I'm thinking about my income taxes right now, and came across this little gem on the IRS website (e-file Using a Computer):
"NOTE: IRS cannot compete with private enterprise and does not offer free e-file software or direct filing. "
My interpretation: The federal government creates demand for a service (tax preparation), but it would be "unfair competition" against the capitalists if the government actually helped satisfy the demand for this service by commissioning the production of public-domain software.
Links to a article in the NYTimes about some recent MRI studies, *apparently* showing that political information is processed emotionally, not rationally. Also links to an academic paper by Tyler Cowen discussing the nature of political self-deception.
Are anarchists immune to this, or does it just take a different form? Anarchists are human, but play a different game than the hierarchists do--specifically, anarchists don't have to "pledge allegiance" to a leader, so the social/emotional dimension is removed from day-to-day political thought.
An evaluation of how the GOP sold its soul by focusing on winning elections rather than "winning hearts and minds". Validates the anarchist attitude that a strong focus on electoral politics is suicidal.
A new method of clustering cultural groups within the US: finds that Americans are moving away from social attitudes (traditional conservatism and liberalism) and towards anti-social attitudes, embodied in an atomized combativeness. Evaluated from a left-libertarian perspective.
Via Marginal Revolution. The title says it all. I think this is relevant to the concept of ownership/possession (if no-one else knows that something exists, no-one can take it from me). Also, the publisher, Loompanics, may be of interest as they have some books on anarchism, survivalism, and other such DIY stuff.
HOW TO HIDE THINGS IN PUBLIC PLACES: " Did you ever want to hide something from prying eyes, yet were afraid to do so in your home? Now you can secrete your valuables away from home, by following Dennis Fiery's eye-opening instructions in How to Hide Things in Public Places. The world around us is filled with cubbyholes and niches that can be safely employed... and this book identifies them. Among the topics covered are:"
An economic discussion on the implication of attempts by ISP providers to charge content providers for high-speed bandwidth use. Cowen comes out against this proposal, concerned that it will mean that "freedom of the press belongs to those who can buy one" (not Cowen's quote).
Cowen asks: "will my free market readers defend Verizon's right to charge Google bandwidth fees?"
I just heard an interesting Anarchist Critique of Democracy via Audio Anarchy radio. Audio Anarchy was established as a project for transcribing anarchist books into audio format, and they recently expanded into the production of a pod-cast radio series.
"On the Origin of Money" by Carl Menger is is an interesting meditation on the nature of commodity currency, circa 1892.
I assume that it is considered a classic of marginalist thought, based on the fact that Tyler Cowen thought it was worth mentioning, and Mises.org thought it was worth publishing. My guess is that economists like it because it introduces the idea of "saleability". Egalitarians may be interested in its description of the situation arising from "compulsory sales".
It can be read as a "just so" story explaining how free markets would give rise to modern economic institutions, or it can be read a bit of advice for anyone seeking to create an alternative money system.
If you aren't aware of what's going on in Pittsburgh, PA, give this article a read. The author apparently thinks that the rise and fall of the Steel City is meaningful to the rest of the country. I think he does a good job of summarizing the current situation in the city, even if I don't agree with his idealization of command economics and Pittsburgh blue-collar character .
This one quote from the Wash Post article really stood out, as a perfect example of the "cog-maker" mentality of the corporate elite, in which they use the centralized state to create conformity among their customer base
"Gloria Bergquist, vice president of public affairs for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which leads the lawsuit, said the rules are too burdensome and costly. 'There would be marketplace chaos if each state were deciding which products should be sold within its borders,' Bergquist said. The suit was filed in federal court in California in December 2004."