"By most measures, there has never been a better time in history to inhabit our planet. A growing body of evidence points to dramatic improvements in human well-being. These improvements are especially striking in the developing world.
"Meticulously created and managed, HumanProgress.org is a new, free, innovative website that steadily follows and documents the forward march of human progress. This new site closes the gap between the often pessimistic public perception and a more optimistic reality, and is a comprehensive new research tool that provides data in an easily accessible manner, enabling users to:
Explore human development indicators from a wide range of sources.
Compare different indicators with one another.
Create and share visually compelling and information-packed graphics.
Calculate differences in human well-being between countries over time.
Providing facts on how to do the most good for the world. Cutting out hyperbole about the world's biggest issues. Stimulating debate on solving the biggest problems.
Copenhagen Consensus Center's project How Much have Global Problems Cost the World? A Scorecard from 1900 to 2050 (Cambridge University Press, Oct 10) measures the main problems on a comparable scale and without the opportunity to just focus on particular areas or statistics that reinforce the optimist or pessimist case.
In this project we asked some of the world’s top economists – experts on 10 overarching issues (these run from disease to biodiversity and conflict, from climate change to education and gender inequality) to quantify the damage caused from e.g. poor health, biodiversity loss and wars from 1900 and till 2050. They compare this damage - on a regional and global level - to the total human wealth at that time to give a comparable sense of proportion across areas and across time. This essentially measures the problem in percent of world GDP. The result is a state-of-the-art review of 150 years of the problems, and for many areas one of or the first economic evaluation of the entirety of the problem.
Ludwig von Mises continues to shine a bright light, 40 years after his death.
While I enjoy life and most often see the glass half full, where politics is concerned, and how they have systematically set our economy and hence our country on the wrong path, intentionally or not, with "only the best of intentions", or not, something must change. In this case, the glass is three quarters empty!
Yesterday, (Sunday, September 29, 2013) would have been the 132nd birthday of the great economist Ludwig von Mises who on page 115 of his Notes and Recollections said:
"My theories explain, but cannot slow the decline of a great civilization. I set out to be a reformer, but only became the historian of decline."
So as the government sets out to raise taxes and add to the regulatory maze, that will ultimately hurt the very people they claim to be helping I remain fully committed to the free market and girded by another quote from Mises:
"The market economy needs no apologists and propagandists. It can apply to itself the words of Sir Christopher Wrens epitaph in St. Pauls: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. [If you seek his monument, look around.]" Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, p. 850; p. 854
In the final, abuse and scorn will continue to be heaped on the business community as forces gather like storm clouds against VAT. Here again Mises provides guidance:
"The much abused shopkeepers have abolished slavery and serfdom, made woman the companion of man with equal rights, proclaimed equality before the law and freedom of thought and opinion, declared war on war, abolished torture, and mitigated the cruelty of punishment. What cultural force can boast of similar achievements?" Ludwig von Mises, Socialism, p. 398
Few people withstood more political pressure than Ludwig von Mises, and as I celebrate his birthday, I will continue to draw upon his work that also exposes the decline of our economy at the hands of ill advised public policy.
Happy belated birthday Professor! And thanks for your work.
As described by the White Paper released by the Bahamian government in February 2013, the Bahamas is poised to adopt value-added taxes (VAT) in July 2014.
In this report we discuss the economic consequences of VAT adoption and elaborate on the welfare loss that can be anticipated for consumers, labourers, employers and the government. Consumers can expect a one-time increase in price levels and a loss of purchasing power.
Labourers can expect a decline in real wages which will in turn lead to a decline in the labour supply. Businesses and employers with VAT-based sales can expect reduced demand for goods and services, which will in turn reduce their demand for labour.
Under extraordinarily conservative estimates biasing towards heightened government revenues, we forecast VAT adoption will lead to a $165 million decline in government revenues.
Simultaneously, we estimate VAT adoption will burden the private sector with $103 million in annually recurring compliance costs and an average of $4,300 in compliance start-up costs for each VAT registrant.
The report concludes by pointing to failed VAT adoptions in countries similar to the Bahamas and by highlighting contemporary efforts to reduce budget deficits through reductions in government spending.
The NASSAU INSTITUTE Bay and Deveaux Streets
To reserve your copy of the 48 page report
Telephone (242) 324-2035. E-Mail: joan @ nassauinstitute.org Single Copy $20.00 each 10 or more copies $15.00 each Cheques payable to The Nassau Institute – P.O. Box N 1688
It might be the message on a t-shirt worn by a stranger, a pointed comment from a family member or just a passing thought of "is there or isn't there…a God.
The conversation segues into what we believe, don't believe, or what our doubts are about a subject most people are at least curious or even fearful about.
So when I saw the following "meme" by Marlon Johnson I asked him if I could post it here. He kindly agreed. So here goes:
"Modern Religion represents the intersection between man's imagination, ignorance and fear. It gives him answers to tough questions (i.e. how all this got here) thus filling the gaps of his ignorance with fanciful and often absurd myths; it provides him a context for his life and tells him why he ended up here which - in Christian mythology - is perversely to consistently remind a narcissistic and insecure deity how mighty and wonderful "He" is; it addresses man's fear of death by lying to him about the finality of physical death. And as a meme, it has evolved very strong mechanisms for inculcating young pliable minds and for repudiating any challenges to its premises. As a subject of study, it is forever fascinating."
It is a perfect summation in my not so humble opinion.
First published in 1910, The Common Sense of Political Economy, explains one of the most important aspects of economics, Marginal Utility. That might sound complicated but it's not.
To quote Jeffrey Tucker of Laissez Faire Books on the author Philip H. Wicksteed; "He is like a tour guide in a great castle who turns on lights in room after room and proceeds to explain everything in the room with precision and excitement."
Here is a suggestion, initiate a new column in your paper under the title of “Step Back”. The articles written would have as it’s subject any person who is not taking the time to think, or situation where the national interest or intent is not being fully considered. Right now I am thinking about a person who needs to “step back”; The Honourable Loretta Turner-Butler. I have some personal opinions as to why she fits the profile, but I will take my text from the front page of the Nassau Guardian, July 8th, 2013. She says that, “I was confused to be honest because I know what our position was”, and then she states, “Let me speak for myself before someone says I’m speaking on their behalf”. Maybe the topic should be about confusion.
There is no denying that the Honourable Loretta Butler-Turner is qualified to be a leader in her party, she has shown that she is able to defend herself at any level; as some of her colleagues in Parliament have found out. However, her actions of late suggest that she wants the program to move a bit faster. There is nothing wrong with opposing the view of the leader of your party, but you cannot afford to let your view be seen as nothing more than an unqualified opinion. In a single utterance she has managed to shine a light of disregard on a person who speaking from the vantage point of a member of the profession of which he speaks. She is quoted, “I’ve heard that there is scientific evidence to suggest that it is probably the wave of the future in terms of medical breakthroughs. “So certainly I do support it.” Check the list here, “I have heard”, “evidence to suggest”, “probably the wave”. I do not think that what she puts forth is reason enough for her to go against the leader of her Party, except, that she has other reasons.
There are a lot of good things about stem cell research that can be used to benefit a country, but all of the benefits must come out of a culture of regulation. There are many “business persons” who do not see the need for too much regulation and there are scores of stories in the medical industry of what goes wrong when business runs ahead of responsibility. We have enough groups or persons coming into our country who are doing as they please, but the good thing is that we have been able to see what is going on; in most cases. But medical research is a different animal; where inspection an regulation has to begin “before the fact”. Ours is not a “before the fact” culture ( excuse the pun) especially if there is money involved; this scenario has been the bane of many “out of the way jurisdictions” where most of the time the intent of such “research” is to avoid regulation.
Hopefully, in the future the Honourable Loretta Butler-Turner would regulate her opinions to the point where she espouses what is factual or she defers to someone who has a qualified opinion or has taken the time to do the research and qualified their opinion and knows what they are talking about.