Category Archives: Movie

Freedom!

What kind of man was Ludwig von Mises? As this unique film shows, Mises (1881-1973) was a man who never stopped fighting for freedom: not when the Nazis burned his books, not when the Left blackballed him at universities, not when it seemed as if statism had won. With courage and genius, he fought big government until the day he died … in 25 books, hundreds of articles, and more than 60 years of teaching.

Mises’s battles against Communists, Nazis, and other socialists, are featured in this film, as are his ideas of Liberty. There is also the old Vienna he loved, the Bolshevik prime minister he dissuaded from Communism, and a cast of villains from Lenin to Hitler, as well as such supporters and students as Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul, Bettina Greaves, M. Stanton Evans, Mary Peterson, Joseph Sobran, and Yuri Maltsev.

Among his many accomplishments, Mises showed that socialism had to fail, that central banking causes recessions and depressions, that the gold standard is honest money, and that only laissez-faire capitalism is fully compatible with Western civilization.

Mises was the twentieth century’s foremost economist, and one of its most important champions of Liberty. Here is a film that does justice to this extraordinary man, and to his equally extraordinary ideas.

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Economics and music

Ok being a musician I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me until tonight to search for something that would combine my two fields of study 🙂

So here is an economic analysis of the music of the classical and romantic era (book review):

http://eh.net/bookreviews/library/0893

and here are some views on the economics of the music industry after the digital revolution, in micro-economics and financial terms:

http://www.bubblegeneration.com/?a=a&resource=musicrisk1

This is from Freakonomics ( http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/20/more-economics-music/ ); a song that a procrastinating economics student wrote instead of studying for his exam:

Girl, being with you has always been so tough
With each passing minute, your marginal cost goes up
But my love is inelastic and it all belongs to you
I’m the only love producer, and my good is for you to consume

Because girl your marginal benefit far outweighs your marginal cost
Without our equilibrium baby, you know I’d be lost
Trapped inside this market I need you, to buy my love
Girl without your complementing goods, I’m not enough

Now you say that I’m producing, below my ATC
But I’m optimizing quantity baby, why can’t you see?
We could share this surplus, each and every day
If you would just buy my love, I’ll make my fixed costs go away

Baby I want to keep you for the long run, Oh yeah
I think our supply and demand, will become one…

Because girl your marginal benefit far outweighs your marginal cost
Without our equilibrium baby, you know I’d be lost
Long run equilibrium is no place for me
I need the profits of our love, to grow exponentially.

And as a finishing touch to this post, enjoy some songs of two of my favorite bands 🙂

Money, its a crime.
Share it fairly but dont take a slice of my pie.
Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil today.

with some of Britain’s economic history in the 60’s (under the Labour Party government of H. Wilson):

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Say it loud, say it proud

History matters! And Niall Ferguson says it with emphasis of the voice and excitement of the body. With a multiple lined affiliation: Harvard, Oxford, Hoover Institution, Ferguson writes popular books on finance and business history. He was writing on Empire(s) on the wake of 9/11 and after the housing bubble he moved to financial history.

Recently he wrote and presented for PBS (American public broadcasting TV) a documentary on the history of finance. In it he replays the parallel march of commerce, finance and political history. It is not a work for new insight. It is an exercise on breadth and an attempt to fit one and all in the same tidy box. Ferguson wants us to believe that financial innovation rules the world, and that only the historically minded can survive in the modern world.

My disquiet is that the documentary seems to assume that the economic past is easily knowable and interpretable and the sole key to our futures. I think that is slightly overselling it.

Here is an interview he gave to University of California TV a propos of his book, Ascent of Money.

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The crisis of credit visualized

These seem to be quite popular on youtube… I am wondering how far from the truth they are. (I still have not given up the idea of the evil genius!)

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Scrooge McDuck and Money

we’ve all loved them…

And some views on capitalism as understood through Scrooge McDuck, taken from http://www.fowlblog.com/2009/09/american-capitalism-as-understood-through-scrooge-mcduck/

(I personally don’t really like the article, but I thought I should give the “other view” an opportunity 😉 )

One of the most defining characteristics of the United States society is our commitment to capitalism, and no duck embodies this American drive for wealth and achievement more than Scrooge McDuck.

Scrooge McDuck emerged out of the war-galvanized American ideals of the late 1940s.  He embodies all the economic opportunitites of capitalism, and the ensuing responsibilities and hazards brought on by wealth and achievement.

His name Scrooge is an obvious reference to the cold-hearted miser Ebeneezer Scrooge of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  When one examines his fictional background, immigrating penniless from Scotland, and becoming and American rags-to-riches success, it evokes the notion of fellow Scotsman and robber baron Andrew Carnegie.  Thus in Scrooge McDuck we see that every American is afforded and opportunity to succeed, but we also see the dehumanization that takes hold when greed and materialistic gain is at the root of endeavor

[…..]

However, our hatred for the capitalistic magnates is conflicted with our enthusiastic joy in the inherent and universal opportunity which capitalism and Scrooge McDuck present to one and all.  This is evident when Scrooge McDuck offers sound economic theory and puts it into practice.  As most of us carry a deep disdain for anyone higher on the capitalistic ladder than one, few of us would give up our own economic freedom which has enabled the financial success of Scrooge and others.  Thus we humbly acknowledge and respect his economic outlook, just as we currently do with capitalistic sages such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

In summary, Scrooge McDuck represents the American love-hate relationship with capitalism.  We hate him for his success, and he hates us back.  We take solace in knowing that even though he swims through money like duck in a pond, he is at times overcome with misery in light of the gravity of his economic alienation.  Furthermore, we cannot deny that even though we hate his success, we would never deny our love for the opportunity to achieve a similar level of financial success.  Thus we always respect the economic wisdom of economic titans such as Scrooge McDuck.

🙂

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Subtext

Economic history often comes in the small print of TV and movie scripts, a passing image, a headline in a fading newspaper. And then it happens that depression, inflation and oil prices becomes the text, explicit and explosive.

It’s up there with the Grapes of Wrath… Let’s all scream:

“I am mad as hell and I am not taking it anymore.”

(Thanks to Funny Bird…)

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