As many of my readers know, I often lecture and speak and give podcast or radio interviews on various libertarian topics and issues, such as intellectual property (IP), anarcho-libertarians, Austrian law and economic, contract theory, rights and punishment theory, and so on. I also blog and comment regularly on such matters in various blogs (primarily The Libertarian Standard, on general libertarian matters, and C4SIF, on IP-related matters), Facebook, and so on—often posting my take on a given issue in response to a question emailed to me or posted online.
This month I am launching a new podcast, Kinsella on Liberty. I expect to post episodes once or twice a week. The podcast will include new episodes covering answers to questions emailed to me (feel free to ask me to address any issue of libertarian theory or application) as well as interviews or discussions I conduct with other libertarians. I’ll also include in the feed any new speeches or interviews of mine that appear on other podcasts or fora, as well as older speeches, interviews, and audio versions of my articles, which are collected for now on my media page). Audio and slides for several of my Mises Academy courses may also be found on my media page, and will also be included in the podcast feed later this year. Feel free to Subscribe in iTunes or Follow with RSS, and spread the word to your libertarian friends. I welcome questions for possible coverage in the podcast, as well as any criticism, suggestions for improvement, or other feedback. My general approach to libertarian matters is Austrian, anarchist, and propertarian, influenced heavily by the thought of Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. My writing can be found in articles here and blog posts at The Libertarian Standard and C4SIF, such as:
I was a guest on Jeff Berwick’s Anarchast (ep. 51, 36 min), released today. We discussed anarchy and how such a society might be reached; the basis and origin of law and property rights and its relationship to libertarian principles, and implications for legislation versus law and the legitimacy of intellectual property; also, utilitarianism, legal positivism, scientism, and logical positivism. Description from the Anarchist site below; MP3 download. For more background on IP, see the C4SIF Resources page; on legislation vs. private law, see The (State’s) Corruption of (Private) Law.
Anarchast Ep. 51 with Stephan Kinsella
Jeff Berwick in Acapulco, Mexico, talks with Stephan Kinsella in Houston, Texas
There are certain books in life that upon reading them you think to yourself “I feel not only smarter but this is exactly the book I would like to have written.”
And that is in summation what Animal Spirits with Chinese Characteristics embodies. It is written by nine-year China veteran Mark DeWeaver, now the hedge fund manager of Quantrarian Capital Management in Washington DC. In addition to having worked as a broker and financial analyst in Guangdong (the most populous province on the mainland) and Hong Kong, DeWeaver received his PhD in economics from the University of Hawaii. The title alludes to the ‘animal spirits’ invoked seventy-five years ago by John Maynard Keynes to describe how emotions influence human behaviors. The other part of the title comes from Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening up” (改革开放) liberalization process that began in 1978 – what Deng called “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
One of the shortcomings of many China-related non-fiction books today is that they generally try to discuss something that is impossible to penetrate: how and why the Standing Committee makes decisions. Volumes have been and will continue to be written about the purported inner workings of Zhongnanhai (中南海), the Party headquarters in Beijing, yet this amounts to little more than the modern-day equivalent of Kremlinology. Or as the popular and fitting English expression germanely (sic) describes this seemingly futile divination activity: trying to read the tea leaves in China (tasseography). [Keep reading…]
The inimitable EconStories gang, which includes the great John Papola, has just released their newest creation just in time for Christmas: Deck the Halls with Macro Follies. It lampoons the idea getting consumer spending going is how to jumpstart an economy. Contra those ideas of Keynes and Malthus (and Bernanke!), the real way to build prosperity is to save and thereby increase production. But watch the video, it’s really fun.
You could also mention the regulatory state and the entitlement state, but the above makes a pretty good listing of the top things we libertarians would get rid of if we could.
How are we doing on these issues? I spoke with some radical libertarian friends—it’s fun musing as to which one you would abolish first, if you could—and here is the basic take:
war: not great, but they are getting harder for modern debt-laden welfare-states to afford;
the Fed/central banking/fiat money: not great, but bitcoin could pose a threat;
government schools: not great, but at least, in the US, homeschooling and private schools are legal;
taxation: not great, and getting worse, but there seems to be a limit to the level of taxes the state can get away with imposing on the economy;
the drug war: still horrible, but significant inroads have been made in the last election, with marijuana being legalized on a state-law basis by Washington and Colorado; and
intellectual property: getting more and more out of hand, but being seen as more and more ridiculous and unjust. Copyright is getting easier to evade with various technologies like encryption and bit torrent; and patents are being seen more and more as ridiculous and protectionist.
Overall, the biggest cause for hope is probably the recent progress made in the insane, evil war on drugs.