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Book review: The Invisible Hook – The Hidden Economics of Pirates

Peter Leeson’s study of “The Hidden Economics of Pirates”, The Invisible Hook, is theoretically correct, thoroughly grounded in historical research and fun to read. From the jacket: Pack your cutlass and blunderbuss–it’s time to go a-pirating! The Invisible Hook takes readers inside the wily world of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century pirates. With swashbuckling irreverence and devilish wit, Peter Leeson uncovers the hidden economics behind pirates’ notorious, entertaining, and sometimes downright shocking behavior. Why did pirates fly flags of Skull & […]

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Anti-cronyism humour – the TARP song (2009)

The TARP song, which shows people can find a way to laugh at most things (contains moderate bad language): TARP is the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a massive bailout in the USA. In a similar vein, The Spectator recently reported a truth about current monetary policy: QE — the ultimate subsidy for the rich. All this is something I have written and spoken about many times — e.g. If this is capitalism, I am not a capitalist. Crony capitalism must […]

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Spain is not Greece

From a comrade, 1. “Spain is not Greece.” Elena Salgado, Spanish Finance minister, Feb. 2010 2. “Portugal is not Greece.” The Economist, 22nd April 2010. 3. “Ireland is not in ‘Greek Territory.’” Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. 4. “Greece is not Ireland.” George Papaconstantinou, Greek Finance minister, 8th November, 2010. 5. “Spain is neither Ireland nor Portugal.” Elena Salgado, Spanish Finance minister, 16 November 2010. 6. “Neither Spain nor Portugal is Ireland.” Angel Gurria, Secretary-general OECD, 18th November, 2010. 7. […]

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Accessible and insightful fiscal analysis with Ray Stevens

American musician Ray Stevens has produced this superb analysis of the Obama Budget Plan: I’m sure Ray has much to teach politicians and the public in the UK and Europe too, particularly about ethics and decency in the public finances. For more on that subject, see Jörg Guido Hülsmann’s brilliant book The Ethics of Money Production (PDF) and these sovereign debt projections from the Bank for International Settlements.

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ConservativeHome’s Platform: Steve Baker MP: The EU is not yet beyond ridicule

Via ConservativeHome’s Platform: Steve Baker MP: The EU is not yet beyond ridicule: I enjoyed delivering a brief polemic against EU spending in yesterday’s debate on the 16th consecutive failure of the EU budget to pass audit. Over 90% of EU spending was “materially affected by error” but I shared three stories which were apparently within the rules. The €500,000 payment to two fishermen to scrap their boat in the interests of reducing overfishing, which cleared their debts and paid […]

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Who will make a speech like this for our time?

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness. We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny. And […]

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Central banking and the economic consensus condemned

Via The Cobden Centre: The absurd tragedy of our situation, explained brilliantly here (albeit in a US context), is astonishing. For a more formal corrective, see this primer.

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Thought for the day: politics, debt and public choice

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A joke doing the rounds by email at the moment1: While walking down the street one day a Member of Parliament is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St Peter at the entrance. ‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St Peter, ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’ ‘No […]

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Churchill’s Wit

One kind Christmas gift was Churchill’s Wit: The Definitive Collection. I am particularly savouring this gem (1906): For my own part I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities which he excites among his opponents. I have always set myself not merely to relish but to deserve thoroughly their censure. I expect that will keep me going through the heat of the fires of unreason of the statist left.

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Not rearing pigs

A friend recently sent me this celebrated letter on the absurdity of bureaucracy. If you have not seen it, enjoy: Rt Hon David Miliband MP Secretary of State. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Nobel House 17 Smith Square London SW1P 3JR 16 July 2009 Dear Secretary of State, My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs.. I would now like to […]

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