O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

domingo, Fevereiro 27, 2005

É Hoje...



Passados pouco mais de dois anos da sua fundação, não é sem algum pesar que, informo que O Intermitente encerra hoje as suas actividades. Quando foi criado não pensava que este blog fosse mais que um simples bloco de notas, sem qualquer visíbilidade e que seria actualizado quando calhasse (daí o seu nome...). Numa excelente demonstração do que são "uninted consequences" O Intermitente excedeu qualquer expectativa. Agradeço aos leitores a paciência e o tempo dispendido na leitura das minhas "postas" e na correcção dos erros ortográficos que por aqui abundam.

Aproveito também para informar que este vosso criado (salvo seja...) decidiu juntar forças com um conjunto de distintos liberais. O AAA (que foi o mentor do projecto) e com os autores do Super Flumina, d'O Observador, do Picuinhices e (num surpreendente regresso à blogosfera) com o Valete Fratres.


O Intermitente morreu. Viva O Insurgente!

posted by Miguel Noronha 4:00 da tarde

sábado, Fevereiro 26, 2005

O Rosas Foi Eleito?!!


posted by Miguel Noronha 9:42 da manhã

sexta-feira, Fevereiro 25, 2005

Esqueçam Todas as Promessas: Vêm aí Tempos Difíceis!


posted by Miguel Noronha 6:17 da tarde

Leitura (Mais Que) Recomendada

"15 dicas para ser um bom Esquerdista" no Contra a Corrente.
posted by Miguel Noronha 6:01 da tarde

Até Que Enfim!

E eis que passado um mês e oito dias o homem lá se digna a escrever qualquer coisita para o povo.
posted by Miguel Noronha 2:25 da tarde

Stupid does as stupid is

Artigo no Pittsburgh Live.

The Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby wrote for Thursday the column that I intended to write for today. I'll go a bit further.
Mr. Jacoby offered a wonderfully accessible explanation of how 60 years of federal tuition aid only has served to increase the cost of a college education.

That's daft, you say. How can that be?

Actually, it's not that unhinged at all. And as Jacoby notes, it's quite elementary: "Every dollar that Washington generates in student aid is another dollar that colleges and universities have an incentive to harvest, either by raising their sticker price or reducing the financial aid they offer from their own funds."

The bottom line, as Cato Institute scholar Gary Wolfram found in a new study, is that "federal loans, Pell Grants and other assistance programs result in higher tuition for students ... ."

Just take a look at the year-after-year tuition increases that stunningly outpace the rate of inflation for the anecdotal proof; visit the Cato Institute Web site (www.cato.org) for the empirical case.

Still, Mr. Wolfram's conclusion is a shocker -- for the economic ignorami among us. And that, tragically, is too many of us. For after more than 60 years of being spoon-fed the dog-food dogma of primarily liberal (i.e., socialist) economic folderol, we've forgotten how to think for ourselves.

Stupid does as stupid is.

That "government aid" is good is an instant article of faith in this nation, even, sadly, among supposed conservatives. The outrageously expensive, blanket Medicare prescription drug program is a good example. We are failing miserably as a nation to critically analyze and challenge the resulting "conventional wisdom."

In the introduction to his study, Wolfram, a political science professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan, references the words of the great late Austrian economist Freidrich Hayek from "The Constitution of Liberty":

"(M)ajority decisions" -- the kind of congressional benevolence that gives us federal aid to education and drugs for all -- "are peculiarly liable, if not guided by accepted common principles, to produce overall results that nobody wanted."

Though an excellent and correct statement, it is not a particularly original thought. It is, however, a more contemporary way of explaining what such great thinkers as Adam Smith, the Scottish economist, John Locke, the English empiricist philosopher, and Frederic Bastiat, the French economist, first opened our eyes to centuries ago.

These are the gentlemen who went to great pains -- and often resulting in great ridicule -- to explain what became known as the Law of Unintended Consequences. To wit, in 1692, Mr. Locke argued against a British law that would lower the maximum allowable interest rate on loans from 6 percent to 4 percent.

Now, who in his right mind could mount a cogent argument against such a thing? Obviously, the borrower would benefit in such a deal, right? Not so fast. I'll let former Fortune magazine economics editor Rob Norton take it from here:

"Locke argued that instead of benefiting borrowers, as intended, it would hurt them. People would find ways to circumvent the law, with the cost of the circumvention borne by borrowers. To the extent the law was obeyed, Locke concluded, the chief results would be less available credit and a redistribution of income away from 'widows, orphans and all those who have their estates in money.'"

The Law of Unintended Consequences -- or what Mr. Bastiat referred to as the "seen" and the "unseen" -- is not a law relegated to antiquity. It applies today. But it generally is ignored -- either by the truly ignorant, the greedy who care not about the secondary consequences, or the greedier still who fully understand the consequences and are intent on lining their pockets with your dependence. Politicians come to mind.

Social Security is the perfect example of true ignorance. Never mind that partially privatized accounts, coupled with even reduced existing program benefits, would exceed current Social Security benefits, it is blasphemous in many quarters to talk of restructuring this old-age safety net.

The unintended consequence? Seven decades of a lower savings rate. So what, the apologists for the Nanny State say; the difference is covered by Social Security. But for the private sector, that means there are fewer private investment dollars available "and the economy -- and wages -- grow more slowly than they would without Social Security," Mr. Norton rightly notes. Everyone is poorer for it.

And there are many other equally applicable contemporary situations. Here are just two:

  • Wage floors. Whether it be called "the minimum wage" or a "living wage," the result is fewer entry-level jobs. The very people supposed to be helped by such laws are hurt; an entire class of people is denied that critical first rung on the employment ladder.

  • Labor unions. Indeed, wages and working conditions for union members generally are high and better. But unions also have reduced the number of jobs available; by raising the price of labor, less of it is bought. Additionally, given that most organized labor representation is among those in government jobs, the cost to taxpayers is artificially inflated.

    The best antidote to the kind of economic ignorance that has led us down such an expensive, inefficient and unproductive path is education. But don't expect any breakthroughs until we as a society come to fully understand the need to blow up the heavily unionized educratic establishment.

  • posted by Miguel Noronha 2:08 da tarde

    Leitura Recomendada

    "20 de Fevereiro: O enterro dos cavaquismos" do Professor Rui Ramos (partes
    1 e 2).
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:52 da manhã

    quinta-feira, Fevereiro 24, 2005

    Leitura Recomendada

    "Comércio tradicional vs. Hipers" no Office Lounging.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:09 da tarde

    Miracle Down Under: How New Zealand Farmers Prosper without Subsidies or Protection

    In the past two decades, New Zealand farmers have moved from an environment in which we were subsidized and the government dictated the type of agricultural goods produced to one in which we farm without subsidies. The clear focus for us now is on the consumer. That is the real reason we are in business: to serve the consumer, not the government

    (...)

    The major development for the New Zealand agricultural sector was that, after enduring the pain of that long transition, responsibility for farming returned to the farmer. So the government was no longer involved in our lives. The key issue that we had to grapple with very quickly was that there was only one component important to farm income, and that was satisfying the consumer. We used to satisfy government officials in what they wanted. We had 70 million sheep and another 50 million lambs, of which the meat industry rendered, in one year, six million lambs into blood and bone (a fertilizer product) because nobody wanted them. In the worst days of the post-deregulation period, in a drought in the Canterbury region of New Zealand, farmers were getting only $6 a lamb. Now we actually focus on the consumer. Processors now pass on clear market signals and give farmers higher returns. The farmer now provides exactly what the consumer wants in the most cost-effective manner. Now, by meeting market specifications, we get between $60 and $100 a lamb depending on the time of year the lamb is supplied.

    The other positive result of the reform process was that farmers began to better fit their agricultural production to the type of land that they farmed. If you don?t have a really good fit with the type of land you are on, your resources are used inefficiently, and then you can?t get your costs low enough to be competitive. New Zealand has reduced the number of sheep from 70 million down to 40 million, but we produce roughly the same amount of sheep meat. We increased our dairy herd from roughly 3 million cows to now more than 5 million in response to the market demand for protein products. We?ve seen a huge diversification of land use in the last 20 years. In the good old days, people just would not have believed what farmers were capable of when everybody just wanted us to produce another lamb.

    Farmers have continued to diversify, to change, and to accept that we not only need access to markets and consumers, but we also need an incredibly competitive internal economy. We need to be able to adjust our cost structures quickly to deal with the volatility of climate, product price, and, in a small country like New Zealand, the exchange rate. But we are happy to accept these risks and uncertainty because by facing these risks we make far better decisions. And we?re not blaming anyone else; we only have to rely on ourselves to get on with the job.

    posted by Miguel Noronha 3:14 da tarde

    Leitura Recomendada

    "Uma Ocupação Esquecida" n'A Mão Invisível.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 11:29 da manhã

    O Nosso Herói Prepara-se Para Socorrer Mais Uma Vítima Dos Impostos


    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:27 da manhã

    Novas candidaturas em preparação, diz Rui Rio

    Espero bem que sim...
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:43 da manhã

    quarta-feira, Fevereiro 23, 2005

    Estes Não São os Meus Candidatos

    Marques Mendes pretende "reconquistar o centro social democrata". Luís Filipe Menezes quer "o partido no centro-esquerda e nos valores sociais da social-democracia".

    Está visto que não serão estes candidatos que a trazer mudança alguma ao PSD. Não pretendem mais que emular o discurso demagógico de José Sócrates. O Estado Social é uma conquista irreversível (como as nacionalização já foram). Mesmo que seja ineficiente. Mesmo que esteja falido. Mesmo que implique a violação dos direitos individuais. Aliás, pela lógica de qualquer boa oposição presumo que se Sócrates der 100 eles protestam e exigem 1000.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:15 da tarde

    Não

    Não Marvão. O programa do BE não é tão inócuo como queres fazer parecer. Enferma, desde logo do problema, de considerar a liberdade económica como separada das restantes liberdades individuais. Inventa uma serie de pseudo-direitos que implicam a restrição dos direitos dos restantes cidadãos. Considera o Estado como um ser omnisciente e os empreendedores como uma especie, se não a abater pelo menos, de cash-cow dos seus programas despesistas. Para terminar pretende mudar as leis económicas por decreto. Quando falas em "questões civilizacionais" deves-te estar a referir não apenas a outra civilização mas a outro planeta.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 6:10 da tarde

    Não Sei se Vou Resistir ao Choque Tecnológico...


    posted by Miguel Noronha 4:22 da tarde

    O Ridículo Antológico

    Quem não se recorda do militar barbudo que, em 1975, interrompeu o Telejornal para explicar a legitimidade revolucionária ao povo inculto? Ou, na vigência do Bloco Central, o locutor a anunciar que o Benfica-Porto apenas iria ser transmitido por pressão do Primero-Ministro? Ou a imagem de Cavaco Silva a atafulhar a boca com um pastel de nata para evitar responder às perguntas dos jornalistas? Ou da cobertura das eleições americanas por Luís Costa Ribas?

    Por azar não vi. Mas consta que Odete Santos protagonizou um momento de rara beleza ao (tentar) explicar Economia a Sérgio Figueiredo no último Prós & Contras.

    Há momentos de ridículo televisivo que merecem ser preservados para as gerações vindouras. É para coisas destas que devia servir a RTP-Memória.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:56 da manhã

    Dois Anos de Marretadas

    Os meus parabéns aos bonecos mais subversivos da blogosfera.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:41 da manhã

    Leitura Recomendada

    "A RECONSTRUÇÃO DA DIREITA" de Rui a. no Blasfémias.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:00 da manhã

    Mais Um

    Luís Filipe Meneses também anunciou a sua candidatura à presidência do PSD. Um ponto a favor de Marques Mendes. Já sabemos que LFM não fará parte da sua lista.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:57 da manhã

    terça-feira, Fevereiro 22, 2005

    Uma Ocupação Ignorada



    O Rua da Judiaria chama a atenção para as manifestações contra a ocupação militar do Líbano pela Síria que como diz o Nuno é completamente ignorada pelos media e por uma certa facção da blogosfera. Já alguém se lembrou de fazer uma marcha contra a Síria?
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:10 da tarde

    Marques Mendes avança para liderança do PSD

    Um conhecido e reconhecido liberal disse-me (antes de ser conhecida esta notícia) depositar a suas esperança nele. Eu tenho muitas duvidas.

    O primeiro candidato já deu a cara. Quem serão os outros?
    posted by Miguel Noronha 6:18 da tarde

    Combustível: Governo autoriza postos junto de hipermercados

    Uma vitória da liberdade de concorrência e uma derrota para o lobbie da ANAREC que a pretendia restringir.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 4:51 da tarde

    Santana Lopes vai abandonar a liderança do PSD

    O anúncio de hoje é mais um incentivo (e custa-me a perceber porque é que recusavam disputar eleições contra ele) para os "notáveis" aparecerem no Congresso. Já não há desculpas.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 2:29 da tarde

    I, Liberal

    Artigo de Sheldon Richman na Ideas on Liberty.

    [I]t [is] (...) nice to be in a place where the word "liberal" is understood. In the linguistically challenged United States, to be a liberal is to favor the government over the individual. Before the word was hijacked in the Progressive Era by devotees of what Ludwig von Mises called "statolatry," a liberal supported private property, free markets, and the rule of law as a bulwark against the state. The words "liberal" and "liberty" obviously share the same root. They originate in the Latin word for "free."

    But that's all forgotten. Now that "liberal" is associated with bully government, it has become a dirty word, especially during elections, and no one wants it anymore - not even the advocates of bully government. The Economist on November 4 pointed out that it is derisory in Europe too, although over there it retains much of its original meaning.

    I'd like to associate myself with what The Economist said:

    There ought to be a word . . . to stand for what liberalism used to mean. The idea, with its roots in English and Scottish political philosophy of the 18th century, speaks up for individual rights and freedoms, and challenges over-mighty government and other forms of power. In that sense, traditional English liberalism favoured small government - but, crucially, it viewed a government's efforts to legislate religion and personal morality as sceptically as it regarded the attempt to regulate trade (the favoured economic intervention of the age). This, in our view, remains a very appealing, as well as internally consistent, kind of scepticism.

    The magazine went on to lament the absurd division of freedom into personal and economic varieties, one for the left and one for the right: "That separation explains how it can be that the same term is now used in different places to say opposite things. What is harder to explain is why "liberal has become such a term of abuse. When you understand that the tradition it springs from has changed the world so much for the better in the past two and a half centuries, you might have expected all sides to be claiming the label for their own exclusive use."

    posted by Miguel Noronha 12:24 da tarde

    Hoje Acordei Assim



    ...isto vai dar mau resultado.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:02 da manhã

    Correspodência

    Agradeço as mensagens do Tugir e do Bloguítica a propósito do segundo aniversário d'O Intermitente.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 8:34 da manhã

    segunda-feira, Fevereiro 21, 2005

    Até Que Enfim!

    Já estava a ver que o Luciano não ia dar pelo aniversário d'O Intermitente. Se para a próxima demorares tanto a dar-me os parabéns quem leva um pontapé és tu!

    Para se redimir o Luciano faz um excelente análise das recentes eleições e dos tempos que se avizinham.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 4:44 da tarde

    Justo!

    Às 9365 pessoas que votaram num partido que quer expulsar o imigrantes devia ser aplicado o castigo de trabalharem e viveram nas condições de muitos deles.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 3:20 da tarde

    Outra Dúvida

    E o Manuel Monteiro? Não diz nada? Não se demite? Há alguém que pede a sua demissão? Não está preocupado por ter tido menos votos que o PCTP/MRPP?
    posted by Miguel Noronha 12:50 da tarde

    Porquê?

    Pessoal, acho que o José Mário Silva quer que a gente se demita!
    posted by Miguel Noronha 12:15 da tarde

    Uma Dúvida Que Me Atormenta

    Quem são as 16.865 almas que votam no Partido Humanista?
    posted by Miguel Noronha 11:58 da manhã

    Estado Em Que Se Encontra o Autor Deste Blogue


    posted by Miguel Noronha 11:05 da manhã

    Mais

    A decisão de PSL de não se demitir ou pelo menos afirmar que não se recandidatava foi altamente irresponsável. Concordo com as suas críticas a Jorge Samapaio e a Cavaco Silva. Já a comparação do resultado destas eleições com as de 1985 está errada. Naquelas o principal derrotado foi o PS, nestas foi o PSD. Com a sua manutênção na liderança o PSD arrisca um grave cisão ou, pelo menos, deserções em massa (e não estou a falar dos boys que hoje se devem estar a dirigir para o Rato). Espero que, desta vez, os ferozes críticos de PSL o confrontem nos orgãos nacionais e no Congresso e não se limitem a mandar recados pelos jornais.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:15 da manhã

    Outra

    A maioria absoluta não ajuda, nem um pouco, a melhorar a qualidade do programa de governo do PS. Apenas o torna imune a bloquices.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 10:04 da manhã

    Mais Uma Reflexão

    No desastre eleitoral de ontem podemos mesmo assim afirmar que houveram dois pontos positivos. Em primeiro lugar, ao ter uma maioria absoluta, o PS não necessita dos partidos de extrema-esquerda para formar governo ou aprovar qualquer medida. Em segundo o BE não ultrapassou o PP e continua a ser o menor partido parlamentar autonómo.
    posted by Miguel Noronha 9:13 da manhã

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    "A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."
    F.A.Hayek

    mail: migueln@gmail.com