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Applying Economics to American History

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December 03, 2009 – Comments (35)

In the following video, economist and historian Thomas Woods tackles several of the economic fallacies most Americans are introduced to in American high schools and beyond.

The video covers the following subjects:
1. The impact of American unionism
2. Exploitation during the Industrial Revolution
3. Child labor
4. Anti-poverty laws
5. Government intervention
6. Robber barons
7. The Wild West
8. American Indians' property rights and environmentalism
9. Bootlickers and Drones in Academic Economics

Enjoy,

David in Qatar

35 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 03, 2009 at 5:55 PM, outoffocus (23.49) wrote:

Good video.

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#2) On December 03, 2009 at 11:12 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

I'd like him to come here to give that presentation. It would be a lot of fun to demolish most of his arguments and nit-pick on others.
Quick question: how to apply property rights to the atmosphere, fishing stocks and the deep ocean.

He shows how easy is to score points using logical fallacies, irrelevant/incomplete information and a bit of witty.

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#3) On December 04, 2009 at 3:18 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Someone sounds butthurt, and incapable of providing a counter argument. Awwww.

David in Qatar

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#4) On December 04, 2009 at 3:54 AM, ozzfan1317 (78.55) wrote:

He sounds delusional and out of touch just my 2 cents

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#5) On December 04, 2009 at 4:19 AM, ozzfan1317 (78.55) wrote:

Also the are baseless assumptions and he is putting his own biased spin pretending that if the government went away the capitalists would happil treat everyone fairly.

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#6) On December 04, 2009 at 4:56 AM, ozzfan1317 (78.55) wrote:

Also Unions were productive because unionized labor provided competition for skilled labor at a more fair rate of pay even at non labor companies in order to attract talent. 

His arguments are against socialism and are extremist in nature

Socialism is flawed as well as communism  there is nothing wrong with a fair level of regulation to provide fair wages and taxation with the right to representation in order to provide Schools,Bridges and roads and Military protection and police

Someone might want to tell him some shocking news our government has grown over the time span of his comparisons of innovation. I'm hoping hes not trying to make serious arguments as he gave me a good laugh myself. 

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#7) On December 04, 2009 at 5:32 AM, tkell31 (29.51) wrote:

What a shock...people are greedy.  No kidding.  The human element is why capitalism is inherently flawed and left to it's own devices would look no different then feudelism with few having much and many having close to nothing.  Then again, even with regulation it still looks like that, no?  Bottom line you can't trust politicians and ceos to police themselves because it goes against human nature, and lets face it, those people are hardly superhuman.

Technology and production levels are to the point where we need less and less "labor" each year and the need will only continue to decline as advances in all fields are made.  That will require a shift from a traditional economic model or an extreme expansion of entitlement programs.

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#8) On December 04, 2009 at 6:42 AM, RaulChapin (< 20) wrote:

Thanks for the video link David

You might be interested in reading http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/05/jamestown/charles-mann-text

It is an article from National Geographic May of 2007 edition regarding Jamestown, however it touches on poperty rights for some native americans and a posible reason as to why colonists might have believed there was no such thing.

 Best Regards,

 Raul

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#9) On December 04, 2009 at 7:19 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

ozzfan1317  

" there is nothing wrong with a fair level of regulation to provide fair wages and taxation with the right to representation in order to provide Schools,Bridges and roads and Military protection and police"

Thinking that we can make things "fair" is delusional. 

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#10) On December 04, 2009 at 7:23 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

whereaminow

Your Bears stink. I went to the game last Sunday and the Bears fans were well represented.  I hadn't been to a game in years and it reminded me of a halloween party.  The Bears fans had very little to cheer about, but they always have the memory of '85.  I can't say the same for my club...... :(

Go Vikes! 

 

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#11) On December 04, 2009 at 8:20 AM, DaretothREdux (36.76) wrote:

lucas1985,

If I give you the link will you actually read all the way through it, and then attempt to nit-pick or tear the argument apart? I would love to see you try.

http://mises.org/rothbard/lawproperty.pdf

Don't be scared now. Put that brain of yours to some good use.

Dare

 

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#12) On December 04, 2009 at 11:45 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

So many mindless drones.  They can name-call, but they can't put one single argument together, not even one coherent sentence in response to Woods.

Amazing.  And sad.

David in Qatar

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#13) On December 04, 2009 at 1:44 PM, nthought (< 20) wrote:

Is this guy living in la-la land or what?  Our standard of living is not above that of Western and Northern Europeans.  Furthermore, we've only sustained ourselves because we borrowed money that we could not pay back. 

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#14) On December 04, 2009 at 2:05 PM, 4everlost (29.61) wrote:

Wow, what a bunch of weird comments here.  A bunch of CAPsters not in favor of capitalism and small gub'ment.  For example:

"Our standard of living is not above that of Western and Northern Europeans."  - What do you base that statement on?  Is it perception or do you have facts?

My rec was #17.

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#15) On December 04, 2009 at 4:55 PM, nthought (< 20) wrote:

I'm so sick and tired of you people claiming that anyone who criticizes their rigid and extreme economic philosophy somehow does not support capitalism.  We all support capitalism.  These right wing think tanks are trying to redefine "capitalism" to purge it of any form of democratic accountability.  Yes, we should have unions.  Yes, we understand that unions raise wages, but do not necessarily increase GDP.  We're not ignorant of economics, we have a different economic viewpoint.  Advanced nations will demand more democratic control of the private sector when it becomes reasonably possible.  That is because, in the long run, human beings are reasonable enough to understand the balance between creation of wealth, and ensuring that everyone has at least a minimum degree of access to it.  It's called democracy.  If you are opposed to it, just say so.  No one should be able to rape the earth of all the wealth, force children to work in mines for a nickel an hour, and keep all the profits for themselves.  This is an argument about morality.  If you disagree, fine.  Maybe you can move to Saudi Arabia.   

Life expectancy, crime, health, education, poverty.  Compare the United States with Western Europe and you will find that we do not measure significantly above in these categories.

 lower life expectancy

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2102rank.html

 

crime, 5.6 murders per 100k, compared to about 2 in Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States#International_comparison

I can go on, but then, what's the point.

 

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#16) On December 04, 2009 at 5:30 PM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

nthought,

Are you saying that the United States government has no culpabability in the crime statistics of the United States, but rather Capitalism (as you percieve it) is the real blame?

Let's see.....  Who runs the police forces?  Government (state or federal) or the "exploiters"?  Who runs the FBI?  The State Cops?  The local cops?  The DEA?  The Drug War?  

Who is to blame for crime in the United States?  The Exploiters or the stupid policies of the government?

David in Qatar

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#17) On December 04, 2009 at 5:53 PM, starbucks4ever (97.89) wrote:

"Are you saying that the United States government has no culpabability in the crime statistics of the United States, but rather Capitalism (as you percieve it) is the real blame?"

Let me answer for nthought. There is one way the US government can be blamed for crime rates. Its "war on drugs" does contribute to increased crime, just like the Prohibition only succeeded in giving rise to Al Capone. Other than that, however, I see government doing a pretty good job on crime. Actually, it's doing a better job than one would expect. With all this fishy stuff going on in the banking world, it's a miracle we still have police that (by and large) does not take bribes. If we had private police force, eventually someone would simply purchase it on the open market, so your Libertarian paradise wouldn't last very long.

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#18) On December 04, 2009 at 6:42 PM, nthought (< 20) wrote:

Are you saying that the United States government has no culpabability in the crime statistics of the United States, but rather Capitalism (as you percieve it) is the real blame?

No.  I don't think capitalism, as I perceive it, causes crime.  Crime is high in the United States for a variety of reasons.  The government has taken the wrong approach on crime.  Police forces do not prevent crime.  It's a waste of money in my opinion.  It doesn't matter how efficient or inefficient they might be.  The police are not there to protect the majority of Americans.  They're there to monitor and control them.  Secondly, crime is a result of the imposed inequality in the United States.  This is why we have police.  Imposed inequality creates the conditions for crime because most people have no actual rights.  You can't have rights if you can not demand them.  So why respect anyone else's?  We live in a criminal culture that somehow sees itself as exalting the individual when in fact it makes a mockery of him/her.  Our society takes a "survival of the fittest" approach to everything.  We've become very primitive.  We delude ourselves in to believing we have no responsibility to each other here.  We use our "rights" to oppress one another, and too many believe that their economic salvation lies in allowing big business take greater control of more of our lives.  To make matters worse, somehow, incredibly I might add, despite the horrific nation we've become, our leaders seem determined to spread this cancer througout the rest of the world.  Even more amazingly, we're offended and appalled when we come to find that 90% of the rest of the world doesn't actually want this system.  Take a hint America!  Most people are aware of the problem, corporate interest groups, but feel powerless to change it.  So they make it their goal to join them. 

 

 

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#19) On December 04, 2009 at 6:56 PM, nthought (< 20) wrote:

I should clarify that this does not mean I don't support capitalism.  I do support capitalism.  I also support democracy.  In a democracy, people will consent to a form of capitalism that limits the power of corporations and businesses.  They will also accept a modest degree of inequality if it can be demonstrated that it helps even the poorest.  But that's not how our system works.  The powerful do not trust the rest of us and therefore work to limit our rights, and expand theirs.  They want to control more of our lives and they fear a robust democratic government with leaders who actually care about their constituents. 

 

So you ask me for my support but it means absolutely nothing.  Nobody's opinion in America means anything.  Look at health care reform.  It's all imposed top-down to make sure private companies can still make ridiculous profits administering a necessary social service (however unfairly and inefficiently).  Nobody actually thinks what they've proposed makes sense except for people who have huddled behind the Democratic Party for a false sense of security.  

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#20) On December 04, 2009 at 8:31 PM, DrAmateur (91.67) wrote:

nthought,

 I read whereaminow's blog because I feel that it is very thought provoking.  At the same time I like to read the responses to understand what people's different philosophies are.  For you I would just suggest the criticism of inconsistency.  In your argument you have used principles from capitalism, libertarianism, socialism, and representative democracy.  Many of these are juxtaposed.

 You say an advanced nation will socialize parts of the private sector when beneficial, but then you rail against the political leaders and what they are trying to accomplish.

 That is the purpose behind David and the liberarian movement.  No one can be trusted with power.  It is a delusion to think you can hand over power or rights to someone or some body and believe they will use that power to better everyone.  The path is through restricted federal government.  On a local level your definition of democracy can work, but it needs the larger governments (state, federal) to get out of the way.

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#21) On December 05, 2009 at 10:35 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

I finally got to watch the video.  Excellent!  

I often look back on my childhood and wonder how I didn't become the drone Thomas talks about at the end.  Looking back, I wish I would have been exposed to a teacher like Thomas Woods at the high school and college level.  Maybe in the age of information more people can be exposed to Mises as an alternative view.  Who know, maybe it could become the dominant view :)

 whereaminow

Do you think democracy and capitalism can exist over forever?   I am not sure if I am phrasing it correctly, but do you think that eventually the majority of people will vote themselves to be taken care of by gov't? 

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#22) On December 05, 2009 at 12:14 PM, RaulChapin (< 20) wrote:

DaretothREdux:I have read the whole thing from Rothbard. I am pretty much a libertarian, and as such I do like to try and find faulty logic within that philosophy to make it better.  The above being said, I find one really disturbing scenario with the part of collapse of crime into tort. If I was inclined and able to kill some one and every single assignee/successor, then I would be able to go unpunished as soon as no one kills me while this is happening. It seems far fetched but some people have small circles of relatives. Say I find out there is a somewhat wealthy single orphan individual, I further find that he has neglected to assign a successor or heir. I go and kill him and do not hide the fact. Would it be just that I go unpunished because no one has the right to sue me for the murder?Ok, so there are few cases of the above, but there are even less cases of a pure libertarian society.Another problem I see is with the "a criminal should be able to buy his freedom from the affected" very few individuals are gutsy enough to dare sue a criminal organization. The individual criminals could say they have bought their way out of being sued by the successor of whoever they disposed off. By not having the state prosecute on behalf of the diseased an incentive for criminals to band in ever more powerful groups would have been created. (Not that there aren't other incentives... just that this would be an extra one) so dare taken, little brain was put to work... how about you go on now and using the same logic from the posted article tell me how the two above are "Just"

 

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#23) On December 05, 2009 at 3:16 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@DaretothREdux,
"lucas1985,
If I give you the link will you actually read all the way through it, and then attempt to nit-pick or tear the argument apart? I would love to see you try.
http://mises.org/rothbard/lawproperty.pdf
Don't be scared now. Put that brain of yours to some good use."

I did a search for the following keywords: climate, greenhouse, worldwide, global, ocean. All returned 0 results. Only commons (7 results) and atmosphere (2 results) gave positive results.
The results from looking for "atmosphere" are completely irrelevant; local air pollution and GHG emissions are different issues.
Let's see what Murray N. Rothbard says about the commons:
"While  the  situation  for  plaintiffs  against  auto  emissions  might seem hopeless under libertarian law, there is a partial way out. In a libertarian society, the roads would be privately owned. This means that the auto emissions would be emanating from the road of the road owner  into  the  lungs  or  airspace  of  other  citizens,  so  that  the  road
owner  would  be  liable  for  pollution  damage  to  the  surrounding inhabitants. Suing the road owner is much more feasible than suing each  individual  car  owner  for  the  minute  amount  of  pollutants  he might be responsible for. In order to protect himself from these suits, or  even  from  possible  injunctions,  the  road  owner  would  then  have
the economic incentive to issue anti-pollution regulations for all cars that  wish  to  ride  on  his  road.  Once  again,  as  in  other  cases  of  the “tragedy  of  the  commons,”  private  ownership  of  the  resource  can solve many “externality” problems."

- Build your case on fairy tale assumptions such as "In a libertarian society, the roads would be privately owned". Because nobody in their right mind would use the government to build roads given its various advantages: lower costs of capital, economies of scale, democratic accountability.
- How do you check that the road owner is actually implementing pollution controls/regulations? Yep, we have a huge information asymmetry problem here.
- It recognizes that property rights are sometimes the right way to solve "tragedies of the commons" Guess what? Everyone else knows that. Want more? Cap and trade is a scheme of property rights for the atmosphere.
A little gem
"To  establish  guilt  and  liability,  strict  causality  of  aggression leading to harm must meet the rigid test of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Hunch, conjecture, plausibility, even mere probability are not enough.  In  recent  years,  statistical  correlation  has  been  commonly used,  but  it  cannot  establish  causation,  certainly  not  for  a  rigorous legal  proof  of  guilt  or  harm.  Thus,  if  lung  cancer  rates  are  higher among cigarette smokers than noncigarette smokers, this does not in itself establish proof of causation. The very fact that many smokers ever get lung cancer and that many lung cancer sufferers have never smoked indicates that there are other complex variables at work. So that while the correlation is suggestive, it hardly suffices to establish medical or scientific proof; a fortiori it can still less establish any sort of  legal  guilt  (if,  for  example,  a  wife  who  developed  lung  cancer should sue a husband for smoking and therefore injuring her lungs)."
- Rothbard is completely ignorant of epidemiology and environmental health.
- Besides the strong statistical correlation, physiology, pathology and other basic science fields provide the theoretical foundations of the relationship between smoking and damages to health.

I'm sure if I read more I'll find even more silliness, fairy tales and ignorance.

This is the Austrian-libertarian version of society: property rights can be applied on everything, you're a polymath and reasonably wealthy to evade the problems of information asymmetry and transaction costs and courts are the only place to resolve disputes.

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#24) On December 05, 2009 at 3:27 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@whereaminow,
"Someone sounds butthurt, and incapable of providing a counter argument. Awwww"
Give me a transcript of the video and I'll start poking holes or picking nits in his fairy tale accounting of history, economics, the environment, etc.
However I must ask myself if I should do that given that you are incapable of providing counter arguments in climate science other than ad hominem attacks, red herrings and strawmen. Why should I give you a careful rebuttal if you don't even understand the Stefan–Boltzmann law.

@dbjella,
"Thinking that we can make things "fair" is delusional."
Yeah. What were thinking those who worked to establish a law system? Equality before the law is ridiculous.

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#25) On December 05, 2009 at 3:44 PM, starbucks4ever (97.89) wrote:

"Thus,  if  lung  cancer  rates  are  higher among cigarette smokers than noncigarette smokers, this does not in itself establish proof of causation. The very fact that many smokers ever get lung cancer and that many lung cancer sufferers have never smoked indicates that there are other complex variables at work. "

Wow! What a quotation! Too bad the judge who sentenced Madoff was ignorant of this statistical phenomenon. Otherwise he would have realized that the fact that many investors who invested with Madoff were never ruined and many investors who were ruined have never invested with Madoff indicates that there were other complex variables at work. So that while the correlation is suggestive, it hardly suffices to establish medical or scientific proof. Will the Libertarian party demand an immediate release of Madoff?

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#26) On December 05, 2009 at 4:54 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@zloj ,
"Too bad the judge who sentenced Madoff was ignorant of this statistical phenomenon. Otherwise he would have realized that the fact that many investors who invested with Madoff were never ruined and many investors who were ruined have never invested with Madoff indicates that there were other complex variables at work. So that while the correlation is suggestive, it hardly suffices to establish medical or scientific proof. Will the Libertarian party demand an immediate release of Madoff?"
Brilliant.
While I disagree with Rothbard on most aspects I have respected him as a somewhat serious scholar. I can't believe that he's full of errors that only a freshman would make. The more I read from extreme libertarian scholars the more my a priori beliefs of extreme right-libertarians (i.e. anarchocapitalists, Austrians of the Misesian variety and the like) get validated. Only Hayek seems to have a strong grasp of reality (thus far) so I'll keep reading him.

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#27) On December 07, 2009 at 1:58 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

The silence is deafening.

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#28) On December 07, 2009 at 3:15 PM, nzsvz9 (< 20) wrote:

All, 

The answer to the evil in mens' hearts is not government, which all too often is exploited to produce greater evil. An evil individual may go on a killing spree (i.e. Jack the Ripper, Columbine, Postal Workers) and a group may go for some time killing others (i.e. Manson, Gangs) but evil in power produces the nightmarish artocities of the generations before us (i.e. name lot of religious and political leaders throughout the ages).

A republic. I yearn for a return of our republic.

Known as European war survivors' offspring nzsvz9

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#29) On December 11, 2009 at 2:46 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

lucas1985,

The silence is deafening.

I apologize that I have been travelling. Now that I'm settled back in Qatar, I'm happy to continue this debate.

Law and Property was written in 1982, so scientific evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that cigarrette smoke alone causes lung cancer since that has been submitted between 1982 and 2009, I wouldn't hold Rothbard responsible for being unaware of it at the time of print.  You may not know this, but in the early 1980s there were a great deal of people that neither cared about the impacts of smoking or were just ignorant to its effects.  For evidence of this, one merely needs to a watch an American movie or TV show from the late 70s or early 80s where just about every character has a cigarette in his/her mouth.  Or we could just ask the older folks around here.

Rothbard is being intellectually honest by pointing out the difficulty that a lung cancer victim may have getting restitution from tobacco companies.  Despite your feelings about cigarette smoking or personal responsibility or your politics, Rothbard's analysis came true.  It is incredibly difficult to get restitution, even through the government court system, and whether you and I like it or not, the tobacco companies and their lawyers have used the same arguments that Rothbard detailed to fight these claims.

The sad truth is that every opportunity the government has had to prosecute the tobacco industry has been subverted by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, and fraudulent gangsters in the tobacco industry.  They should all be prosecuted for their criminal behavior. Ah, but who will prosectue them?  They very government that is in bed with them?  Well, I'm not going to hold my breath.  The government has always had a hard time dealing with fraud, mainly because it commits fraud every day.

Now, regarding environmental issues. Again, it helps to remember that Rothbard was writing in 1982, just six years after climate science was humiliated when their global cooling alarmism was debunked.  Nobody was spending a great deal of time worrying about carbon trading. 

The issues you raise are not relevant to Rothbard's core analysis.  The question Rothbard is trying to answer is what is the most moral method for society to organize itself. (You may question whether or not morality is relevant, or whether there is even a generally accepted morality.  Those are deep philosophical arguments that are worth exploring.)  Rothbard's arguments is that the most moral method currently known to man is the system of private property rights, with the first essential property right being the right to your own body which is your property.

David in Qatar

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#30) On December 14, 2009 at 10:56 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@whereaminow,
"Law and Property was written in 1982, so scientific evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that cigarrette smoke alone causes lung cancer since that has been submitted between 1982 and 2009, I wouldn't hold Rothbard responsible for being unaware of it at the time of print."
Pure bollocks. There were mountains of evidence before the publication of Law and Property. Examples:
- Epidemiology studies done by none others than the Nazis.
- A landmark study by Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hil titled "Smoking and Carcinoma of the Lung" and published by the British Medical Journal in 1950.
- The Surgeon General Report on smoking and health presented in 1964 which concluded: "smoking causes cancer."

"You may not know this, but in the early 1980s there were a great deal of people that neither cared about the impacts of smoking or were just ignorant to its effects.  For evidence of this, one merely needs to a watch an American movie or TV show from the late 70s or early 80s where just about every character has a cigarette in his/her mouth."
That was the strategy of Big Tobacco: manufacture doubt, harass scientists and embark on a huge marketing campaign. This is the same strategy (with the same actors) behind climate change denialism. This is a well-documented fact.

"whether you and I like it or not, the tobacco companies and their lawyers have used the same arguments that Rothbard detailed to fight these claims."
- I'm not surprised. Check the footnotes of Rothbard's essay and look who is the legal scholar cited to support his arguments.
- The fact that Big Tobacco used Rothbard's arguments doesn't validate them.

"The sad truth is that every opportunity the government has had to prosecute the tobacco industry has been subverted by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, and fraudulent gangsters in the tobacco industry."

The sad truth is that the tobacco industry launched a very successful campaign to resist regulation and lawsuits with PR, ads, fake scholarship, bribes, etc. Libertarians were largely supportive of these tactics: governments shouldn't regulate the tobacco industry, anti-smoking campaigns are at odds with individual choice, etc.

"just six years after climate science was humiliated when their global cooling alarmism was debunked."
More BS.
The "cooling alarmism" was inexistent. The assumptions behind the cooling theory were a low climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, a big increase in the amount of aerosols and/or a negative orbital forcing. Neither of these assumptions proved true: the 1979 NAS report estimated the sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 at approx. 3ºC (this is the consensus view 30 years later), aerosols decreased due to pollution controls and the uncertainties over orbital forcing were resolved.


"Nobody was spending a great deal of time worrying about carbon trading."
Your ignorance is appalling. You can't distinguish between climate science (the physical part) and climate policy (economics, ethics, politics, values, etc)

"Rothbard's arguments is that the most moral method currently known to man is the system of private property rights, with the first essential property right being the right to your own body which is your property."

Ahh, the hypocrisy:
"They profess that markets can solve all problems while simultaneously preaching that businesses will never be able to adapt to higher energy prices.
They say they support free markets, but oppose cap-and-trade (the free market solution to climate change).
They advocate skepticism and oppose proclamations that "the science is certain," while simultaneously claiming certainty that all climate science is one big hoax.
They support subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power but not for renewable energy.
They claim to believe in property rights, but don't stop polluters from sending their CO2 onto other people's property (or the common property of the atmosphere).
They claim humans are not wise enough to intervene in the economy without causing unintended consequences, but have no problems with humans massively intervening in Nature by pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
They say it's unwise to make decisions off of uncertain climate models, while basing their own predictions of economic doom off of uncertain economic models.
They demand more science/research before we can make a decision, then oppose funding for that research.
They accuse university scientists, small renewable energy companies, and Al Gore of manufacturing "alarmism" for money, while ignoring the far greater financial incentives of the giant fossil fuel industry to manufacture doubt, denial, and delay."


"The issues you raise are not relevant to Rothbard's core analysis."
Rothbard's argument is irrelevant to climate change policy. I asked how to assign property rights to things like the atmosphere and DaretothREdux linked to this essay as an example of a libertarian response to the commons problem. He failed. Perhaps he didn't read the essay before linking to it.

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#31) On December 15, 2009 at 6:52 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

lucas1985,

Did you just say that Cap and Trade is a free market solution?  Do you know what the free market is?  

I suppose if Rothbard were alive today, he'd ask you what happened to tree ring data in 1961 that made it suddenly erroneous?

David in Qatar

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#32) On December 15, 2009 at 11:22 AM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@whereaminow,
"Do you know what the free market is?"
Yes, I do.

"Did you just say that Cap and Trade is a free market solution?"
Yep. The atmosphere is a common property; to solve the tragedy of the commons we create property rights for the atmosphere: emissions trading.
Do you disagree with Rothbard that property rights are often the most efficient solution for the commons problem?
"Once  again,  as  in  other  cases  of  the “tragedy  of  the  commons,”  private  ownership  of  the  resource  can solve many “externality” problems.""

"I suppose if Rothbard were alive today, he'd ask you what happened to tree ring data in 1961 that made it suddenly erroneous?"
I will respond in the appropriate blog entry. Just a preview:
"An anomalous reduction in forest growth indices and temperature sensitivity has been detected in tree-ring width and density records from many circumpolar northern latitude sites since around the middle 20th century. This phenomenon, also known as the “divergence problem”, is expressed as an offset between warmer instrumental temperatures and their underestimation in reconstruction models based on tree rings. The divergence problem has potentially significant implications for large-scale patterns of forest growth, the development of paleoclimatic reconstructions based on tree-ring records from northern forests, and the global carbon cycle. Herein we review the current literature published on the divergence problem to date, and assess its possible causes and implications. The causes, however, are not well understood and are difficult to test due to the existence of a number of covarying environmental factors that may potentially impact recent tree growth. These possible causes include temperature-induced drought stress, nonlinear thresholds or time-dependent responses to recent warming, delayed snowmelt and related changes in seasonality, and differential growth/climate relationships inferred for maximum, minimum and mean temperatures. Another possible cause of the divergence described briefly herein is ‘global dimming’, a phenomenon that has appeared, in recent decades, to decrease the amount of solar radiation available for photosynthesis and plant growth on a large scale. It is theorized that the dimming phenomenon should have a relatively greater impact on tree growth at higher northern latitudes, consistent with what has been observed from the tree-ring record. Additional potential causes include “end effects” and other methodological issues that can emerge in standardization and chronology development, and biases in instrumental target data and its modeling. Although limited evidence suggests that the divergence may be anthropogenic in nature and restricted to the recent decades of the 20th century, more research is needed to confirm these observations." [1]
My hope is that I can educate you so that you may stop parroting things you don't understand.


1- On the ‘Divergence Problem’ in Northern Forests: A review of the tree-ring evidence and possible causes. Global and Planetary Change

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#33) On December 16, 2009 at 8:25 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Now the tree ring divergence (showing much temperature declines) may be caused by anthropogenic global warming itself (temperature increases).  So basically, whenever a temperature record diverges from the expected result found in other models, the divergence itself is caused by human caused global warming too. 

I've seen enough, thank you.

David in Qatar

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#34) On December 16, 2009 at 1:56 PM, lucas1985 (< 20) wrote:

@whereaminow,
"From the sublime to the ridiculous. Now the tree ring divergence (showing much temperature declines) may be caused by anthropogenic global warming itself (temperature increases)"
Ahh, the cozy feeling of ignorance. When some tree chronologies are at odds with the majority of tree chronologies and specially with the most precise proxy for anomalies in surface temperatures (weather stations) you'll treat those specific chronologies as suspect. Also, you look for an explanation for that divergence and this explanation may or may not include anthropogenic factors.
Science is hard, specially for crackpots.

"So basically, whenever a temperature record diverges from the expected result found in other models, the divergence itself is caused by human caused global warming too."
So basically, when a small portion of a proxy record diverges from the robust results found in other proxies and most important, the instrumental record, the divergence itself becomes the subject of intense research by the dendrochronology community. You know, when you find unexpected results, any curiosity-driven and skeptical-minded scientist begins the search for an explanation: new/more/better data, new hypothesis, new theoretical models. This is the way scientific knowledge is constructed.

"I've seen enough, thank you."
Yep, you had already made up your mind before even knowing something about the subject. It's so uncomfortable the fact of having to admit the existence of (big) market failures. You still deny the problem when market-based solutions are proposed. You're immune to rational argument and empirical evidence. You're the unconscious victim of propaganda.

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#35) On February 06, 2010 at 6:40 PM, ReadEmAnWeep (36.90) wrote:

You should check out An Empire of Wealth

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