Thursday, July 05, 2007

Glorious Capitalism

It is sometimes difficult to conceive how dramatically living standards have improved thanks to economic liberalization, property rights, and the ability to trade. A column in the Wall Street Journal looks at how prosperity has improved everyone's lives:

Modern humans first emerged about 100,000 years ago. For the next 99,800 years or so, nothing happened. Well, not quite nothing. There were wars, political intrigue, the invention of agriculture -- but none of that stuff had much effect on the quality of people's lives. Almost everyone lived on the modern equivalent of $400 to $600 a year, just above the subsistence level. True, there were always tiny aristocracies who lived far better, but numerically they were quite insignificant.

Then -- just a couple of hundred years ago, maybe 10 generations -- people started getting richer. And richer and richer still. Per capita income, at least in the West, began to grow at the unprecedented rate of about three quarters of a percent per year. A couple of decades later, the same thing was happening around the world. ...

Rising income is only part of the story. One hundred years ago the average American workweek was over 60 hours; today it's under 35. One hundred years ago 6% of manufacturing workers took vacations; today it's over 90%. One hundred years ago the average housekeeper spent 12 hours a day on laundry, cooking, cleaning and sewing; today it's about three hours. ...

The moral is that increases in measured income -- even the phenomenal increases of the past two centuries -- grossly understate the real improvements in our economic condition. The average middle-class American might have a smaller measured income than the European monarchs of the Middle Ages, but I suspect that Tudor King Henry VIII would have traded half his kingdom for modern plumbing, a lifetime supply of antibiotics and access to the Internet...

(Via Market Center blog)



The cringing Associated Press says that the would-be bombers in Britain were a "diverse" group! All Muslim doctors! How diverse can you get? In America, "diverse" means black. I guess in Britain it must mean "Muslim". Gateway Pundit and others are commenting on how the "M-word" is being avoided in reporting the attacks in Britain.

Seeing you read blogs, you may already have seen this story from Michael Yon about a massacre of Iraqi villagers by Al Qaeda. The mainstream media however are determinedly ignoring it so you would be unlikely to know about it unless you DO read a few blogs. To the mainstream media only Americans can be bad guys, of course. Al Qaeda is just misunderstood. Yon is an independent reporter who is actually on the ground in Iraq witnessing the events going on there and he has many pictures of it all.

Can animal rights activists behave like animals? They sure can. Read this post from Riehl World for a horrible example.

Hong Kong Benefits from Bad Policies in Europe: "Many EU residents who previously banked in Gibraltar, Cayman Islands or Switzerland have moved their portfolio to places not covered by the OECD, including Hong Kong and Singapore. The recent abolition of estate tax in Hong Kong has made it an even more attractive option worthy of consideration by those seeking to secure their assets and protect them from unfair taxation. ...More than 73,000 new Hong Kong companies were incorporated last year and there are now more than 800,000 companies on the Hong Kong companies register. ...And while the OECD continued its efforts to crack down on tax havens, the head of one Hong Kong trust company said he did not see the point. Jacques Scherman, managing director of Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong), said: "Tax havens are already intensely scrutinised and subject to strict anti-money laundering regulations. I do not think further scrutiny will achieve any useful end."

The United Kingdom Now Has a Bigger Government than Germany: "Public spending in Germany, as a percentage of total economic output, has fallen sharply in the past three years and is fast approaching British levels, according to a finance ministry study. The report, obtained by the Financial Times, shows state expenditures reached 45.6 per cent of gross domestic product last year, compared with 44.1 per cent in the UK, which is generally thought of as a low-tax, low-spending economy. . Instead of focusing on the fiscal deficit - the difference between state expenditures and revenues - the report concentrates solely on spending. The spending-to-GDP ratio fell from 47.1 to 45.6 per cent between 2004 and 2006, making Germany the fourth-smallest spender in the eurozone. The same ratio rose from 42.7 to 44.1 in the UK over the same period. . "Good progress has been made in the recent past, mainly in cutting public sector headcounts," said Winfried Fuest, economist at the business-funded IW economic institute. But he expressed worries about government being tempted "to spend more now that the economy is doing better".

Oppressed Canadians Finally Reach Tax Freedom Day: "American taxpayers worked until April 30 before they earned enough money to satisfy the rapacious demands of federal, state and local tax collectors. This is discouraging, but Americans should be grateful that they don't live in Canada. The Fraser Institute reveals that the average Canadian worked until June 20 before quenching the appetites of the political class. Taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador are still working as serfs for government. Their tax freedom day won't arrive until July 1"

More FEMA Incompetence: "USA Today reports that FEMA admits that it squandered $485 million on improper claims after the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005, but that it has recovered only about 3 percent of the money. Unfortunately, there is every reason to suspect similar incompetence in the future. Rather than shrink FEMA and allow state and local governments to deal with what should be a state and local responsibility, politicians in Washington expanded the FEMA budget"


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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