Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the tag “freedom is moral”

“Magic without wizards”, or, why is your favorite bread on the shelf when you want it?

Consider merely the way that your favorite bread is always available, usually from many bakeries. And at the time you want. The bakery doesn’t know whether you will stop in on your way to work, during lunch, or after having dinner.

How can it be that several bakeries know to have your choice of bread available, whether sourdough loafs, whole wheat biscuits, rye rolls, croissants, or cranberry bagels? How did they know to order enough yeast, oil, and flour? How did they know what mix to bake before the sun came up?

How did the wholesalers know enough to deliver the right amount of flour to all the pizzerias, bakeries, and pastry shops?

How did the farmers know enough to plant the right amount of wheat, oats, barley, and rye last spring to harvest enough this fall to satisfy all those bakers?

Hmm. What could be getting all those people working together to make sure my favorite and your favorite bread is available when you or I want it?

Ponder these and many more questions just in terms of having bread on the shelf in this video, called “It’s a wonderful loaf:”

 

 

The answer of how all that happens is readily available for all who want to find it.

Read more…

Why I am so optimistic – 3

The future is so bright we need sunglasses. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The future is so bright we need sunglasses. Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

The number of people working in manufacturing has been declining for many years. Those job losses will continue at the same time as technology disrupts other industries causing the loss of more jobs.

This is not a new concept. Technological advances have devastated farm employment over the last 150 years.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

Prof. Thomas Tunstall pondered Where the New Jobs Will Come From. Sub headline on his 11/4/15 article said:

In 2007 iPhone application developers didn’t exist. By 2011 Apple had $15 billion in mobile-app revenues.

Consider the percentage of the population employed in agriculture over time: Read more…

Why I am so optimistic – 2

200 years ago subsistence agriculture was the norm across the planet. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

200 years ago brutal poverty was the norm across the planet. Not so today. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Previously mentioned when I look at long-term economic trends I am incredibly optimistic. When I look at the headlines this morning or news from the political world, I am very discouraged.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

To see one illustration of why I am so optimistic for the long-term, check out a column by Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: Actually, things are pretty good / Free markets and free inquiry have changed the historic ‘norms’ of poverty and violence.

Earlier post summarized in one paragraph what caused this radical improvement.

Here are a final two points from the article I’d like to highlight:

Second, it is possible for us collectively to turn back history.

Read more…

Why I am so optimistic – 1

200 years ago subsistence agriculture was the norm across the planet. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

200 years ago brutal poverty was the norm across the planet. Not so today. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

When I look at the political news or any news in general I get very pessimistic about our future.

In contrast, when I look at the amazing things happening beyond the headlines in today’s newspaper I feel incredibly optimistic.

Consider that private companies are developing the technology for space exploration. Consider the energy revolution created by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Consider radical changes in technology that are making so many things easier, faster, and cheaper. Consider that anyone that wants to do so can publish their own book, distribute their own music, or create a feature movie.

As a tiny illustration, look at my company and pastimes. Technology allows me to run a high quality CPA practice without any staff. In my spare time I am a publisher and journalist. Anyone in Europe or North America or most of Asia could easily do the same and at minimal cost.

(Cross post from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

When I look at long-term economic trends I am incredibly optimistic.

For yet one more explanation of why that is the case, consider a column by Glenn Reynolds at USA Today: Actually, things are pretty good / Free markets and free inquiry have changed the historic ‘norms’ of poverty and violence.

Until relatively recently, an illness-filled short life of dirt-eating poverty was the normal condition for practically everybody on the planet. In the last 100 or 200 years life has gotten radically better for practically everyone.

Read more…

Do you really want to give up your freedom and become a serf?

What could possibly go wrong with giving a leader the power to fix all our problems? There is a great chance said leader will use that power to force people to fix things. You could wind up being told in microscopic detail every single thing you can do.

That would merely cost you your freedom and make you a serf.

In musical terms, that might be called, oh, perhaps something like Serfdom USA:

Read more…

More comments from winner of this year’s Nobel award in economics

Cover of Prof. Deaton's book, used under fair use, courtesy of Amazon.com

Cover of Prof. Deaton’s book, used under fair use for this review, courtesy of Amazon.com

Prof. Angus Deaton won the 2015 Nobel award in economics. Mentioned this earlier.

His contribution to expanding the frontier of economics knowledge is to study development and poverty from the consumption side instead of income side. This approach looks at what can people buy instead of what income they have.

Fun article talking about some of his ideas was in the Financial Times on October 12: Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton shares 3 big ideas.

Inequality

Read more…

Fort Union Trading Post brochure shows the beauty of trade

Photo by James Ulvog.

Photo by James Ulvog.

During our September vacation in North Dakota, we were able to visit Fort Union Trading Post and Fort Buford. Both were a lot of fun to see.

The brochure produced by the National Park Service for the Fort Union Trading Post national historic site 25 miles southwest of Williston has lots of fun comments. I want to focus on the wages at the time and the wonderful beauty of free trade.

Read more…

To sort through the question of how to share economic and health progress with everyone, check out a book from the winner of this year’s Nobel award in economics

Cover of Prof. Deaton's book, used under fair use, courtesy of Amazon.com

Cover of Prof. Deaton’s book, used under fair use for this review, courtesy of Amazon.com

Why have we seen such dramatic improvement in average wealth and average life expectancy everywhere in the last 100 or 200 years? What has led to a radical reduction in the number of people living in dirt-eating poverty in the last 50 years?

Over the last few years I have focused a lot of my reading on economics and history trying to figure out the answers to those questions. Why?

If we figure out the answer to those questions we can continue in the same direction. If we sort out how we got here, we can share that strategy with those who have not shared in the progress. If you want a different phrasing, we can radically narrow economic inequality within countries and between countries if we can answer those questions. We can help get even more people out of dirt-eating poverty.

(Cross posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.) Read more…

Do you want to help lift another billion people out of dirt eating poverty or do you want to feel good about yourself?

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit on 9/24:

If your goal is to lift people from poverty, capitalism does what nothing else does. So, if that’s your goal, you should support capitalism.

On the other hand, if your goal is to feel good about yourself,  then choose another economic system.

Help people get out of poverty or feel good about yourself – economic policies and positions tend to do one or the other, not both. Which do you choose?

The source of wealth, as explained by two musicians.

Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan explain where jobs, growth, prosperity, and wealth come from.

Hint: it isn’t from government.

“A Business Lesson by Frank Zappa”

 

(Title: A Business Lesson By Frank Zappa – youtube name in case link fails: TWXUatVuxQg )

(Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWXUatVuxQg )

He puts out $250,000 of his own money to get a tour ready. He takes all that risk expecting it will pay off later. Here’s the deal: Read more…

“I, Egg”, or, how many millions of people have to cooperate for you to boil one egg?

Check out Exxon-Mobil’s commercial. Try to take a completely wild guess how many people are involved in getting one egg to your house and the number of people and millions of dollars of investment needed to get a bit of natural gas to the stove:

 

Read more…

In addition to gracious help from Indians, what moved the Pilgrims from starving to thriving?

The first winter for the Pilgrims was terrible. Between starvation, pneumonia, and tuberculosis, about half died.

The second winter was terrible, again with little food. Those who survived the first two winters only did so by the goodness of the Native Americans who graciously shared their food.

The third winter was far better, with plenty of food. In a few years, there was enough abundance that the Pilgrims had paid off their debt to those who financed their trip. They were alive, thriving, and free of debt.

Those are a few highlights of the Pilgrims’ story told by Karl Denninger in his article from 2006, which is reposted at Market-Ticker:  The Truth About Thanksgiving.

What caused the change from starving to thriving is the part of the story I never heard growing up.

Read more…

Want to improve the lives of people at the bottom? Then provide economic freedom.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Freedom is Moral.)

“My family and I have succeeded by following the path to freedom. But that path is on the verge of vanishing. What we’re starting to see here in America now is a growth in the size and the scope of government that is now starting to look like the governments that we left behind.”

Here is how to lift people up the economic ladder:

Advancing economic freedom is the best way to improve human well-being, especially those at the bottom.

That’s the path to moving out of poverty and economic success. Check out this video from LIBRE Initiative:

Read more…

Under what economic model did the pilgrims almost starve? What different economic model allowed them to thrive?

Here’s the arrangement the Pilgrims used when they first landed:

“Although they planted household gardens almost from the start, they collectivized initial field and livestock operations. The settlers had some agricultural successes, but they were unable to grow corn in their common field. Within six months of reaching Plymouth, almost one-half of the population had perished from disease.

That’s a quote from Professor Robert Ellickson in Prof. Don Boudreaux’s article The Pilgrims’ economic progress.

A collectivized farming system didn’t work too well.  Starvation was the result.

So, they changed their plans: Read more…

How to guarantee shortages – make the price signal illegal

New Jersey has apparently made supply and demand illegal. The power of the state will hammer anyone who charges more than the state feels is reasonable by their standards. See Price gouging complaints in New Jersey as merely one report on the topic.

Making it illegal to sell stuff at the market price guarantees the shortages will get worse. Why?

People will panic-buy things they don’t need, retailers may not be able to get replacement stock, and some retailers may have to close their doors when they run out of stuff. 

As a natural and logical result, other people who really need something will find only bare shelves.

But it sure feels good to rant against ‘price gouging’.  Makes for great sound bites on TV.

On the other hand, if you let prices rise, the price signal will allocate the scarce goods to people who really need them. Why?

Read more…

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