quinta-feira, 30 de Setembro de 2004

Ciclos Económicos

"During the 1920s, Mises formulated his business cycle theory out of three pre-existing elements: the Currency School boom-bust model of the business cycle; the Swedish “Austrian” Knut Wicksell’s differentiation between the “natural” and the bank interest rates; and Böhm-Bawerkian capital and interest theory.

Mises’s remarkable integration of these previously totally separate analyses showed that inflationary or created bank credit, by pumping in more money into the economy and by lowering interest rates on business loans below the free market, time preference level, inevitably caused an excess of malinvestments in capital goods industries remote from the consumer.

The longer the boom of inflationary bank credit continues, the greater the scope of malinvestments in capital goods, and the greater the need for liquidation of these unsound investments. When the credit expansion stops, reverses, or even significantly slows down, the malinvestments are revealed. Mises demonstrated that the recession, far from being a strange, unexplainable aberration to be combated, is really a necessary process by which the market economy liquidates the unsound investments of the boom, and returns to the right consumption/investment proportions to satisfy consumers in the most efficient way.

Thus, in contrast to interventionists and statists who believe that the government must intervene to combat the recession process caused by the inner workings of free-market capitalism, Mises demonstrated precisely the opposite: that the government must keep its hands off the recession, so that the recession process can quickly eliminate the distortions imposed by the government-created inflationary boom."

Ludwig von Mises: Scholar, Creator, Hero

quarta-feira, 29 de Setembro de 2004

o Direito chega a um impasse...

Scalia: Abortion 'too fundamental' for judges

"CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (AP) -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says he believes "abstract moralizing" has led the American judicial system into a quagmire, and that matters such as abortion and assisted suicide are "too fundamental" to be resolved by judges.

"What I am questioning is the propriety, indeed the sanity, of having value-laden decisions such as these made for the entire society ... by judges," Scalia said on Tuesday during an appearance at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government."


A Grande Depressão foi causada pelo New Deal

"Macroeconomic model builders have finally realized what Henry Hazlitt and John T. Flynn (among others) knew in the 1930s: FDR's New Deal made the Great Depression longer and deeper. It is a myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt "got us out of the Depression" and "saved capitalism from itself," as generations of Americans have been taught by the state's educational establishment.

This realization on the part of macroeconomists comes in the form of an article in the August 2004 Journal of Political Economy entitled "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," by UCLA economists Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian. This is a big deal, since the JPE is arguably the top academic economics journal in the world.

"Real gross domestic product per adult, which was 39 percent below trend at the trough of the Depression in 1933, remained 27 percent below trend in 1939," the authors write. And "Similarly, private hours worked were 27 percent below trend in 1933 and remained 21 percent below trend in 1939."

This should be no surprise to anyone who has studied the reality of the Great Depression, for U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that the official unemployment rate was still 17.2 percent in 1939 despite seven years of "economic salvation" at the hands of the Roosevelt administration (the normal, pre-Depression unemployment rate was about 3 percent). Per capita GDP was lower in 1939 than in 1929 ($847 vs. $857), as were personal consumption expenditures ($67.6 billion vs. $78.9 billion), according to Census Bureau data. Net private investment was minus $3.1 billion from 1930–40."

The New Deal Debunked (again), By Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Demência estatista é...

...multar os produtores por venderem a preços baixos.

O que me leva a pensar: que raio de mandato é que está dado ao sistema político para praticar estes actos de extorsão?

O debate dobre imigração:

No Human Conduct, recomenda-se:

Go Ahead, Leave the Door Open, by Brian Doherty
In the Free Market, May a Businessman Hire Any Immigrant He Chooses?, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Prof. Hoppe still wrong on immigration, by Joshua Holmes
Give Me Your Elitist, Aristocratic, White Europeans, Yearning To Breath Free, by Micha Ghertner
An Immigration Policy that Would Exclude Its Author, by Tom Palmer
Palmer on Hoppe, by Stephan Kinsella

Num debate publicado no Journal Of Libertarian Studies:

Introduction Raico, Ralph (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
Are There Grounds for Limiting Immigration? Simon, Julian (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
A Libertarian Argument Against Opening Borders Hospers, John (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration Block, Walter (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
A Libertarian Theory of Free Immigration de Soto, Jesus Huerta (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
Immigration Into A Free Society Machan, Tibor R. (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
The Sanctuary Society and its Enemies North, Gary (Vol. 13 Num. 2)
The Case for Free Trade and Restricted Immigration Hoppe, Hans-Hermann (Vol. 13 Num. 2)

terça-feira, 28 de Setembro de 2004

O original

A propósito de uma polémica recente entre libertarians sobre imigração fica aqui a introdução e sugestão de leitura na íntegra:

On Free Immigration and Forced Integration
by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

I
"The classical argument in favor of free immigration runs as follows: Other things being equal, businesses go to low-wage areas, and labor moves to high-wage areas, thus affecting a tendency toward the equalization of wage rates (for the same kind of labor) as well as the optimal localization of capital.

An influx of migrants into a given-sized high-wage area will lower nominal wage rates. However, it will not lower real wage rates if the population is below its optimum size. To the contrary, if this is the case, the produced output will increase over-proportionally, and real incomes will actually rise. Thus, restrictions on immigration will harm the protected domestic workers qua consumers more than they gain qua producers.

Moreover, immigration restrictions will increase the "flight" of capital abroad (the export of capital which otherwise might have stayed), still causing an equalization of wage rates (although somewhat more slowly), but leading to a less than optimal allocation of capital, thereby harming world living standards all-around.

In addition, traditionally labor unions, and nowadays environmentalists, are opposed to free immigration, and this should prima facie count as another argument in favor of a policy of free immigration.

II

As it is stated, the above argument in favor of free immigration is irrefutable and correct. It would be foolish to attack it, just as it would be foolish to deny that free trade leads to higher living standards than does protectionism.

It would also be wrongheaded to attack the above case for free immigration by pointing out that because of the existence of a welfare state, immigration has become to a significant extent the immigration of welfare-bums, who, even if the United States, for instance, is below her optimal population point, do not increase but rather decrease average living standards. For this is not an argument against immigration but against the welfare state.

To be sure, the welfare state should be destroyed, root and branch. However, in any case the problems of immigration and welfare are analytically distinct problems, and they must be treated accordingly.

The problem with the above argument is that it suffers from two interrelated shortcomings which invalidate its unconditional pro-immigration conclusion and/or which render the argument applicable only to a highly unrealistic – long bygone – situation in human history.

The first shortcoming will only be touched upon. To libertarians of the Austrian school, it should be clear that what constitutes "wealth" and "well-being" is subjective. Material wealth is not the only thing that counts. Thus, even if real incomes rise due to immigration, it does not follow that immigration must be considered "good," for one might prefer lower living standards and a greater distance to other people over higher living standards and a smaller distance to others.

Instead, a second, related shortcoming will be the focus here. With regard to a given territory into which people immigrate, it is left unanalyzed who, if anyone, owns (controls) this territory. In fact, in order to render the above argument applicable, it is – implicitly – assumed that the territory in question is unowned, and that the immigrants enter virgin territory (open frontier). Obviously, this can no longer be assumed. If this assumption is dropped, however, the problem of immigration takes on an entirely new meaning and requires fundamental rethinking. (...)"

Onde se fala de Hobbes e o Estado moderno

"Belgian jurist Frank van Dun writes:

The idea that the state is a form of organized lawlessness is a recurrent theme in liberal thought. It underlies the many attempts to civilise or tame what Hobbes aptly called the ‘Leviathan.’ The aim is to institutionalise constitutional checks and balances…. In other words, the liberal idea implies that, at least in times of peace, the state should be controlled according to law. In many ways, this constitutional approach was very successful…. Nevertheless, constitutionalism was more effective as a source of legitimacy than as a check on the powers of the state. Liberals all too easily acquiesced in the state’s claim to represent or embody the law…. The state, the institutionalised form of (preparedness for) lawless war, came to be regarded as a necessary institution of lawful peace.

Van Dun adds: “To the extent that liberals subscribed to this view – and they did so en masse – they conceded the main point of political ontology to the apologists of statism: that war, not peace, is the normal or natural condition of human life. This is perhaps the most basic axiom of statism. It implies that there is no natural society, no ‘spontaneous order’ (as Hayek would say). Man plus man equals war. The whole of the statist philosophy is contained in that simple statement.” [14]

To say that security must precede law, is to say that law (or justice) is the will of the stronger. On this point, I think we can present Hobbes and Barnett with a Scottish verdict of “not proven.”

The political scientist Anthony de Jasay writes of such Hobbesian models:

The statist solution to satisfying the enabling conditions of an economic order that is both beneficent and spontaneous, is visibly defective. A weak state, especially one with no stored-up reserves of legitimacy, lacks the wherewithal; it has little taxing power to extort it; there can be no efficient economy to extort it from, because the state has lacked the wherewithal to provide the enforcing order that could make it efficient. A strong state, supposing it is logically possible prior to an efficient economy, could find the wherewithal; but no reason is furnished why it would choose to refrain from using its strength in ways that would probably be more harmful to an efficient market than the much-dreaded mafia. For cogent reasons, it is almost bound to invade and override property rights instead of protecting them, to impose the terms of contracts rather than to enforce those the parties choose, to engage in ever more substantial redistribution of wealth and income, for this is the logic of the incentives under which states operate.” [15]

It begins to seem that Hobbesian states are as much impediments to, and destroyers of, economic life as they are “preconditions” of it – if indeed they are that at all. From around 1500 A.D., modern, abstract bureaucratic states have treated pre-existing social bodies and institutions as rivals to be forcibly overcome. Social bodies outside the state have increasingly existed on sufferance, their existence a concession of the state.

Political theorist David Gross summarizes the process: In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the state went on the offensive against virtually every kind of intervening body existing between the individual and the state itself…. Only the public and private corporations, the communal guilds, the local social groupings, and the numerous customary institutions compatible with what the state saw as its higher raison d’état were sanctioned. Even though many of the intermediate bodies were historically antecedent to the state, they had to be legitimized by various governmental agencies in order to have the right to continue operating.” [16]

A certain kind of “individualism” grew up alongside the all-embracing state. Gross writes: “One of the principle assumptions of the period around 1800 was that of the state as a liberator of the individual. It was the state, after all, that was given credit for freeing the individual from the dead-weight of tradition, the individualist’s chief bête noire.” [17]

It is not clear that the bargain was a very good one. Gross notes some possible drawbacks, including a kind of “individualism based on a convergence of the private ego and the will of the state, an individualism that expressed itself in terms of nationalistic or patriotic sentiments. The type of individualism that took this route lost its merely personal character and found in the nation the most solid foundation for a stable identity. Paradoxically, this form of individualism fulfilled its original, particularistic goals only by transcending and, in a sense, universalizing them: the nation-state simply became the self writ large.” [18]

As states colonized time via mass public education, they spread their new gospel of freedom within – and only within – the state. In their telling, Gross observes, “progress became virtually synonymous with the growth of the centralized state,” and the state became the demiurge of history, which “drives and pushes the world forward to actualize its potential; if it were not for the state as a catalyzing agent, history would remain static, tradition-bound, and incomplete.” [19] "

Retirado de A Post-Modern Nimrod by Joseph R. Stromberg

Saddam to Declare Candidacy for Iraqi Elections

Eu acho que era uma boa ideia. Se fosse eleito, talvez fosse capaz de acabar com o terrorismo fundamentalista e separatista. Quanto aos sunitas, esses ficavam mais calmos por natureza. Talvez o petróleo voltasse aos 30 usd.

Mas desde o inicio que a tentativa de democratização pós-facto-que-não-volta-atrás-invasão está mal concebida:

Deviam ter começado por eleições do tipo municipais. O governo provisório e constituição devia sair da legitimação local. Demorava mais tempo mas seria mais sólido.

Mas não: o centralismo democrático e a ideia de liberdade como algo que emana de um poder politico central forte é próprio de quem não assume mas usa os tiques de Napoleão.

Ética da Liberdade I

Na introdução do livro de Murray N. Rothbard, por Hans Herman Hoppe:

"(...))When
The Ethics of Liberty appeared in 1982, it initially attracted only a little attention in academia. Two factors were responsible for this neglect. First, there were the anarchistic implications of theory, and his argument that the institution of government—the state—is incompatible with the fundamental principles of justice. As defined by Rothbard, a state is an organization

which possesses either or both (in actual fact, almost always both) of the following characteristics:

(a) it acquires its revenue by physical coercion (taxation); and
(b) it achieves a compulsory monopoly of force and of ultimate decision-making power over a given territorial area.

Both of these essential activities of the State necessarily constitute criminal aggression and depredation of the just rights of private property of its subjects (including self-ownership). For the first constitutes and establishes theft on a grand scale; while the second prohibits the free competition of defense and decision-making agencies within a given territorial area—prohibiting the voluntary purchase and sale of defense and judicial services (pp. 172–73).

"Without justice," Rothbard concluded as St. Augustine had before him, "the state was nothing but a band of robbers."

Rothbard's anarchism was not the sort of anarchism that his teacher and mentor Mises had rejected as hopelessly naive, of course. "The anarchists," Mises had written,

contend that a social order in which nobody enjoys privileges at the expense of his fellow-citizens could exist without any compulsion and coercion for the prevention of action detrimental to society. . . . The anarchists overlook the undeniable fact that some people are either too narrow-minded or too weak to adjust themselves spontaneously to the conditions of social life. . . . An anarchistic society would be exposed to the mercy of every individual. Society cannot exist if the majority is not ready to hinder, by the application or threat of violent action, minorities from destroying the social order.
[10]

Indeed, Rothbard wholeheartedly agreed with Mises that without resort to compulsion, the existence of society would be endangered and that behind the rules of conduct whose observance is necessary to assure peaceful human cooperation must stand the threat to force if the whole edifice of society is not to be continually at the mercy of any one of its members.

One must be in a position to compel a person who will not respect the lives, health, personal freedom, or private property of others to acquiesce in the rules of life in society.
[11]"

No prefácio, Rothbard diz:

"(...)The key to the theory of liberty is the establishment of the rights of private property for each individual's justified sphere of free action can only be set forth if his rights of property are analyzed and established. "Crime" can then be defined and properly analyzed as a violent invasion or aggression against the just property of another individual (including his property in his own person).

The positive theory of liberty then becomes an analysis of what can be considered property rights, and therefore what can be considered crimes. Various difficult but vitally important problems can then be dissected, including the rights of children, the proper theory of contracts as transfers of property titles, the thorny questions of enforcement and punishment, and many others. Since questions of property and crime are essentially legal questions, our theory of liberty necessarily sets forth an ethical theory of what law concretely should be.

In short, as a natural-law theory should properly do, it sets forth a normative theory of law—in our case, a theory of "libertarian law." While the book establishes the general outlines of a system of libertarian law, however, it is only an outline, a prolegomenon to what I hope will be a fully developed libertarian law code of the future. Hopefully libertarian jurists and legal theorists will arise to hammer out the system of libertarian law in detail, for such a law code will be necessary to the truly successful functioning of what we may hope will be the libertarian society of the future.

The focus of this work is on the positive ethical theory of liberty and of the outlines of libertarian law; for such a discussion, there is no need for a detailed analysis or critique of the State.(...)"

domingo, 26 de Setembro de 2004

O bem comum

JF não são condomínios, mas o que impede de se aproximarem?

Bem comum é em larga medida constituído por actos de gestão sobre a propriedade comum - o que se trata é de aproximar ou até devolver essa propriedade comum aos seus naturais proprietários.

Suiços votam não

A propósito da votação dos Cantões pela manutenção dos critérios necessários para a aquisição de nacionalidade:

"(...) Less perfectly (and increasingly less so), this full-cost-principle of immigration is realized in Swiss immigration policy. In Switzerland immigration matters are decided on the local rather than federal government level, by the local owner-resident community in which the immigrant wants to reside. These owners are interested that the immigrant’s presence in their community increase rather than decrease their property values. In places as attractive as Switzerland, this typically means that the immigrant (or his employer) is expected to buy his way into a community, which often requires multimillion dollar donations.

Unfortunately, welfare states are not operated like factory towns or even Swiss communities. Under welfare-statist condition the immigrant employer must pay only a small fraction of the full costs associated with the immigrant’s presence."

NATURAL ORDER, THE STATE, AND THE IMMIGRATION PROBLEM
Hans-Hermann Hoppe*

Recorrendo ao Federalismo (sempre esquecido para as questões nacionais e só evocado para vender ideias de internacionalismo politico), cada localidade, possivelmente ao nivel da Junta de Freguesia, devia estabelecer os seus próprios critérios de elegibilidade para residência para quem não tem a nacionalidade, o que pode incluir, claro, não ter qualquer critério, ou obrigar à compra de propriedade, ou a responsabilizar o empregador como "tutor" (uma espécie de seguro da comunidade e que ao mesmo tempo responsabiliza o empregador pelo convite feito).

sexta-feira, 24 de Setembro de 2004

Bush Adviser Rove's Ties to Swift Boat Donor Perry Date to 1978

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- In 1994, when George W. Bush first ran for governor of Texas, Karl Rove was one of his chief strategists. Rove's friend, Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, contributed $26,100, campaign records show. Perry, 71, has been the largest single donor to Republicans in Texas since 1998, contributing $5.4 million, records show.

quarta-feira, 22 de Setembro de 2004

Benefícios Fiscais

Porque é que têm de acabar?

Primeiro acabem com a progressividade do imposto sobre rendimento depois podemos falar.

Comecem por introduzir uma Taxa Única de 20% (tendo em conta uma isenção ou escalão zero, ainda maior que a actual).

Melhor seria implementar um sistema de taxa única para o IRC, IVA e IRS, acabando com o jogo falicioso e cicular de à vez, subir uns e descer outros (na verdade, o sistema político acaba sempre no médio prazo, por subir todos) com argumentos teóricamente complexos e inconsistentes (próprios de teorias suspeitas) de que um imposto é mais gravoso que outro e etc e tal.

Quantos aos "simplificadores", talvez estes se esqueçam que a complexidade das leis fiscais e beneficios, têm a qualidade de descer impostos a quem já paga em termos absolutos muito mais que o resto da população.

Por favor, digam-me que tipo de produto e serviço é que é pago conforme o rendimento (não só proporcional, mas ainda por cima progressivo)? Em nenhuma ordem natural - o economia contratual - isso poderia acontecer.

Todos os produtos e serviços que consumimos têm por norma um preço fixo para todos os consumidores. Não será isto a igualdade própria de uma sociedade livre?

terça-feira, 21 de Setembro de 2004

"Where the Right Went Wrong"

No último livro de Patrick J. Buchanan:

"The neoconservatives are not really conservatives at all. They are imposters and opportunists. They were Leftists in the 1930s, New Deal and Great Society Democrats through the 1960s, and slid to the right and the Republicans after Nixon and Reagan began rolling up forty-nine state landslides. They defected from liberalism only when they saw conservativism in the ascendancy, and they rode the Reagan revolution into power. Their heroes -- Wilson, FDR, Dr. King -- are men of the Left. Their tracts denouncing rivals and critics as traitors, fascists, and anti-Semites come straight out of the hard Left. Their agenda -- endless struggle and war if necessary to impose secular democracy and social revolution on the Islamic world -- is neo-Jacobin, out of the French, not the American Revolution."

E algumas citações contidas no livro:

There's AEI's Michael Ledeen, who has written that "we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning withthe Big Three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips with the Saudis . . . . We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Even Saudia Arabia. . ."

Norman Podhoretz: "The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown . . . are not confined to . . . [Iraq, Iran, and North Korea]" but "should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as . . . the Saudi royal family" and "Egypt."

Podhoretz advocated starting what he calls "World War IV," where the U.S. will supposedly "topple five or six or seven more tyrannies . . . leading to some new species of an imperial mission for America . . ."

Um país, três sistemas

Parece-me uma boa ideia.

Onde é que estão os federalistas quando precisamos deles?

quinta-feira, 16 de Setembro de 2004

Referendos

A Constituição Europeia é um tratado e por isso não referendável?

Então, em teoria, um "tratado" que faça de Portugal por exemplo, parte de uma nova Federação Ibérica através da aprovação de uma Constituição Ibérica não é referendável porque é um tratado?

A resposta não depende da actual Constituição. As Constituições mudam-se, a melhor resposta é que deve ditar a solução.

E a pergunta deve ser: queremos que um referendo dite se integramos uma Constituição Europeia (ou qualquer outra) ou não?

Eu acho que sim mas só se existir um minimo de participação (sem a qual não seria aprovada de todo). Adicionalmente, apenas 2/3 de votos a favor da Constituição deve tornar a decisão vinculativa ou um dia paguem o preço de 50%+1 de um referendo local poder propor o separatismo.

Kosovo

Another Case of Mass Deception?

Published on Thursday, September 2, 2004 by the Globe and Mail / Canada
by Lawrence Martin

"Where are the bodies? Was the other big war of the last decade, Kosovo in 1999, triggered by bogus allegations as well? Another case of mass deception?

In Iraq, it's the missing mass weapons of destruction. In Kosovo, it's the missing mass graves.
In alleged ethnic cleansing exercises by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, as many as 100,000 to 200,000 civilians were said to have gone missing or been killed in Kosovo, many of them buried in mass graves. Members of a Canadian forensic team to the Serbian province have come forward to label the numbers nonsense. No mass graves, they say, and, on both the Albanian and Serb sides, only a few thousand dead. A mockery of the numbers used to justify the war.

U.S. defence secretary William Cohen was alleging that as many as 100,000 Albanian Kosovars had gone missing. Mr. Blair, in a preview of his comportment on Iraq, was crying horror upon horror. President Bill Clinton wanted to shift the focus off his domestic problems -- Monica Lewinsky etc. -- and was gung-ho for a NATO invasion.

Looking back a couple of years after the conflict, defence minister Art Eggleton acknowledged that the propaganda coming out of the Pentagon was extraordinary. But the Chrétien Liberals, on close terms with the Clinton Democrats, weren't about to buck the White House on Kosovo, as they would on Iraq. "

Withdraw From the Balkans! And End a Disastrous Intervention
(Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States.)

"(...)On the same day, two American "national security consultants" published an
opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune, claiming that the difference between a "success" in Bosnia and failure in Iraq was the insufficient number of troops for the latter. It is an utterly misplaced comparison; the occupation of Bosnia took place at the end of a brutal civil war, with the three sides hating each other more than they hated the foreigners. It does, however, provide an occasion to reflect on the alleged "success" of Imperial intervention in the Balkans, compared to the obvious failure of Iraq.

Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, with the vocal support of Germany, Austria, the Vatican, and somewhat less pronounced backing from the United States. Contrary to popular perception, the crumbling federal government did not try to crush the secession.
(...)
As the negotiations dragged on to no avail, Croatia's military was being armed and trained by the United States, as an
asset to be used in the Bosnian War. After several probing attacks, such as the Medak incident (1993), Croatian forces assaulted Serb zones in May and August 1995, in full sight of impotent UN troops. It was the largest single instance of ethnic cleansing in the modern Balkans wars, and it went completely unpunished.
(...)
Supported by the United States, Izetbegovic chose to declare Bosnian independence unilaterally, sparking a conflict first with the Serbs, then the Croats. In the resulting mayhem, no one was innocent.
(...)
In 1998, the U.S. intervened again, this time on the side of Albanian militants seeking to separate the province of Kosovo from Serbia and carve out an ethnically pure "
Greater Albania." After a staged massacre and an ultimatum designed to be rejected, NATO began bombing Serbia on March 23, 1999.

The attack was clearly illegal, and the attackers
knew it. But the bombing went on for 78 days, justified daily by the vilest lies from the NATO propaganda mill. In the end Belgrade backed down, signed an armistice, and allowed the NATO/KLA occupation of Kosovo. All of the accusations were proven false; there was no "genocide."

segunda-feira, 13 de Setembro de 2004

Nadando contra a Maré... Vermelha

Novo link: Nadando contra a Maré... Vermelha

Como é que poderemos conseguir um recuo significativo nos impostos?

Propor que a acção compulsória do Estado passe a concentrar a sua oferta de bens, serviços e redistribuição monetária nas pessoas e famílias mais desfavorecidas.

1. Segurança Social

Passa a oferecer (e a colectar apenas o necessário para):

a) Um subsídio de desemprego igual ao salário mínimo.
b) O "imposto" para pensão de reforma seria colectado de forma a assegurar apenas uma pensão de reforma igual ao salário mínimo.

Com esta alteração, o verdadeiro imposto da Segurança Social, poderia ser drásticamente reduzido, aumentando-se imediatamente de forma significativa o salário "líquido" de todos, passando a ser livre e voluntária a forma como as pessoas asseguram a sua poupança adicional.

Nota:

A pensão de reforma para os actuais contribuintes seria ajustado de forma a ter em conta um cálculo do que descontaram a mais que o necessário para assegurar esse patamar (o salário mínimo), tendo assim direito a uma pensão de reforma óbviamente tanto mais acima desse salário mínimo quanto maior e durante mais tempo foi esse "desconto para a segurança social" até ao momento.

2. Educação e Saúde

A oferta de Educação e Saúde estatal tendencialmente gratuito dirigido para quem tem baixos rendimentos (por exemplo, menores que duas vezes o salário mínimo).

Dedução à colecta das despesas de educação e saúde (incluindo seguros e planos de saúde).

Esta dedução devia ser feita trimestralmente "por conta" (aproveitando a noção inversa do pagamento por conta) pela declaração das despesas efectuadas. Assim, no caso de despesas de sáude especialmente onerosas (cirurgia, doenças graves) para quem não está isento nem tem seguros e planos de sáude aplicáveis, esta dedução trimestral por conta torna possível o seu acesso.

Com isto, seria ainda mais fácil proceder à descentralização e municipalização da Gestão da Educação e Saúde
3. A Taxa de Impostos Única

Para facilitar as escolhas democráticas entre diferentes propostas de colecta total de impostos (e não repetirmos o eterno jogo sempre falicioso de descidas de uns e subidas de outros):

Uma Taxa Única para o IRS, IRC e IVA, por exemplo de 20%, que seria disputada pelos diferentes partidos e programas eleitorais (uns 21% outros 19%, etc).

Com a introdução de uma taxa única para o IRS será de esperar que o nível de isenção de imposto seja aumentado significativamente para que a redução da colecta de IRS tenha um impacto real em todos os escalões de rendimento.

Outros impostos indirectos ficam de fora deste proposta breve (cuja melhor recomendação seria desaparecerem ou serem enquadráveis no IVA), mas uma parte significativa da colecta total do Estado ficaria bem mais fácil de ser decidida pelo processo democrático.

4. Municipalização

Os Municípios devem progressivamente passar a cobrar Taxas por serviços prestados, substituindo-se as transferências directas do Orçamento Geral do Estado.

Isto permitiria descer a Taxa de Impostos Única e introduzir a diferenciação de serviços prestados e taxas cobradas entre municípios.

domingo, 12 de Setembro de 2004

Mises e Oakeshott versus Friedman

The view that theorizing human action is a distinct activity from theorizing mechanicalrelationships among not- intelligent goings-on contradicts the popular notion that if anydiscipline is to be regarded as rigorous or scientific, it must deal solely with objectivelymeasurable quantities and must attempt to establish constant relationships between them.

Such relationships, according to this view, should yield predictions that can confirm orrefute theories built around them. (...)

As Friedman said of Mises:

"...his fundamental idea was that we knew things about "human action"… becausewe are human beings. As a result, he argued, we have absolutely certainknowledge of the motivations of human actions [Friedman misrepresents Miseshere: Mises contended that we have a priori knowledge of the postulates ofhuman action, not of the "motivations" of particular actions] and he maintainedthat we can derive substantive conclusions from that basic knowledge.

Facts,statistical or other evidence cannot, he argued, be used to test thoseconclusions…. Suppose two people who share von Mises's praxeological viewcome to contradictory conclusions about anything. How can they reconcile theirdifference? The only way they can do so is by a purely logical argument. One hasto say to the other, "You made a mistake in reasoning." And the other has to say,"No, you made a mistake in reasoning." Suppose neither believes he has made amistake in reasoning. There's only one thing left to do: fight. "(1991: 18)

But, as Peter Klein (e- mail, 5/21/2003) insightfully remarks:

You have to admire Friedman's chutzpah. As is painfully obvious from reviewingthe mainstream literature in almost any field of economics, there are assuredlymore disagreements among Friedmanite positivists about the interpretation of empirical data than among praxeologists about the conclusions of deductive reasoning. One could even say the following:

"Suppose two people who share Friedman's methodological views come tocontradictory conclusions about anything. How can they reconcile theirdifference? The only way they can do so is by appealing to the econometricevidence. One has to say to the other, 'You made a mistake in your empiricalanalysis.' And the other has to say, 'No, you made a mistake in your empiricalanalysis.' Suppose neither believes he has made a mistake in his empiricalanalysis. There's only one thing left to do: fight."
(...)

Both Mises and the Oakeshott held that mathematical approaches to the social sciencesare inherently limited and are not a replacement for an approach that takes into accountthe intelligent nature of human conduct. Since action is grounded in the meaning an agentassigns to her situation, and since meanings are inherently not open to measurement,there is no stable basis for the quantitative comparison of different actions.

Oakeshott (1975, p. 53) says:

"[A]n action is a chosen response to an understood contingent situation and isrelated to an imagined and wished- for outcome; that is, the spring of conduct is asituation in respect of its being recognized to contain a specific unacceptability."

As I understand Oakeshott, he is claiming that we cannot calculate the "utility" gained orthe "disutility" suffered as a result of an action, because every action is a response to aunique situation, every action attempts to address a unique unacceptability found in thatsituation, and every action achieves (or fails to achieve) a unique satisfaction.

(...)Without any means to make such quantitative distinctions, the social scientist cannotestablish the sort of constant relationships that form the basis for the physical sciences.

As Mises put s it:

"In the realm of physical and chemical events there exist (or, at least, it is generallyassumed that there exist) constant relations between magnitudes, and man iscapable of discovering these constants with a reasonable degree of precision bymeans of laboratory experiments. No such constant relations exist in the field ofhuman action outside of physical and chemical technology and therapeutics."([1949] 1998, p. 55)
(...)

Nardin (2001a) succinctly summarizes Oakeshott's analysis of statistical social science:

"Generalizations about how people usually behave are not scientific generalizations abouta truly time- independent class of phenomena; they are more or less well-disguiseddescriptions of customs specific to a particular historical situation."

Mises' comments on econometric studies echo the view of Oakeshott:

"If a statistician determines that a rise of 10 per cent in the supply of potatoes inAtlantis at a definite time was followed by a fall of 8 per cent in the price, he doesnot establish anything about what happened or may happen with a change in thesupply of potatoes in another country or at another time. He has not "measured"the "elasticity of demand" of potatoes. He has established a unique and individualhistorical fact. No intelligent man can doubt that the behavior of men with regardto potatoes, and every other commodity is variable. Different individuals valuethe same things in a different way, and valuations change with the sameindividuals with changing conditions." ([1949] 1998, pp. 55-56)

Oakeshott and Mises on Understanding Human Action by Gene Callahan (Mises Institute) 10/7/2003

sábado, 11 de Setembro de 2004

?

No Expresso: "Por cada três activos, há dois portugueses a receber pensões, rendimento mínimo ou subsídio de desemprego"

Mas é pior. Porque dos 3 que trabalham, fazem parte os funcionários públicos e equiparados que não pagam impostos e recebem sim impostos (o seu salário "líquido").

Numa sociedade livre teríamos:

Uns trabalham e pagam impostos residuais (o que levaria a que o rendimento suba 100% em média, mas para muitos, mais do que isso).

O desemprego não existe porque não existe nem salário minimo nem regulamentação de contratos estabelecidos entre "maiores e vacinados".

Muitos não trabalham e vivem da poupança acumulada e/ou na protecção da família ou comunidade, cuja poupança comum se preserva ao longo de gerações.

Em vez disso temos:

Uns trabalham e pagam 50% de impostos (muitos até mais).

Outros vivem de impostos (os tais 2 em cada 5, mas mais a parte dos 3 que faz parte do funcionalismo público).

O desemprego é estrutural por causa do salário mínimo e intromissões várias na liberdade individual.

Muitos não trabalham e recebem transferências de impostos de terceiros (ou seja, dos poucos que trabalham e são pagadores líquidos de impostos) e a família ou comunidade está desagregada (o imposto sobre património, a regulamentação das heranças, o estado social, assim o dita).

Números

Aviz: "CRISTÃOS. Num texto publicado na semana passada na Folha de São Paulo, Olavo de Carvalho chamava a atenção para um fenómeno curioso: o número de vítimas mortais, em todo o mundo, resultante das perseguições a cristãos em países muçulmanos."

Não li o artigo em questão mas lembro-me agora dos cristãos sérvios no Kosovo e os cristãos iraquianos que perderam a sua relativa tranquilidade.

Mas do lado árabe e muçulmano temos de nos lembrar dos civis iraquianos e afegãos mortos durante a sua libertação (+ de 10 000) e os militares iraquianos que morreram (+5 000). E as dezenas (centenas?) que morrem todas as semanas no Iraque e Afeganistão. Podemos ainda juntar os 4 ou 5 vezes mais palestinianos que israelitas que morrem nesta intifada.

Entretanto, ontem, no Editorial do Financial Times:

Time to consider Iraq withdrawal

"This week a macabre milestone was passed in Iraq. More than 1,000 American soldiers have now been killed since the US-led invasion of the country began nearly 18 months ago. The overwhelming majority lost their lives after President George W. Bush declared major combat operations over in his now infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo-opportunity in May last year.

In that time, an unknown number of mostly civilian Iraqis, certainly not less than 10,000 and possibly three times that number, have perished, and hundreds more are dying each week. After an invasion and occupation that promised them freedom, Iraqis have seen their security evaporate, their state smashed and their country fragment into a lawless archipelago ruled by militias, bandits and kidnappers."

Noutro sítio, o sufrágio universal mostra o seu melhor:

Three Years After 9/11: More than 40% of Americans Still Think Saddam Did It Media failure or willful public indifference to the truth? 'E & P' readers sound off and point fingers. By Greg Mitchell

A única organização humana que cresce com os seus próprios erros

Nota: e para acabar com esta série de postas relacionadas com a guerra:

Existe um "pro-war" cartaz que reza assim: "Excluding for ending slavery, fascim, nazism and communism... War has never solved anything"

O problema é que:

1) A Guerra entre Estados não foi feita para acabar com a escravatura mas sim para acabar com o Federalismo consentido pelos Estados, morreram 700 000 pessoas e o Sul foi literalmente destruído - ficará para sempre como um aviso aos federalistas europeus.

Como resultado da crescente centralização federal assim conseguida, passadas 3 décadas, é esse poder federal como a Constituição não o previa, que inicia a Guerra contra Espanha com que anexam Cuba e as Filipinas (onde primeiro apoiaram os rebeldes independentistas contra a Coroa Espanhola e acabam após a "libertação" a combatê-los - aos rebeldes - durante mais uns anos ("sound familiar?").

2) "fascism, nazism and communism": tudo se deve à Grande Guerra (que marcou o fim do Liberalismo Clássico) iniciada com grandes culpas para a Rùssia e França e acabada com a ajuda ingénua e desastrosa de Wilson: as monarquias continentais cairam (na Rússia, os comunistas tomam o poder prometendo a paz no meio de um regime moralmente e patrimonialmente falido com a guerra, cujas negociações de paz eram adiadas por insistência de Wilson), com a imposição de Versailles, as monarquias do Império Austro-Hungaro (e que equilibravam a influência da Prússia) e os vários germânicos desaparecem, sendo substituitos a seu tempo pelo fascismo e nazismo (neste caso, até por via democrática). O mesmo se observou em Itália e Espanha e Portugal (o único cuja queda da monarquia se tinha verificado uns anos antes.

Depois temos o fim do padrão ouro e a crise de 1929 (tudo resultado da guerra e suas consequências indirectas) e mais tarde a Segunda Guerra que marca a vitória de Estaline sobre metade da europa e o comunismo na Ásia (muito devido à insistência numa derrota total do Japão). Cinquenta anos de Guerra Fria se sucedem e comunismo e ditaduras militares são a realidade um pouco por todos o lado.

Conclusão: a Guerra tudo destrói - vidas, património, a ordem e evolução natural da sociedade civil e comunidades.

Todo o século 20 foi uma imensa tragédia apocaliptica devido aos erros, falhas de julgamento, ambição, ingenuidade, boas intenções das decisões centralizadas de uns poucos que compulsóriamente arrastaram toda a humanidade - tudo isso o devemos a essa grande instituição, a única organização humana que cresce com os seus próprios erros (na verdade, cresce tanto mais, quanto mais erros comete): o Estado.

Existirá alguma coisa neste início de século 21 que nos leve a pensar que se tenha aprendido alguma coisa?

Alexis de Tocqueville

...warned America in the early part of the nineteenth century that:

"No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country....

War does not always give over democratic communities to military government, but it must invariably and immeasurably increase the powers of civil government; it must almost compulsorily concentrate the direction of all men and the management of all things in the hands of the administration.

If it does not lead to despotism by sudden violence, it prepares men for it more gently by their habits. All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and the shortest means to accomplish it. This is the first axiom of the science."

[Both Porter and] Tocqueville are warning us that even “victorious” wars cause the loss of freedom due to the centralization of power into the federal government." A Century of War by John Denson

Benjamin Constant: Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments

Principles of Politics, first published in 1815, is a “microcosm of [Constant’s] whole political philosophy and an expression of his political experience,” says Nicholas Capaldi in his Introduction.

In Principles, Constant “explores many subjects: law, sovereignty, and representation; power and accountability; government, property and taxation; wealth and poverty; war, peace, and the maintenance of public order; and above all freedom, of the individual, of the press, and of religion. . . . Constant saw freedom as an organic phenomenon: to attack it in any particular way was to attack it generally.”

Benjamin Constant (1767–1830) was born in Switzerland and became one of France’s leading writers, as well as a journalist, philosopher, and politician. His colorful life included a formative stay at the University of Edinburgh; service at the court of Brunswick, Germany; election to the French Tribunate; and initial opposition and subsequent support for Napoleon, even the drafting of a constitution for the Hundred Days.

Constant wrote many books, essays, and pamphlets. His deepest conviction was that reform is hugely superior to revolution, both morally and politically.

Sir Isaiah Berlin called Constant “the most eloquent of all defenders of freedom and privacy” and believed to him we owe the notion of “negative liberty,” that is, what Biancamaria Fontana describes as “the protection of individual experience and choices from external interferences and constraints.” To Constant it was relatively unimportant whether liberty was ultimately grounded in religion or metaphysics—what mattered were the practical guarantees of practical freedom—“autonomy in all those aspects of life that could cause no harm to others or to society as a whole.”

Uma pequena citação bem actual: (Via MisesBlog):

"During the French Revolution a pretext for war hitherto unknown was invented, that of delivering nations from the yoke of their governments, which we took to be illegitimate and tyrannical. Under this pretext death and devastation were brought into places where men either lived peacefully under faulty institutions, ones nevertheless softened by time and habit, or had enjoyed for several centuries all the benefits of freedom.

A period forever shameful, in which we saw a perfidious government inscribe sacred words on its guilty standards, to trouble the peace, violate the independence, destroy the prosperity of its innocent neighbors, adding to the scandal of Europe by lying protestations of respect for the rights of man and of zeal for humanity.

The worst conquest is the hypocritical type, says Machiavelli, as if he had predicted our history.... To give a people freedom in spite of itself is only to give it slavery. Conquered nations can contract neither free spirits nor habits. Every society must repossess for itself rights which have been invaded, if it is worthy of owning them. Masters cannot impose freedom."

Citation: Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments, by Benjamin Constant, trans. Dennis O'Keefe (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2003), pp. 281.

A Century of War, by John Denson

"After World War I ended, and much like the regret expressed by Lincoln at the end of the Civil War, President Wilson looked back to the harm he had brought on America and saw part of the true nature of World War I. In an address at St. Louis, Missouri on September 5, 1919, President Wilson stated:

"Why, my fellow-citizens, is there any man here, or any woman—let me say, is there any child here, who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry?... This war, in its inception, was a commercial and industrial war. It was not a political war"

It is sad to contemplate the loss of liberty caused to Americans by the “victorious” wars we have fought when you look back and see that almost all of them were unnecessary to defend Americans or their freedom, and were largely economically instigated.(...)

It is not truly a study of history to speculate on what might have happened if America had not entered World War I, but here are some very reasonable, even probable, consequences if America had followed the advice of its Founders:

1. Almost certainly there would not have been a successful Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, giving communism a homeland from which to spread throughout the world.

2. A negotiated treaty between Germany and France and Great Britain, when all were wounded but undefeated, would have prevented the debacle of the Treaty of Versailles, the greatest single tragedy of World War I. Without America’s entry there would have been a treaty negotiated with co-equal partners, similar to the way the Congress of Vienna settled the Napoleonic Wars in 1815–16, with a defeated France still represented at the table by Tallyrand, and where a sincere effort was made to promote peace rather than cause a future war.

The Treaty of Versailles excluded Germany and Russia from the negotiations and declared Germany alone guilty of causing the war. It saddled her with tremendous payments for war damages and took away much of her territory.

The Treaty of Versailles paved the way for Hitler whose support came democratically from the German people who wanted to throw off the unfair Treaty. Without the rise of communism in Russia and Nazism in Germany, World War II probably would not have occurred.(...)In his excellent book entitled Leftism Revisited, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn reveals that President Wilson probably was unaware of the wisdom of Disraeli’s words:

The maintenance of the Austrian Empire is necessary to the independence and, if necessary, to the civilization and even to the liberties of Europe.”

The book points out that President Wilson had as one of his main foreign-policy representatives a confirmed socialist preacher by the name of Reverend George Davis Herron.

The Habsburg Monarchy petitioned Wilson to negotiate a separate peace treaty in February of 1918, before the war ended later in November and sent as its representative Professor Heinrich Lammasch to meet with the American representative Reverend Herron.

They spent two days together and Professor Lammasch revealed the plan to create a federated political body which was entirely in keeping with one of Wilson’s Fourteen Points; ie., that individual nations (ethnic groups) would be “accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.”

The book states: During the night he [Herron] began to wrestle with this “temptation,” as “Jacob wrestled with God near the Yabbok.”

By morning he knew that he had gained complete victory over himself; Lammasch had been nothing but an evil tempter.

No! The Habsburg Monarchy had to go because the Habsburgs ssuch were an obstacle to progress, democracy, and liberty. Had they remained in power the whole war would have been fought in vain.10

Of course, one of the winners of the war, Great Britain, was allowed to keep its monarchy."

sexta-feira, 10 de Setembro de 2004

Novos links

Novos links: Quid Rides? e Ondulados

Tempo de recordar

A Tragedy of Errors, by MICHAEL LIND
The Nation

Sobre o : "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror" by David Frum and Richard Perle
[from the February 23, 2004 issue]

"Neoconservatism--the term was Michael Harrington's--originated in the 1970s as a movement of anti-Soviet liberals and social democrats in the tradition of Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey and Henry ("Scoop") Jackson, many of whom preferred to call themselves "paleoliberals." While there was a pro-Israel wing, the movement's focus was on confrontation with the Soviet bloc abroad and on the defense of New Deal liberalism and color-blind liberal integrationism against rivals on the left at home.(...)

Nevertheless, the origins of their ideology on the left are still apparent. The fact that most of the younger neocons were never on the left is irrelevant; they are the intellectual (and, in the case of William Kristol and John Podhoretz, the literal) heirs of older ex-leftists. The idea that the United States and similar societies are dominated by a decadent, postbourgeois "new class" was developed by thinkers in the Trotskyist tradition like James Burnham and Max Schachtman, who influenced an older generation of neocons. The concept of the "global democratic revolution" has its origins in the Trotskyist Fourth International's vision of permanent revolution. The economic determinist idea that liberal democracy is an epiphenomenon of capitalism, promoted by neocons like Michael Novak, is simply Marxism with entrepreneurs substituted for proletarians as the heroic subjects of history.
(...)
A few years earlier in the Wall Street Journal, Irving's son William and David Brooks co-authored a similar call for a "national greatness conservatism" in which American patriotism is emptied of all content except for military crusades on behalf of democracy abroad.

As far as empire is concerned, William Kristol and Max Boot embrace the "e-word" while Frum and Perle disavow it. But if the nation has value only as the host or carrier of a potentially universal ideology, which must be spread abroad by force of arms and subversion, then the distinction between "national greatness" and "imperialism" disappears--in the case of American neoconservatism no less than in the comparable cases of Soviet Communism and Napoleonic liberalism.
(...)
If Frum and Perle are to be believed, a great number of US invasions and US-supported revolutions will be necessary to bring democracy to countries that now lack it: "Kofi Annan complained in July 2003 that democracy cannot be imposed by force. Really?" Annan is a better historian than Perle and Frum. The record is clear--most of the democratic transitions that have taken place in the world in the past two centuries have had nothing to do with foreign military intervention or military pressure, while most US military interventions abroad have left dictatorship, not democracy, in their wake. The two cases that neocons constantly return to, Germany and Japan, are among the few cases where democracy has been restored (not created ex nihilo) as the result of a US invasion. The Soviet bloc democratized itself from within in the 1990s(...).

In theory, neoconservative ideology is more compatible with Israeli post-Zionism than with either the Labour Zionist or Revisionist Zionist forms of Israeli ethnic nationalism. The neocons are always denouncing American "paleoconservatives" for claiming that US nationality must be founded on race (Caucasian) or religion (Christianity)--and yet they defend Israeli politicians and thinkers whose blood-and-soil nationalism is even less liberal than the "Buchananism" the neocons denounce in the US context.

In the pages of The Weekly Standard, David Brooks made the astonishing argument that the United States, a Lockean liberal democracy, must defend Israel, another Lockean liberal democracy, against illiberal Palestinian nationalism. The idea that Israeli identity has nothing to do with blood-and-soil nationalism might hearten post-Zionist proponents of Israel as "a state of all its citizens" (not to mention Israel's 1 million Palestinian citizens) but will come as news to Labour Zionists as well as to the Likud, National Religious and Shas parties in Sharon's governing coalition. (...)

The influence of Leo Strauss's teachings about the need for the "philosophers" to conceal the truth from the masses can be exaggerated. The conviction on the part of neocons of their own rectitude may be sufficient, in their minds, to justify deception of the public in matters like Iraq's nonexistent threat to the United States.

After all, they are waging World War IV against--well, against whomever--a revived Russia this year, China the next, and the next year a vague "Islamist" threat that somehow contains anti-Islamist Baathists and secular Palestinians along with Osama bin Laden. In their own minds, the neocons are Churchillian figures, a heroic minority who, as they battle a generic "totalitarianism" of which radical Islam is the latest manifestation, are handicapped by cowardly establishment "appeasers" and purveyors of a decadent "adversary culture" among the "new class" in the academy and the media. I don't doubt that many leading neocons sincerely wanted to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the Iraqi masses would embrace Ahmad Chalabi as their de Gaulle, that there would be a democratic domino effect in the Middle East, bringing pro-Israel and pro-American secularists to power.

Now that they have been proven wrong, at enormous cost in American and Iraqi life, they are disoriented. Instead of acknowledging and taking responsibility for their catastrophic failure, they are desperately trying to avoid blame.

Unfortunately for them, a political ideology can fail in the real world only so many times before being completely discredited.

For at least two decades, in foreign policy the neocons have been wrong about everything.

When the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse, the hawks of Team B and the Committee on the Present Danger declared that it was on the verge of world domination. In the 1990s they exaggerated the power and threat of China, once again putting ideology ahead of the sober analysis of career military and intelligence experts. The neocons were so obsessed with Saddam Hussein and Yasir Arafat that they missed the growing threat of Al Qaeda. After 9/11 they pushed the irrelevant panaceas of preventive war and missile defense as solutions to the problems of hijackers and suicide bombers.

They said Saddam had WMDs. He didn't. They said he was in league with Osama bin Laden. He wasn't. They predicted that no major postwar insurgency in Iraq would occur. It did. They said there would be a wave of pro-Americanism in the Middle East and the world if the United States acted boldly and unilaterally. Instead, there was a regional and global wave of anti-Americanism.

David Brooks and his colleagues in the neocon press are half right. There is no neocon network of scheming masterminds--only a network of scheming blunderers. As a result of their own amateurism and incompetence, the neoconservatives have humiliated themselves.

If they now claim that they never existed--well, you can hardly blame them, can "you?

Kurdish Leader Ups The Ante Over Disputed Iraqi City

Iraq's Kurds are ready to fight to preserve the identity of the ethnically-divided and oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, one of their historical leaders told AFP Thursday."Kirkuk is the heart of Kurdistan and we ready to wage a war in order to preserve its identity and to sacrifice ourselves for what Iraqi Kurds have already achieved," said Massud Barzani.

Turkey moved against the Kurdish separatist rebels in Northern Iraq today, killing eleven PKK rebels. Two Turks were killed in the action.

Turkey has long threatened to take out the PKK themselves, after it became clear that American promises to "deal with" the rebels wereall talk and no action. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul reiterated a call for the United States to take action against Turkish Kurdish rebel bases across the border in Iraq.

Moscovo Ataca EUA e Londres por Acolherem Exilados Tchetchenos

"Um dia depois de se ter reservado o direito de lançar ataques preventivos a terroristas em qualquer parte do mundo, a Rússia atacou ontem os países ocidentais, a começar pelos EUA e pela Grã-Bretanha, que dizem combater o terrorismo enquanto dão asilo a tchetchenos proscritos por Moscovo. "

quinta-feira, 9 de Setembro de 2004

A desordem internacional à vista

Rússia Ameaça Liquidar Terroristas "por Todo o Mundo"

"A Rússia ameaçou ontem atacar "bases terroristas" em qualquer parte do mundo, ao mesmo tempo que ofereceu um prémio de 10 milhões de dólares a quem der informações que permitam "neutralizar" os líderes independentistas tchetchenos Aslan Maskhadov e Chamil Bassaiev.

"Vamos tomar todas as medidas para liquidar bases terroristas em qualquer região do mundo", anunciou o general Iuri Baluevski, chefe do Estado-Maior general das Forças Armadas russas. "Mas isso não significa que vamos lançar ataques nucleares", esclareceu."

Nota: o legado das campanhas do Afeganistão e Iraque: qualquer país irá reivindicar as suas próprias razões de segurança para atacar em qualquer lugar e quem sabe proceder à sua prórpia mudança de regime ("Taiwain"? Georgia?).

Recorde-se que a Grande Guerra começou porque a Aústria na sequência de um atentado terrorista fez um ultimatum à Sérvia. Depois, o "sagrado" sistema de alianças tão defendido por muitos mas que potencia que qualquer conflito local se transforme numa guerra global resultou em que os "aliados" fizeram um guerra que destruiu tudo e todos (menos os EUA) no lado de um estado "terrorista".


Gostei particularmente do "Mas isso não significa que vamos lançar ataques nucleares" que tem tanta capacidade de nos sossegar como o célebre "I´m not a crook" the Richard Nixon.

O Wa(ll)r Street Journal está chateado com os Conservadores Ingleses

"Contrary to [Times Literary Supplement editor Peter] Stothard's contention that Republican displeasure is being wrongly directed at Conservative leader Michael Howard because he is simply doing his job as Her Majesty's Leader of the Opposition, American conservatives are furious with their erstwhile cousins for routinely engaging in cheap anti-American opportunism. Conservative magazines like the Spectator routinely engage in the most base anti-American slurs, and Conservative members of Parliament regularly make statements that would find a comfortable home in any Michael Moore 'documentary.'

"For example, during the battle between Marines and Islamic fascists in Fallujah, Conservative member of Parliament Sir Peter Tabsell asked, 'Does the prime minister support the murder or mutilation of hundreds of women and children in Fallujah as an appropriate response to the savage murder of four American contractors?' Similar ridiculous and shameful statements from British Conservatives can be found wherever one looks, be it the Spectator, Conservative Party conferences or even Mr. Stothard's own Times Literary Supplement.

"In America, Mr. Stothard, we judge our friends by their actions when the pressure is on. The Conservatives have been judged and have been found wanting by their former colleagues on this side of the ocean. When the U.S. most needed its friends and allies by its side, the Tories shamefully fled the scene." Via LRC Blog.

quarta-feira, 8 de Setembro de 2004

Richard Perle e Lord Black

The Spectator: It is now up to Lord Black to prove his innocence to the rest of the world

The report alleges that ‘the aggregate cash taken by Hollinger’s former chief executive officer, Conrad M. Black, and its former chief operating officer, F. David Radler, and their associates, represented 95.2 per cent of Hollinger’s entire adjusted net income during 1997–2003’. Wow! (Hollinger International directly controlled the Telegraph Group until it recently sold it to the Barclay brothers.) To trouser 95 per cent of a company’s profits is not just an example of monumental greed but also an act of madness. For how could they think that they would continue to get away with it? This is what strikes me most about this report, if it is true: the utter insanity of Lord and Lady Black.(...)

The Blacks — and perhaps Lady Black in particular — were in love with conspicuous consumption. They needed to live like the richest of American billionaires, and the income they derived legitimately from Hollinger, though very large, appears not to have been enough for them to do this. For all his professed love of Britain, Lord Black emerges as a strikingly un-English figure. I do not mean that there are no rich English crooks, but they tend, particularly if they aspire to social respectability as Lord Black did, to understand the value of restraint. Lord Black also latterly turned the Daily Telegraph — again partly under the influence of his wife? — into a raucous neoconservative organ which often sounded as though it had been edited in the United States.

NYT: Perle Asserts Hollinger's Conrad Black Misled Him

Mr. Perle, a top Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, wielded considerable influence in foreign-policy circles as recently as 2002 as an intellectual parent to the neoconservatives. He was named to the Hollinger board in 1994, joining other like-minded men selected by Lord Black, a self-made businessman from Canada who surrounded himself with conservative thinkers. He particularly did that at Hollinger, a global media company whose holdings at the time included The Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post, The Sunday and Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald.


But the relationship between the two men was particularly special, friends and Hollinger officials recall. Lord Black approved plans that ultimately earned Mr. Perle more than $5 million - including a bonus formula that rewarded Mr. Perle for the successful investments he placed on behalf of a subsidiary of Hollinger but did not subtract for the losers. Mr. Perle served on a three-member executive committee of the board headed by Lord Black. The two men socialized frequently and traveled together extensively on the company jet, once going to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

Even so, by 2002, Lord Black was complaining in internal company messages about Mr. Perle. Now, their relationship, which has come under scrutiny by federal regulators and investors, has decidedly changed.

In the face of federal investigations and a scathing internal report for Hollinger by Richard C. Breeden, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Perle has broken ranks and turned on Lord Black. (...)"

O Aprendiz

Novo link: O Aprendiz

terça-feira, 7 de Setembro de 2004

Cada um com a sua mania

Nada me dá maior gozo que observar filo-neo-liberais-escola-de-chicago-e-a-sua-fé-em números-e-matemática-que-nada-provam-apenas-descrevem-e-mais-o-seu-jeito-muito-especial-de fazer-o-Estado-recuar-fazendo-o-crescer-em-novas-frentes-e-ainda-as-suas-inconsistências-crónicas a tentar parodiar a Escola Austríaca.

China to Let Individuals Trade in Gold

China's gold-crazed masses will be allowed to trade in the precious metal under reforms that will upgrade trading on the country's nascent market, state media reported Tuesday. Trading in gold will provide another choice for individual investors who keep their money stashed in bank accounts due to a lack of desirable investment options, the official Xinhua News Agency cited the central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, as saying. Trading by individual investors would unlock some of the 1.2 trillion yuan (US$145 billion; euro 119 billion) now kept idle in bank savings accounts, Zhou said. "China will speed up the opening of its gold market to bring gold exchanges more in line with international practice," Zhou was cited as telling an industry conference in Shanghai. "China's gold market will eventually become one inseparable part of the international gold market." Via Forbes

Pensamento do dia

Let My People Go: "...wouldn't Moses be considered something of a terrorist for his role in unleashing deadly plagues against the lawful rule of Pharoah?"

segunda-feira, 6 de Setembro de 2004

O Purgatório

Novo link: O Purgatório

Chechnya: What drives the separatists to commit such terrible outrages?

"(...)The current conflict in Chechnya goes back to the fall of 1991, when the tiny republic in the Russian Caucasus declared independence. It wasn't a crazy thing to do. The Soviet Union, which once seemed indestructible, was falling apart (and collapsed completely by the end of the year). Russia itself had a convoluted structure, with 89 federation members, each belonging to one of five categories (region, autonomous region, ethnic republic, province, and two special-status cities) with different structures and rights within the federation. The Russian Constitution recognizes the right of federation members to secede—and Chechnya tried to claim this right.

The Chechens' desire was perfectly understandable. As an ethnic group, Chechens had been mistreated by the Soviet regime, and the Russian empire before it, perhaps worse than anyone else. In 1944, the Chechens, along with several other ethnic groups, were accused of having collaborated with the Nazis and deported to Siberia. Their collective guilt established by the order of Stalin, on Feb. 23, 1944, more than half a million Chechens were forcibly herded onto cattle cars and sent to Western Siberia. As many as half died en route, and uncounted others perished in the harsh Siberian winter; the exiles were literally dumped in the open snowy fields and left to fend for themselves.

The Chechens were not allowed to return home until 1976. So by the time of perestroika, virtually all Chechen adults were people born in Siberian exile. No wonder they didn't want to live side by side with the Russians, who had mangled their lives. The last straw came in August 1991, when, during the failed hard-line communist coup, rumors spread that another deportation was in the works. Chechens overthrew their local, Soviet-appointed leader, and elected a new president on a nationalist platform.

Russia had no intention of recognizing Chechen independence. The Kremlin's fears were understandable: With the Soviet Union crumbling, there was no reason the shaky Russian federation couldn't follow. Granting independence to one region could set off a chain reaction. What's more, an oil pipeline went through Chechnya, and a small amount of oil was produced in the republic itself, so losing Chechnya could have meant significant financial loss for Russia. President Boris Yeltsin declined even to negotiate with the Chechen separatists—a traditional Russian disdain for this Muslim people no doubt played a role in his decision—and simply let the problem fester for three years.(...)"

domingo, 5 de Setembro de 2004

The Case for a Genuine Gold Dollar

"(...) During and after World War II, the inflationary pyramiding directed by the Federal Reserve became ever more top-heavy, and a return to a $35-an-ounce dollar would have risked a massive deflationary contraction of money. For that reason, such dissident members of the Economists' National Committee as Henry Hazlitt, and other economists such as Michael Angelo Heilperin, Jacques Rueff, and Ludwig von Mises, began calling for return to gold at a "price" much higher than $35.

These dissidents were virtually all in the Austrian tradition, and the three names in the text were all either students or followers of Ludwig von Mises.

In the light of later developments in the gold market, it is amusing to note that the Rueff-Hazlitt proposals for a gold dollar at $70 were scorned by virtually all economists as absurdly high, and that before 1968, monetarists and Keynesians alike were unanimous in predicting that if ever the dollar were cut loose from gold, the gold price would fall precipitately to its nonmonetary level, then estimated at approximately $9 per ounce. It is equally amusing to consider that most of these economists would still subscribe to the motto that "science is prediction."



Protestants and Catholics: Luther, Calvin, and state absolutism

Capítulo 5 (depois do quarto dedicado aos "scholastics" do século 16: "Cardeal Cajetan: liberal Thomist", "The School of Salamanca", o jesuita "Juan de Mariana", etc) em "Economic Thought before Adam Smith - an Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought", Murray N. Rothbard, dedicado a "to my mentors, Ludwig von Mises and Joseph Dorfman" (obra com 556 páginas que derrubou o mito da ciência economica como tendo começado com Adam Smith, no final afirma mesmo que onde Adam Smith foi original estava errado, e onde estava certo limitou-se a usar o que já estava construído e até a plagiar. Rothbard como sempre, em todos as matérias e domínios contribuiu para ser excluido do mainstream, neste caso o académico, a favor daquilo que ele pensa ser a descoberta da verdade).

"(...) We have seen that the Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth century had to carry on a two-front intellectual war on behalf of scholasticism and natural law: against Protestants and crypto-Protestants, and also against secularist apologists for an absolute state. These latter two seemingly contrasting groups were closer than merely having the same enemy. In many ways, they were twins and not simply fortuitous allies.

Despite their many differences, Martin Luther (1483—1546), son of a Ger­man miner, and John Calvin (born Jean Cauvin, of which Calvin is the Latinized name) (1509—64), son of a French attorney and leading town offi­cial, whose new religious sects between them swept northern Europe, agreed on some crucial fundamentals.(…)

If reason cannot be used to frame an ethic, this means that Luther and Calvin had to, in essence, throw out natural law, and in doing so, they jettisoned the basic criteria developed over the centuries by which to criticize the despotic actions of the state. Indeed, Luther and Calvin, relying on isolated Biblical passages rather than on an integrated philosophic tradition, opined that the powers that be are ordained of God, and that therefore the king, no matter how tyrannical, is divinely appointed and must always be obeyed.

This doctrine, of course, played into the hands of the rising absolute monarchs and their theoreticians. Whether Catholic or Protestant, these secu­larists pushed their religion to the background of life; socially and politically they held, as we shall see below, that the state and its ruler are absolute, that the ruler must seek to preserve and expand his power, and that his dictates must be obeyed. It is therefore the early Jesuits of the Counter-Reformation who saw and analysed the crucial link between the Protestant leaders and such amoralist secularists as Niccolo Machiavelli. As Professor Skinner writes:

The early Jesuit theorists clearly recognized the pivotal point at which the politi­cal theories of Luther and Machiavelli may be said to converge: both of them were equally concerned, for their own very different reasons, to reject the idea of the law of nature as an appropriate moral basis for political life. It is in conse­quence in the works of the early Jesuits that we first encounter the familiar coupling of Luther and Machiavelli as the two founding fathers of the impious modern State.’

Moreover, Luther had to rely for the spread of his religion on the German and other European monarchs; his preaching of all-out obedience to the ruler was reinforced by this practical concern. In addition, the secular princes themselves had a juicy economic motive for becoming Protestant: the confis­cation of the often wealthy monasteries and other Church property. Underly­ing at least part of the motives of the monarchy and nobility of the new Protestant states was the lure of greed-and-grab. Thus, when Gustav Vasa, king of Sweden, became a Lutheran in 1524, he immediately transferred the Church tithes into taxes going to the Crown, and three years later he confis­cated the entire property of the Catholic Church. Similarly, in Denmark the newly Lutheran kings seized the monastic lands, and confiscated the lands and temporal powers of the Catholic bishops. In Germany Albert of Hohenzollern accompanied his Lutheran conversion by seizing the lands of the Catholic Teutonic knights, while Philip of Hesse grabbed all the monastic lands in his state, much of the proceeds going into his own personal coffers.

In addition to grabbing the lands and revenues, the monarchs in each of the lands seized control of the Church itself, and converted the Lutheran Church into a state-run Church, to the plaudits of Martin Luther and his disciples, who championed the idea of a state-dominated Church. In the city of Geneva, John Calvin and his disciples imposed a totalitarian theocracy for a time, but this Church-run state proved to be an aberration in mainstream Calvinism, which triumphed in Scotland, Holland and Switzerland, and had considerable influence in France and England.

An outstanding example of a state-run Church as a motive for Reformation was the establishment of the Anglican Church in England. The defection from Catholicism of Henry Vifi was accompanied by the confiscation of the monasteries, and the parcelling out of these lands — either by gift or by sale at low cost — to favoured groups of nobles and gentry. About two thousand monks and nuns throughout England, as well as about eight thousand labour­ers in the monasteries, were thus dispossessed, for the benefit of a new class of large landholders beholden to the Crown and not likely to permit any return to a Roman Catholic monarchy in Britain.


O que Kerry disse em Abril de 1971

Não faço a defesa de Kerry, mas estranho (como em muitos outros aspectos) uma direita a enveredar pelo descrédito da instituição das medalhas militares. Pelo menos Kerry teve no Vietname, coisa que não pode ser dita por muitos dos seus opositores que decidem sobre acções militares que nada têm que ver com a defesa territorial dos EUA, e tirou as conclusões certas sobre uma guerra que se provou inútil e trágica (teve na provável origem da queda do Príncipe do Cambodja na sequência do qual se deu o genocídio que só parou com a invasão do Cambodja pelos ... Vietcongs).

Cometeu excessos na sua crítica? talvez sim talvez não, mas e os excessos ideológicos de juventude de uma boa parte dos fundadores neoconservadores vindos do trotskismo? O que sei é que coisas certas podem ser ditas por quem diz outras erradas. E vice-versa.

"An excerpt from his Senate statement for Vietnam Veterans Against the War on April 22, 1971.:

"(...)In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to use the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

We are probably much more angry than that and I don't want to go into the foreign policy aspects because I am outclassed here.


I know that all of you talk about every possible alternative of getting out of Vietnam. We understand that. We know you have considered the seriousness of the aspects to the utmost level and I am not going to try to dwell on that, but I want to relate to you the feeling that many of the men who have returned to this country express because we are probably angriest about all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against communism.

What Was Found and Learned in Vietnam

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. (...)

We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties.

We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Vietcong.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. (...)

We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals. (...)

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of Vietnamizing the Vietnamese ...

Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake.

Someone has to die so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

Público:

Cresce Escândalo "Franklingate" Sexta-feira, 03 de Setembro de 2004

O FBI tem estado a investigar, nos últimos dois anos, o maior "lobby" judaico nos EUA, American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), para averiguar se os seus membros passaram informações classificadas ao Estado judaico. O "escândalo Franklingate", envolvendo Larry Franklin, principal especialista em Irão do Pentágono, terá sido uma "manobra de diversão", informou o diário israelita "Ma'ariv". A investigação de contra-espionagem do FBI centra-se numa possível transferência de dados confidenciais muito mais lata do que a alegada transmissão a Israel, por parte de Franklin, de uma directiva presidencial americana sobre Teerão.

O jornal "Asia Times" vai mais longe, ao revelar que a investigação do FBI abrange também destacados neoconservadores americanos (Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith e Richard Perle), que terão ajudado Israel a adquirir, modificar e vender (à Rússia, China e mercado negro) alta tecnologia militar dos EUA. (Ver http://www.asiatimes.com)

Haaretz:

FBI probes Jewish sway on Bush government
By Nathan Guttman

WASHINGTON - The FBI investigation into the Pentagon mole affair has expanded beyond data analyst Larry Franklin's immediate circle to encompass the entire issue of Jewish influence on the neoconservative part of the administration.

The FBI queries have recently been focusing on a number of officials, all from the neoconservative wing, who had access to the debates on Iranian affairs, the Washington Post reported yesterday.The officials include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; Pentagon adviser Richard Perle; adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, David Wormser; and Iran specialist Harold Rhode, all of them Jews.

The Washington Post reported that FBI people recently spoke to administration officials and Middle East experts to sound them out on the suspicion that senior officials funneled secret material to Israel. They asked each official whether he believes that a certain group of people could spy for Israel and transfer secret information.The investigation now appears to center on the claim made by the opponents of the neoconservatives in the administration - that the latter are responsible for the U.S. Middle East policy and that they are suspected of bias in favor of Israel's interests.