Archive | January, 2011

Richard Salsman @ Forbes: A Golden Decade Of Government Failure

The past decade was “golden” for investors — but only for those who actually held gold and avoided such typically touted holdings as stocks or bonds. Even as finance professors kept insisting that investors “hold stocks for the long run,” one could observe gold’s price increasing by 410%, while U.S. stock prices declined 10%. More amazing perhaps, especially for today’s stock-obsessed advisors, gold has registered gains for ten consecutive years — a performance consistency that U.S. stocks have never achieved.

The only way to have prepared oneself to benefit from this decade-long golden performance was to distrust government’s more invasive role in the economy — a premise as rare today as gold itself. Most policymakers, economists, investment  advisors and journalists applaud a larger government role in the economy, which is one reason that Keynes — who rationalized statist policies — has made a comeback after being discredited in the prior three decades.

Read the rest…

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Event: Summer Conference 2011 at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism

Every summer The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism hosts a three-day conference for undergraduate and graduate students. Students attend lectures, participate in small group discussions, and have free time to discuss and debate the ideas presented in the formal sessions. Throughout the three days of sessions, students have ample opportunity to speak one-on-0ne with faculty and ask them questions in a more informal setting. The summer conferences, held on the campus of Clemson University, provide a unique opportunity for students to study with leading professors from around the country, to meet top students from around the world, and to study capitalism in a challenging, engaging environment.

The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism is pleased to accept applications for its fourth annual summer conference for college students. We invite you to join us for an exciting three-day program of lectures, seminars, and discussions. Students will arrive on May 26th and depart on May 30th, with the main event running on May 27th through May 29th.

Exciting Programs:
Students will participate in an intensive and exciting program exploring the moral foundations of capitalism and Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Students will attend lectures, participate in small-group seminar-style discussions, and question and answer sessions. Outside of class, students can relax and socialize on Clemson’s campus. Evening activities will include a barbecue dinner, a meet and greet with the faculty, and a career advice discussion.

Full Scholarships: All admitted students will receive a full scholarship, including reimbursement of travel expenses up to $500. All housing and meals will be provided on the campus of Clemson University, and reading materials will be provided

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Insight into the Logical Leap

Physicist David Harriman has started an online site where he gives insight into his excellent book, “The Logical Leap.” Sample articles include:

Writes Harriman, “The Logical Leap is written for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how we discover generalizations. When we generalize from observed cases, how do we know that we’re right? My book tries to answer this question for the field of physical science, but the basic points of method can be applied to any field. It’s a “self-help” book (albeit on a more philosophic level). I will use this blog to elaborate on interesting topics in epistemology and in history of science. Also, I may give some background on how the book developed and what I learned while writing it. And, occasionally, I’ll comment on reactions to the book (positive and negative).”

Definitely worth a visit.

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Six Myths and Realities About Oil

Over at Fox News Alex EPSTEIN writes about “The 6 Myths About Oil”:

Every American consumes an average of three gallons of oil a day. Republicans and Democrats call this reliance on oil an “addiction”—an irrational, self-destructive habit that must be broken as soon as possible. This year’s BP oil spill disaster is only making the chorus to “end our addiction to oil” louder. But if we examine the most common arguments for this idea, we see that they are myths. Oil is a vital, viable, and desirable part of our energy future.

He goes on to list 6 myths (and their corresponding realities):

  • Myth #1: America’s reliance on oil is an “addiction”—an irrational, self-destructive habit. Reality: America’s use of oil brings indispensible value to our lives.
  • Myth #2: There are “green” technologies that are just as good, or better, than oil. Reality: There is zero evidence that any “renewable” can replace oil in any foreseeable future.
  • Myth #3: Because oil is finite, it will inevitably run out. Reality: There’s a lot more oil than you think—and if we have a free market in energy we will ensure that we find superior substitutes long before we run out.
  • Myth #4: Because oil is mostly in other countries, they can cut us off at will and create an economic catastrophe. Reality: International trade makes our energy supply more secure—and far more affordable.
  • Myth #5: Because oil money funds hostile dictatorships (Iran, Saudi Arabia) by using less oil we can make them poorer and make ourselves more secure. Reality: Direct threats to America must be fought through direct and decisive military action—not through multi-decade, sacrificial schemes to lower oil prices.
  • Myth #6: Because the burning of oil produces CO2, oil is a deadly pollutant that must be severely capped. Reality: Carbon-caps, not carbon emissions, are the real deadly threat to human life.

Read the whole discussion here…

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