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

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

sexta-feira, agosto 29, 2003

Why Rent Control is Immoral

1. "Only the landlord has a choice, because he controls the apartment that the tenant needs and thus he has the tenant over a barrel."

ANSWER: The tenant controls the rent that the landlord needs; that's always what's involved in a contract: each party has a value the other wants, and they trade their values to mutual advantage. Neither party has a right to the other's values: landlords have no divine right to a customer or to certain levels of rent (they're free to lower their offers or invest their money elsewhere), and tenants have no right to demand housing (they're free to seek alternative housing). Of course, the advocates of rent control recognize the importance of housing (and medicine and food) and thus feel morally justified in forcing people to provide those things to the "needy". But their position is the exact opposite of the moral position. The more valuable and important the product, the more you should be rewarded "not punished" for supplying it! Need is not a claim.

2. "Human rights are more important than property rights."

ANSWER: Property rights are human rights, and very basic ones. They are the rights of human beings to use their own property. As Ayn Rand wrote in Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal: "Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."

3. "Rent controls are perfectly legitimate because this is a democracy, and rent controls have been voted in."

ANSWER: It makes no difference how popular a law is; it can still be a violation of your rights. Just because the majority votes away your property, that doesn't give them a moral right to do so. If a neighbor sneaks into your house and takes some money out of your wallet to help pay his rent, that's theft; well, there's no moral difference if a group of your neighbors get together and vote away your money to help pay their rents; that's merely "legalized theft". If majority rule were the only basis for deciding what the government can do, then 51% of the people could legitimately vote to enslave or even kill the other 49%. Hitler was voted into office and had great popular support. All tyrannies are wrong, including tyranny by the majority. The voters don't own your life or your property.

4. "Landlords are just being selfish by wanting higher rents."

ANSWER: Why is it okay for tenants to be selfish by wanting lower rents? In fact, there's nothing wrong with being selfish rationally selfish. Selfishness means that you live for your own happiness, not that of others. You want the highest rent you can get, and tenants want the best apartment for the least possible rent. Neither party should be altruistic: the landlord shouldn't say "you can have this apartment for less than you're willing to spend", nor should the tenant say I'll pay you more than you're willing to take, just to make you happy. Being selfish means you don't sacrifice yourself to others or sacrifice others to yourself. It means that you and everyone lives independently, trading value for value.

posted by Miguel Noronha 1:38 da tarde

Julian The Great pt II

[este é o prometido resumo do artigo de Stephen Moore (SM) sobre Julian Simon na American Spectator]

O economista Julian Simon ficou conhecido devido à sua celebre aposta com Paul Elrich (PE), conhecido como o pai dos neo-malthusianos que primam pelas teorias catastrofistas quanto à explosão demográfica e esgotamento dos recursos entre outros (SM coloca-lhe o epipeto de "the chronically wrong Stanford biologist").

Em 1980 Julian Simon apostou com PE 1000 dólares em como os preços de cinco matérias primas, a serem escolhidas por PE, baixariam num prazo de 10 anos ao contrário do que enunciavam os modelos que apontavam para a exaustão dos recursos (com o consequente aumento dos preços). O resultado não podiam ter sido mais inequivoco. Os preços dos materiais escolhidos sofreran uma redução média na ordem dos 40%.

Ao contrário dos neo-malthusianos que consideram o aumento demográfico como uma catátrofe Julian Simon vê nele factores positivos. Em primeiro lugar é a prova que as condições de vida e o aproveitamento dos recursos melhoraram ao ponto de o planeta azul conseguir suportar mais habitantes. Em segundo lugar aumenta a "massa cinzenta" disponível o que constitui uma garantia quanto à evolução futura.

O erro dos neo-malthusianos é não acreditarem no génio humano e terem uma perspectiva demasiado limitada da História. Não se podem extrair tendências a partir de uma pequena amostra temporal assim como não podemos construir modelos partindo do principio que todas as constantes permanecem estáticas.

Foi ao tentar contrariar as Julian Simon que Bjorn Lomborg, na altura militante do Greepeace, chegou às mesmas conclusões o que o levou a alterar radicalmente as suas crenças. Os resultados destes estudos encontram-se no conhecido "The Skeptical Enviromentalist".

Outra das suas "causas" foi a luta contra as barreiras à emigração. Os emigrantes, ao contrário das crenças establecidas, não "roubam empregos" nem "abusam da Segurança Social". Vários estudos apontam para o impacto positivo destes no crescimento económico. Para além disso são, nos EUA, a única garantia da renovação geracional que ameaça as economias ocidentais. A Europa pode e deve olhar para este exemplo...

Para finalizar deixo as palavras de Stephen Moore:

Shortly before his untimely death, Simon said he felt very confident about two predictions. First, that every significant measure of human well-being will continue to improve. And second, that people will continue to grouse about how things used to be in the old days.

What he didn't say might well be his most enduring contibution: the idea that human beings don't just use resources while they inhabit this planet; they create them too. That's also why more peole are a good thing - it means greater potential for more Einsteins and Mozarts and Edisons. And, we can only hope, more Julian Simons.

posted by Miguel Noronha 12:28 da tarde

quinta-feira, agosto 28, 2003


[Incluo aqui o livro que serviu de base ao artigo da Rand Review a que fiz referência anteriormente]

"A new RAND book titled America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq reviews more than 50 years of U.S. efforts to transform defeated and broken enemies into democratic and prosperous allies. The authors conclude that rebuilding Iraq will be difficult but possible, and use historical perspective to illuminate today's headlines.

...Dobbins and his co-authors—John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel Swanger, and Anga Timilsina—argue forcefully that the United States cannot afford to contemplate an early exit from Iraq and leave the job of nation-building there half completed. The authors state: "The real question for the United States should not be how soon it can leave, but rather how fast and how much to share power with Iraqis and the international community while retaining enough power to oversee an enduring transition to democracy and stability."

The book says that the post-World War II occupations of Germany and Japan set standards for successful post-conflict nation-building that have never again been matched...

...What lessons can be learned from past endeavors that can be applied to Iraq, an effort comparable in scale to the earlier American occupations of Germany and Japan?

...According to the authors: "What principally distinguishes Germany, Japan, Bosnia, and Kosovo from Somalia, Haiti, and Afghanistan are not their levels of Western culture, economic development, or cultural homogeneity. Rather, it is the level of effort the United States and the international community have put into their democratic transformations. In Germany and Japan, for example, substantial American aid reduced social, political, and other obstacles to the reconstitution of parliamentary politics and facilitated a transition to democracy. Nation-building, as this study illustrates, is a time- and resource-consuming effort."


In addition to numerous lessons specific to each case, the authors offer several general conclusions about nation-building:

  • While many factors influence the success of nation-building efforts, among controllable factors the most important is the level of effort—measured in time, people, and money.

  • Although multilateral nation-building is complex and time consuming, it is considerably less expensive for participants and can produce a more thorough transformation and greater prospects for regional peace than unilateral efforts.

  • Unity of command and broad participation are compatible when major participants share a common vision and can shape international institutions accordingly.

  • There appears to be an inverse correlation between the size of the stabilization force and the level of risk. The higher the proportion of stabilizing troops, the lower the number of casualties both suffered and inflicted. In fact, most adequately manned post-conflict operations suffered no casualties.

  • Neighboring states can exert significant influence, and it is nearly impossible to succeed without their support.

  • Accountability for past injustices can be a powerful component of democratization but is also among the most challenging and controversial aspects of any nation-building endeavor.

  • There is no quick route to nation-building. Five years seems to be the minimum required to enforce an enduring transformation to democracy.

posted by Joao 9:39 da manhã

quarta-feira, agosto 27, 2003

Julian The Great

Na American Spectator (o link não funciona - espero que temporariamente) Stephen Moore (do Cato Institute) faz a apologia de Julian Moore.

Quando tiver mais tempo conto fazer alguns comentários ao artigo.
posted by Miguel Noronha 12:50 da tarde

O Elogio do Abrupto

Ainda durante a minha ausência comunicaram-me (embora sem revelar detalhes) que o Abrupto tinha elogiado num post O Intermitente e o Valete Fratres!.

Apenas ontem (já de) madrugado o consegui ler e penso que JPP acertou em cheio. Não me refiro à qualidade que JPP vê nos conteudos deste blogue (deixo essa avaliação para os leitores) mas quanto à "missão" que me auto-atribuí.

Resta-me agradecer a referência e os elogios.
posted by Miguel Noronha 10:31 da manhã

De Regresso

Após uma curta ausência estou de regresso à blogosfera.

Agradeço o trabalho realizado pelo João durante a minha ausência. Os seus artigos serviram para elevar o nível deste blogue. Espero não baixar (demasiado) a qualidade com o meu retorno.

Para sossegar (ou talvez não) os leitores d'O Intermitente adianto que as colaborações do autor do Valete Fratres! neste humilde blogue não cessam aqui assim como, da minha parte, espero continuar a escrever de quando em vez no Valete. Talvez se verifique alguma especialização de conteudos mas isso fica para ser decidido num futuro próximo.
posted by Miguel Noronha 10:21 da manhã

GLOBALIZATION: The Myth of the Race to the Bottom

"The current debates over economic globalization have produced a seemingly simple and intuitive conclusion: Unfettered globalization triggers an unavoidable "race to the bottom" in labor and environmental standards around the world...

...The race-to-the-bottom hypothesis appears logical. But it is wrong. Indeed, the lack of supporting evidence is startling. Essayists usually mention an anecdote or two about firms moving from an advanced to a developing economy and then, depending on their political stripes, extrapolate visions of healthy international competition or impending environmental doom. However, there is no indication that the reduction of controls on trade and capital flows has forced a generalized downgrading in labor or environmental conditions. If anything, the opposite has occurred.

...The "race to the bottom" in global labor and environmental standards has captivated journalists, politicians, and activists worldwide. Why does this myth persist? Because it is a useful scare tactic for multinational corporations and populist agitators peddling their policy wares...

P.S. Tentarei escrever um post sobre o mito do capitalismo selvagem no sec. XIX, que me parece que tem muito a ver com esta questão...será um post resumo do livro editado por Hayek "Capitalism and the Historians".

posted by Joao 3:40 da manhã

terça-feira, agosto 26, 2003

Lessons from the U.S. experience in building democratic nations after wars, from Germany on (via Oxblog)

Citações de um artigo da revista RAND Review:

"Unity of command is as essential in peace operations as it is in war. This unity of command can be achieved even in operations with broad multilateral participation when the major participants share a common vision and tailor the response of international institutions accordingly."

"There is no quick fix for nation-building. None of our cases was successfully completed in less than seven years."

"Multilateral nation-building is more complex and time-consuming than a unilateral approach. But the multilateral approach is considerably less expensive for individual participants.

"Multilateral nation-building can produce more thorough transformations and greater regional reconciliation than can unilateral efforts."

"There appears to be an inverse correlation between the size of the military stabilization force and the level of casualties. The higher the proportion of troops relative to the resident population, the lower the number of casualties suffered and inflicted. Indeed, most of the post-conflict operations that were generously manned suffered no casualties at all."

And as though the point weren't driven home yet: "Many factors—such as prior democratic experience, level of economic development, and social homogeneity—can influence the ease or difficulty of nation-building, but the single most important controllable determinant seems to be the level of effort, as measured in troops, money, and time" (emphasis added).

"Peaceful populations require force ratios of somewhere between one and four police officers per thousand residents. The United States as a whole has about 2.3 sworn police officers per thousand residents. Larger cities tend to have higher ratios of police to population."

"Although numbers alone do not constitute a security strategy, successful strategies for population security and control have required force ratios either as large as or larger than 20 security personnel (troops and police combined) per thousand inhabitants. This figure is roughly 10 times the ratio required for simple policing of a tranquil population."

" The British are acknowledged as the most experienced practitioners of the stabilization art. To maintain stability in Northern Ireland, the British deployed a security force (consisting of British army troops plus police from the Royal Ulster Constabulary) at a ratio of about 20 per thousand inhabitants. This is about the same force ratio that the British deployed during the Malayan counterinsurgency in the middle of the 20th century.

More recently, successful multinational operations have used initial force ratios as large as the British examples or larger. In its initial entry into Bosnia in 1995, the NATO Implementation Force brought in multinational forces corresponding to more than 20 soldiers per thousand inhabitants. After five years, the successor Stabilization Force finally fell below 10 per thousand. Operations in Kosovo during 2000 showed the same pattern; the initial forces were sized at somewhat above 20 per thousand."

"The population of Iraq today is nearly 25 million. That population would require 500,000 foreign troops on the ground to meet a standard of 20 troops per thousand residents. This number is more than three times the number of foreign troops now deployed to Iraq.... For a sustainable stabilization force on a 24-month rotation cycle, the international community would need to draw on a troop base of 2.5 million troops. Such numbers are clearly not feasible and emphasize the need for the rapid creation of indigenous security forces even while foreign troops continue to be deployed."

De acordo com a experiênia anterior, a criação das condições de segurança necessárias ao processo de democratização exigiu pelo menos 7 anos...as principais operações militares no Iraque terminaram há cerca de 4 meses...[Conclusão: Os media vão ter motivo para exercitar os seus sentimentos anti-americanos durante muito tempo. As manifestações de regozijo pela morte de americanos vão continuar.]

Todos estes processos implicaram baixas. Quanto maior o número de tropas no terreno, menor o número de baixas entre as tropas e entre a população civil. [Conclusão: Mais imperialismo americano já.]

Uma abordagem multilateral sob um comando unificado facilita o processo. [Conclusão: Os países que enviaram tropas para o Iraque estão a servir os interesses dos iraquianos da melhor forma possível.]

E quase sempre um conjunto de forças procuraram fazer descarrilar o processo através da violência...na Alemanha os ataques contra as tropas aliadas continuaram até, pelo menos, 1947...no caso do Japão, alguns pequenos contingentes resistiram até à década de 70...mais recentemente, em Timor, continuam a verificar-se ataques de milícias...[Conclusão: Existe sempre um Vietnam desconchido que espera por si...]
posted by Joao 5:21 da tarde


"In the weeks before the truck-bomb attack, the U.N.'s veteran security officer on site struggled, argued and begged for better protection. He knew the Canal Hotel was a vulnerable and likely target - but the U.N. chain of command refused to acknowledge the dimensions of the threat.

The U.S. military did offer protection - repeatedly. But U.N. bureaucrats turned it down. They didn't want to be associated with those wicked, imperialist, ill-mannered Americans. After all, everybody loves the United Nations, don't they? "

posted by Joao 5:02 da tarde

U.S. Military Scorns Iraq's 'Miss-And-Run' Fighters
"Iraqi guerrillas waging low-level attacks on American occupying forces are poorly organized, militarily incompetent and quick to run, scornful U.S. commanders say.

"The enemy tactics are 'miss and run'," said Colonel James Hickey, whose brigade controls the restive area round Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit.

"They're almost running when they pull the trigger."

Most attacks have come in the so-called "Sunni Triangle" area north and west of Baghdad. It includes Tikrit, where Saddam, himself a Sunni Muslim, came from.

The guerrillas generally lay explosive devices for patrols on roads, or spring attacks from buildings using AK-47 rifles, Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) or mortars.

...Former fighters of Saddam's Republican Guard or Fedayeen troops, and prominent members of his ruling Baath party, may be organising and financing the guerrilla attacks, but do not appear to be carrying them out, the commanders said.

"They are going out and getting hired hands who do not have much experience. Normally you get two- or three- or four-men groups trying to conduct attacks, usually a couple of young guys with one middle-aged guy," Hickey said.

"I have yet to see any degree of military competence. They are not experienced fighters. They fire a mortar, then pick up and run. I think we have taken away their capacity to wage any organized resistance, although I concede they have enough structure to put guys in each main town to shoot at us."

...Their numbers appear small, the commanders said.

"Whenever we kill four of the enemy, things just drop off in that area," Hickey said. "We are winning, we have the initiative."

An attack last week on a U.S. patrol in Tikrit's busy market-place infuriated the local American officers. "The enemy is a coward," Russell said. "He continues to hide behind women, children and his own population. He refuses to wear uniform, therefore we categorise him as a terrorist."
  1. Nos intervalos da reportagem anti-americana da Reuters, os comentários dos comandantes das tropas aliadas no terreno demonstram que a situação militar é muito diferente daquela que as notícias dos nossos jornais e televisões dão a entender. A resistência é numéricamente reduzida, incompetente e utiliza tácticas que violam as leis da guerra. A principal motivação dos "guerrilheiros" parece ser financeira (algumas notícias falavam de 5.000 dollars por cada ataque).

  2. Militarmente, os ataques dos "guerrilheiros" são inofensivos. A estratégia seguida - a única que poderá ter algum sucesso -, é a tentativa de transformar o Iraque num novo Vietnam com o auxílio dos media ocidentais...e se no terreno os "guerrilheiros" "falham e fogem", nos écrans da TV e nas páginas dos jornais os "guerrilheiros" acertam todos os tiros...e estão a ganhar a guerra mediática (não foi preciso esforçarem-se muito...)

    A estratégia seguida, no entanto, falha num aspecto essencial: pressupõe que a opinião pública (americana) de hoje é a mesma do tempo da guerra do Vietnam. Mas ao contrário dos media, que ideologicamente não mudaram, a opinião pública americana tem até ao momento entendido a natureza desta guerra e o facto de uma guerra implicar baixas americanas. Esperemos que assim continue.

posted by Joao 3:28 da tarde

A Voice of Arab Sanity

"In an August 14, 2003 editorial in the Lebanese Christian daily Al-Nahar, Editor Jubran Tweini attacked Hizbullah's renewed activity against Israel in Southern Lebanon and the inability of the Lebanese government to impose its military authority there."
Sempre que se verifica um atentado terrorista, é comum ler-se que o mesmo é uma reacção do povo x contra o país ou grupo y. Este artigo coloca em causa esta alegada capacidade de interpretação da "vontage geral" por parte dos "guerrilheiros".

A propósito do Líbano, este país encontra-se ocupado pelo imperialismo sírio há muitos anos. Mas, como o regime Sírio é uma monarquia absoluta que professa o socialismo árabe, não se verificam quaisquer manifestações contra esta ocupação.

posted by Joao 1:15 da tarde

segunda-feira, agosto 25, 2003

GLOBAL WARMING: sexing-up the threat

"...is it true that the scientific evidence of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that climate change is already taking place and that most of the warming observed during the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. Well eh .... not exactly. It depends on how you want to read the reports of the IPCC.

IPCC reports are inaccessible for ordinary people, including policymakers. Therefore, the IPCC has popularised its findings and presented a summary for policymakers...This summary has been heavily criticised in many columns on TCS for its slanted presentation of the underlying scientific reports -- and rightly so. But to its credit it must be recognised that it is also pretty frank about the level of scientific knowledge which climatologists believe to possess. In the summary, the word "uncertainty" or an equivalent occurs no fewer than forty times. This is probably unpre­cedent­ed for such a short document. The most striking illustra­tion of this un­certainty is IPCC's acknowl­edge­ment that it knows (very) little about nine out of the twelve mechanisms which are determinant for global warming.

Oh yea ... I forgot to tell that there is still another suspect about they know very little, but which has not been included in the graph. It is the most important greenhouse gas: water vapour. As Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick observe in their recent book ("Taken by Storm, The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming"): "[...] leaving water vapour off the list [...] is like describing the PC software industry and leaving out Microsoft."

What do we make out all of this? There can only be one conclusion: "The science is fatally flawed." Heard that one before? Well ... it is true. It is the translation into everyday language of what the IPCC itself writes in its reports."

posted by Joao 10:07 da tarde

ERIC HOBSBAWN: se os amanhãs que cantam se tivessem de facto concretizado, a perda de 15 ou 20 milhões de pessoas seria justificada

[interview published in the Times Literary Supplement in 1994].

"Hobsbawm’s interlocutor is the journalist Michael Ingatieff, who began by asking Hobsbawm how at this late date he could possibly continue to justify his Communism.

HOBSBAWM: You didn't have the option. You see, either there was going to be a future or there wasn't going to be a future and this [the Communist Party] was the only thing that offered an acceptable future.

IGNATIEFF: In 1934, millions of people are dying in the Soviet experiment. If you had known that, would it have made a difference to you at that time? To your commitment? To being a Communist?

HOBSBAWM: This is the sort of academic question to which an answer is simply not possible...I don't actually know that it has any bearing on the history that I have written. If I were to give you a retrospective answer which is not the answer of a historian, I would have said, 'Probably not.'


HOBSBAWM: Because in a period in which, as you might imagine, mass murder and mass suffering are absolutely universal, the chance of a new world being born in great suffering would still have been worth backing. Now the point is, looking back as an historian, I would say that the sacrifices made by the Russian people were probably only marginally worthwhile. The sacrifices were enormous; they were excessive by almost any standard and excessively great. But I'm looking back at it now and I'm saying that because it turns out that the Soviet Union was not the beginning of the world revolution. Had it been, I'm not sure.

IGNATIEFF: What that comes down to is saying that had the radiant tomorrow actually been created, the loss of fifteen, twenty million people might have been justified?


[via The Corner]

posted by Joao 9:36 da tarde

Actualizei o post sobre Edward Said (vd. abaixo).
posted by Joao 1:13 da tarde

O Abrupto fez uma referência muito elogiosa a este Blog.
Deixo o comentário ao legítimo dono do Blog, que deve estar quase a voltar das suas merecidas férias.
posted by Joao 1:10 da tarde

JOSÉ RAMOS HORTA SOBRE A GUERRA (via Dissecting Leftism)

"ONE question I put to people who oppose wars, any war, is: Should the rest of the world have surrendered to Nazi Germany and imperial Japan? Because, based on our belief that we should not use force, we should surrender.

...There are a number of reasons people are opposed to war. For some, it is a matter of their own belief, a matter of their own incredulity or their own disbelief, lack of faith, of trust, in the governments of the day. And, unfortunately, many governments in the West do not inspire confidence because of years and years of misinformation and deceit, of selectivity. And, second, there are people who genuinely oppose war of any sort. We can respect that, although we could say it is naivety.

But there are others who have a political agenda of their own. They oppose the US, no matter. The US tried to do some good, they will immediately look into it and find some sinister motives for such US involvement. Did anyone thank the US for ending the Balkan wars? Did the Muslim world thank the US and the UK for saving the Muslims of central Europe, saving the Muslims of Kosovo?

If the US had not intervened, they would have been savaged by everyone. The liberals would accuse them of hypocrisy, and the Muslims would have accused them of racism and ignoring a Muslim minority. But when they intervened, again outside the [UN] Security Council, in the case of Kosovo, they were accused again of unilateralism.

posted by Joao 4:30 da manhã

NEO-LIBERALISMO (via Dissecting Leftism)


    "Over the past 10 years, the quantity of goods and services produced by the economy has expanded at a rate averaging just under 4 per cent a year - a performance not seen since the 1960s and early '70s.

    How did we achieve that? How was it possible to produce 4 per cent more than we produced the previous year, then 4 per cent more than that the next year and 4 per cent more again the year after?

    ...Got it in one: the effects of micro-economic reform. According to Dr Parham, these policy reforms improved productivity in three ways.

    First, by sharpening incentives to be more productive, chiefly by strengthening competition from domestic and overseas sources. Second, by opening the economy to trade, investment, technologies and know-how developed overseas.

    And, third, by providing greater flexibility (for example, less regulatory restriction and a more flexible labour market) to adjust production processes and firm organisation to improve productivity.


    "The majority of people own things outside the legal system, under customary devices that I call extra-legal law, which encompasses all forms of arrangements that are not codified or do not operate within the law. If you go to any village in the Amazon or any small town in Egypt, it is very clear who owns what and who has transacted with whom, but only at the level of the town. It is a little market economy that ranges maybe no more than five or ten city blocks. There is no way for transactions to occur on a national—much less, global—scale. In other words, throughout the Third World and the former communist nations, there are thousands of little market economies that cannot be interconnected and, therefore, cannot join that larger market economy within which the division of labor is possible...

    ...the traditional reforms associated with establishing a capitalist system—monetary stability, fiscal equilibrium, privatization—are definitely not enough. What makes the capitalist system function well in the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and the four Asian tigers is a very good property and transaction legal system. As both Adam Smith and Karl Marx explained, what gives the market economy system its power is essentially the wide-spread division of labor, what we today call specialization. Specialization has been possible in the Western world throughout these last two centuries because of the ability of specialists to create and exchange capital among themselves, and that ability exists because the West has good property law, which allowed for good market transactions. For at least 70 to 80 percent of the world’s population, for former communist nations and developing countries, a legal system allowing for the definition of property rights and their transaction in an orderly market is not in place."

posted by Joao 4:29 da manhã


"Se é certo aquilo que dizia Nelson Rodrigues, que toda unanimidade é burra, o anti-americanismo das nossas elites falantes é uma das expressões de burrice mais densas, incontestes e admiráveis que o mundo já conheceu. Mal assentada a poeira do atentado ao prédio da ONU, já pululavam em todos os canais de TV os experts de sempre, lançando a culpa de tudo sobre quem? George W. Bush, naturalmente. Não precisaram, para isso, a mínima investigação, não precisaram sequer aguardar uma descrição precisa dos fatos. "
Se tivessem esperado um diazinho teriam ficado a saber que, apesar dos avisos e insistências dos EUA, os representantes da ONU no Iraque não quioserarm ver a sua segurança reforçada e que os funcionários iraquianos da ONU - ex-agentes de Saddam -, tinham facilitado o atentado terrorista.

"Mas quem precisa saber desses detalhes desprezíveis? O essencial, o importante, não nos escapa. Sabemos que George W. Bush é Adolf Hitler, que a violência carioca é causada pelo capitalismo, que os gays são a minoria mais oprimida do planeta, que a população brasileira é maciçamente racista, que defender uma propriedade contra invasores é mais criminoso do que invadi-la, que Mel Gibson é anti-semita e que o sr. presidente da República tem dons miraculosos que lhe permitem conhecer tudo sem estudar nada. Sabemos que na Colômbia não existem terroristas, apenas combatentes pela liberdade em luta contra um governo tiranicamente eleito pelo povo. Sabemos que na Amazônia não há um só narcotraficante das Farc mas milhares de soldados americanos. Sabemos, principalmente, que quem quer que negue algumas dessas verdades é um bêbado, um alucinado ou um nazista. Tudo isso nos é ensinado pela nossa mídia. É certo que tudo, ou quase tudo, é repetido também nos manuais escolares do ensino público, no parlamento, em cursos universitários e numa infinidade de livros, atestando a pujança da nossa cultura. Mas quem ousará criticar, como suplérflua, a repetição de verdades tão fundamentais? E como poderia um país inteiro enganar-se nessas coisas, com o belo pluralismo de idéias que impera na nossa mídia, nas nossas universidades, por toda parte enfim do mundo verde-amarelo?"
País irmão...gémeo.
posted by Joao 3:48 da manhã


O Público de Domingo oferece aos seus leitores um ensaio de Edward Said introduzindo-o da seguinte forma:
"Num artigo evocativo dos 25 anos da obra que marcou a sua carreira e gerou debates em todo o mundo sobre a História contemporânea, o académico e ensaísta palestiniano Edward Said escreve no PÚBLICO sobre os 25 anos de "Orientalismo".
Ora, isto é o que se chama publicidade enganosa. Este ensaio celebra apenas o enviesamento anti-americano deste autor neo-marxista e a sua simpatia pela causa palestiniana. (Said chegou ao ponto de criticar Arafat por ser demasiado brando com Israel (aqui) !).

Explica Howard Kurtz da National Review (aqui):
"The ruling intellectual paradigm in academic area studies (especially Middle Eastern studies) is called "post-colonial theory." Post-colonial theory was founded by Columbia University professor of comparative literature, Edward Said. Said gained fame by equating professors who support American foreign policy with the 19th-century European intellectuals who propped up racist colonial empires. The core premise of post-colonial theory is that it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign languages and cultures at the service of American power.

Having received my doctorate in social anthropology at Harvard University, and having taught at both Harvard and the University of Chicago, I've had ample opportunity to see the dominance of Edward Said's post-colonial theory within the area-studies community.

In his regular columns for the Egyptian weekly Al-Ahram, Said has made his views about America crystal clear. Said has condemned the United States, which he calls, "a stupid bully," as a nation with a "history of reducing whole peoples, countries, and even continents to ruin by nothing short of holocaust." Said has actively urged his Egyptian readers to replace their naive belief in America as the defender of liberty and democracy with his supposedly more accurate picture of America as an habitual perpetrator of genocide.

Said has also called for the International Criminal Court to prosecute Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright, and General Wesley Clark as war criminals. According to Said, the genocidal actions of these American leaders make Slobodan Milosevic himself look like "a rank amateur in viciousness." Said has even treated the very idea of American democracy a farce. He has belittled the reverence in which Americans hold the Constitution, which Said dismisses with the comment that it was written by "wealthy, white, slaveholding, Anglophilic men."

P.S. Para uma crítica do "Orientalismo" ver este artigo.Alguns dos sub-títulos são: "Factional Fighting and Ad Hominem Attacks"; "Personal Bias"; "Leftist and Jargon-Ridden"; "Apologetic about Islamism"; "Anti-Americanism"; "Blame the United States"; "Friendly to enemies of United States"; "Antagonistic to Allies of the United States".
posted by Joao 3:31 da manhã

HAYEK: "the result of a life-time of theoretical speculation"

No anterior post trancrevi um excerto de uma carta de Friedrich Hayek endereçada a Julian Simon o qual continha a citação que refiro no título deste post.

Será talvez interessante conhecer mais concretamente o que Hayek considerava ser o culminar de uma vida dedicada à investigação. Hayek resume o trabalho teórico das últimas décadas da sua longa vida da seguinte forma:
"The upshot of my theoretical work has been the conclusion that those traditional rules of conduct which led to the greatest increases of the numbers of the groups practicing them leads to their displacing the others?not on "Darwinian" principles but because based on the transmission of learned rules?a concept of evolution older than Darwin..."
Ou ainda, sintetizando a principal tese do seu último livro The Fatal Conceit:
"...the chief thesis of the book on The Fatal Conceit, the first draft of which I got on paper during the past summer, is that the basic morals of property and honesty, which created our civilization and the modern numbers of mankind, was the outcome of a process of selective evolution, in the course of which always those practices prevailed, which allowed the groups which adopted them to multiply more rapidly (mostly at their periphery among people who already profited from them without yet having fully adopted them)..."

posted by Joao 1:09 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."

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