor,with the key paragraph expanded into bullet points: (more…)

3 of the common myths about capitalism

  • Pro-capitalism = pro-business
  • Capitalism generates unfair distribution of income
  • Capitalism is responsible for the financial crisis and great recession

Not true. Those three (false) myths disposed of in this video:



That is from Professor Jeff Miron from Harvard.

A few highlights from the video:


Crony Capitalism is the reason we won’t find any incandescent bulbs on the shelves

As of the start of 2013, it is illegal to manufacture or import 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs in the U.S.  Last year the 75-watt bulbs were gone and the 100-watt the year before. The last of the smaller bulbs will be off the shelf.

Then you will only be able to buy more expensive bulbs that may or may not last a lot longer.


It isn’t to improve efficiency or save consumers money. That’s the excuse.

Blame crony capitalism. The ban is courtesy of businesses seeking favors from the government and the government happily granting said favors.


Graph to illustrate Thatcher’s comment that socialists want the poor poorer provided the rich were less rich – Part 2

Previously mentioned a graph that illustrates the idea that socialists

would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich.

Here is a revised graph:

inequality graph 2

This is a much busier graph. Like the earlier graph, it is from Dave Poling and is used with his permission. Here are a thousand words to describe his graph.

It shows the same relationships –

In a generation, the poor become as well off as the middle were a generation earlier. The middle gains a lot and is as well off as the rich a generation earlier. And yes, the rich become really rich.

Under socialism, the rich, middle, and poor all get worse off.

An addition to this graph is the government and cronies. I call the latter group the crony capitalists, those companies and individuals who make their business thrive by lobbying the government and getting special treatment. They do quite nicely under socialism, thank you very much.

Since there is so much going on here, let’s look at the graphs in more detail.


Simple explanation of cronyism – the difference between “pro-business” and “free market”

Perhaps we could rephrase that as the difference between “pro-consumer” and “pro-single interest”.

National Review Online discusses how thrilled some self-serving lobbyists are that a certain deal in Washington will benefit members of their focused trade group. It’s a good deal because their members will make money off the deal. See Sometimes, Being ‘Pro-Business’ and ‘Free Market’ Are Opposed.


Lots of blame for the financial crisis of ’08 falls on the federal government

There is a huge amount of blame to be spread for the Great Recession that started in 2008. While the recession technically ended four years ago back in June of 2009, most people in California and lots of charities here are still feeling the effects.

I see exquisitely little discussion of how intentional federal policies created the distortions that led to the financial crisis. An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Phil Gramm and Mike Solon help explain why much of the blame belongs to the federal government:  The Clinton-Era Roots of the Financial Crisis.

To make this non-partisan, I’ll point out that the flawed policies from the Clinton administration were ratified, continued, and extended by the Bush administration. Not to worry, both parties have worked lots of overtime to earn their share of blame.

While you can argue on the proportionate blame between the two parties, I’ll point out that regardless of the allocation you determine, 100% of that particular allocation falls on deliberate federal policy.

Initial efforts to persuade private pension plans to fund low-income housing failed. The administration forced (more…)