Summer book sale @Cato Institute!

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Substantial savings on some of our most popular books.
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The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power
Examines how Americans have expanded presidential power over recent decades by expecting solutions for all national problems, and concludes by calling for the president’s role to return to its properly defined constitutional limits.
Hardback $16.95 $7.95
The Right to Earn a Living jacketThe Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law
Charts the history of the fundamental human right of economic liberty—a right America’s founders thought so basic it didn’t need to be mentioned in the Bill of Rights—and reveals the many ways in which the right to earn a living is threatened today.
Hardback $25.95 $12.95
This antidote to a rising tide of protectionist sentiment offers a defense of free trade, which tells the underreported story of how a more global U.S. economy has created better jobs and higher living standards for American workers.
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The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey into How the World’s Poorest People Are Educating Themselves
An inspiring journey into the lives of families and teachers in the poorest communities of India, Africa, and China who have successfully created their own private schools in response to failed public education.
Hardback $12.95 $6.95
Crisis of Abundance jacket Crisis of Abundance:  Rethinking How We Pay for Healthcare
America’s health care troubles largely stem from a great success: modern medicine can do much more today than it could in the past. So, what’s the trouble? How to pay for it. The way we finance health care matches neither the needs of patients nor the way medicine is practiced.
Paperback $7.95 $4.95
How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution jacketHow Progressives Rewrote the Constitution
This book explores the fundamental shift in political and economic thought of the Progressive Era and how the Supreme Court was used to transform the Constitution into one that reflected the ideas of their own time, while undermining America’s founding principles.
Paperback $7.95 $5.95
The Best Laid Plans jacketThe Best Laid Plans:  How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future
Reveals how government attempts to do long-range, comprehensive planning inevitably do more harm than good by choking American cities with congestion, making housing markets more unaffordable, and sending the cost of government infrastructure skyrocketing.
Hardback $14.95 $7.95
The Politics of Freedom jacketThe Politics of Freedom: Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to our Liberties
One of the leading libertarian commentators in the nation, David Boaz offers his unique and often surprising views on such hot-button issues as federal spending, individual rights, drugs, immigration, the war on terror, education, and government intrusion into private lives.
Hardback $22.95 $11.95



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The economics of disaster after devastation in Japan

“Japan will be poorer, for this disaster,” said Peter Morici, a business professor at the University of Maryland.

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker, tumbled 7.9 percent after saying it would suspend manufacturing at its domestic plants through Wednesday — a production loss of 40,000 cars. Other manufacturers forced to halt production, such as Sony Corp. and Honda Motor Co., also slumped.

Much has been said in the aftermath of the earthquakes (the biggest with an intensity of 8.9 in the Richter Scale) and tsunami (with waves >10 meter high) that hit Japan last Friday.  First, the headcount of deaths has already reached 10K people and thousands more are still missing.  The first estimates on the economic impact stroked world’s stock markets and the price of petroleum fell in estimations of Japan’s industrial paralysis.

However, some economists would argue that the destruction caused by these natural disasters had something positive at the end of the day. Such is what had previously said Lawrence Summers, president emeritus of Harvard University that “It may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP, as a process of rebuilding takes place. In the wake of the earlier Kobe earthquake, Japan actually gained some economic strength” Many other economist believe the same as Mr. Summers and the reason is that an enormous influx of liquidity is to enter Japan’s long stagnant economy.  Already, Japan’s central bank pumped a record $184 billion into money markets and took other measures to protect a teetering economy today, as the Tokyo stock market nose-dived followed the devastating earthquakes and tsunami.  Afterward, large scale reconstruction plans are to start and billions of dollars would be pumped to reconstruct the country.  Overall, this huge reconstruction investments could trigger the recovery of Japan’s economy.

So, is everything going to be better?

Japanese culture and attitudes toward disasters has always been identified with the adjectives “pro activity, benevolence, cooperation and honesty”.  As such, looting has not occurred and reconstruction has started after only 3 days of the disasters.   However, the economy is not going to recover positively from this disasters no matter how much money is pumped into the economy to reconstruct by private companies or public investment.

Why is that the economy will continue suffering?

The destruction of business and public services had been working efficiently under market laws. This means that there is no relation to “creative destruction” and destruction occurred because of natural disasters.  Creative destruction applies only to businesses that were not competitive and as such, disappeared to open new investment in new industries and technologies.  A good example of creative destruction was how American Car Industry should have disappeared after the 2008 financial crisis to allow for more competitive companies (bailouts avoided it causing long term inefficiencies and economic loses to the US).

The reconstruction of Japan will require billions and this would surely ignite the tentacles of governmental interventionists agencies under the fallacy that the earthquake and tsunami were good things for Japan.  Government interventionism always deems disaster good to the system since it allows them pump more taxes and extort more money from private businesses.

Rebuilding Japan will be a hard and difficult work and estimates of the are at up to 15 trillion yen ($183 billion) — about 3 percent of gross domestic product.  Credit Suisse’s Shirakawa said in a report the direct economic losses such as property destruction could total 6 trillion yen ($73 billion) to 7 trillion yen. Indirect losses such as lost production will probably be higher.  The costs of reconstruction are at a high loss for the Japanese people and the rest of humanity.  This historical moment will again open the doors for collectivist ideologies that consider the sacrifice of individual rights to benefit the public good.

Evidence and history has shown that reconstruction and investment is more quickly, effective and has better long term effects if kept private and in respect of individual’s rights.  Lord Acton’s essay “The fallacy of the broken window” is a great example of how destruction is not always positive and of how reconstruction should be organized by a government that respects an individual’s right to his rights and property.  It is now our obligation to remind this to leaders of world governments.

Here’s a great video explaining it,

Video: The broken window fallacy

Audiolibros y podcasts para lectores exigentes

Hace algunos días un lector del blog  escribió preguntando en qué lugares podía encontrar Audiobooks y acá les preparo un listado con 6 sitios que tienen distintos tipos de audiolibros en formato mp3.

Mi sitio favorito por el momento es por la calidad de los libros y la excelente producción (Siempre tienen geniales promociones de prueba por un mes).  Este sitio tiene disponibles libros clásicos gratuitos. Sin duda, este servicio de audio libros ha evolucionado de manera impresionante desde que leí (escuché) mi primer audiobook hace más de un lustro.

Los primeros sitios recomendados tienen libros en idioma español (tienen muchas opciones gratuitas):

y estos tienen títulos en inglés:

Además, les recomiendo utilizar el servicio de Podcasts que tiene itunes.  Los podcasts que más escucho de literatura son los siguientes:

Algunos de los títulos que encontrarán en los sitios anteriores son:

  1. War Machine
  2. The Zombie Chronicles: Escape
  3. Space Casey
  4. The Chameleon Chronicles: Colors of Fate
  5. BloodCast, Season 1
  6. Black Star Passes
  7. Murder at Avedon Hill
  8. Crescent
  9. The Prophet of Panamindorah, Book II Wolflings and Wizards
  10. The House of Grey
  11. The Zombie Chronicles: Escape
  12. Iron Dragons: Book 1 – The Saramond Quests
  13. DarkAge
  14. Faithful Warrior
  15. Theft of the Master
  16. The Secret Society of Seven Sorcerers
  17. Spiral
  18. BloodCast, Season 2
  19. Mr. Dead Eyes
  20. Earthcore
  21. 7th Son: Book One – Descent
  22. Singularity
  23. Ancestor
  24. Heaven – Season One
  25. The Immortals
  26. 7th Son: Book Two – Deceit
  27. Brave Men Run
  28. Max Quick 1: The Pocket and the Pendant
  29. How to Succeed in Evil – Volume One
  30. Henry David ThoreauCivil Disobedience y Walden
  31. Plato’s Apology
  32. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  33. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  34. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  35. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  36. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  37. Dreams from My Father…by Barack Obama
  38. Fortunata y Jacinta
  39. El Retrato de Dorian Gray
  40. Bastiat, Economic Sophisms (1845)
  41. Bastiat, The Law (1850)
  42. Burke, Vindication of Natural Society (1757)
  43. Erasmus, The Complaint of Peace (1521)
  44. Grampp, Economic Liberalism: The Beginnings (1965)
  45. Grampp, Economic Liberalism: The Classical View (1965)
  46. Grampp, The Manchester School of Economics (1960)
  47. Hamilton, Madison, Jay, The Federalist (1787)
  48. Hodgskin, An Essay on Naval Discipline (1813)
  49. Hodgskin, Natural and Artificial Right to Property (1832)
  50. Humboldt, Sphere and Duties of Government (1792)
  51. Jasay, The State (1998)
  52. Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689)
  53. McIlwain, Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern (1947)
  54. Mill, On Liberty (1859)
  55. Mill, The Subjection of Women (1869)
  56. Milton, Areopagitica (1664)
  57. Mises, Liberalism (1962)
  58. Mises, Nation, State, and Economy (1919)
  59. Molinari, The Society of Tomorrow (1899)
  60. Smith, The Rationale of Central Banking (1936)
  61. Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759)
  62. Spencer, Social Statics (1851)
  63. Trenchard and Gordon, Cato’s Letters (1724)
  64. Voltaire, Candide (1759)
  65. Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

y cientos de clásicos, ensayos, obras de ficción y no-ficción!

Stossel y la rebelión de Atlas en el 2010

John Stossel es uno de los periodistas independientes más importantes de los Estados Unidos.  Trabajó como creador y conductor del programa 20/20 en la cadena de televisión ABC News durante muchos años.  El programa 20/20 se popularizó rápidamente en los Estados Unidos y el mundo entero por su efectiva y carismática difusión de las ideas de la Libertad y los principios de los Padres de la Independencia estadounidenses.  Por este motivo, John Stossel recibió un doctorado honoris causa por la Universidad Francisco Marroquín en el año 2008.

A partir del año 2010 Stossel mudó su programa al canal de noticias Fox News Channel y el primer programa salió al aire el 07 de enero de 2010.  Este programa fue dedicado a estudiar la novela “La rebelión de Atlas” escrita hace más de 50 años por la filósofa ruso-americana Ayn Rand.

A pesar de tener más de 50 años de haber sido publicada, la novela es el día de hoy un bestseller alcanzando ventas record en el año 2009.  Desde su publicación, la novela ha vendido más de 7 millones de copias y tan sólo en el primer trimestre del año 2008 había vendido ya más de 300,000 copias.

La novela, medio siglo después de haber sido escrita, es considerada por muchos una predicción clara y fehaciente de la coyuntura política y económica actual de Estados Unidos y el mundo entero.  En la novela, líderes empresariales y genios creadores deciden irse al paro y alejarse de una sociedad que los condena.  En esa sociedad descrita por Ayn Rand, los dirigentes gubernamentales fomentan la colectivización de la propiedad privada, la redistribución de la riqueza y la interferencia gubernamental en la economía.  Así, las decisiones tomadas por el gobierno de Barack Obama y por otros gobernantes del mundo luego del inicio de la crisis financiera en el año 2008 empezó a concretarse tal y como la novela de Ayn Rand relata.

Los gobernantes, empezando por el gobierno de Barack Obama, intervinieron la economía en un afán por “rescatar” a empresas que habían demostrado ser ineficientes, a bancos que habían malversado dinero de sus acreedores y cientos de millones de dólares han sido entregados desde el año 2008 para rescatar a empresas alrededor del mundo.

Ayn Rand desarrolló una filosofía a la que nombró Objetivismo.  Esa filosofía considera al hombre como un fin en sí mismo y su sistema filosófico se fundamenta en la búsqueda de la felicidad de los individuos a través de los principios de una sociedad capitalista.

Para conocer más el impacto de la obra escrita por Ayn Rand los invito a escuchar el programa que contó con la participación del banquero y emprendedor John Allison III, con Yaron Brook, presidente del The Ayn Rand Institute, con C. Bradley Thompson de la Universidad de Clemson y con el editor de la Reason magazine, el sr. Nick Gillespie.