Milton Friedman

Karl du Fresne on agenda-driven reformers

Karl du Fresne has a brilliant column on agenda-driven reformers.

The American economist Milton Friedman once said that it?s a great mistake to judge things by their intentions rather than by their results.

Unfortunately it?s a mistake repeatedly made by agenda-driven reformers on a mission to create the perfect society.?A Radio New Zealand Spectrum programme brought one such instance to public attention earlier this month.

Until 2007, intellectually disabled people in New Zealand were exempted from minimum wage laws. This meant they could be employed doing menial work in facilities known as sheltered workshops.

It was a system whereby thousands of New Zealanders who were incapable of holding down proper jobs were nonetheless able to occupy themselves each day doing simple, repetitive work.

They were paid only a token sum, but the money wasn?t important. What really mattered was the companionship they enjoyed in the workplace and the satisfaction they got from having a job to go to each day.

It was an arrangement long supported by the IHC (originally the Intellectually Handicapped Children?s Society) and by parents with working-age disabled children. The IHC was itself the country?s biggest operator of sheltered workshops.

Then ideology intervened. Disability became politicised.

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Are right wing women sexier?

Cactus Kate posted the link to this on Facebook, where a?liberal-lefty-pro-feminist man ?(there is some debate over whether or not he is actually a man) explains why he thinks right wing women are sexier.

Not long ago I was out drinking with a group of friends and we started playing the If-You-Had-To game. The idea is to present players with two people they would never want to sleep with ? and then make them choose which they?d sleep with. Here are some of the fiendish alternatives I had to face: Imelda Marcos or Wallace Simpson? Ayn Rand or Yoko Ono? Gertrude Stein or Virginia Woolf?

Then one joker said: Theresa May or Jemima Khan? Everyone laughed at this no-contest choice. Everyone except me. How could I tell them the ugly truth: I?d prefer a night of passion with right-wing Theresa over lefty Jemima any day of the week.

But then I belong to that small, deviant group of liberal-lefty-pro-feminist men who find conservative/right-wing women super sexy. In an age when anything goes ? at least in terms of sexual pleasure ? ours is a lust that dare not speak its name.

I know this because later that evening, I turned to one of the group and confessed my secret longing for the likes of Theresa May, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin ? ideally all at once. I thought my fantasy night of passion would be received with sympathy and understanding. After all, this friend of mine pays a woman in Earls Court to put him on a rack and do things you don?t want to read about. He just looked at me and said: ?You?re sick!?

Heh..sick for hankering after?right wing women?

I can just hear the chorus of left-wing women complaining that, here we go again ? judging women in politics by their looks! Well, actually, looks have nothing to do with it. By that criteria, I should be swooning over Jemima instead of drooling over Mrs May. So no, this is not about looks; it?s about the sexiness of a certain mindset and sensibility. What is the appeal of right-wing women to men like me? After all, left-wing men are not supposed to sleep with such women. (We?re meant to find their political convictions too repulsive for that sort of thing.) But politics is rooted in tribalism and dark emotions, as much as reason. To lefty men of my persuasion, right-wing women are the?Other; alluring because they are so exotic; exciting because they?re so forbidden.

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Equality of outcomes?

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the political structure of the Soviet Union (1917?1989) tried to emphasize equality of outcome as a primary goal. Photo: Vladimir Lenin addresses a crowd in Moscow in 1920.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the political structure of the Soviet Union (1917?1989) tried to emphasise equality of outcome as a primary goal. Photo: Vladimir Lenin addresses a crowd in Moscow in 1920.

David Farrar has returned from his arts, exercise and walking tour of the US and got straight into the looney aspects of Labour new policy platform. Like “Equality of Outcomes“.

Quote -? “Labour believes?that social justice means that all people should have equal access to social, economic, cultural, political, and legal spheres regardless of wealth, gender, ethnicity, or social position. Labour says that no matter the circumstances of our birth, we are each accorded equal opportunity to achieve our full potential in life. We believe in more than just equal opportunities?we believe in equality of outcomes.”???

Interesting. Farrar suggests that this is basically communism and it is hard not to agree.

But think about the logical extension of this belief by Labour in “equality of outcomes”

So, if I’m as ugly as hell, I guess Labour (oops…”other taxpayers”)? -? will pay for me to have plastic surgery so that I look like an Adonis.? Read more »

Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell on Drug Legalisation

Last week I posted a few interesting posts about cannabis and legalisation. Those posts started a conversation, not only in the comments but also via a few emails, including one from Don Brash.

Over the weekend I also received this one from a reader:


In a bid to continue the discussion, I thought I would send through this 8 minute clip of Milton Friedman arguing in favour of drug legalisation, specifically looking at the effects of prohibition.

It is a shame that more often than not, those who stand up in support of decriminalisation or legalisation are the hardcore stoners. Nobel-Prize winning conservative economists like Friedman, and our own Don Brash shows there is credibility to the intellectual argument which believes prohibition has been a gross failure.

When will our politicians wake up and debate the social harms which come from the status quo?

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Something for the protesters to consider.

Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Here is something that is probably far too?complicated,?for the assorted rabble that protested at parliament yesterday, to consider:

Milton Friedman once said that every time capitalism has been tried, it has succeeded; whereas every time socialism has been tried, it has failed. Yet President Obama has oddly claimed that we?ve tried free-market capitalism, and it ?has never worked.? This is rather remarkable. Since 1800, the world?s population has increased sixfold; yet despite this enormous increase, real income per person has increased approximately?16-fold. That is a truly amazing achievement. In America, the increase is even more dramatic: in 1800, the total population in America was 5.3 million, life expectancy was 39, and the real gross domestic product per capita was $1,343 (in 2010 dollars); in 2011, our population was 308 million, our life expectancy was 78, and our GDP per capita was $48,800. Thus even while the population increased 58-fold, our life expectancy doubled, and our GDP per capita increased almost 36-fold. Such growth is unprecedented in the history of humankind. Considering that worldwide per-capita real income for the previous 99.9 percent of human existence averaged consistently around $1 per day, that is extraordinary.

What explains it? It would seem that it is due principally to the complex of institutions usually included under the term ?capitalism,? since the main thing that changed between 200 years ago and the previous 100,000 years of human history was the introduction and embrace of so-called capitalist institutions?particularly, private property and markets

Act’s libertarian rump can go live in Honduras

Perhaps the 1595 Libertarianz and the 50 odd “classical liberals” of the Act party could all emigrate…to Honduras:

Now, for the first time, libertarians have a real chance to implement their ideas. In addition to a big special development region, the Honduran government intends to approve two smaller zones. And two libertarian-leaning start-ups have already signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding with the Honduran government to develop them.

One firm goes by the name of?Future Cities Development Corporation. It was co-founded by?Patri Friedman, a grandson of?Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate in economics, and until recently executive director of the?Seasteading Institute, a group producing research on how to build ocean-based communes. The other is called?Grupo Ciudades Libres(Free Cities Group) and is the brainchild of Michael Strong and Kevin Lyons, two entrepreneurs and libertarian activists.

Both share a purpose: to build ?free cities?. Last April all three spoke at a?conference?organised by?Universidad Francisco Marroqu?n, a libertarian outfit in Guatemala. In September they and Giancarlo Ib?rg?en, the university?s president, launched the?Free Cities Institute, a think-tank, to foster the cause.

As so often with enthusiasts, divisions within the cause run deep. The two firms hail from different parts of the libertarian spectrum. Mr Friedman is an outspoken critic of democracy. It is ?ill-suited for a libertarian state?, he wrote in an?essay in 2009?because it is ?rigged against libertarians? (they would always lose) and inefficient. Rather than giving its citizens a voice, he argues, they should be free to exit; cities should compete for them by offering the best services.

The second firm?s backers appear to be less radical. A founder of several charter schools, Mr Strong is now the force behind FLOW, a movement that claims to combine libertarian thinking ?with love, compassion, social and environmental consciousness?, says its?website. He too prefers exit over voice (meaning that he thinks that leaving and joining are better constraints on executive power than the ballot box). But he also believes that democratic consent is needed in certain areas, such as criminal justice. His goal in Honduras is less to implement libertarian ideals than to reduce poverty and to speed up economic development.

Gmail now has Unsend feature

Have you ever regretted sending that email the second after you pressed send? Well now Gmail lets you unsend emails but you have to be quick. You get 5 seconds to recall the email.

Another day, another new feature in Gmail Labs. This one could be more useful than most, as it’s something you probably have a reason to use with some frequency. It’s called “Undo Send,” and as the name suggests, it lets you take back a sent email, as long as you act quickly enough.

After enabling the feature, Undo Send works much like Gmail’s other “undo” features. When you send an email, you get a message confirming it has been sent, along with a link to “Undo.” This message lasts for 5 seconds, at which point you lose the opportunity to take it back.

Also of use if you forgot the attachment or to cc someone.