Monday, April 30, 2012

Free Market Capitalism

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Milton Friedman Supported the War in Iraq

As I mentioned earlier, Johan Norberg in criticizing Naomi Klein states that Milton Friedman opposed the war in Iraq. The same claim is made in this further criticism of Klein that HP provided. HP has likewise asserted that Friedman was "against it from the beginning."

You just assume when people make claims like this there's a rational basis for it. They must have found a statement from Friedman prior to the war that shows he opposed the war. If they didn't find such a statement they wouldn't make the claim. Right? Why would you make an assertion like this without evidence?

Klein in my view is under no obligation to prove Friedman supported the war. It's not really relevant to the argument, and I don't think she claims he supported the war in her book. But regardless of that she's gone forward and done what her critics won't do. She's checked the facts. Here she provides the text of an interview with Friedman from 2003.  It's an English translation of an article published in a German magazine. An excerpt:

FOCUS: You describe the concentration of power as the greatest threat to freedom – and thus to the economy as well. Many people judge the current war against Iraq very critically for this reason – you as well?

Friedman: A clear no. US President Bush only wanted war because anything else would have threatened the freedom and the prosperity of the USA. Counter-question: Do you recommend that Gerhard Schröder ask the whole world for advice before he engages in foreign policy?

FOCUS: The USA did at least ignore the opinion of the majority of UN members…

Friedman:…Bush is president of the United States and not the world. He didn’t even have to consult the UN at all. The United Nations is an absurd organization anyways. All votes count the same, regardless of whether the country has three or 300 million residents. Furthermore, many nations aren’t democratically legitimized at all.

FOCUS: Many Europeans see that differently. Does this political disagreement threaten a trade war between Europe and America?

Friedman: No, the end justifies the means. As soon as we’re rid of Saddam, the political differences will also disappear again very quickly.

FOCUS: What remains are the immense costs of war. Where is the money supposed to come from?

Friedman: It is a small war – also in comparison to the Gulf War of 1991. Back then we had a troop strength of around 400,000 men, today it’s not even 250,000. America is a big country – in comparison to the state expenditures of three to four trillion dollars a year, the costs for this war are only marginal …
The perception Friedman held that the war would be easy may have faded by Novemeber, 2004. Friedman was interviewed at this time. Here's an excerpt:
DA: In a time of war, how do we maintain our freedom?

MF: We don’t. We invariably reduce our freedom. But that doesn’t mean it’s a permanent reduction. As long as we really keep in mind what we’re doing, that we keep it temporary, we need not destroy our freedom.

DA: Are you concerned that some of the measures we’re taking now to fight the war, like the Patriot Act, may be more than just temporary?

MF: It’s not clear. The Patriot Act is a very complicated issue, and I’m not going to get involved in that. But I think that on the whole, this war is small enough relative to our economy that it is not going to be a serious impediment to our freedom. But the sooner we can get rid of it and out of it, the better.

DA: Do you agree with President Bush that the actions in Iraq were necessary as a part of our war on terrorism?

MF: I think you can argue either side of that. Where I do feel strongly, is that having gone into it, whether we should have or not, we must see it through.

DA: Even if it costs some of our freedoms?

MF: There’s no way to avoid a burden on your freedom. The costs themselves are a burden on your freedom. The restrictions that are necessary in order to get rid of the terrorists are a burden to your freedom. So there’s no way in the short run to avoid a restriction on your freedom. But if we’re going to avoid a permanent reduction in freedom, we have to see this war through.
At this point he thinks you could go either way on the argument of whether the war was necessary. But a short run restriction on your freedom by continuing a war is necessary to prevent a permanent reduction in our freedom that is a consequence of terrorist action. The war is still small enough that the Patriot Act is not a big deal.

But by 2006 things have gone from bad to worse. Friedman tells the Wall St Journal he was against the war in Iraq from the beginning (and starts a squabble with his wife Rose in the process). Four months prior to his death he remembers his own opinions differently.

The Hoover Institute, where Friedman was a fellow at the time of the invasion, was instrumental in the invasion. Prior to the war the highly influential Defense Policy Board met regularly with the President and Secretary of Defense. According to the Chicago Tribune this board was "playing an influential role in pushing the Bush administration toward an invasion of Iraq, generating support for military action as members seek to transform a controversial idea into a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy." It had 31 members, 8 of whom were Hoover Institute fellows. This caused some controversy at Standfard, where the Hoover Institute operates, prompting the University to respond. Thomas Sowell is another Hoover Institute fellow and close associate of Friedman. He supported the war and also provided plenty of Muslim bashing to fuel the fire.

Look to other conservative think tanks which were closely associated with Friedman, such as the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation. You can browse AEI archives on the topic of Iraq. Such an amazing compilation of errors and distortions it's hard to believe they haven't done everything they can to hide this. The very first article after 9-11 was a ridiculous piece of fiction that I've discussed before. It's the same story at Heritage. Here's one that talks about how silly the left is for thinking things would go bad in Iraq. Once again it's an endless stream of war propaganda. If Friedman opposed the war from the beginning, why didn't anybody notice and address his objections?

Given his associations his claim that he opposed the war from the beginning is surprising. Why didn't people check the claim rather than mindlessly repeating it as if it were true?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Pledge of Allegiance

Christian apologetics, for all its flaws, did give me an appreciation for believing things based on evidence and reason, not based on brain washing.  As a Christian after immersing myself in apologetics I found myself disturbed in church watching my kids sing "Jesus Loves Me."  Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  I saw them sing that and made clear to my wife I didn't like it and wanted to avoid that song.  Christianity is true and we know it for good reasons.  But a child doesn't know it.  And nobody should be believing it because the Bible says it.  That's not a good reason.  There are other good reasons (or so I thought at the time).

Since then I put my boy in Boy Scouts.  I know.  I'm a bad liberal sometimes.  My kids home school though and I want them plugged in to something.  My wife is still a Christian after all.  So we are in scouts.  But frankly I find the Pledge of Allegiance disturbing when stated by children in the same way I don't like the "Jesus Loves Me" song.  The Whitest Kids U Know has a skit that communicates the same thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Shock Doctrine Criticism

To rebut Naomi Klein Johan Norberg at uses data provided by the Fraser Institute as a source. Klein is claiming that neoliberalism proceeds via a subversion of demcracy. But according to the Fraser Institutes rankings of economic freedom (presumably a measure of neoliberalism) free states are democracies. Klein has it backwards.

I'm reading Klein last night and discover another fascinating section related to this criticism. There was a period in Canada where heads of ratings agencies were being pressured to downgrade the Canadian fiscal situation. When they resisted they met stiff corporate opposition. A full fledged crisis mentality was cooked up in the media, and this was used to ram through some tough neoliberal policies. Mostly slashing services to the poor. Canadians would subsequently discover that the crisis mentality was foisted on the population based on falsehoods perpetuated by non other than the Fraser Institute. I think Klein claimed that they basically cooked the books. They have a long history of fraud, whether pro-tobacco junk science or global warming science denial. Just a straight corporate front group pushing profit over truth wedded tightly to Milton Friedman, the primary object of Klein's criticisms.

I've been writing for a while about how these freedom rankings from these corporate backed organizations are bogus. See here and here for example. If a person wants to disagree with my arguments, fine. But if we were to argue about economic freedom in foreign countries and you were try and rebut me by pulling out the Heritage rankings of economic freedom, would that make sense? Would it make sense to do that without even acknowledging my criticisms of this ranking system? When you argue with someone you have to start from shared premises. I don't argue with a Christian and say "Since we know the Bible is full of errors, let's talk about what that means." They don't accept that the Bible is full of errors, so for me to say that is to waste my own time and demonstrate that I don't even know what I'm doing when it comes to argumentation.

Klein has forcefully called into question the Fraser Institute's credibility. And yet Norberg just trots out the Fraser Institute in rebuttal. You can reasonably do that on one condition. Address Klein's criticism of the credibility. If you don't do that you demonstrate that you are either incompetent or dishonest.

Klein's argument (that neoliberalism proceeds via crisis, not democratic change) is not just a thesis she invents. She quotes prominent economists that make the identical claim. One such economist is Dani Rodrik. Klein quotes him to the effect that none of the structural changes preferred by the Chicago School ocurred without a crisis. For Rodrik this is a good thing. Norberg's problem is with Rodrik, not Klein.

Dani Rodrik apparently also is unhappy with Klein's book. He says the book is "really bad." What he doesn't do is let anybody know that he's got a vested interest in that conclusion in light of Klein's fully documented and dispassionate criticisms. He can call the book really bad if he likes. But why doesn't he let his readers know about his own personal interest in that conclusion?

These criticisms just leave readers in the dark.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein wrote an article on global warming that I thought was pretty interesting, so when I was at the library and saw an audio book by her I thought I'd check it out. "The Shock Doctrine." Apparently an assault on Milton Friedman and the world wide effects of his policies. Right up my alley.

It was so interesting that I had to go get the book as well from the library. The audio is abridged. I finished the audio, but I'm still reading the book. There's also a movie that I haven't yet seen (available on Youtube here.) This book must have had a huge impact. Surprising that I hadn't heard of it.

I recommended it to my friend HP and he was helpful enough to provide links to criticisms, which I always like to have. The most detailed one was here from Johan Norberg at I read that and his other links because it helps me process claims if I have criticism in the back of my mind.

The book's central claim is this. Extremely wealthy people benefit enormously from neoliberal policies. I don't think that's debatable. Here's what's also not debatable. Implementation of those policies via democracy is very difficult. People don't generally perceive that these policies are in their own best interest. Bryan Caplan would say that this shows that people are irrational (see here). I would say it shows how intelligent the common man is. But in any case this means to implement these policies you have to bypass democracy, and one way to do that is to impose the policies when people are in a state of shock, like after a disaster of some kind. Perhaps war or environmental destruction. Disoriented people often allow these kinds of changes because they just aren't interested in those sorts of subjects at the moment. They are focused more on staying alive or picking up the pieces. Klein argues that this is how the neoliberal agenda has proceeded.

I want to make just a couple of comments in response to the criticism HP provided. Not in detail because I haven't finished the book. But to just note some interesting things I notice so far. First of all Norberg in response says thing like "But Milton Friedman opposed the war in Iraq." This is totally beside the point. Nobody is saying that Friedman wants our government to run around nuking people or causing mayhem. It's just that Fiedman noticed, correctly, that imposition of his preferred policies is possible after disaster and difficult otherwise. He's not advocating disaster. He's just saying look, the tsunami went through. Lots of people died. We all recognize that as a tragedy. But let's also keep in mind that this is an opportunity to correct some (in his view) harmful economic conditions. So Norberg is just missing the point here.

But here's something I thought was quite fascinating. Norberg is writing in October 2008 and he criticizes Klein for focusing on the privatization and deregulation disasters while ignoring the successes. These are the countries Norberg points to as free market successes. Iceland, Ireland, Estonia, and Australia. What do we notice about the first three countries he mentions? Iceland was on the very leading edge of the economic melt down. Their banking system is literally unraveling as Norberg writes. Ireland and Estonia likewise are poster childs for the 2008 debacle. The first three states held up as examples of the success of neoliberalism are in fact about to enter catastrophic economic conditions. Iceland has turned sharply leftward since then and is on a decent path. Ireland pursues right wing solutions and remains in the doldrums. Same with Estonia.

Reality has not been good to right wing economic theory.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bolivia Shows The Way

Bolivia has taken an aggressive turn away from neoliberalism and economic orthodoxy over the last several years. The results are discussed in this article.

These changes didn't happen over night. Bolivia had been under the thumb of free market madness for years prior. The World Bank had managed to compel them to pursue a large privatization scheme, including water services which were auctioned off to Bechtel. The results were catastrophic, but the poor didn't take it lying down. They protested and resisted. What happened is partly covered in this brief video.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

An Alternative Retirement Strategy

I was in Hawaii recently and learned that apparently they have a pretty large homeless population. My sister says to me "If you've got a fishing pole and you live here with perfect weather what else do you need?" It does make me ponder a bit. What the heck are we doing with our lives? Running around meeting deadlines, checking our email while on vacation, sweating the details, missing our kids. So we can do what? Pay our bills I guess.

What the homeless here do as "work" we call leisure. This article makes an interesting point. Fishing, gardening, working on the house. This is what people do for leisure. In Hawaii I suppose this is "work" for the homeless. Work is leisure.

It's long been a desire of mine to visit Hawaii and I really liked it. I spoke with some friends that had also visited when I got back. Several say that they seriously considered getting away from any kind of corporate fast track agenda and just figure out a way to live there and live very modestly waiting tables or doing some other menial work. How much healthier would you be if you lived like that? You can tell who the tourists are and who the locals are. The tourists are the fat white people trying to squeeze in a week away from the office. The locals are the fit and tan.

I read a cool story recently about a guy who quit money. He hasn't accepted or spent a dime in 12 years. We should stop and ask ourselves what we really need for happiness. Do we need all the stuff we have? The income? There's a great Ted Talk (discussion and video here) that shows that if you plotted happiness level with income you find that happiness goes up until you hit $60K and then it flattens. That is, more money above $60K/yr does not increase your happiness. People at that level and above think that if they made more money the would be happier, but the data say that in general they won't.

Not that I'm going to move to Hawaii and be homeless. But I think I will try to get out of the rat race as soon as I can. If I could somehow learn to live on $20K/yr and sock the rest away I'd be in good shape. That's not going to happen as long as I have a mortgage, which isn't going away any time soon. I should live super frugal until it's paid off. Maybe I will.

I'll start right after I go buy an iPad. Those things are too cool.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Evaluating Mainstream Academics

Vinny has been blogging about Ehrman's recent book on the historicity of Jesus and in this post discusses the parallels between mainstream economists and mainstream ancient historians on the Jesus question.

A commenter points to this helpful article that provides methods for evaluating the soundness of the mainstream consensus in various fields. Acceptance of scholarly consensus is a good starting point. But what characteristics would indicate that scholarly consensus in a given field is less reliable? How do the various disciplines fare? Check it out.

I Am So Great

So as to not be disowned by my family on Facebook I'm going to take out my frustrations here after seeing the right wing nonsense. There's a video from a guy named Bill Whittle that basically says America is the greatest country ever. I personally love this country and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. But on the right there's often a bizarre inability to admit even the most obvious of mistakes.

Just to take one comment from Whittle he says here that the US in the 60 years since WWII has never deployed our military as an aggressor. He identifies Vietnam as a case where the US was responding to leftist aggression.

So let's just recall the basic facts. In January 1962 JFK ordered the Air Force to commence bombing South Vietnam. I read that we conducted 50,000 sorties that year, half of which were bombing runs. How can someone possibly justify within their own mind the idea that this was merely retaliation? Obviously these peasants did nothing to us. The aggression presumably is the idea that the US had installed a puppet regime opposed by both the North and South Vietnamese and had blocked elections. So any efforts to overthrow that regime is called aggression. However the US military traveling half way around the world to bomb a country that was not remotely a threat to us? That's not aggression.

It kind of makes me wonder how Americans are viewed by foreigners. I asked a friend at work who was born and raised in Romania what he thought of the idea that in Vietnam the US was there because we were trying to repel Vietnamese aggression. He laughed his ass off. That's just one person of course. Maybe US propaganda is so effective that even some people outside our country think this story sounds plausible. I understand how it can sound plausible because I used to think the same thing. But when I think it through now I wonder if they think we're crazy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Milton Friedman and the Invisible Hand

Milton Friedman claimed to be a big fan of Adam Smith. Here's Friedman explaining Smith's famous "invisible hand."

So a man seeking his own gain really ends up bettering society as a whole, even though that wasn't his intention. Apply this to neoliberalism. If I can go overseas and get better labor rates I do it really because I want to maximize my own profits, but in doing so I really promote the good of society as a whole.

So I'm listening to a discussion from Chomsky and he makes a rather astonishing claim. Smith does mention the invisible hand. It's within a passage that you might describe as a critique of globalization and neoliberalism.

Apparently the phrase "invisible hand" occurs only once in the whole book. Take a look at it. Search for "invisible hand" then back up a few pages and start reading. What is Smith saying?

A merchant could look to foreign markets and possibly make more profits. But he's not going to do that. He'd prefer to take lesser profits and stay at home. Why? Because he knows that if he employs more people at home this induces further domestic industry, and he has a bias in favor of his own country. By improving the lot of his home country he really seeks the security and betterment of himself. In this sense there is an invisible hand that guides the merchant towards acting in a manner that is for the betterment of the public. He'll stay at home. He won't outsource.

Isn't that a direct refutation of Friedman's preferred neoliberal policies? And according to Chomsky this is a constant thing in your economics departments. Take the issue of the division of labor. Sure, it's a great thing according to Smith. Friedmanites pretend to care what Smith thinks and so we can understand why it makes sense to have a guy on an assembly line that does mind destroying work driving a single screw over and over.

Once again, take a look at Smith. He says you don't want to take this too far because if you do the man will become "as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become." This will have all kinds of disastrous consequences and hence state intervention is required to prevent us from getting to that point.

Well that doesn't fit well into the Friedmanite paradigm. So it's intolerable. The University of Chicago put out a scholarly edition of the Wealth of Nations for the bicentennial. According to Chomsky if you go to the index and look for "division of labor" you find that this entry is in fact omitted. Too unacceptable.

Search for "vile maxim" and read Smith's discussion of the "masters of mankind" that want "all for ourselves, nothing for other people." Apparently Smith is regularly going off the neoliberal script.


Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

2 Corinthians 8

What do you think the Apostle Paul would think about inequality in the US? I think everyone can agree that people that work harder should have more and people that refuse to work should have less. But I don't think people quite grasp how obscene the situation is in the US.

I read a great analogy that I think illustrates it well, so I'm going to try and reconstruct it in today's dollars. Let's suppose we are going to watch a parade. People are going to pass by and each one represents a US household. The parade will last 12 hours. And their height will be proportional to their income.

We'll set the mean income ($52,000 in 2009) at 6 feet tall. Those that would earn twice that would be 12 feet tall. Those that earn half would be 3 feet tall. The parade starts at noon with the lowest income earners and ends at midnight with the highest earners.

Each person will represent 1000 households and even still people are zipping by pretty quickly. Almost 3 per second. The first people are below the knees and there are a lot of them. By about 1:30 they are 1'9". It's 3 o'clock before they are an inch and a half shy of 3 feet. At 4:30 they are finally 4 feet.

At 6 o'clock the parade is half over and our paraders are 5'9". There are a lot of people between this height and the pro basketball player height. By quarter after 8 our paraders are 8'8". At 9:30 we see our first 12 footer. At 11 o'clock, with a mere 1 hour left, we're over 17 feet.

They're changing much more rapidly now. 23 feet at 11:30. At 11:53 we are looking at the top 1%. He's 44 feet tall. And it's getting much larger by the second. At 11:56 they are 64 feet tall. With half a minute left in the parade they are 195 feet tall. The last seconds deliver us people as tall as skyscrapers, and more. Now, it's a little odd to talk about income at this stage, because the wealthiest people see their net worth grow due to investments, which they don't necessarily receive as income. A little apples and oranges going on here, but just consider someone like Bill Gates. In a good stock market year he can see his fortune grow by $10 billion. That year he's over a million feet tall, or 218 miles tall. He's beyond the stratosphere, beyond the still further mesosphere, and he's basically completely outside the earth's atmosphere.

Sure, hard workers should take home more. Should they get 218 miles more while a tomato picker sweating like crazy gets 2 feet worth? Is that what the Apostle Paul would think?

Sources here and here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Reagan Worship

Speaking of Facebook, a few months back there seemed to have been some sort of flare up of Reagan worship. It may have been due to the Republican nomination process. Probably the candidates invoke Reagan as if he's some sort of hero. People post pictures like the one to the left with talk of all of his "freedom" promotion.

This is a bitter pill to swallow because Reagan is nothing but a mass murderer. And I'm an argumentative guy. I want to try and dispel these completely false notions that my friends and family have. But as many people already know, friends and family don't always react positively to this sort of thing.

I've gone through stages on Facebook. Sometimes I argue a bit, but I generally don't post controversial claims myself. If others take it upon themselves to post something political I take that as a sign that they are interested in some critical feedback. Well, that has proved to be mistaken. I've done that and I think many are ready to disown/disfriend me, if they haven't already. I'm compelled to just take out my frustrations here.

Reagan is nothing short of purveryor of genocide. I say that not to be inflammatory, but in the legal sense. Genocide is generally understood to be the mass extermination of peoples of a particular race or culture. But as originally understood in legal documentation it included extermination of groups that shared a political ideology. Stalin through political maneuvering was able to alter the law so that genocide didn't include extermination due to political ideology because if that qualified as genocide Stalin would be guilty. The political ideology qualification was excised from the law, and so as the law stands today Reagan may not be guilty of genocide. But this Stalin modification is illegitimate in the eyes of some legal scholars and also I think the the eyes of most normal, non sociopaths.

To take just one of a myriad of Reagan's horrors look into the El Mozote massacre. The peoples of Latin America didn't prefer Reagan's (and prior administration's) so called free market economic policies. The US government has been determined to implement them in any case. When the people are informed and oppose the system you want to impose the only way to sustain it is through violence and repression. At El Mozote in El Salvador a US trained death squade entered the village, tortured and murdered all the men, raped and murderd all the women, including girls as young as 10, and then bludgeoned and burned up the children that had just watched their parents get murdered. When news of this broke Reagan denounced the reporters as liars and the rest of the right wing machine proceeded with a smear campaign. Reporters were treated as Communists. The NY Times felt the pressure and demoted the man that had reported on the massacre, Raymond Bonner. He subsequently left the paper. All of the reporting was later confirmed as true. The death squad went on to continue to rape and murder with Reagan's backing, including the murder of six priests along with a housekeeper and her daugter.

Tell friends and family that and they'll immediately become very defensive and hostile. And I understand that. I used to be a Reagan worshiper as well. People should not feel guilty that they are unaware of this stuff or that they worship a mass murderer. There is an intensive propaganda effort in the US that normal people are subjected to, and this is difficult to overcome.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Lazy and The Hard Working

Who else on Facebook sees a lot of these posts from right wing friends that make jokes about how Obama wants to take from the hard working and give to the lazy?

I assume it's usually referring to Obama Care, the only major monetary redistribution scheme that I can think of from Obama. Poor people can't afford to go to the doctor. So Obama has some government subsidy for them. And that has to be paid for. Obviously the poor wouldn't be able to pay. So the rich would pay more. The rich are paying the least amount in taxes as a % of their income than they have since prior to the Great Depression. But it's still not fair. The rich are hard working.

Working poor would enjoy this wealth transfer. Facebook friends and family object. OK. But let's just take a look at these lazy people. According to your right wing friends the following people are lazy:

Now we will look at some rich people who are also doing what you would expect them to be doing as part of their job.

Intuit CEO Steve Bennett lines up a birdie putt

David Koch attends a gala

Some poor people are lazy and have nobody to blame but themselves. And many many rich people worked very hard and in even my view deserve their riches. But by and large what we are talking about when we say that the poor should be afforded the luxury of a doctor visit, and since they can't pay the rich should, we are talking about people that work very hard.

For all I know the Intuit CEO may work very hard. But it's also true that a lot people in super high income groups do what is easy compared to picking peppers. And there are many capitalists that make more money than typical CEO's and they earn there money by doing nothing but cashing dividend checks that result from the work done by others. Today Mitt Romney falls into this category.

In many cases the poor are working harder than the rich. Anybody that works works harder than Mitt Romney. So let's remember who we are talking about when we talk about the lazy poor. Let's also remember that not all rich people work.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Which Countries Have Low Taxes?

According to HP the IMF "Ease of Doing Business Index" is a measure of how neoliberal a country is. The easier it is to do business the more neoliberal a country would presumably be. The IMF prefers low tax rates. So generally speaking it is easier to do business in low tax countries, and so low tax countries would receive a higher ranking in the "Ease of Doing Business Index".

You can get a list of tax rates by country as a % of GDP here. The values were determined by the conservative Heritage Foundation. I've created tables that show African countries as contrasted with 1st world countries, and I've color coded the tax rate. Higher is more intensely green, lower is more intensely yellow.

Compare with the map of rankings for the IMF Index. It's as if the index is measuring the very opposite of what HP suggests. Higher taxes means it's easier to do business. Would you rather do business in the Congo, Chad and Ethiopia or any of your first world nations?

What Socialism Looks Like

Argentina was another country where the Chicago School expirament was attempted. Results were very similar to those in Chile. After the financiers had looted the country and left the banking sector in collapse, many now fired workers took a look at their now empty factories, looked at their hungry children, and had a realization. Who needs owners? These buildings are sitting here empty, rusting. We are the ones that know how to create products. Let's just keep working and we'll run it ourselves.

Take a guess what happened. The former owners came back, and did what they could to get the state to enforce their "property rights." They demanded that the workers leave the factories, and the bought and paid for politicians of course sent in the goons with their tear gas, billy clubs, and guns.

The workers had a reasonable claim to ownership of the factory. The owner built the factory with government subsidies. The owner hadn't compensated them their full wages. The real issue though is owners fear worker control. If workers control and run the factory they quickly realize that the non-working owner is unnecessary. That means the gravy train for the owner is at an end. And since the owner has money today he can buy the influence and through violence reinstate his preferred arrangement.

But in Argentina the workers resisted. The documentary below captures what played out.