I liked this article on Techdirt. People trust their friends more than Bloggers, even the "A-list" bloggers. However, that article is referring to people making marketing/purchase decisions, which is a narrowly targeted study.
It links to this aritcle. It's not necessary to get "A-list bloggers" to start writing about your ideas and linking to them. It's much more important to get anyone who's interested writing about your ideas.
I'm noticing that effect. The growth of my blog's readership is very much a "long tail" phenomenon. I'm getting 1-2 new readers here and there. There's no single event that leads to a bunch of new visitors. The vast majority of people who find my blog via Google search are "bounces", who come once and then never again. There is the occasional new regular reader.
The best source of new traffic is links from other blogs or OTHER PEOPLE discussing my articles. Google Analytics makes it very hard to determine where your regular readers are coming from. (That's one advantage of self-hosting! It'd be nice to have full server logs. It isn't worth the $50/month I'd pay for self-hosting.)
This post on Check Your Premises is missing the point. He advocates buying a plot of land and farming, growing enough to feed yourself and your family.
The problem with this plan is property taxes. Even if you were completely self-sufficient, you still *NEED* some Federal Reserve Points to pay property taxes.
During the Great Depression, there were some farmers who were prudent and avoided mortgaging themselves during the boom phase. Many of them lost their farms due to an inability to pay property taxes. The combination of debt and property taxes bankrupted many small farmers and small business owners.
This post on Techdirt explains the origin of the "Streisand Effect". A photographer was photographing the entire west coast from a helicopter. In the process, he photographed Barbara Streisand's house. She sued and lost.
This cause an otherwise obscure photography project to become highly visible. Suing to suppress information merely draws attention to that information.
I shouldn't worry about some red market worker prosecuting me based on my blog's content. That probably would be the best sort of advertising my blog could possibly get!
On the other hand, there is a possibility that I could be assassinated based on my blog's content. However, if the bad guys are as that powerful, they probably would have done so by now.
I liked this post on Techdirt. The "REAL ID" project is not going smoothly. A lot of states are outright refusing to implement it. Most notably, California has refused to comply.
I see a lot of articles about ISPs trying to crack down on filesharing. The average person thinks "filesharing is morally acceptable". This makes it very hard to stop filesharing.
The bad guys didn't realize "OMFG! We have to stop filesharing!" until it was already widespread.
Hopefully, agorism can have the same level of success. By the time the bad guys mount a campaign against it, a lot of people will be active practitioners.
With increasing taxes and regulations, pretty soon it will be *IMPOSSIBLE* to do productive work and obey the law!
I liked this post on Techdirt.
Have we really reached the point that almost everyone in charge of crafting tech-related policy doesn't have even the slightest tech background?
Great! The more incompetence by the government, the better!
- People issuing patents don't understand science.
- People managing "monetary policy" don't understand economics.
- People managing the FDA don't understand medicine.
- People managing courts and police don't understand justice.
- People managing the FAA don't understand airplanes and airlines.
- People managing the FCC don't understand the Internet and telephones.
This post on to herd or not to herd is missing the point. Many small countries with huge trade deficits have been forced into bankruptcy. Will this happen to the USA?
These small countries usually have debts IN FOREIGN CURRENCIES. The USA has debts denominated in ITS OWN CURRENCY. At any time, the Federal government could print new dollars and pay off its debts.
The rules of the global economic game are different for the USA and other countries. The USA has a unique perk, because it is borrowing in ITS OWN MONEY.
I liked this post on Google's public policy blog. It's about Google's experience bidding in wireless spectrum auctions. It's another version of How the State Destroys Small Businesses.
The wireless spectrum auctions are not a free market. Small bidders with innovative ideas are locked out. You need billions of dollars in capital just to start considering bidding.
Incumbent telecom corporations already have a vast network. To them, one more spectrum license has a specific marginal utility. For a new player, all those network assets would have to be built.
Second, telecom corporations already have a monopoly/oligopoly. They collect monopolistic rent in their current market position. They can use these proceeds to fund acquisitions.
Third, there's the "blocking factor". Telecom corporations can afford to overbid for spectrum, just to block new players from the market. They have a monopoly/oligopoly. If they overbid for spectrum, they can merely pass the cost on to customers as higher prices.
Existing telecom corporations were the beneficiary of massive government subsidies in the past. Either they received spectrum outright for free, or at a steep discount to the fair market value.
Large corporations can afford to go into debt to protect their market position. With negative real interest rates, telecom corporations can afford to go into debt to acquire more spectrum. Suppose a telecom corporation bids $100 billion on spectrum that's only worth $10 billion. On its books, it has spectrum with a "book" value of $100 billion, a real value of $10 billion, and debt of $100 billion. Suppose that the telecom corporation is charged 5% interest on its loan, while true inflation is 20%/year. After 1 year, the spectrum has a "book" value of $100 billion, a real value of $12 billion, and debt of $105 billion. Due to its monopolistic market position, the telecom corporation can pass on its $5 billion interest payment on to customers as higher prices. Even ignoring this factor, let's run the simulation. After 20 years, the spectrum has a real value of $383 billion and the debt is only worth $265 billion. Over time, debt makes any purchase attractive; it doesn't matter if you overbid, because real interest rates are negative.
As long as the telecom corporation can meet its interest payments, it can profit via borrowing to buy spectrum. As long as its competitors are doing the *EXACT SAME THING*, the cost of interest payments can be passed on to customers as higher prices.
The auction rules and economic system rules are *EXTREMELY BIASED* in favor of market incumbents. It doesn't pay for new players to enter the auction. They don't even bother bidding.
There's another problem with "spectrum auctions". If I "buy" land, I have to pay property tax in exchange for "permission" to use State-owned land. How come the telecom corporations don't owe property tax on their spectrum? I can't get full allodial title to my land, but telecom corporations can get full allodial title to spectrum?
I liked this post on BradSpangler.com, in reference to this article. Zimbabwe is suffering from hyperinflation. It's illegal to use anything other than the "official" currency as money. This creates an opportunity for black market money dealers.
Unfortunately, the black market dealers are selling foreign currency, typically US dollars. In order to be REALLY honest, they should be selling sound money (gold or silver).
Pretty soon, the USA may suffer crushing hyperinflation!
I liked this post on to herd or not to herd, in reference to this article.
A $2 toy leaving a US-owned factory in China is a $3 shipment arriving at San Diego. By the time a US consumer buys it for $10 at Wal-Mart, the US economy registers $10 in final sales, less $3 import cost, for a $7 addition to the US GDP. (Blaming 'undervalued' yuan wins votes, Asia Times Online, February 26, 2004)
This is ridiculous! If something is imported at a cost of $3 and sold for $10, that counts for $7 of US GDP? This makes the picture of the US economy *EVEN WORSE* than I previously calculated!
US government debt currently pays around 4%. If inflation is really 14%-24%, this means that the "national debt" is being defaulted on at a rate of 10%-20% per year!
I liked this post on the Picket Line.
“courts have repeatedly held that warehouse banks are tax evasion schemes.”
I researched this briefly. I thought that an "Austrian-style" gold-denominated or silver-denominated warehouse receipt bank would be a cool business opportunity. Unfortunately, taxes and regulations make such a business impractical/illegal.
There is *NO SAFE PLACE TO STORE YOUR SAVINGS*, literally! In a checking account, you're guaranteed to be ripped off by inflation. A stock investment does not outperform a gold investment! If you buy physical gold or silver, it's legally impossible to find a safe place to store it. In a bank safe deposit box, the contents would be reported to the government, or your metal might disappear altogether!
An underground banking system appears to be desperately needed. It has to be decentralized, because the bad guys would use violence to shut it down.
The *BIGGEST* "money laundering operation" anywhere is the Federal Reserve and the financial system!
There was another interesting bit on that post. The IRS is prosecuting people who are advocating "war tax resistance".
I wonder if the author of the Picket Line will ever figure out that agorism is the only resistance strategy with a nonzero chance of success? Further, "war tax resistance" places the debate in the wrong frame. I disapprove of most/all of an illegitimate government's activities. War is merely one aspect of government's abusive behavior.
This post on Overcoming Bias is missing the point. They've been writing a series of articles about "zombies". Suppose you made an exact copy of this universe, except it didn't contain your "soul". If the zombie behaved identically to you, then can you say your "soul" matters for anything? If the laws of physics are identical, then the observed behavior in the "zombie universe" should be the same.
This is an untestable hypothesis. I am unable to make an exact copy of the universe. Suppose you could make an exact copy of the universe, and the copy behaved *DIFFERENTLY*. (Due to quantum mechanics, this may be true.) What conclusions could you draw in that case?
Arguing about a "duplicate universe, minus souls" is a meaningless thought experiment. It's impossible to tell if the duplicate universe would behave the same or differently!
This post on the Picket Line announces a book by the author. It's about a history of tax resistance.
How much revenue would a self-published book generate? What was the cost/overhead of getting started?
I considered making a book based on my blog's content. I have more than enough posts archived to make enough material for a book. However, I doubt I would get enough sales to make it worth my time.
Without the ability to have the mainstream media promote my work, an independent artist must slowly "climb the long tail".
I'm wondering how I could promote my message more. I've considered vlogging. I've considered making a standup comedy routine based on my blog's content.
This post on gilliganscorner made a point I haven't mentioned before. FDIC insurance is effectively a government subsidy of banks. If deposits weren't backed by the government, they would have to offer higher interest rates to attract depositors. Even though the FDIC rarely makes a payment, the government backing raises banks' credit rating.
In a free market, customers *DO* risk their deposits at a bank. However, the banks' owners, management, and accountants would also be assuming personal liability for a shortfall. In a free market, there are no "limited liability" laws.
Market forces would ensure honest behavior by banks. Banks only commit fraud when the State shields them from responsibility for their actions.
I don't understand why gilliganscorner is reading Canada's "bank act". Most laws are written incomprehensibly *ON PURPOSE*.
This post on no third solution was interesting. The main part of the post was about unaccountability of Blackwater in Iraq, although that isn't the interesting bit.
Copy and paste this link into your browser if you want. Until Yahoo starts giving permalinks, I’m not going to bother.
Many mainstream news sites do *NOT* offer the ability to "permalink" to a story. They want you to find posts *ONLY* through the channels they provide.
This policy shows a deep misunderstanding of how the Internet works. Someone should be able to link to a *SPECIFIC ARTICLE*.
I wonder why news sites do this? Do they want to "control the user"? Do they want the ability to censor/remove stories later? Refusing to offer pemalinks severely cripples the usefulness of a website.
It's ironic that Yahoo is doing this, because they're an "Internet company".
Most "Internet-knowledgeable" sites allow permalinks. For example, you can permalink to all of my posts.
It's always interesting to see who's citing my blog in various discussion forums. Google Analytics really is useful!
When I see such discussions, I like to make a post to help out the truth-seeker who's being gang-****ed by the pro-State trolls.
I saw these two posts on a beekeeping forum!
For some reasons, these forums block posts by newly registered users in their politics sub-forum. (****ing annoying) Anyway, I decided to PM the truth-seeker.
I saw this discussion via Google Analytics. This forum disallows me from posting, so I'm sending you a PM. You may edit this and post it yourself, if you want.
I'm the guy who wrote the original post on the Compound Interest Paradox. It was weird to see Galaxy citing it rather than you.
There is a fundamental structural flaw in debt-based fiat money. It's the Compound Interest Paradox.
As you observed, if this was the case, the people who control large banks would eventually own practically everything. There *ARE* a handful of people who own/control practically everything. It's done via trusts and anonymous corporate ownership, so it's impossible to tell who the true owners are.
The people who control the large banks also bought up every TV station and newspaper. You'll *NEVER* see a mainstream media source discussing the Compound Interest Paradox. It's one of those "secrets kept in plain sight".
Boom/bust cycles are an inevitable consequence of fiat debt-based money. Boom/bust cycles are *BUILT INTO THE RULES OF THE MONETARY SYSTEM*.
As you observed, the bust phase usually bankrupts individuals and small corporations. Large banks *ALWAYS* receive a Federal Reserve-funded bailout. It usually comes in the form of an interest rate cut. Sometimes, it's an outright gift/loan, as was the case with JP Morgan Chase and Bear Stearns.
The rules of the economic system are biased against individuals. Negative real interest rates provide a *MASSIVE* subsidy to banks and large corporations. Individuals have a hard time accumulating capital to start businesses, because inflation erodes their savings and income taxes confiscate their wages. Government regulations are a further barrier to forming small businesses.
You should also understand the evil role of the income tax. The Federal Reserve and income tax are two sides of the same evil. The Federal Reserve is a corrupt monetary system. Inflation steals people's savings and provides a massive subsidy to banks and large corporations. Income taxes prevent people from boycotting the Federal Reserve. Even if you set up an alternate monetary system, income taxes *MUST* be paid in Federal Reserve Points. Taxes on gold and silver transactions, coupled with government regulations, prevent people from using sound money. You can't profitably operate a gold or silver warehouse receipt bank, because taxes and regulations make it infeasible.
A Federal Reserve Note is, literally, a receipt from the Federal Reserve and IRS that gives you permission to work. During the "bust" phase of the economic cycle, there always are layoffs. The problem is that there aren't enough "work permission receipts" in circulation, and people lose their jobs.
Boom/bust cycles are *NOT* an "economic law of nature". Instead, they are a consequence of a corrupt monetary system.
Don't look to politicians to fix this problem! Voting doesn't work. The politicians are controlled by the people who set up the current corrupt system and financially benefit from it.
My recommended solution to this problem is agorism.
The poster "Galaxy" says that I'm a "fruity blogger". Not many people read my blog. Therefore, my analysis is wrong. That's not valid reasoning! My readership is doubling every 3-4 months, but it's still a relatively small number.
If you want a serious discussion of economics, you should start your own blog. In a discussion forum, it's too easy for pro-State trolls to disrupt the debate. If you have one reasonable person and several pro-State trolls, the reasonable voice gets drowned out. When you see everyone disagreeing with you, after awhile you start to doubt your conclusions. Pro-State brainwashing is incredibly pervasive!
Most people will troll for the State, without being consciously aware of what they're doing. I read a study that said the reasoning portion of most people's brains shuts down when there's a serious discussion of politics. People need to do this, out of self-defense, because if they realized what was going on, it'd be incredibly depressing!
If you want more details, you should look at my blog. The "Best of FSK" list illustrates which of my posts have been the most popular.
After I sent my PM, there were some other interesting comments in the thread.
One guy made up the term "interest paradox" on his own, independent of my use of "Compound Interest Paradox".
Someone made a false point that borrowing money is beneficial, if you use the proceeds to produce tangible goods and services. That's a separate point than the Compound Interest Paradox. Money and wealth are *NOT THE SAME*. Only banks and the Federal Reserve have the power to create money. When you work, you create wealth. An individual does *NOT* create money when they work.
This is a common, extremely important, misconception. In a corrupt economic system, the "money creation" process and "wealth creation" process ARE INDEPENDENT. Your ability to create money is UNCORRELATED with your ability to create wealth. (or negatively correlated; most financial industry activities are destructive)
The pro-State troll made another invalid point. He said the Federal Reserve contracted the money supply in 1930 to defend the gold standard. The gold standard was to blame and not the Federal Reserve. The USA abandoned its gold standard in 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created. The Federal Reserve was allowed to print more Federal Reserve Notes than actual gold was in the US Treasury. The Federal Reserve was responsible for the inflationary boom in the 1920s. The Federal Reserve was responsible for the default on the dollar in 1933.
A massive banking crisis is *ONLY* possible with heavily regulated banking. Banking regulations allowed large banks to create the panics that allowed the Federal Reserve Act to be passed. In a free market, financial troubles at one bank do *NOT* have the capacity to wreck the entire financial system. When a bank starts having questionable balance sheets, other banks will start refusing to honor their paper. With government guarantees of banks' liabilities, there is no incentive for large banks to perform due diligence, checking the creditworthiness of other large banks.
For example, JP Morgan Chase probably knew for months that Bear Stearns was having difficulty. The incentive was for JP Morgan Chase to loan Bear Stearns more and more money, putting Bear Stearns into a deeper and deeper hole. The Federal Reserve bailout removed all incentive for JP Morgan Chase to perform due diligence on Bear Stearns' creditworthiness.
Kevin Carson is making a mistake blogging on "Art of the Possible" (unless they're paying him a decent amount of money). First, he's building someone else's brand instead of his own blog. Second, he isn't reposting the articles on his own blog. Third, the comments section appears to be a bit hostile.
If you don't take care of pro-State trolls, your blog can get out of hand! My policy of severely cracking down on pro-State trolls seems to be a good idea.
Kevin Carson once said that he gets around 200 visitors/day on his blog. I'm getting over 100/day regularly. That means I'm half as successful as Kevin Carson!
My potential audience is larger than Kevin Carson's, because (IMHO) I'm a better writer. Kevin Carson's content is good, but he's tough to read.
It's always amusing to read the "pro blogging" websites. It seems that the only really profitable blogs are on "How to make money from blogging."
I liked this post on RadGeek, in reference to this article on Martin Luther King Jr.
segregation's purpose wasn't just to keep blacks out in the streets but to keep poor whites from taking to them and demanding economic justice
That's an important political trick. You distract the population and have them debating trivial issues. This prevents them from discussing anything important, like the Federal Reserve and the income tax.
There's another key point not mentioned in the article. Why is it a big deal if corporations discriminate against black people? If that were a serious problem, black people could just form their own competing businesses. The problem is that the USA is not a free market. In a free market, a group of workers subject to discrimination would successfully compete against the discriminators. Instead of admitting the truth, that the USA is not a free market, "anti-discrimination" laws are passed, which are the subject of further debate and division of people.
As another example, there's the issue of "affirmative action" in colleges. In many ways, a college degree is a merely piece of paper that is a prerequisite for most good jobs. (For the courses I studied, Mathematics and Computer Science, that's not true; there is real knowledge in advanced Mathematics and Computer Science courses.) If a college degree is merely a ticket to a decent lifestyle, then shouldn't these tickets be distributed "fairly"? The proper question is never asked: "Why is a college degree a prerequisite for a good job? If employers discriminate against me for lack of a college degree, why can't I just start my own business?"
Martin Luther King is now hailed as a hero. However, whenever his work is discussed, it's a bastardized watered-down version of his original message.
Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.
This post on George Washington's blog is entirely missing the point. He gives advice for 9/11 Truth activists, when being interviewed by a mainstream media source.
There's one dirty trick that mainstream news sources use that's practically unbeatable. It's the "creative editing" trick. By clever editing, you can make *ANYONE* appear to be a fool. Propaganda shows like "60 minutes" use this trick all the time. It's amazing, because I can see the fnords. I can tell "this person is being set up to look like a fool/criminal".
If I were being interviewed by a mainstream media source, I would demand the right to publish the "raw footage" of the interview. This way, I could expose any "creative editing". (I probably would be more eager for the exposure and not demand it. At this point, a smear-job article on me would still help promote my blog. However, if I were already popular, I would insist on it.)
This post on no third solution had a huge error. He's giving advice to people who are close to defaulting on their mortgages.
Then again, understanding time preference, and acting in accordance with its principles and your financial wherewithal is probably what got you into the mess, to begin with!
With fiat debt-based money, it's irrelevant to talk about "time preference". If you are prudent and "save money" in a money market account, you're *GUARANTEED* to be ripped off by inflation. I'm not convinced that stock investments outperform inflation! Investing in gold or silver is tricky, because there are huge transaction costs and no safe place to store your metal.
You can't express a "time preference" by saving money for later! You're practically guaranteed to get ripped off by inflation. Even if you invest in gold or silver, you pay huge transaction costs and storage costs.
I liked this post on RadGeek. He wants to form an "Alliance of the Libertarian Left" group near where he lives, in Las Vegas. (I don't live in Las Vegas.)
If you're really starting a free market trading group, you should focus on tangible goods and services. He mentioned distributing flyers. Another alternative is making T-shirts and selling them. If you make an off-the-books transaction, you're practicing counter-economics. If you can make the T-shirts for $8 and sell them for $10, you may have a viable business. Another possibility is to host a dinner party, charge people for their food, and don't report the transaction. If your raw materials cost $5 and you charge $10, and you have 20 customers, that's a $100 profit for a few hours of work.
(A true agorist would *ALWAYS* quote prices in ounces of silver or gold. I used Federal Reserve Points above to avoid confusing.)
If you want a "practicing alliance of the Libertarian Left" group, you should be ACTUALLY PRACTICING COUNTER-ECONOMICS. If all you're doing is talking and writing, you're a hypocrite (like me?). I plan to start a free market trading group eventually.
I've been contemplating taking a poll of who lives where. Maybe we could get some free market trading groups started?
This post on Liberty is my Homie is missing the point. His employer offered him the choice of health insurance or a medical savings account. A medical savings account is a pool of money that can *ONLY* be used for health-care expenses. Typically, any money unused at the end of the year is forfeited.
Until free market medical care becomes a viable business, going without health insurance is *STUPID*. If you're hospitalized, the "retail price" for your hospitalization may be as high as $100k, but your insurance company negotiates to pay only $10k-$20k. If you're hospitalized *WITHOUT INSURANCE*, you wind up paying the *FULL RETAIL PRICE*.
Effectively, this is collusion between hospitals and insurance companies to make sure everyone has insurance. The hospital overcharges everyone, then negotiates steep discounts with insurance companies.
If you think this system is abusive, go ahead and start your own hospital! YOU CAN'T!! You need a license from the government to work as a doctor, and a license from the government to build and operate a hospital.
Free market health care is an attractive business opportunity. It's risky, because you will be violently shut down by the State if you're discovered. However, it's also *INCREDIBLY PROFITABLE*.
I liked this post on SHOW ME THE LAW. Ed and Elaine Brown are tax resisters who were arrested and convicted. Before their conviction, they armed themselves and camped out in their home in New Hampshire. Some of their friends helped them, and are now facing criminal charges themselves. After a few months, the FBI prevented Ed and Elaine Brown's supporters from contacting them. Undercover agents, pretending to be supporters, moved in and arrested them.
That blog has a post with documents from his trial. In particular, it contains a copy of the judge's instructions to the jury. The instructions are quite offensive.
The document makes reference to an oath that jurors take. Does anyone have a copy of the oath that jurors are required to take?
The jury instructions specifically say that the jury should accept, without questioning, the judge's description of what the law is. They are specifically barred from practicing jury nullification. The jury instructions imply, but not explicitly state, that the jurors would be committing a crime if they practice jury nullification.
Regarding Evidence of a Massive Conspiracy, I found a link to the study that says "tinfoil hats *AMPLIFY* brainwaves".
I liked this post on Econospeak. President Bush is successfully fighting the USA's "illegal immigration" problem. By lowering the standard of living in the USA, people from other countries are less anxious to move here.
I liked this post on BradSpangler.com, in reference to this article on the Onion. The Olympic torch was used to ignite Tibetan protesters.
People protesting violence in Tibet aren't accomplishing anything. They're just wasting their time.
This post on to herd or not to herd was interesting, in reference to this article.
The Federal Reserve keeps some Treasury Bonds and Notes in its inventory. As of July 18, 2007, the Federal Reserve had an inventory of $910 billion, 87% of which was Treasury debt.
To subsidize the financial industry, the Federal Reserve has been entering "swap agreements" with large banks. They trade their shaky loans with the Federal Reserve, exchanging them for Treasury debt. As a result, the Federal Reserve's inventory is only 53% Treasury debt. The rest is about $500 billion of shaky debt taken off the balance sheets of banks. Instead, this debt is being carried on the Federal Reserve's balance sheet.
The "crisis" is that the Federal Reserve has used up half of its inventory of Treasury debt. If the Federal Reserve fully exhausts its inventory, then it will partially lose its ability to subsidize bank profits. They're looking for legal loopholes that will allow the Federal Reserve to increase its inventory of Treasury debt.
This is probably irrelevant. We are near the end of the current bust phase. As the money supply inflates, that shaky debt will increase in value.
The Federal Reserve *ALWAYS* has a credible weapon to fight hyperdeflation. It can always print more money!
I liked this post on George Washington's blog. Noam Chomsky says he would accept fascism if it solved the global warming problem.
Noam Chomsky is a "pro-State anarchist". People like him give anarchists a bad name. He's actually serving the agenda of the bad guys, by creating the false illusion that sincere political debate is occurring.
Noam Chomsky also helps promote the general impression that all anarchists are fools and that anarchy isn't a politically viable philosophy.
I saw the new season of "Duel". They wrecked the format. If a player decides to continue, he's risking *ALL* his winnings for previous matches. There's a grand prize of $500k if you win five consecutive matches. However, suppose you've won 2 matches and around $50k. Due to the nature of the questions, each match is mostly a coinflip. You have a 1 in 8 chance of winning $500k, but $500k/8 is $62.5k. Taking into account the effect of taxes, it's optimal to stop after 1 or 2 wins. You'd have to be a fool to go for the grand prize, or win very little money in your first 2 matches.
If you make people risk all their winnings to continue, most people will rationally stop after 1 or 2 wins.
I liked the original format, where you played until you lost or won 4 matches, and then the top winners return at the end to play for the grand prize.
They did speed up the format, with less idle time inbetween questions. Overall, the 2nd season of Duel is inferior to the first.
I still disapprove of the "sudden death" rule. If both players get a question wrong, they should be *BOTH* eliminated.
I really liked this post on Econospeak. He gives an example of an effective marketing/brainwashing technique.
You advertise "More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand." This is obviously nonsense. The main point is that smoking is bad for you.
However, repeatedly advertising nonsense DOES SERVE A PURPOSE! People learn to filter out *ALL* discussion about smoking, including "smoking is bad for you"!
This works in politics. 99.9%+ of all political discourse is complete and utter nonsense. Therefore, people learn to filter out all discussions of politics! Repeatedly broadcasting nonsense serves a purpose! This trains people to reflexively not think critically about politics.
If 99.9%+ of all political discourse is nonsense, people are trained to ignore anyone who talks intelligently!
When people see a discussion of politics, the critical thinking portion of their brain shuts down. Is this the reason for that behavior?
I need a name for this. How about "Repeated Lies Drown Out the Truth"?
This bit deserves its own separate post.
Also on Econospeak, he writes about recessions. It's *IMPOSSIBLE* to write intelligently about boom/bust cycles without understanding the Compound Interest Paradox.
This post on the Picket Line is letting the State and IRS off easy. He quotes interesting passages from this press release, and misses the key point.
Millions of hard-working Americans take time out of their hectic schedules to perform a time-consuming and often arduous task of filing federal income tax returns. 130 million Americans voluntarily engage in this ritual every year. These individuals participate because they know that with the privileges that the United States has given them come the responsibilities and obligations of citizenship.
Before I tell you, I'm going to give you a chance to figure out what's offensive in the above paragraph. If you can't figure it out on your own, you aren't paying attention!
Did you figure it out?
the privileges that the United States has given them
This bit is truly offensive. People do not have "intrinsic rights". They merely have rights granted from the government.
This is one evil perspective that needs to be eliminated. Is "free speech" a right delegated to people from the Federal government? Or, is "free speech" an intrinsic right that everyone has? A government that attempts to deny free speech is *OBVIOUSLY* illegitimate, so the bad guys who control the US government are smart enough to not even try that one.
The right to work without other people stealing your labor is an "intrinsic right". That is the fundamental argument against *ALL* taxes.
The attitude the State wants people to have is "I should be grateful for permission to work in a corporate/slave job, and gratefully pay taxes to my masters." The correct attitude is "Why should I support a State that forces me to use unsound money and severely cripples my employment opportunities? Why should I voluntarily pay for my own enslavement?"
The bad guys aren't saying "tax protester" or "tax resister" anymore. They're saying "tax defier", which paints freedom activists in a more negative light.
The correct response is to promote "Taxation is theft!" as much as possible.
The press release cited above is also framing the debate in the wrong terms. The *LEGAL* arguments against the income tax are irrelevant. The *MORAL* arguments against the income tax are much more important. If you focus on legal arguments instead of moral arguments, you're fighting the bad guys on their turf.
Advocating tax resistance for any single cause is short-sighted. "Taxation is theft!" is sufficient reason.
It is wrong to say "Taxes are moral because they're used for noble causes, like roads, schools, murdering Iraqis, and corporate welfare." If your fundamental premise is theft, you can't use proceeds of theft for any moral purpose.
This article on Overcoming Bias says that the NY Times challenges the results of the Asch conformity test. People are less likely to conform than the experiment suggested.
The obvious solution is not considered. WHY NOT PERFORM THE EXPERIMENT AGAIN??!!
Only "original" research gets a State grant. Revisiting old experiments is not original, and therefore not funded.
If you're a *SERIOUS* scientist, confirming the results of old experiments is just as important as new research. State funding of research distorts the market for research.
The *WHOLE* point of science is that experimental results are repeatable. If "proven" experiments are never repeated, then how do you catch mistakes?
gilliganscorner has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #47":
He gives a list of quotes by economic and political leaders citing the injustice of the US monetary system. ALL THOSE QUOTES ARE OVER 50 YEARS OLD!! There have not been any recent examples of a major political or economic leader speaking out against the Federal Reserve and income tax.
You are correct FSK. You try and find a recent quote that someone "credible" said, that wasn't sanitized by their media/public relations handlers/agents. Today, they say nothing that has not been blessed to go to a public statement.
Until Ron Paul happened along....
Gilliganscorner lives in Canada, right? From his point of view, Ron Paul is irrelevant. However, reform in the USA would probably lead to reform in other countries. Reform is *NOT* on the Supreme Leader of Humanity's agenda. The ultimate goal is the complete collapse of the corrupt economic and political system.
Ron Paul started me thinking about the Federal Reserve and income tax. Until that point, I knew something was wrong, but I wasn't sure what direction to pursue. I saw him saying he intended to abolish the Federal Reserve and income tax. I made some contributions to the Ron Paul wiki and Ron Paul Forum. After having problems with trolls and wiki vandals, I decided that starting my own blog is best.
I'm specifically writing from the US point of view. *ALL* countries have a corrupt monetary system and taxation system. My content is applicable to people living in Canada, the UK, the EU, Australia, and elsewhere. Substitute "Federal Reserve" and "IRS" for your local central bank and tax collection agency.
Ron Paul's criticism of the Federal Reserve and IRS is actually rather weak. Ron Paul says "The Federal Reserve and income tax are unconstitutional." The correct argument is "The Federal Reserve and income tax are *IMMORAL*." The moral argument is *MUCH MORE IMPORTANT* than the legal argument. Making a legal argument is fighting the bad guys on their turf. There probably are no honest Federal judges, so you won't get a fair trial in a corrupt government court.
Based on a strict interpretation of the Constitution, the Federal Reserve and income tax *REALLY ARE* unconstitutional. The moral argument is the important one. After all, the US Constitution is just a piece of paper.
Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "Network Neutrality Thoughts":
First, I enjoy your blog. You have a clarity of thought and word that is unmatched among the blogs I read regularly.
I'm curious to know why types of technology the SLH has had access to prior to their wide dissemination. Your posts are all so well reasoned up until the point where you (seemingly inevitably) tie in the SLH. In that way, he appears like God does to theological writers - as an unsubstantiated phantasm. I'm very curious to know what other kinds of evidence you have for the existence of an SLH other than inductive reasoning. I, too, am inclined to think that some group exists behind the scenes, manipulating media and money for their own gain, but I have no evidence to back up my thoughts. Have you any?
I answered this question in Evidence of a Massive Conspiracy.
There was one point I forgot. The secret societies have "interlocking memberships". Some people are members of multiple secret societies. This allows a small group of people to control a larger group of people. Just like "interlocking directorships" hide corporate control, "interlocking memberships" hide the Supreme Leader of Humanity.
Even if you think you're the leader of a secret society that wields tremendous wealth and power, you're probably secretly controlled by someone else! Your advisers and assistants are the probably ones that are really in control.
Zhwazi has left a new comment on your post "Evidence of a Massive Conspiracy":
Actually the strawman fallacy is misrepresenting somebody and then attacking the "straw man" created by this misrepresentation. You probably mean a variant of the "ad hominem" fallacy where you attack the person's ideas based on some irrelevant factors like, in this case, their other ideas.
A lot of people really are giving me grief about my definition of the Strawman Fallacy! All these definitions are nearly exactly equivalent! Don't you see that?
My definition of the Strawman Fallacy is that you attack the weakest point your opponent makes. I write "Taxation is theft!" and you respond "But who will build the roads?"
Another variation of the Strawman Fallacy is that you criticize the weakest argument your opponent makes. "FSK writes about the Supreme Leader of Humanity. There's no such person. Therefore, taxation is not theft."
Another variation is to make an argument that's similar to your opponent's argument and refute that. I write "The income tax is immoral!" You respond "The income tax is legal; the 16th amendment allows it."
Another variation is "FSK does not have a PhD in economics. Therefore, his economic analysis is wrong." This is "argument from authority" rather than the Strawman Fallacy proper. A PhD is a license from the State that indicates you're qualified to think. I don't have a State-granted economics license; therefore, I'm unqualified to write about economics.
[BTW, some mainstream media sources are threatened by blogging. There's the occasional rumor that there should be State licensing requirements for bloggers. Fortunately, that proposal was so obviously stupid that it didn't go far.]
Ad hominem is different. Ad hominem is "FSK was labeled with a mental illness. Therefore, FSK's reasoning is wrong."
All these fallacies seem nearly exactly the same to me. I've learned quite a bit of Mathematics, and all forms of invalid reasoning seem identical. From my point of view, there's valid reasoning and nonsense. Do I need to categorize and name all the different types of nonsense? I'm using "The Strawman Fallacy" to cover several closely related false reasoning tricks.
This bit deserves its own separate post.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FSK Asks - The Forbes Blog Network Invitation?":
Should you join Forbes?
Fuck no. They are putting no value on the table for you and they are just looking for content to paste between their ads....Since "Forbes' expenses" are controlled by Forbes, the incentive is for them to overstate their expenses. It's the usual "monkey points" deal that skilled movie stars and writers refuse. To be fair, you should ask for a % of *GROSS* revenue. A % of *NET* revenue is meaningless, because the expenses can be inflated.
This one I am close to. I joined a startup dot-com in 1998 and they offered me a % of NET revenue. In other words, I got a percentage of whatever was left after their *legal* embezzlement of the company account (i.e. whatever was left over after bonuses, tax restructuring, taking the wives and the kids to Disney for a week on the company as part of the Annual General Meeting etc. etc.) need I go on?
Needless to say, I walked.
I concluded that the Forbes blogging network isn't worth anything to me.
My plans to ultimately profit from my blog involve setting up free market businesses. Eventually, I'd like to be able to sell my labor in the free market instead of the corporate/slave economy.
I considered Google Adwords. That's a problem, because I still don't control the ads. I can write an article on one topic, and the adwords would have the opposite point of view. Adwords and political blogs don't mix well.
Your experience at the startup is typical. You weren't even working for "equity". You were working for "% of *NET* profit", which is an even worse deal than flat equity.
You saw the abuses that occurred in a *SMALL* business. The same exact thing happens in large corporations, but on a larger scale. It's the Principal-Agent problem. The incentive is for corporate management to line their own pockets, instead of looking out for the interests of shareholders. They pay enough lip service to "shareholder interests" so they don't get sued for fiduciary neglect.
For this reason, I'm seriously considering the possibility that stocks don't return a positive inflation-adjusted return! In *ALL* corporations, theft and waste by management exceeds the massive government subsidies that corporations receive!
For every startup that's a Google or a Microsoft, there are thousands or more that fail. It's hard to identify the successful ones in advance. Google's original receptionist is a millionaire now. Do you really think she knew that Google would be so successful? The rare success stories keep everyone else as complacent slaves.
Realistically, equity in a pre-IPO startup is practically worthless. You can't sell it. If management decides to line their own pockets at your expense, then there's nothing you can do about it.
I once interviewed at a startup. I was offered options as part of my employment offer. I asked "How many shares are outstanding?" They got offended by that question. They didn't get their next round of venture funding and revoked their job offer before I could start.
I noticed an interesting pattern in the startups I've seen. The techie/slave is *ALWAYS* partnered with a MBA/master. The techie/slave needs to get his hires approved by the MBA/master. It's very rare for a techie/slave to start a business without an attached parasite. The rules of the economic and political system guarantee employment for parasites!
An MBA only provides useful skills in the context of a communist corporate bureaucracy. The skills an MBA learns are mostly useless in a true free market.
CK has left a new comment on your post "Reader Mail #46":
Actually the first "How to serve MAN ... it's a cookbook", was the punchline ending to a very very old sci-fi short story. I still have the paperback somewhere in my collection. Wasn't quoting it as a fact, just attempting to be slightly amusing.
I assume that the Twilight Zone episode was a retelling of that short story.
I couldn't tell from the comment. Sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference between a fool and someone making a joke.
Matthew has left a new comment on your post "Do You Have the Right to Steal?":
If you acquire property that was at one point stolen, does that make it yours?
Owning property is inherently theft. Be it physical or otherwise. At one point in time, the property you own was either seized from someone or "claimed" by someone who had force to protect others from claiming it. The entire human race is playing an "I call dibs" game on the earths resources and we're all playing along. The U.S. government is doing now what all governments and social organizations have done for ages, they are taking what they want by force from all who don't cooperate when they ask. The government is just confiscating from you what you have stolen in the first place, by power of a superior military force.
As long as you play and buy into these socio economic games, you will remain a slave to them.
"Property is theft!" is a common mistake that fake anarchists make.
Taxation is theft. That's pretty obvious.
Private property is *NOT* theft. In the present, almost all property is stolen property. That is not the same as saying that private property is an inherently evil invention.
Suppose I build a house. My neighbor says that house isn't mine and demands I give it to him. Does that make any sense?
Suppose I work for several months and use the proceeds to buy a car. You can't demand I give you my car.
Don't confuse "physical property" with "intellectual property". There's no such thing as intellectual property. Intellectual property *IS* theft. Consider patents. Suppose you got a State license to use an idea before I did. That does not mean I should be barred from using that idea. Similarly, copyrights on movies and songs aren't enforceable without a monopolistic State.
Physical property is legitimate property. Only one person or small group of people can use physical property at any one time.
Physical property does not violate natural law. Dogs and other animals "mark their territory". Physical property is the same concept in human terms.
However, a dog will not try to claim more territory than it needs. Similarly, a human should not claim more property than they need to live in or run their business. In a free market, acquiring more property than you need is impractical. Suppose one person can profitably manage and oversee a 1000 acre farm with modern farming equipment. It does not make sense to buy a 100,000 acre farm. People working as employees will always be less productive than owners. You could profit more by selling your surplus farmland than by continuing to farm it yourself.
In the present, all property is stolen property. Suppose I invest in real estate and buy 100 apartment buildings. I am receiving a Federal Reserve subsidy in the form of negative real interest rates. My real estate empire was subsidized by government violence. Therefore, my ownership claim to those 100 apartment buildings is not legitimate. My tenants have a stronger ownership claim than I do.
However, suppose I buy a single family home and live in it myself. I am still receiving a Federal Reserve interest rate subsidy. However, there is no other person that has a stronger property claim than me. That ownership claim is valid.
Currently, the State has full allodial title to all property. Property taxes mean that nobody truly owns their land. Zoning laws, environmental regulations, and eminent domain mean that the State is the true owner of all property. Current property owners merely have a perpetual transferable lease.
When the State collapses, the current occupiers of land will have the strongest ownership claim.
What about the descendants of native Americans, who had their land stolen from them? Technically, they have a valid tort claim against everyone else. However, forcibly evicting people from their land is impractical. Besides, modern farming techniques are more productive than a hunter/gather society. If people genuinely want to give back to the native Americans, they should make voluntary donations. I don't think a free market court could enforce such an old claim.
Private property is *NOT* intrinsically evil. People need to be able to work and store the fruits of their labor. Land ownership and other property are ways to store labor.
It's easy for fake anarchists to get confused. In the present, all property is stolen property. That is *NOT THE SAME* as private property being a bad invention in the first place. Many positive human advancements are primarily due to the right of property ownership.
One primary reason that most people are slaves is that they are denied basic property rights. Property taxes mean that people don't have full allodial title to their land. Income taxes mean that people don't have full allodial title to their labor. Income taxes mean that people need permission from the State in order to work.
This bit deserves its own separate post.
Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "Evidence of a Massive Conspiracy":
I never used a strawman. Another commenter suggested ad hominem, but I didn't do that either. I just mentioned that the SLH seems to just materialize in the middle of otherwise well-evidenced and well-reasoned posts.
I certainly have my suspicions that a person like the SLH exists, and I agree that the phenomena you term the 'compound interest paradox' and the 'discounted cashflow paradox' are strong arguments for a powerful body influencing public policy in the background.
I consider the Supreme Leader of Humanity to be a settled issue, so I use it and give a link to the original article. You didn't use a strawman or ad hominem argument, but I'm concerned that other people reading that post might.
Whenever I talk about the Supreme Leader of Humanity, it's an idea that SO FAR OUT THERE, even though it's obvious to me. I'm concerned that people would read me writing about the Supreme Leader of Humanity and then conclude "FSK's analysis is wrong".
I've been accumulating bits and pieces of evidence about the Supreme Leader of Humanity's existence. It was useful to write it all down in one post.
I'm using "Bayesian reasoning", in the style of Overcoming Bias. Each individual bit of information is slightly more in favor of "The Supreme Leader of Humanity exists." There's no single dead giveaway. When you look at all the evidence and do a Bayesian analysis, then it's obvious.
I reread my article on the Discounted Cashflow Paradox. That was one of my first posts! I reread it, and I don't need to update it. I'm planning to publish an updated version of the Compound Interest Paradox in two months. Since my original post, I have a lot of new material on the Compound Interest Paradox. The Compound Interest Paradox was also one of my first posts, and it's my most popular post by a wide margin!
The point of the Discounted Cashflow Paradox is that the long-term fair value of a money market investment or a bond investment is zero. If you invest in a money market fund or in bonds, you're *GUARANTEED* to lose out to inflation. If you compare a stock investment to gold over the last 10 years, gold was a better investment! I'm seriously concerned about the possibility that corporations do *NOT* earn a positive inflation-adjusted return for their shareholders!
There are a lot of problems with a gold or silver investment. Gold and silver are not legally recognized as money. You can't go into a store and buy something with gold. You can't deposit gold at your bank. A safe deposit box is risky. The box contents may disappear, your bank may report your box contents to the IRS, and in a financial crisis, you won't have access to your box. Storing gold or silver in your residence is risky. You can't legally operate a gold or silver warehouse receipt bank; taxes and regulations make it impractical. You can't easily trade back and forth between gold and Federal Reserve Points. Taxes and regulations make it hard to operate a gold or silver dealership.
That's another piece of evidence favoring a massive conspiracy. Taxes and regulations make it *IMPOSSIBLE* for people to use sound money. All other investments earn a negative inflation-adjusted return. There is, literally, no safe place for individuals to store their savings.
Under a gold standard, real interest rates can't fall below 0%!
Thomas Blair has left a new comment on your post "Network Neutrality Thoughts":
Now, thoughts on network neutrality:
I'm really very torn on the issue of network neutrality. Given that the whole network neutrality debacle is the result of government presence in the first place, I find that there is only one morally (but impossible to implement) correct solution and a few difficult but easy solutions.
1) Get government completely out of the telecom (and for that matter, any, every, and all) business. But we know this isn't going to happen in my lifetime.
How old are you? Based on my estimates, the collapse of government is 20-50 years away.
You'd be surprised. Once an agorist revolution gets started, it will spread exponentially. Currently, all the economic forces are in the direction of enslavement. With a marginal tax rate over 50%, if I double my productivity, I'm also doubling the resources available to the bad guys. However, in a free market, there won't be such a huge drag on individual productivity.
Suppose my productivity were tripled in a free market. I would be able to support myself *AND* hire two other people to work for me. If I choose wisely, the free market spreads exponentially.
I'm not the only one eager to make the transition from "theoretical agorism" to "practical agorism". Other people may be starting successful experiments without my knowledge.
In a truly free market, network neutrality would be enforced by market forces.
2) Support net neutrality. Force ISPs to treat every packet equally in return for their already-granted oligopoly. This has a nice ring to it, but all it means is that the government is going to pass some legislation where they get to define "packet", "equally", "treat", "every", "is", etc. I see this as a bad thing.
I believe this is what is happening now.
The danger is that Congress will define a standard that is *LESS* than true network neutrality. The telecom corporations will gladly implement that minimal standard exactly.
The FCC is a "captured regulator". The FCC represents the interests of the telecom corporations more than the interests of individuals.
In the "network neutrality" debate, there are large corporations on *BOTH SIDES* of the issue. This may guarantee that the issue will be settled fairly. AT&T and Verizon are lobbying to kill network neutrality. At the same time, Google is lobbying to keep network neutrality. With large amounts of money spent on both sides of the debate, the issue should be decided fairly.
3) Oppose net neutrality. The data is going through the ISPs servers, routers, equipment (including subsidized cable,to be sure) and it should be their business if they want to offer varying levels of service to different clients.
If there's no network neutrality regulation at all, then market forces *MAY* suffice to keep network neutrality. In most areas, there are at least 2 Internet providers, the local telephone monopoly and the local cable monopoly. With wireless broadband, there may be several providers. That may be sufficient to keep network neutrality.
In the end, the choice is for liberty, and to that end, I haven't any idea what will cause the least harm (or if you subscribe to the hasten-destruction-to-get-to
-the-revolution-sooner creed, what will cause the most harm). It's a sticky, shitty mess, and it's because government got involved in the first place. I'm inclined to support net neutrality, but those inclinations are tempered by the fact that Congress will decide exactly what it is, and it may not be as favorable this time as last.
The Internet plays a key role in the Supreme Leader of Humanity's plans. If you want the State to collapse, you need to decentralize the means of communication. Consider my blog. Without the Internet, it wouldn't be practical for me to write for an audience of 2,000 people. I couldn't locate subscribers. I'd have to physically print and distribute paper.
With the Internet, the cost of my blog is $0. My only expense is my time. Google search leads people to my site. People E-Mail each other links to my blog, giving me more readers. Google Reader, feed aggregators, web forums, and social networking sites are also used by other people discussing my blog.
The Internet gives me a $0 cost for writing my blog. Plus, the Internet makes it easy for the small % of interested readers to find my blog. Without the Internet, I would need to own a newspaper or TV station to deliver my message. Further, the Internet allowed me to discover agorism in the first place. I'm reading other blogs and websites by people who wouldn't have had a voice without the Internet.
The Internet isn't going away. There are too many businesses dependent on it.