Federal Reserve refuses to disclose the recipients of $2 trillion in emergency loans

Bloomberg News filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Federal Reserve on November 7 to find out who is getting the $2 trillion in bailout money. The Federal Reserve told them to shove it.
The Fed responded Dec. 8, saying it’s allowed to withhold internal memos as well as information about trade secrets and commercial information.

...

“Notwithstanding calls for enhanced transparency, the Board must protect against the substantial, multiple harms that might result from disclosure,” Jennifer J. Johnson, the secretary for the Fed’s Board of Governors, said in a letter e-mailed to Bloomberg News.

“In its considered judgment and in view of current circumstances, it would be a dangerous step to release this otherwise confidential information,” she wrote.

You think Madoff's $50 billion fraud was something? He's a patzer compared to these guys.

Federal Reserve refuses to disclose the recipients of $2 trillion in emergency loans

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  1. Welcome to the Fourth Branch of government.

    Your grade school teacher might have misinformed you that there are only three branches of government here in America. There’s the Executive, the Legislative, the Judicial and, as a couple reporters just figured out, the Federal Reserve. Here at the Fed, our trustees were appointed in a manner not unlike those in the Judicial Branch, and we all know how crucial it is to allow a group of men independent of accountability to decide imporant issues.

  2. “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” — attributed to Ben Franklin

  3. I think their assumption is that if they’re loaning money to XYZ Corp, because XYZ Corp is in trouble, then making that information public might cause investors of XYZ Corp sell their shares of XYZ Corp because the loan announces that XYZ Corp is in trouble.

    I’m not sure that assumption is true or not. The stock market is certainly anything but an objective, mechanically operating machine. Panic is what caused people to pull their money out of banks, which caused banks to implode, which was part of what caused the Great Depression.

    FDIC wasn’t created to correct for some mechanical, objective flaw in the market, it was created to prevent panic driven bank runs.

    What I’ve seen of the market lately, with stocks skyrocketing one day and plummeting another, when nothing actually physically changed in between, other than investor expectations, hopes, and fears, says that there is something to managing panic.

    FDIC is about managing panic.

    And clearly the market isn’t goign to manage panic, because panic isn’t profitable. Well, it is if you can sell short, but I think they finally reinstated that investment rule that you can’t sell short without an uptick. But even then, selling short ends up producing a bad effect for everyone else but the investor who sold short.

    And if a company is in trouble and getting a loan from the government, the question is whether or not public knowledge of that loan will worsen the problem or not.

    Not that I’d ever support blanket secrecy. But I’d think that it ought to be possible to put a one or two year blackout on teh information and still be able to hold people accountable if they’re actually using their position in the federal reserve for their own private gain.

    The question really comes down to whether or not the information that the Fed is loaning money to a company to try and help it stay afloat will affect panicy investors and make the problem worse for the entity they’re trying to help.

    If not, then no secrecy needed. If yes, then the secrecy needs to be managed so that the position doesn’t get abused.

  4. @1

    It was very telling this morning listening to Ron Gettelfinger. The Senate won’t bail us out. We’re going to appeal to a higher power…the US Treasury and Hank Paulson.

  5. I think their assumption is that if they’re loaning money to XYZ Corp, because XYZ Corp is in trouble, then making that information public might cause investors of XYZ Corp sell their shares of XYZ Corp because the loan announces that XYZ Corp is in trouble.

    I think the statement is something like: security through obscurity is no security at all

    If they are in bad enough trouble that if us citizens find out its over, then its already over for them. Adults pay taxes. Adults paid for the 2 trillion. Adults get to decide will all info on the table who they back with the little extra $$ we have.

  6. I have complete faith in the fiscal responsibility and spending priorities of individuals that require a historic $2 trillion bailout. Given that they were such wise investors the first time around, surely their superlative fiduciary skills will jump-start this country from the inside out!

    No, seriously. What do you guys wanna bet they’ll do with the bucks other than spend it on hookers and blow?

    Heckofajob, Feddie!

  7. Let’s do some number crunching:

    $ 2000,000,000,000 /305,000,000 Americans = $ 6,557,38. That’s about the damage per American citizen. Roughly twenty percent of America’s national debt, which was $ 10,655,552,920,387.67 last time I looked. $ 34,906.22 of that is the burden per member of your family.

    That’s a lot of money to be unaccounted for.

  8. The Mystery of Banking (PDF) by Murray N. Rothbard

    Rothbard’s extraordinary book unravels the mystery of banking: what is legitimate enterprise and what is a government-backed shell game that can’t last. His explanation is clear enough for anyone to follow and yet precise and rigorous enough to be the best textbook for college classes on the topic. This is because its expositional clarity–in its history and theory–is essentially unrivaled.

    Most notably, he uses the T account method of explaining the relationship between deposits and loans, showing the inherent instability of fractional reserve banking and how it sets the stage for centralization, inflation, and the boost-bust cycle.

    But there is more here. It is an explanation of money’s origins and its meaning in the free market. The abstract theory is here but always with real application in history and in modern banking practice. Never does a paragraph go by without an example drawn from his massive knowledge of the subject.

  9. Banks receiving money from the program are required to disclose this fact on their website. I just updated the legal on my employer’s site.

    Search Google for “participating in the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee Program”.

    There are 269 hits now, it’ll keep getting larger as sites get updated.

  10. Murray Rothbard supported Pat Buchanan for president in 1992. Got any Hitler disciples whose economic theories you’d like to spread?

  11. Murray Rothbard supported Pat Buchanan for president in 1992. Got any Hitler disciples whose economic theories you’d like to spread?

    Fallacy of irrelevance, specifically a genetic fallacy.

    The genetic fallacy is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone’s origin rather than its current meaning or context. This overlooks any difference to be found in the present situation, typically transferring the positive or negative esteem from the earlier context.

    The fallacy therefore fails to assess the claim on its merit. The first criterion of a good argument is that the premises must have bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim in question. Genetic accounts of an issue may be true, and they may help illuminate the reasons why the issue has assumed its present form, but they are irrelevant to its merits.

    1. Separating someone’s economic theories from his support for a fascist presidential candidate opens the door to fascism. The economic theories that you espouse kill people. Real, live human beings die horribly because you regard them as numbers, as theoretical variables.

  12. a rational economic system is impossible without a supreme dictator with real power of life and death over all – including the ultra rich. That’s why it’ll never get better.

  13. No, seriously. What do you guys wanna bet they’ll do with the bucks other than spend it on hookers and blow?

    Waste it.

  14. a rational economic system is impossible without a supreme dictator with real power of life and death over all

    That’s actually the hallmark of socialism. Free market capitalism is built upon subjective theory of value by individuals.

    Real, live human beings die horribly because you regard them as numbers, as theoretical variables.

    Again, you’re thinking of the central planning of socialism.

  15. How I long for the good old days, when all I worried about was how we were going to pay for the trillion dollar war on terror.

  16. The FED’s basically been given God-like powers now, so this doesn’t surprise me.

    The main problem, I think, is the fact that the entire money system is a scam, and the FED is the purpertrator.
    It’s a private bank given power to issue new money and charge interest on top of it. It’s a big joke.

    And your income tax goes wholly to pay off that interest.

    check out:
    endthefed.us

    and watch:
    America: From Freedom to Fascism

  17. I think the statement is something like: security through obscurity is no security at all

    Markets aren’t machines. a machine works or it doesn’t. Markets react to investor fear and panic.

    I recall when greenspan was running the fed that there was a time when Greenspan would sneeze funny and the market would tank. Greenspan would say the economic future doesn’t look quite as shiny as he would hope, and the S&P would plummet.

    It’s stupid, but at the same time, saying it’s stupid is like saying people shouldn’t have emotions when investing their money. THey shouldn’t, but they do. And those emotions can screw the economy.

  18. central planning? Oh no! I would plan nothing, that is the province of others. No, as Great Leader , or Complete Dwart or whatever title, I would merely require results. With Consequences when results were not delivered. My court would include such as a Minister of Food that tended to gauntness since a village starving anywhere would require a week or two of “dieting” for him. A Minister of Peace carried around in a basket (eventually). You get the idea. Merely a good and just divinity made manifest, that ensured those responsible were so.

  19. Antinous @17 & 20, you’re being intellectually dishonest. Rothbard’s writings show that he opposed militarism, imperialism, and conscription, which puts him at direct odds to fascism.

    If Rothbard’s arguments are sound or unsound, it’s because his arguments are sound or unsound, not because of who he voted for sixteen years ago.

    1. Avram,

      You’re being disingenuous in respect to the real world. Rothbard supported Buchanan in 1992 and was dead in 1995, so the sixteen year argument is devoid of any validity.

      It doesn’t matter what you write when you support a fascist for President. I have learned in many years of political experience that listening to what people say instead of looking at who they are is the straight road to hell. Listen to President Bush and Hugo Chavez and you’ll hear one capitalist and one socialist. Look at who they are and you’ll see two thieves who got elected so that they can rob the store.

      I helped put Mugabe into office in Zimbabwe and inadvertently helped Khomeini into power in Iran. We listened to their rhetoric but never evaluated them as people. Anyone whose theories make him Pat Buchanan’s pet economist is working from a world view so flawed that all his writing should be discarded.

  20. America: From Freedom to Fascism

    We’ve covered this ground before. That movie is a croc. It attempts to argue that Federal Income Tax is unconstitutional based on a tangled web of conspiracy theories. But not just in theory, the guy who made the film had two million dollars of tax liens filed against him for unpaid taxes.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/movies/31russ.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1

    This is my favorite review of the film:

    http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=66977&category=22133

    This film has nothing to do with how the Fed can best do it’s job, and everything to do with the Fed, the IRS, and the gummint as a whole, are all transgressions against the inherent freedom that all individuals have, to teh point taht no one can tell anyone else what to do, because, you know, it’s an immoral restriction on their freedom.

    You can’t make someone pay taxes, you see, because it’s immoral to make someone do anything against their will.

    the only moral imperitive, they say, is against physical violence. All else is the big ol’ mean gummint coming in and being mean to them.

  21. @45, GregLondon:

    “And clearly the market isn’t goign to manage panic, because panic isn’t profitable. ”

    – not sure if this is what you meant. The whole raison d’etre of a bank run or other panic is that when everyone realises that only the first 10% to the counter will be getting their money back, there’s a lot less loss in getting out first. Profit eq less loss. )

    @Timmaah #6:
    “I think the statement is something like: security through obscurity is no security at all”

    No, it’s “security that relies on obscurity /alone/ is no security at all” (Actually it’s worse than none at all, but that’s a tangent for another day.) Your password or ATM PIN is obscure (secret), so are your GnuPG or Ssh private keys, clientside certs used to access secure WAPs, et cetera.

    @Antinuous #17: “Got any Hitler…”

    Hitler was a vegetarian. So am I. Therefore I must be a Nazi, and so was Godwin.

    Om. And now it’s IT Crowd time. Yaay!

  22. a rational economic system is impossible without a supreme dictator with real power of life and death over all – including the ultra rich.

    Wrong. A rational economic system is possible when the basic rules won’t allow anybody to get enough power/wealth to warp the machinery to their benefit and buy exception from the consequences to the community.

  23. everyone realises that only the first 10% to the counter will be getting their money back

    No, not what I meant. I meant it isn’t profitable for someone to come in and do something that would actually make the panic go away.

    FDIC isn’t a profitable venture. Well, it could be, right up until banks start collapsing and people demand you pay them their savings.

    Those who worship the invisible hand of capitalism will swear that their invisible friend will take care of them if gummint would just get out of the way.

    But the reason I support the bailout of mortgages is that risky mortgages are a bad asset to corporations who only think surviving the next quarter. If the government buys the risky mortgages, and the banks are no longer backed by risky assets, the banks improve. If banks improve, teh economy improves. If the economy improves, those risky mortgages aren’t so risky anymore, and maybe the government could sell them and make back some of its money.

    That is managing panic. And it isn’t something that some corporate entity would do. Or they would have done it already.

  24. Antinous, argumentum ad hominem at three paragraphs’ length is still argumentum ad hominem. It’s no different from the people who were frightened off from Obama because of Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.

    Worse, in fact, because Zuzu isn’t putting Rothbard forward is a political candidate. As you pointed out, Rothbard’s safely dead, so there’s no danger of Rothbard using your hypothetical approval to get himself into office. Zuzu’s putting forward Rothbard’s writings as an explanation of something. That’s a valid argument or not based on its actual merits, not on who Rothbard voted for or hung out with.

    Hitler probably believed that two plus two is four and the sun rises in the east. His being a genocidal maniac didn’t magically cause two plus two to equal five, or the Earth to spin backwards.

    Furthermore, Buchanan isn’t a fascist. He has points of agreement with the fascists (strong nationalism, racism, anti-immigration, probably sexism too), and points of disagreement (Buchanan’s a military isolationist and anti-imperialist).

    And, of course, none of that has anything to do with whether Rothbard’s arguments are right or not.

  25. @23

    Socialism doesn’t preclude subjectively produced value for items. In fact even centralised socialism doesn’t preclude it. All you have to do is have a system where people are asked what they would like to have. Then you can get subjective value based on personal preference orderings and hierarchy of needs. There isn’t any magic in capitalism that provides this.

    Mises was squarely wrong about the calculation problem. It is actually *not* a problem for socialism, only a problem for socialism if you want to have an objectively defined value.

    @37

    And that is exactly what we should be looking for. It’s called socialism. We just haven’t found it yet. In fact, it’s the single most pressing problem on earth, yet we are spending trillions running around blowing things up and bailing out the rich. Shouldn’t the most important question be how to have a humane sustainable world? Everything else is a waste of resources.

  26. Except, Antinous, as you and I have already pointed out, in Rothbard’s case the man does indeed no longer exist.

    In any event, you’re not really arguing against Rothbard as he actually existed anyway. You’re reducing the man’s entire life to a single event: His support for a particular political candidate in the 1992 presidential primaries. (Rothbard supported Perot in the actual election.)

    And furthermore, reducing Buchanan’s entire life to his taken-out-of-context remarks about Hitler. So you’re not seeing Buchanan as he actually exists either.

  27. Sammich, Arkizzle, Takuan @42-44, actually, we’re just doing this so we’ve got something to point to the next time some troll accuses the mods of imposing conformist group-think on the commenters.

  28. According to wikipedia (yeah, I know, wikipedia)

    “Murray Newton Rothbard (March 2, 1926 – January 7, 1995) was an American economist of the Austrian School who helped define modern libertarianism and founded a form of free-market anarchism he termed “anarcho-capitalism”. Rothbard took the Austrian School’s emphasis on spontaneous order and condemnation of central planning to an individualist anarchist conclusion”

    Well, based on those facts alone, I think that I can say that I sure as hell wouldn’t trust Rothbard with my economy. Anarcho-capitalism and free-market anarchism is enough for me to highly doubt any assertions he might make about something so subjective as an economic system.

    You can be batshit crazy and come up with a mathematical theorem that other mathematicians can prove is correct. But Economics is people. (so is soylent green, but whatever.) Economics is about people wanting things for completely personal and subjective reasons, and its about panic in the markets, and its about all sorts of human driven emotions that require a lot of complexity to work out right.

    This guy appears to worship the invisible hand of capitalism, which to me is no different than some religious person telling me that “god has a plan”.

    How does the invisible hand always make sure things work out right? God works in mysterious ways.

    That’s fine for them and their lives. But when we start talking about my economy or my government, then I want something designed into the system that’s a bit more rigorous.

  29. ut Economics is people. (so is soylent green, but whatever.) Economics is about people wanting things for completely personal and subjective reasons, and its about panic in the markets, and its about all sorts of human driven emotions that require a lot of complexity to work out right.

    Actually, you and Rothbard would probably agree on almost all of that, vis-a-vis the aforementioned subjective theory of value.

    The only difference might be that where you say “require a lot of complexity to work out”, Rothbard and other Austrian School economists would claim that it’s so complex (dynamically so) that the best one can hope for is to treat people as a black box, plus an assumption of universal time preference. (c.f. Mises’ magnum opus of Human Action, but I’m also open to reconciling “praxeology” with behavioral finance.)

    This guy appears to worship the invisible hand of capitalism, which to me is no different than some religious person telling me that “god has a plan”.

    Actually, the “invisible hand” has more in common with the “blind watchmaker“. I find it endlessly fascinating how people who believe in spontaneous order as an explanation for the complexity of life on earth don’t believe in spontaneous order as an explanation for the complexity of human civilization. (Note: This is not to be confused with the vulgar concept of “social Darwinism”.)

    “Invisible hand” is just another way of saying “emergence“.

    But when we start talking about my economy or my government, then I want something designed into the system that’s a bit more rigorous.

    Actually the Austrian School is extremely deductively rigorous; they champion positive economics or “wertfrei” (German: value-free) — the complete opposite of wishful thinking which pervades normative economics. (In other words, do we want to hear uncomfortable truths, or soothing lies?)

  30. Mises was squarely wrong about the calculation problem. It is actually *not* a problem for socialism, only a problem for socialism if you want to have an objectively defined value.

    Um, prove it?

    I don’t say that to be an asshole, but if you can prove it I’m generally interested. Because I’m like 90% sure that I can use information / communication theory to prove that the economic calculation problem is real, given time-preference. (Note: Calculating bandwidth and latency is irrespective of content.)

  31. the answer to the economic calculation problem is to expand to the population so that everyone is straining to stay barely alive on what little is available. Prices and values can then be allocated by noting mass die-offs and adjusting accordingly.
    “Rationality” of distribution can then be defined by species survival – or not.

  32. you don’t want the job, trust me. All my staff will be appointed by selection for being the best in their field. After kidnapping, they will be sentenced to a term of well-compensated public servitude and their families held comfortably hostage in the Palace – their lives forfeit if the public servant runs away.

  33. I support a mortgage bailout because a situation where people are still living in houses and doing their best to pay some money toward owning them is more stable and rational than one in which people have been kicked out of their houses, nobody’s paying anything on them, the banks don’t want to get stuck with the houses either, the neighborhood’s going to hell because too many buildings are standing empty, and the people who’ve lost their homes are unable to find new jobs and their kids are unable to go to school because their lives are too chaotic.

    Zuzu @23:

    a rational economic system is impossible without a supreme dictator with real power of life and death over all

    Zuzu, please write SOMETIMES, TAKUAN IS YANKING YOUR CHAIN on a small piece of paper, and stick it to the flat vertical surface nearest where you work.

    That’s actually the hallmark of socialism. Free market capitalism is built upon subjective theory of value by individuals.

    Free market capitalism as you imagine it does not exist.

    Invented or fictional systems can be attractively logical, orderly, and comprehensive within themselves, without having any necessary relationship with external reality. In fact, it helps if they don’t.

    The question is whether you honestly believe that guys like Krugman have inexplicably failed to notice how much simpler and more logical free market libertarianism makes all those intractably complex economic problems they spend their professional lives wrestling with.

  34. I support a mortgage bailout because a situation where people are still living in houses and doing their best to pay some money toward owning them is more stable and rational than one in which people have been kicked out of their houses, nobody’s paying anything on them, the banks don’t want to get stuck with the houses either, the neighborhood’s going to hell because too many buildings are standing empty,

    You think the bankers don’t know that? They’d just prefer to get a bailout than adjust the mortgages for more down-to-earth asset values.

    Zuzu, please write SOMETIMES, TAKUAN IS YANKING YOUR CHAIN on a small piece of paper, and stick it to the flat vertical surface nearest where you work.

    Oh. :(

    The question is whether you honestly believe that guys like Krugman

    Especially Krugman.

    I highly suspect he panders to a known audience for his own personal gain.

  35. Never tell him I told you this, but Takuan’s got no real malice in him.

    Next: what makes you think that about Krugman?

  36. Next: what makes you think that about Krugman?

    Krugman practically self-describes himself as Keynesian or neo-Keynesian (if he hasn’t actually done so), and I find the analytical arguments against Keynesian economic models more convincing than Keynesianism itself. Succinctly, Keynesianism seems to me to make the classic mistake of confusing correlation with causation, and then goes on to use those heuristics to fudge “favorable results” and dismissing many significant unintended side-effects. But it’s psychologically alluring because it proposes that governments are large enough to “correct” emergent economic action. (Yet mostly masks the symptoms rather than curing the disease, like taking morphine to dull the pain of a gangrenous infection.)

    Also, there’s something unsettling to me with the way certain political/ideological demographics constantly and consistently cite Krugman alone as if he’s the only honest economist, or something, without critical thought (because economics is “hard” and he’s an “expert” so let’s just trust him). It feels like an echo chamber precisely the way Conservative talk radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity do for their intended audiences. (Or, for big-L Liberals, the way Michael Moore does in his “documentaries”.)

  37. Takuan, I’d love to watch your administration go, but I’d hate to serve. I agree with you, though that the consequences for mismanagement should be swift, sure and nasty.

  38. While there is something attractive about the portability and abstraction of banking as a way of dealing with commerce, with every article I read, I am more flabbergasted with what seems to have been the basic, underlying assumption: it’s someone else’s job to pay attention/provide oversight. Or, for that matter, the whole ‘leave it to the experts’ thing going on in that article (response of Fed.) I’m not bothered by the average person, since financial and legal literacies are not a common skill. I’m bothered by a general willingness to stick both index fingers in ears and whistle displayed by oversight bodies.

    Who the fark makes it possible for banks to inspect themselves and certify themselves as acting in good faith?

  39. a rational economic system is impossible without a supreme dictator with real power of life and death over all – including the ultra rich.

    Wrong. A rational economic system is possible when the basic rules won’t allow anybody to get enough power/wealth to warp the machinery to their benefit and buy exception from the consequences to the community.

    Wrong. A rational economic system is not possible. The problem with rational systems is that consequence leads straight to Heck.

  40. The middle class laughs at the lower class for their strong support of the Republicans whose policies keep them poor.

    The rich laugh even harder at the middle class for their unwavering support of our financial system of fractional reserve banking and fiat money- which keeps them in lifelong debt to the rich, while destroying the value of their salary and savings.

    Of all the political discussions I’ve had in my life, none has caused otherwise educated people to attack me with spittle-flying vitriol more than bringing up our monetary system. Apparently the more self-destructive the belief, the more vociferous the defense.

  41. Zuzu @23: Free market capitalism

    Wait, which one? Are you talking about free markets (in which individuals and companies can trade money, goods, and services freely), or are you talking about capitalism (a system set up for the convenience of owners of large amounts of capital)?

  42. @53 Zuzu

    Luckily I don’t have to prove it because others already have. They’ve just been largely ignored. There are any number of ways in which one could either centrally, or in an approximate way, distributively come to values based on the assessment of demand and productive supply.

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/bernard.leask/renewal.html

    The centralized solutions to the problem of rational economic calculation were essentially developments of Walras’ analysis, in which a general equilibrium is reached through a tatonnement procedure mediated by an imaginary auctioneer. The simultaneous equations underlying Walras’ analysis can, in theory, be solved directly, rather than through an iterative process, provided that the data on productive functions and the relative utility functions are known. This had already been demonstrated by Barone, using the mathematical techniques developed by Pareto, who showed that his “Ministry of Production” would arrive at exactly the same marginal equivalences as would a perfectly competitive market economy.

    The productivity and relative utility functions can be determined in the best way by asking people. You ask how much people want to work, the past effective productivity in that labour and the demand that they want. That is labour supply and demand schedules based on peoples needs. The idea that socialism can’t find these is silly. Price adjustment in capitalism is likely to be much slower since the information propagation doesn’t happen through immediate iterative readjustment through negotiation (as it would in a bazaar), and will hence probably be *less* accurate than under libertarian socialism (or libertarian communism if you prefer).

    In fact equilibrium can not be proved to exist in free market economies excepting one takes as hypotheses some very unreasonable notions. That is, perfect information even about future productive capacity and demand. Markets only approximate a kind of price optimisation, since information is not perfect. In addition this “optimisation” is a peculiar type of optimisation. What does it optimise? It is based on profit maximisation, not on the maximisation of the satisfaction of human desires.

    That last point is the fundamental one. We need to stop looking at economics as dogma, and start looking for systems through experimentation that will in fact maximise the satisfaction of human desires.

  43. Someone in one of these threads once pointed out that the trains didn’t run on time, the Generalissimo just had the complainers killed.

  44. hahahahaha

    I like how the myth of Hitler’s vegetarianism is both completely irrelevant and super important. All his evidence is quotes from other vegetarian web sites.

  45. @ Antinous #20

    You agree with Charles Krauthammer’s assessment that Buchanan is a fascist. He’s about the most insipid, idiotic columnist to have ever laid a pen to paper. Therefore, by association, you must be an idiot too.

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920302&slug=1478791

    I find it interesting that you call someone who is closer to an anarchist than anything else a fascist. But hey, I guess different brains work in different ways.

    This reminds me of a common complaint about Amazon ratings. If you have read Rothbard, and found his arguments or worldview to be flawed, then feel free to criticize to your heart’s content.

    If you haven’t read any Rothbard, but criticize him based on who he supported for President in 1992 or what Wikipedia says about him, then you shouldn’t be so eager to parade your ignorance.

    I have read Rothbard. I found him to be engaging, witty, and persuasive. I suggest you read his actual words, not just his Wikipedia summary, before dismissing him.

    Our current system of fractional reserve and Central banking is a system that is doomed to fail, and by it’s very nature siphons money into the very richest hands of society. It can be argued that nothing hurts the working poor or middle class as much as the monetary system.

    The elimination of the Federal Reserve as it currently exists should be one shared goal of all progressives and small government types alike.

    P.S. Thank you, Zuzu, for that PDF link. I will be passing it around!

    1. zyodei,

      I know that this will be an alien concept to you, but some of us draw our conclusions from the available facts rather than simply parroting things that we’ve read.

  46. Actually, the “invisible hand” has more in common with the “blind watchmaker”. I find it endlessly fascinating how people who believe in spontaneous order as an explanation for the complexity of life on earth don’t believe in spontaneous order as an explanation for the complexity of human civilization.

    DNA doesn’t think. Poeple do. DNA always has to follow basic rules of chemistry. People don’t.

    There is “spontaneous order” in human civilization, but it is purely a function of what people believe at that time. Believe God will smite you, then you start holy wars. Believe the world is flat, then you fear sailing off the edge of the ocean.

    I think it was the vikings who had a belief system of the world as a large bowl of land, with the ocean in the middle. They didn’t know if land had an end or not, but they believed that they couldn’t sail off the ocean, they believed they had to eventually sail to land. And I think that was the reason that vikings (or whoever) discovered the “new world” long before columbus.

    Smith proposes capitalism and suddenly peopel start forming capitalist civilizations. Marx proposes an idea for communism, and people suddenly form communist governments.

    YOu can’t say people are emergent without saying that they are emergent to whatever belief system they have. Which means any pattern you see in civilization could simply be the side effect of some false belief system that people have.

    Or put another way, there is no purely objective emergent pattern to explain spontaneous order in civilizations. YOu cannot escape the subjective when dealing with humans.

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