Monday, October 31, 2011

Success as Earned

Surprise, surprise, the NY Times publishes an opinion piece arguing that success isn't due to luck. Two excerpts:
Mr. Gates wasn’t the only person who knew how to program in Basic; the language was developed a decade earlier by Dartmouth professors, and it was widely known by 1975, used in academics and industry. And what about all the master’s and Ph.D. students in electrical engineering and computer science who had even more computer expertise than Mr. Gates on the day the Popular Electronics article appeared? Any could have decided to abandon their studies and start a personal computer software company. And computer experts already working in industry and academia could have done the same.

But how many of them changed their life plans — and cut their sleep to near zero, essentially inhaling food so as not to let eating interfere with work — to throw themselves into writing Basic for the Altair? How many defied their parents, dropped out of college and moved to Albuquerque to work with the Altair? How many had Basic for the Altair written, debugged and ready to ship before anyone else?


Progressive and Mr. Lewis illustrate how 10Xers shine when clobbered by setbacks and misfortune, turning bad luck into good results. They use difficulty as a catalyst to deepen purpose, recommit to values, increase discipline, respond with creativity and heighten productive paranoia — translating fear into extensive preparation and calm, clearheaded action. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Thoughts on Our Entitlement Programs

Thanks to PJ Media for publishing my editorial on ending entitlement programs!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Putting Wilderness over Man

It's interesting and encouraging to see other commentators identify the crucial issue of environmentalists versus humanity:
These rural folks, living in the shadow of the majestic Mount Shasta, believe that they are being driven away so that their communities can essentially go back to the wild, to conform to a modern environmentalist ethos that puts wildlands above humanity. As the locals told it during the Defend Rural America conference Oct. 22 at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds, environmental officials are treading on their liberties, traipsing unannounced on their properties, confronting ranchers with guns drawn to enforce arcane regulatory rules and destroying their livelihoods in the process.

An Economist Responds to OWS

George Reisman offers a good economics primer for the OWS crowd. Here's an excerpt, but be sure to read the whole piece:
In the world of the protesters, means of production have the same essential status as consumers’ goods, which as a rule are of benefit only to their owners. It is because of this that those who share the mentality of the protesters typically depict capitalists as fat men, whose plates are heaped high with food, while the masses of wage earners must live near starvation. According to this mentality, the redistribution of wealth is a matter merely of taking from the overflowing plates of the capitalists and giving to the starving workers.

Contrary to such beliefs, in the modern world in which we actually live, the wealth of the capitalists is simply not in the form of consumers’ goods to any great extent. Not only is it overwhelmingly in the form of means of production but those means of production are employed in the production of goods and services that are sold in the market. Totally unlike the conditions of self-sufficient farm families, the physical beneficiaries of the capitalists’ means of production are all the members of the general consuming public who buy the capitalists’ products.

For example, without owning so much as a single share of stock in General Motors or Exxon Mobil, everyone in a capitalist economy who buys the products of these firms benefits from their means of production: the buyer of a GM automobile benefits from the GM factory that produced that automobile; the buyer of Exxon’s gasoline benefits from its oil wells, pipelines, and tanker trucks. Furthermore, everyone benefits from their means of production who buys the products of the customers of GM or Exxon, insofar as their means of production indirectly contribute to the products of their customers. For example, the patrons of grocery stores whose goods are delivered in trucks made by GM or fueled by diesel oil produced in Exxon’s refineries are beneficiaries of the existence of GM’s truck factories and Exxon’s refineries. Even everyone who buys the products of the competitors of GM and Exxon, or of the customers of those competitors, benefits from the existence of GM’s and Exxon’s means of production. This is because GM’s and Exxon’s means of production result in a more abundant and thus lower-priced supply of the kind of goods the competitors sell.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Whittle Takes on "Poor Mongering"

I enjoyed this afterburner segment:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Address Budget Deficits with Spending Cuts Not Higher Taxes

Interesting empirical research:
Countries that addressed their budget shortfalls through reduced spending were far more likely to reduce their debt than countries whose budget-balancing strategies depended upon higher taxes.

The typical unsuccessful fiscal consolidation consisted of 53 percent tax increases and 47 percent spending cuts. By contrast, the typical successful fiscal consolidation consisted of 85 percent spending cuts. These results are consistent with a large body of peer-reviewed research.
Via Instapundit's post.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupiers' First Taste of (Ultra Minimal) Responsibilities

You couldn't make this up:
“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music," said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it ... they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”

To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest," he said. "They didn’t even give the drummers a say ... Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”
Read the whole story.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Introducing Capitalism

I thought Don Watkins did a good job in this interview. (As an aside, we often refer to such dialogues as "defending" capitalism, but more and more I think the key is to introduce it, as most people have no idea what it means or entails.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Offering Employment to Occupiers

I think this is an effective form of activism, particularly since it is also tied into the activist's job:

Friday, October 07, 2011

A Handful of Links

I've been too busy to post lately, and probably will remain so for another 10 days, but I wanted to quickly point out a few worthwhile stories and links.
1. Yaron Brook and Don Watkins on What We Owe Steve Jobs and other creative geniuses.
2. A good summary of Steve Jobs' life and accomplishments.
3. The livestream links to the talks from the Undercurrent's Capitalism Awareness Week.
4. Yaron Brook's upcoming talk at FEE: Ayn Rand's Moral Defense of Capitalism
5. Peter Schiff's interview on Fox News detailing how regulation prevents employment.
6. Info on Alex Epstein's upcoming debate with Greenpeace.