Wednesday, September 26, 2007

that which is not seen

“It’s a little ironic that five years ago the administration was saying we should end recycling because there was no market for it,” said City Councilman Michael E. McMahon, a Staten Island Democrat and chairman of the Council’s Sanitation Committee.'" - NY Times article

Mr. McMahon makes these remarks in regards to a new bill which the city council passed which raises fines for companies caught "stealing" recyclable materials from items put out for collection.

So let me get this straight; it's considered theft for a private individual to take materials left out for recycling collection. But when city employees comb through your trash to collect evidence for whatever nefarious purpose, we're supposed to look the other way?

Anyway, that wasn't my main point.

Man, I just love how pundits and politicians can overlook the costs side of the equation and declare any program a success because there is the appearance of profits. This happens when you ignore the elephant in the room so-to-speak; coercion, and by that logic, robbery too can be considered a profitable business.

Yes it may be appear profitable for third-parties to raid recyclable materials left curbside, but that is only possible once the individuals have already complied with the bureaucratic edicts which threaten their home and hearth for non-compliance. There is no shred of evidence however that individuals would find it profitable to separate recyclables if they weren't already threatened to do so. This being the case, one cannot legitamately speculate whether recycle programs are 'profitable' when the costs have been shifted over on to the individual by mean of coercion.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

keytzad meraglim

A well-known Talmudic passage is related in the tractate 'Ketubot' as to what one tells to a groom at his wedding in order to bring him joy. The rabbis who were the students of the sage Shamai state that one is obligated to tell the groom his opinion of the brides qualities- be it pretty or pretty ugly, smart or stupid, etc.

The rabbis who were the students of Hillel the Elder argue that one is obligated to tell the groom that his wife is Na'ah ve'hasuda, pleasant and kind (in other words, heap the praises upon her), regardless what your actual opinion of her may be.

The Shamaiian rabbis ask-- but if the bride is lame or blind wouldn't that tantamount to lying, which the bible forbids against?

The Hillelians retort that if you would see someone in the market place who just concluded a transaction, do you praise his deal even if you think it was a lousy deal or can you criticize it?

Here the Shamaiians were in agreement- indeed you do praise the dealmaker, and the Talmud concludes from here that a person should always strive to be pleasant with others, no matter what your personal feelings as to how you perceive the bride, a market transaction, etc, and this would of course hold even where you might consider such words to be untruthful.

Some commentators use this passage to define what it means to be truthful. Truth, they hold, is a relative proposition, not an absolute and objective fact that stands apart from the situation. The example given is where a soldier is looking to kidnap or to murder a person, and he asks a third-party as to the whereabouts of the would-be victim. In such a case they hold that it is not considered untruthful to deceive the soldier, since the concept of truth is only meaningful within a moral framework, which in such a case of murder or kidnapping is not a required ethic.

Monday, September 17, 2007

bedtime (economic) fairytales

I first saw this novel when browsing at Barnes & Noble, and while I have not read it, the praise for the book tells me everything that is wrong with this work of historical fiction.
"Bruner and Carr provide a thorough, masterly, and highly readable account of the 1907 crisis and its management by the great private banker J. P. Morgan. Congress heeded the lessons of 1907, launching the Federal Reserve System in 1913 to prevent banking panics and foster financial stability. We still have financial problems. But because of 1907 and Morgan, a century later we have a respected central bank as well as greater confidence in our money and our banks than our great-grandparents had in theirs." -Richard Sylla, Henry Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets, and Professor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University

This paragraph sums up the mythological tale propagated by the establishment to set the scene for the dashingly bold technocrats to step in and to implement their planned chaos. Next follows the admission that the criminal tampering with the level of voluntary credit allocation (read: capital market) has still not perfected a method to siphon off wealth without creating great disruptions in those markets. The closing sentence is telling too; it's an assertion that the establishment has accomplished to con our generation into quiet complacency, more akin to an insult as disestablishmentarians would take it.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

absolutely nothing to do with R.A.W.

Found on, regarding the raw milk "debate", [which is only possible between equals per HHH's argumentation ethics] one individual calling himself 'Stoic' had this to say in regards to the mentality of posters who take the FDA to task for this one, narrow, and perhaps insignificant fight with the indiscriminate powers that be: 
Until "whose business is it?" is debated, and won (nobody's), there will be no shortage of superfluous make-work. What kind of milk you drink is just one of an infinite number of inane distractions. Someone else posted Thoreau's observation already, "There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." Until people learn to mind their own business, and insist others do the same, the plague of symptoms will continue.