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In peace and liberty,
I’ve just published an article on Mises.org entitled:
The Death of the Celtic Tiger
I’m currently reading “For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilisation” by Charles Adams and I came across a fascinating description of tax theory during the time of Louis 16th in France. I quote:
Economists in the ancien régime believed that the best medicine to cure poverty was heavy taxation. Indeed, the poorer a region was the heavier it should be taxed. Increased taxation, said these experts, would increase productivity and benefit everyone; consequently, taxes were the appropriate tool to combat poverty.
The poor were like grass– the more they were cut down, the stronger they would become.
Adams is definitely not a libertarian but here he lays out the retarded philosophy that has plagued man since time immemorial, that taxes are a good thing.
Incidentally, the only way to avoid taxes was to become a nobleman by issue of the King or work for the State. Noblemen despised work, as all good aristocrats do. I find this outlook on life compelling when one considers the lens from which Marx, the wealthy landed aristocrat, looked at the world and how much he despised and refused to work for a living, thinking it was beneath him. As has been pointed out before, the intellectuals of today have a lot in common with the aristocracy of 300 years ago: they love the State for the privileges it grants them but they also despise work.
I’ll revisit this in another post once I’ve finished the book but Adams demonstrates how the feudal system resulted from the savage taxation from Emperor Commodus to the collapse of Rome in which farmers preferred to become chattel slaves to the local biggest landowner (who was normally exempt from tax and was granted his land as a political favour) than actually pay the taxes and starve. Parents used to sell their children as slaves just to pay the tax collectors.
This interview really settles the whole is Ron Paul a minarchist or not debate for me.
Question: Dr. Paul, what do you say to people who advocate self-government and who don’t simply want to return to the Constitution?
Dr. Paul: Great, that’s fine, I think that’s really what my goal is. Isn’t it interesting that if you have a government they’ll want us all to be socialistic and use us, but they’ll never let an enclave to become libertarian but if we lived in a libertarian society we would have no qualms if people wanted to live socialistically?
Look at these faceless spineless bean-counting government bureaucrats, how pathetic they are…….
Let the free-market regulate itself. Only the free-market can regulate the free-market. Its too complex and dynamic for the slow bureaucracy and heavy hand of government.
The world has gone mad. Up is down, right is left and black is white. Reason has left the human race and if man has lost his powers of reason he is no longer human.
A good friend of liberty wrote recently of how even world socialists presented to us by the US media are aghast at the communist policies currently being implemented by the United States government. I have decided to expand upon what he wrote to me. This is a compilation of previous posts on Chavez and Rogers that now includes Putin.
Here are three world figures, two from governments and one entrepreneur, who decry the Communism of Obama.
– Socialist President Hugo Chavez
– Former Russian President and KGB Chief Director Vladimir Putin
– Jim Rogers, co-founder with George Soros of the Quantum Fund and CEO of James Beeland Rogers Holdings
They have criticised me, especially in the US, for nationalising a great (telecom) company, CANTV, that didn’t even cost $1.5bn,
Chavez said at a ceremony that included representatives of US oil company Chevron.
“The US has spent $900bn, four times what the Venezuela produces in a year, to try to boost the troubled finance system and housing market,”
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the former Russian President was advising the U.S. on the dangers of the state and the importance of non-intervention. We are living in strange times. Putin says amazingly:
The entire economic growth system, where one regional centre prints money without respite and consumes material wealth, while another regional centre manufactures inexpensive goods and saves money printed by other governments, has suffered a major setback.
Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence is another possible mistake.
True, the state’s increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent.
The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation.
In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.
And one more point: anti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.”
Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors, and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.
In our opinion, we must first atone for the past and open our cards, so to speak.
This means we must assess the real situation and write off all hopeless debts and “bad” assets.
True, this will be an extremely painful and unpleasant process. Far from everyone can accept such measures, fearing for their capitalisation, bonuses or reputation. However, we would “conserve” and prolong the crisis, unless we clean up our balance sheets. I believe financial authorities must work out the required mechanism for writing off debts that corresponds to today’s needs.
Second. Apart from cleaning up our balance sheets, it is high time we got rid of virtual money, exaggerated reports and dubious ratings. We must not harbour any illusions while assessing the state of the global economy and the real corporate standing, even if such assessments are made by major auditors and analysts.
In effect, our proposal implies that the audit, accounting and ratings system reform must be based on a reversion to the fundamental asset value concept. In other words, assessments of each individual business must be based on its ability to generate added value, rather than on subjective concepts. In our opinion, the economy of the future must become an economy of real values. How to achieve this is not so clear-cut. Let us think about it together.
Third. Excessive dependence on a single reserve currency is dangerous for the global economy. Consequently, it would be sensible to encourage the objective process of creating several strong reserve currencies in the future. It is high time we launched a detailed discussion of methods to facilitate a smooth and irreversible switchover to the new model.
Fourth. Most nations convert their international reserves into foreign currencies and must therefore be convinced that they are reliable. Those issuing reserve and accounting currencies are objectively interested in their use by other states.
Such a speech sounds more like Ron Paul than any other politician I’ve ever heard! Putin has shot up my favourite politicians list for the simple fact he said those words, whether he believes them or not is another question. I can’t believe he mentioned competing currencies for the ‘world reserve currency’!!!!
The nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shows that the U.S. is “more communist than China right now” but its brand of socialism is meant only for the rich, investor Jim Rogers, CEO of Rogers Holdings, told CNBC Europe.
America is more communist than China is right now. You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich… it’s just bailing out financial institutions,
In summary, the US is:
– dwarfing the socialism of Venezuala,
– too interventionist for the taste of Russia’s PM,
– more communist than China (Jim Rogers).
“Are we not the government?” In the phrase “we are the government,” the useful collective term “we” has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the naked exploitative reality of political life. For if we truly are the government, then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and not tyrannical; it is also “voluntary” on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group
on behalf of another, this reality of burden is conveniently obscured by blithely saying that “we owe it to ourselves” (but who are the “we” and who the “ourselves”?). If the government drafts a man, or even throws him into jail for dissident opinions, then he is only “doing it to himself” and therefore nothing improper has occurred. Under this reasoning, then, Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; they must have “committed suicide,” since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and therefore anything the government did to them w as only voluntary on their part. But there is no way out of such grotesqueries for those supporters of government who see the State merely as a benevolent and voluntary agent of the public.
And so we must conclude that “we” are not the government; the government is not “us.”
Page 60, “For a New Liberty” by Murray N. Rothbard