the imposed war

vividlasagna  asked:

question: was there as much of a coherent ideology behind art deco as there was behind modernism? and if so what was it?

Art Deco is a style not an ideology like Modernism.

Radio City Hall in New York City

The term “Art Deco” comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts), the World’s fair held in Paris, France from April to October 1925. It was derived by shortening the words “Arts Décoratifs” in the title of the exposition.

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Me, knowing that this cast is going to killed it! (I’m hype AF)

Originally posted by shawnasgonnagif


He was supposed to be an angel but they took him
from that light and turned him into something hungry,
something that forgets what his hands are for when they
aren’t shaking.”

The only institution in the Sicilian conscience that really counts is the family; counts, that is to say, more as a dramatic juridical contract or bond than as a natural association based on affection. The family is the Sicilians’ State. The State, as it is for us, is extraneous to them, merely a de facto entity based on force; an entity imposing taxes, military service, war, police. Within the family institution the Sicilian can cross the frontier of his own natural tragic solitude and fit into a communal life where relationships are governed by hair-splitting contractual ties.
Why Rothbard Will Never Win the Nobel Prize!

Mark Skousen insists that Murray Rothbard ought to win the Nobel Prize in economics. I think so too, but for his professional contribution which categorically bars an economist from ever winning the Nobel Prize in economics: clarity. Murray Rothbard has an addiction: clear, forthright writing. He says what he thinks, and he explains why he thinks it, in easily followed logic. He does not use equations, statistics, and the other paraphernalia of the economics priesthood. He simply takes his readers step by step through economic reasoning, selecting the relevant facts—relevant in terms of the economic logic he sets forth—and drawing conclusions. He gives readers his operating presuppositions; he then marshals the evidence and reaches conclusions. It is an old-fashioned procedure, and decidedly out of favor these days. If you doubt me, pick up a copy of American Economic Review (let alone Econometrica), turn to any page randomly, read it three times to yourself, and offer a brief summary to your wife. Understand, this can be done with Rothbard’s books.

Rothbard’s ability to communicate the truths of economics to reasonably intelligent non-economists is not the sort of skill which impresses the Nobel Prize Committee members. If they can understand anything, and especially if they can understand it rapidly on the first reading, they are unimpressed. What impresses them is an economics book which cannot be understood even after three or four readings, and when its conclusions are at last grasped, they prove to be utterly inapplicable to the real world. (If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at any page of the book by the 1983 economics prize winner, Gerald Debreu, Theory of Value: An Axiomatic Analysis of Economic Equilibrium, which was in its eighth printing in 1979—a testimony to the horrors of graduate study in economics. The only hint of reality in the entire book appears on page 29, the words, “No. 2 Red Winter Wheat.”)

Furthermore, Rothbard does something which is absolutely unacceptable in academia in general and the economics profession in particular. He uses italics. Yes, when he thinks that something is important, he underlines it. How gauche! How utterly unscientific! One is supposed to allow the readerthe option of missing the whole point—an option which reputable scholars exercise frequently, if not continually.

Furthermore, in an age of positive economics—“facts speaking for themselves”—Rothbard has adopted Ludwig von Mises’s use of apriorism: he deduces economic truths from a handful of axioms of human action, meaning human choice. He goes so far as to say that economic facts cannot disprove a logically formulated economic theorem. “The only test of a theory is the correctness of the premises and of the logical chain of reasoning.” I can remember reading one review of America’s Great Depression in a professional journal in which the reviewer must have spent over half his allotted space criticizing this Misesian methodological principle, and he spent the remainder criticizing the book’s conclusions, namely, that the great depression was created by government monetary policy, and was prolonged by government price restraints (floors) that impeded the readjustment of prices and markets. To summarize: Rothbard’s presuppositions concerning the proper methodology of economics have been unacceptable, and so have his conclusions concerning the economic effects (not to mention immoral effects) of State intervention into the economy.

He is also afflicted with another professional weakness: historical curiosity. He continues to involve himself in detailed detours to his professional career as an economist, especially in the area of U.S. history, and worst of all, revisionist U.S. history. He believes that there have been a series of conspiracies against the public welfare—conspiracies that have used the rhetoric of democracy to hide machinations of special-interest groups of power-seekers and monopoly-seekers. These conspirators have invariably used the State to achieve evil goals.

Then he takes it one step farther, thereby committing the ultimate academic faux pas: he believes that the State can be used only to attain evil goals. It is not simply that conspirators have used (and continue to use) the State to do evil against the public welfare; it is that to use the State in any way is automatically to become a conspirator against the public welfare.

Then he compounds this indiscretion; in his popular writings, he uses pejorative adjectives. For example, it is difficult to imagine a Rothbard article dealing with any aspect of the modern welfare-warfare State in which he fails to tag at least one monopoly-milking participant or policy with the adjective “monstrous.” This is considered bad form among the academics. People are supposed to be given a legitimate benefit of the doubt. Rothbard replies, in effect, “Not when it’s impossible to doubt their illegitimate benefits.” He is especially outraged by the whole Progressive movement (1890-1918), the movement which dominated American politics in the era in which the State became the supposed engine of public welfare in the United States. He concludes that the Progressives’ rhetoric of democracy was in fact a vast smoke screen for massive theft by the State’s newly trusted beneficiaries. In short, he concludes, the Progressive movement was monstrous.

Then, just to make sure that his exile to the academic fringe is secured, he argues that the almost universal hostility of scholars to conspiracy theories of history is basic to the growing of the State.

It is also particularly important for the State to make its rule seem inevitable: even if its reign is disliked, as it often is, it will then be met with the passive resignation expressed in the familiar coupling of “death and taxes.” One method is to bring to its side historical determinism: if X-State rules us, then this has to be inevitably decreed for us by the Inexorable Laws of History (or the Divine Will, or the Absolute, or the Material Productive Forces), and nothing that any puny individuals may do can change the inevitable. It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any outcropping of what is now called “a conspiracy theory of history.” For a search for “conspiracies,” as misguided as the results often are, means a search for motives, and an attribution of individual responsibility for the historical misdeeds of ruling elites. If, however, tyranny or venality or aggressive war imposed by the State was brought about not by particular State rulers but by mysterious and arcane “social forces,” or by the imperfect state of the world—or if, in some way, everyone was guilty (“We are all murderers,” proclaims a common slogan), then there is no point in anyone’s becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds.

Goodbye, Nobel Prize.

                                                   Out of Touch

It is not simply his economic conclusions that have sealed his fate with the Nobel Committee, as well as the with his professional colleagues. It is also his commitment to the methodological past. It is not simply that he is a self-conscious apriorist; Marxists are apriorists, too. Thomas Kuhn has made one variant of apriorism nearly respectable. Rothbard’s problem is that he forthrightly follows in Mises’s a priori footsteps, an indication that he is behind the times. It is not simply that he is arguing that everyone has to make a series of unprovable fundamental assumptions about the way the world works, and then he must necessarily interpret all factual evident in terms of these “pre-theoretical” assumptions. It is rather that Rothbard argues that there are assumptions concerning human action that are “apodictically certain” (to use Mises’s phrase)—assumptions about human action that are inescapably true at all times. The economist, says Rothbard, is supposed to use these axioms to interpret historical events and statistical data. Rothbard is therefore a non-relativistic apriorist. He claims to have found truth, in an era in which scholars are supposed to be professionally limited to the mere quest for truth.
This backward-looking proclivity on Rothbard’s part is indicative of his disrespectful attitude—not disrespectful toward the dead, but disrespectful toward the trendy. If one is an economist, one should respect present academic trends. To be “with it” is always best in the eyes of the profession. Being “with it” is indicated in part by textbook royalties and in part by the publication of zero-price articles in professional journals. The articles are officially more important, but the textbooks are unofficially more important. The articles prove that an economist is a professional, but nobody actually reads them—and nobody is expected to. The textbook proves that an economist is accepted, thereby reducing the likelihood of the author’s deviant ideology. (“Nobody ever got fired for assigning Samuelson’s Economics.” And its corollary: “Nobody ever got fired because he hadn’t read Samuelson’s Foundations of Economic Analysis.”)

Officially, textbooks are considered to be inferior scientific production.7 Nevertheless, high textbook royalties are considered a test of competence. Understand, textbook royalties are not the same as book royalties. Book royalties are always highly suspect by professional economists, because people voluntarily buy books. A sincere professional is not to appeal to the off-campus rabble, after all. Textbooks are completely different from books. Textbooks are assigned by professionals to students who would not read them under any known stimulus other than the fear of flunking out of school. Thus, it is the profession, not the rabble, which determines textbook royalties. Textbooks are “in”; books are “out” (ceteris paribus).

                                       Galbraith and Rothbard

John Kenneth Galbraith has fallen afoul of this unwritten rule, even though the profession generally approves of his many conclusions regarding the necessity of State action to improve the performance of the economy. A lot of clicking of tongues and throat-clearing goes on behind closed professional doors when Galbraith’s name is mentioned. Sometimes it is done in public, as when UCLA Professor William R. Allen publicly resigned his membership in the American Economic Association because Galbraith was elected president (an honorary position) one year. He alienates his professional colleagues when he writes that “only someone who is decently confusing can be respected” by his peers and by the public, and then goes on to assert, almost Mises-like, that “In the case of economics there are no important propositions that cannot, in fact, be stated in plain language.“

Galbraith is a lot like Rothbard in many ways, especially stylistically. He writes clearly. He writes real books. He has not written a professional journal article in decades. He never wrote a textbook. He uses ridicule in his speeches and essays. He is also a bit of a conspiracy theorist, even going so far as to publish the details of otherwise private meetings of those who make plans for the rest of us. Most of all, he shuns mathematics. He even wrote that the reason why mathematics is employed extensively by economists is primarily sociological, not methodological. Mathematics is in fact a guild screening device. “The oldest problem in economic education is how to exclude the incompetent.” Mathematical competency is therefore “a highly useful screening device.” Worse, he said this in a mass-market paperback book.”

This was not such a revolutionary statement in itself. Former Austrian economist Fritz Machlup had written a decade earlier: “Even if some of us think that one can study social sciences without knowing higher mathematics, we should insist on making calculus and mathematical statistics absolute requirements—as a device for keeping away the weakest students.” But Machlup had said this in a presidential address to a regional economics society, not in a mass-market paperback book.

But then Galbraith went too far—way, way too far. He displayed some of the profession’s dirtiest linen in public. He blew the whistle on the guild’s professional journals. He admitted the following in a footnote—worse, a footnote not at the back of the book, where few people would read it, but at the bottom of the page, where anyone might read it: “The layman may take comfort from the fact that the most esoteric of this material is not read by other economists or even by the editors who publish it. In the economics profession the editorship of a learned journal not specialized in econometrics or mathematical statistics is a position of only moderate prestige. It is accepted, moreover, that the editor must have a certain measure of practical judgment. This means that he is usually unable to read the most prestigious contributions which, nonetheless, he must publish. So it is the practice of the editor to associate with himself a mathematical curate who passes on this part of the work whose word he takes. A certain embarrassed silence covers the arrangement.”

Like Galbraith, Rothbard has never written a textbook. Worse, he has not written professional journal articles since the early 1960s. He has written books instead. He has not honored the rules of the scientific game. Books are written for people, not scientists. A scientist writes articles, not books. Kuhn comments with respect to the natural sciences: “No longer will his researches usually be embodied in books addressed, like Franklin’s Experiments … on Electricity or Darwin’s Origin of Species, to anyone who might be interested in the subject matter of the field. Instead they will usually appear as brief articles addressed only to professional colleagues, the men whose knowledge of a shared paradigm can be assumed and who prove to be the only ones able to read the papers addressed to them.”

Clearly, Rothbard and Galbraith are professionally out of touch. But Galbraith’s conclusions were far more acceptable to non-economists who publish the popular literary magazines and books. The royalty money poured in. Rothbard had to content himself with being readable, even though not that many people read what he wrote. Neither scholar was professionally “with it,” but Galbraith was ideologically “with it,” and that made a lot of financial difference.


The only professional excuse for not being “with it” is being dead. A few people are granted posthumous recognition by the economics profession because they were “pioneers.” But the Nobel Committee does not award prizes posthumously. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the Nobel Committee hates pioneers—not just the economics subcommittee, but the whole Nobel Prize establishment. In any case, the Nobel Committee only awards its prizes to living figures. (Some of us were more than a little suspicious when F.A. Hayek received the Nobel Prize for 1974, the year after the death of Ludwig von Mises, who provided Hayek with his major economic theorems, and for which Hayek was awarded the prize. Admittedly, Hayek put these ideas into a form which was more acceptable to “scientific economists.” For example, in his youth, he once used six graphs in an essay. Admittedly, he never did it again. Mises, in contrast, never once adopted such tactics to appeal to his peers. He assumed that one graph is worth a thousand methodologically “illegitimate words.)
Am I exaggerating concerning the Nobel Committee’s conservatism? Consider Albert Einstein’s prize in physics. Do you think it was granted for his theory of general relativity, the theory which transformed twentieth-century thinking? Not a chance! He was granted the Prize for his 1905 essay on the photoeffect. The Committee informed him specifically that the award was not being given for his work on relativity. Too controversial, too radical, you understand. Furthermore, he was given the award in 1922 retroactively for 1921, the year in which nobody got the award. Talk about the second-class honor! (“Gee, Al, we have this extra money lying around, so we got to thinking….”) “And then, just to make the whole thing utterly preposterous, it turned out that Einstein’s essay on the photoeffect really was his most revolutionary contribution to pure physics. “It is a touching twist of history that the Committee, conservative by inclination, would honor Einstein for the most revolutionary contribution he ever made to physics.” Mistakes do happen.

Rothbard continues to cite Professor Mises in his writings. This is another totally unacceptable methodological strategy in the eyes of the Nobel Committee. It is acceptable to cite favorably the writings of certain living authorities, but not dead ones, and especially not a dead one whose ideas were rejected by his contemporaries because he was a backward-looking defender of free market institutional arrangements. It is sometimes permissible to announce discoveries that are based on the long-ignored findings of some historical figure, but you are not to base your presentation on the same kinds of evidence that this historical figure offered. You are to dress up your discovery in modern garb, preferably the use of stochastic functions, and then refer briefly in a footnote to the dead originator’s “preliminary but undeveloped findings.” You cannot then be accused of stealing his ideas, nor can you be accused of attempting to revive discarded ideas. Safety first.

Let us consider a recent example. These days the “rational expectations” school is very “in.” (By the time the ink dries on this page, it may be “out.” Fads come and go rapidly in economics.) Keynesian “fine-tuning” of the economy is “out” in the eyes of the younger “comers” in economics.20 What do the rational expectations (“rat-ex”) people say? They say that Keynes did not give sufficient attention to people’s expectations concerning the future. People respond to government economic policies in terms of what they expect in the future, which means that they respond differently than economic planners expect. In other words, Keynes did not take into account human action. But “rat-ex” economics are exceedingly careful not to footnote Mises, Jacob Viner, or Frank H. Knight in their criticism of Keynes, despite the fact that all of the former used similar arguments against him fifty years ago. To cite them favorably would indicate that this sort of argument was well known back in the 1930s and 1940s, implying that their now-tenured and graying colleagues had their heads in the ideological sand for half a century. This would open them up to the standard response of tenured gray-heads: “You are backward-looking and have not fully mastered the tools of modern economic analysis.”

To deflect this sort of criticism, the “rat-ex” proponents dress up their arguments with lots of mathematical symbols. Viner, Knight, and Mises generally wrote in English rather than mathematics. They were “bucking the mathematical trend” in economics, which has increased steadily since the days of Cournot (1838). Bronfenbrenner’s comment seems appropriate: “The question is whether certain of our fellow economists may not have elevated mathematical and statistical virtuosity to the status of ends in themselves.” The “rat-ex” economists are prime examples of this trend. With respect to the previous work of anti-Keynesians of the 1930s, they have adopted the rule set forth by another important philosopher who was also overlooked by the Nobel Committee, the late Satchel Paige: “Don’t look back; something may be gaining on you.”

“To put it bluntly, the secret of success in academic economic circles has as much to do with style as it does with content. This is not a new development; it has ever been true. Murray Rothbard has the unique distinction of being consigned to the professional outer darkness for both the style and content of his writing, an honor he shares with Mises. Mises, however, wrote his first book in 1906 and his most important book, The Theory of Money and Credit, was published in 1912, in the era in which mathematics had not yet triumphed in economic discourse. Rothbard’s stubbornness in writing exclusively in English can be viewed by his academic peers as perverse intransigence, rather than a mere stylistic carryover from a now-bygone era. Mises had an excuse; Rothbard doesn’t. Besides, Mises is dead; Rothbard isn’t.

                                                Poor Timing

So, from the start of his career, Rothbard was stylistically condemned and methodologically condemned, and his conclusions were also condemned. Now, just for the record, let us consider the words, “from the start of his career.” Consider when Rothbard’s Ph.D. was granted by Columbia University. He entered the academic world of New York City, where in those days he was determined to remain, in the not-too-promising year of 1956. It was the Eisenhower era, and the Keynesian Revolution was consolidating its hold on every university in the land, with the exception of the University of Chicago, which was steadily falling under Milton Friedman’s influence. Rothbard’s commitment to Austrian economics was even more of an anomaly in 1956 than it is now. The post-Keynesian interest in neo-Austrianism was two decades away.

The least opportune time to challenge an academic guild is during its consolidation phase. You need to do it during its self-doubt phase, when younger scholars and innovative outsiders to the guild are asking hard questions that the prevailing paradigms of the guild can no longer handle. Perhaps the paradigms could never handle these questions, but few people were asking the tough questions, or at least few people inside the guild were listening. But when observable reality presses against the guild’s paradigms, members can no longer suppress inquisitiveness along paths that were previously unexplored or even unofficially (but nonetheless effectively) roadblocked.

For example, the great depression smashed the paradigms of non-Austrian free market neoclassical economics, allowing the Keynesians entry into the fold, and the success of the post-war economic recovery seemed to validate the Keynesian vision of a depression-free economy. The Full Employment Act of 1946 was considered a landmark for the Keynesians and a tombstone for the pre-Keynesian neoclassical school. Walter Heller, the Chairman of President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisors, modestly refereed to it as “the nation’s economic Magna Carta.” The Kennedy years were understood as the crown of glory to the Keynesian (Samuelson) synthesis. The coronation came in the December 31, 1965 issue of Time: “U.S. Business in 1965.” It was a lengthy story on how Keynesian economic policies have brought permanent prosperity tot he United States. It even quoted Milton Friedman: “We are all Keynesians now.”

That was the high-water mark. As Hegel said (somewhere or other): “The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk.” The intellectual capstone of an era becomes its tombstone. The “great inescapable truths” that govern historical reality are delivered to a self-confident world just about the time that the confidence begins to erode. So it was with Dr. Heller. The next year, 1966, brought the beginning of the Keynesian price inflation. Gardner Ackley, President Johnson’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, had put it well at the end of 1965: “We’re learning to live with prosperity, and frankly, we don’t know as much about managing prosperity as getting us there.”

Nevertheless, Walter Heller remained confident, one of the truly high-flying owls of his day. “Economics has come of age in the 1960s,” he announced in the opening sentence of page one of his 1966 book. “The economist ‘arrived’ on the New Frontier and is firmly entrenched in the Great Society.” But that’s not all, folks!

The significance of the great expansion of the 1960s lies not only in its striking statistics of employment, income, and growth but in its glowing promise of things to come. If we can surmount the economic pressures of Vietnam without later being trapped into a continuing war on inflation when we should again be fighting economic slack, the “new economics” can move us steadily toward the qualitative goals that lie beyond the facts and figures of affluence.

The promise of modern economic policy, managed with an eye to maintaining prosperity, subduing inflation, and raising the quality of life, is indeed great. And although we have made no startling conceptual breakthroughs in economics in recent years, we have, more effectively than ever before, harnessed the existing economics—the economics that has been taught in the nation’s college classrooms for some twenty years—to the purposes of prosperity, stability, and growth.

But the record of the 1961-1966 experience in putting modern economics to work is not to be read solely in the statistics of sustained expansion or in critics confounded. An important part of the story is a new flexibility in the economic thinking of both liberals and conservatives. Both have been dislodged from their previously entrenched positions, their ideological foxholes, by the force of economic circumstance and the impact of policy success.

Into this era of “non-ideological” confidence came Murray Rothbard, Ph.D. in hand, the most ideologically committed zero-State academic economist on earth. He faced an entrenched guild which was convinced of its own wisdom, its own openness, and its own flexibility. Of course, flexibility did not mean absolute flexibility. It meant an open welcome to those who defended flexibility, and an inflexibly closed door to those who did not. Heller’s language revealed just how “open” he was: “In political economics, the day of the Neanderthal Man—indeed, the day of the pre-Keynesian Man—is dead.” Somehow, the vision of Murray Rothbard, hunched over, dressed in animal skins, club over his shoulder, and dragging Joey by her hair back to his cave, seems a bit far-fetched, but this is the image Heller wanted to convey to the public. This was the proper mental image concerning “doctrinaire” economists. Their day was over. In 1966.

The success of expansionary policy, then, especially in the form of the tax cut, has undermined the position and thinned the ranks of the dug-in doctrinaire on both the left and the right. Minds have opened, and the area of common ground has grown. Doubters, disbelievers, and dissenters remain. Some vaguely feel it’s “too good to be true.” Others cling to beliefs too long cherished to flee before mere facts. But they are increasingly outside the main body of economic policy consensus.

It was too good to be true. What followed was at least mildly disturbing to the faithful Keynesian victors: the price inflation and rising interest rates of 1968-69, the recession of 1969-71, back-to-back federal deficits of $25 billion each (big money in those days) in 1971 and 1972, the price and wage controls of 1971-73, the recession of 1975, the coming of double-digit price inflation in 1978-80, the worst recession(s) in 40 years in 1980, and 1981-82, and the $200 billion annual federal deficits after 1982. These unpleasant events did not fit the glowing Keynesian paradigm. It has become the Keynesians’s turn to experience academic and professional barbs quite similar to those experienced by the tenured economists of 1938. The “young Turks” started raising doubts about everything that stalwart “non-ideological” men had always held sacred. They started calling into question both the theories and alleged successes of the Keynesian synthesis. Gray hair once again became a distinct liability in the economics classroom. By 1972, the Union for Radical Political Economics (New Left, Marxists) was growing fast on campuses throughout the U.S., indicating an end to “the end of ideology.” By 1975, a new group of young, bright neo-Austrian economists at last surfaced. By 1980, they had become influential in one local university, George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, on the very edge of Washington, D.C.

But some things do not change, certainly not old tunes sung by aging economists. There was Walter Heller, in the middle of Jimmy Carter’s economic debacle, writing such essays as “Balanced Budget Fallacies” (Wall Street Journal, March 16, 1979) and “An Anti-Inflationary Tax Cut” (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 2, 1979). The Full Employment Act of 1946 had become the Magna Carter. Yet Heller continued to issue the Keynesians’s S.O.S.: Same Old Solutions. Who had become the Neanderthal Man by 1979? Galbraith’s 1973 comment is correct—ironically delivered to the press at the meeting of the American Economic Association at which Heller had become president-elect: “Economists, like generals, usually fight the last war. On great matters they’re like the gooney bird—it flies backward to see where it came from.”

The problem facing Murray Rothbard in 1956 was that he was on the wrong side of the trade in the academic pit, selling Keynesianism short while the market boomed upward for almost two decades. By the time the Keynesian market had begun to slide, in the mid-1970s, he was 50 years old.40 This is not to say that he had been wasting his time for two decades. He helped influence a group of younger economists, just as Mises had guided him: not as a grade-granting professor in some prestigious graduate school, but at his informal private seminars. Mises at least had received some formal recognition, for the William Volker Fund had supported him at New York University, and had provided scholarship money for some of his students. At least Mises had been given the opportunity to have formal graduate-level lectures every Monday evening (1945-1964), as well as a graduate seminar on Thursday evenings (1948-1969). Rothbard did not have even this much formal recognition. Mises was granted only “visiting professor” status for 24 years in a third-rate university which was staffed overwhelmingly with nonentities. Rothbard wound up teaching at Brooklyn Polytechnic, where there is no graduate program in economics, or even an undergraduate degree in economics.

                                 Pariahs and Scientific Revolutions

Why bring up these unattractive details in a Festschrift! Because, first, they were the facts of academic life in the post-war era, up until the 1970s. Second, because they illustrate an ignored side of the history of economics—indeed, the history of scientific breakthroughs generally: the fact that the revolutionaries who set the academic agenda usually do it outside the classroom.

The modern university curriculum would be very different without the contributions of Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein, three humanist Jews and a hypochondriac, none of whom was welcome in a major university during his lifetime. Darwin was too sick and weak to teach, but no university ever asked him. Dr. Marx held only temporary editing jobs, always just before the authorities shut down his periodicals, and for his whole life he was shunned by academic world. (Engels put him on the dole for the last 20 years of his life.) Freud was not asked to teach at the University of Vienna, despite his world-famous reputation. (Mises suffered the same fate as Freud: the University of Vienna ignored him.) Einstein was a clerk in the Swiss patent office when he made his major theoretical breakthroughs, including his essay on the photoeffect. Yet the textbook scholars who occupy today’s college classrooms wind up building their lectures around Darwin and his heirs, or Marx and his heirs, or Freud and his heirs, or Einstein and his heirs. (If classroom economists were smarter, they would pay more attention to Mises and his heirs.)

My point is simple: those who make revolutionary intellectual breakthroughs generally get into major university classrooms only posthumously. I write this to cheer up Murray Rothbard on his 60th birthday. Think of all he has to look forward to after he is dead. But he can forget about the Nobel Prize. It is not awarded posthumously.

Rothbard became the leader, at least for a decade, of younger scholars who were not impressed with Keynesianism, Marxism, or the University of Chicago’s monetarism. This is not to say that they adopted his entire approach to economics, any more than he adopted Mises’s entire approach. Mises was a self-conscious Kantian; Rothbard regards himself as an Aristotelian. Mises was a nineteenth-century classical liberal who wrote favorably concerning military conscription during wartime. To make his position clear, he added these words to Human Action in the 1963 edition: “He who in our age opposes armaments and conscription is, perhaps unbeknownst to himself, an abettor of those aiming at the enslavement of all.”

Rothbard opposes not only the conscripting State but also every non-conscripting State. Mises wanted free banking without government interference; Rothbard wants 100% reserve banking mandated by …? (This one has always baffled me. Private law courts, I suppose.) Mises was an ethical utilitarian; Rothbard is a natural rights absolutist. Rothbard is not happy with the “hermeneutics” of the younger neo-Austrian scholars who have followed Ludwig Lachmann and G. L. S. Shackle into their kaleidic universe of entrepreneurial indeterminism, but that is the way of academic life. Students do not always develop in ways hoped for by teachers.

Rothbard published three economics books in 1962 and 1963: The Panic of 1819, his doctoral dissertation; Man, Economy, and State, his magnum opus; and America’s Great Depression. Columbia University Press published the first, and it was well received in the journals. Like most monographs, it sank without a trace. The other two were openly ideological, and were not well received, but for a generation of neo-Austrian readers who did not begin with Mises’s fat tomes, these books were vital, especially Man, Economy, and State. They opened up Mises’s deductivist and subjectivist economics to necessarily self-taught students who found Mises’s less structured presentations foreboding. In a movement which could survive only by the printed word, Rothbard wrote the clearest words available.

The question is: Can the Austrian school make a comeback? Can it become the wave of the future, despite its position as a trickle out of the past? One hopeful sign is its growing popularity in non-professional circles. Perhaps a dozen or more “hard money” newsletter writers officially claim to be followers of Austrianism. Even more impressive is the heavy reliance Paul Johnson placed on Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression in his eloquent history of the twentieth century, Modern Times. He follows Rothbard’s narrative concerning the causes of the great depression and those who made it possible.

But what about inside the profession? Will a generation of younger economists embrace Austrianism? It depends on several factors, the most important of which is this: What will voters demand from politicians? If voters finally get fed up with the planned economy, almost certainly because the planners have created an economic catastrophe, then today’s odd-ball economic theories may gain a hearing, if they can be put into the common man’s language. Here, in my view, is the soft underbelly of today’s orthodox economists. With few exceptions, their ideas cannot simultaneously be defended academically and popularly. Without his graphs and equations, the conventional economist is about as effective as Superman in a Kryptonite mine. Liquidity preference will not play in Peoria. Neither will government-mandated 3% to 5% steady monetary growth forever.

What am I arguing is that revolutions in economic thought are not endogenous variables within the economics profession; they are exogenous variables. Economists will supply professionally acceptable evidence for whatever line of argument is selling well to those who pay economists’ salaries. Furthermore, few of them are entrepreneurs. They are not going to prepare for the next ideological wave which hits the public and the politicians. Thus, remarkable opportunities for pure entrepreneurial profit now exist. When the bad stuff hits the stochastic fan next time, the present occupants of the endowed chairs will offer the public a choice of deodorizers, not shovels. I think that the real market will be in shovels.

If the Austrian economic tradition should survive intact despite its present methodological disintegration, and if it should eventually gain the foothold on campus which it has never really enjoyed, then much of the credit (with 100% reserves, of course) will have to go to Rothbard’s essays in persuasion. This scientific revolution, should it come, will have been produced by Mises, who was denied a full professorship for over six decades, except for six years in Geneva (1934-40), by F. A. Hayek, who suspects he was blackballed in secret session by the University of Chicago’s economics department, and by Murray Rothbard, who has been denied formal access to graduate students throughout his career.

                                                  Nobel Prize-Losing Insights

What are Rothbard’s unique major intellectual contributions? Economists will differ. To some of them I return year after year, without which I would be substantially impoverished. Others are curiosities, but delightfully outrageous socialist balloon-poppers. Each one is worth a professional journal article, except that Murray refuses to write professional journal articles.

  1. The impossibility of applying the calculus (infinitely small steps) to human action.
  2. The impossibility of total utility
  3. The relevance of choice and the irrelevance of indifference curves.
  4. The impossibility of a universal vertical monopoly (not economic calculation).
  5. Neighborhood and even household tariffs (”Buy Jones!”).
  6. The distinction between entrepreneurship (overcoming uncertainty) and gambling (deliberately created risk).
  7. Who bears the tax burden of sales taxes (not just consumers).
  8. Tax exemptions are not implicit subsidies. 
  9. The nonsense of “the ability to pay” arguments.
  10. The non-neutrality of any known tax.
  11. Bureaucrats pay no taxes.
  12. The refutation of the single tax.
  13. Bribery as a market tool.

“Consider his critique of economic reasoning based on the indifference curves. This is the selected approach of Sir John Hicks and his followers. Hicks, it should be recalled, was the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in 1972. Rothbard wrote in 1956: “Indifference can never be demonstrated by action. Quite the contrary. Every action necessarily signifies a choice, and every choice signifies a definite preference. Action specifically implies the contrary of indifference.… If a person is really indifferent between two alternatives, then he cannot and will not choose between them. Indifference is therefore never relevant for action and cannot be demonstrated in action.” (Notice this early use of italics. He was afflicted at age 30.)

But it is not simply his general statement of the problem of indifference cures which sticks in the mind. It is his classic examples.

The indifference theorists have two basic defenses of the role of indifference in real action. One is to cite the famous fable of Buridan’s Ass. This is the “perfectly rational” ass who demonstrates indifference by standing, hungry, equidistant from two equally attractive bales of hay. Since the two bales are equally attractive in every way, the ass can choose neither one, and starves therefore. This example is supposed to indicate how indifference can be revealed in action. It is, of course, difficult to conceive of an ass, or a person, who could be less rational. Actually, he is not confronted with two choices but with three, the third being to starve where he is. Even on the theorists’ own grounds, this third choice will be ranked lower than the other two on the individual’s value-scale. He will not choose starvation.

Buridan’s Ass has been in the economic literature since the late-medieval scholastic era. If nothing else, Murray Rothbard ought to go down in history as the economist who at last, after 600 years, kicked Buridan’s Ass into action.


There are a lot of articles I would like Murray Rothbard to write. There is a lot of foundational work which still needs his insightful efforts, if only to clear up lingering confusions and doubts. I would list the following possibilities, just in case he has a lot of extra time on his hands:

1. If the economist cannot make interpersonal comparisons of subjective utility (Lionel Robbins’s 1932 position, before Roy Harrod got him to capitulate in 1938), as Rothbard insists, then how can he be certain that “the free market maximizes social utility”? What is “social utility” in an epistemological world devoid of interpersonal aggregates?

2. If “in human action there are no quantitative constants,” and therefore no index number is legitimate, then how can we say that monetary inflation produces price inflation? What is price inflation without an index number? What is an index number without interpersonal aggregation?

3. If we cannot define “social utility,” or price inflation, then how can we know that “money, in contrast to all other useful commodities employed in production or consumption, does not confer a social benefit when its supply increases”? How can we legitimately say anything about the aggregate entity, “social benefit”?

4. If we also cannot make intertemporal comparisons of personal subjective utility, let alone intertemporal comparisons of social utility, how can we avoid the seeming nihilism of the Lachmann-Shackle “Impregnable self-contained isolation”?

5. If it is illegitimate to use the calculus in economics, because its infinitesimal gradations are not relevant to human action, should we continue to use Euclidian lines in our expositions of economics? Why not use discrete dots or small circles to replace Alfred Marshall’s famous scissors?

6. If Mises’s methodological construct of the Evenly Rotating Economy hypothesizes a world in which all participants have perfect fore-knowledge, thereby denying the possibility of human action, how can such a mental construct (“ideal type”) serve as a useful guide to the realm of human action? How can the zero-human action world of “equilibrium” be related logically to the real world of human action?

With respect to the decision by the Nobel Committee concerning future answers to these questions, there need be no sense of urgency. There is plenty of time. Don’t call them; they’ll call you.

Just like they called Mises.

by Gary North. Man, Economy and Liberty: Essays in Honor of Murray N. Rothbard (1989) by Walter Block and Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., pp. 89-109 

(references and footnotes have been removed by me)


*alternatively: i want to date undyne

my bro’s playing undertale rn and he killed undyne because he diDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO so then he reset and now he’s just made it back to the garbage dump lmao

anonymous asked:

finally i've met another linguist enthusiast/lok fan. i wish they had used different languages sooooo badly that would have added so much depth to the worldbuilding!

GODDDDDD YES IT WOULD’VE BEEN AWESOME like, the Water Tribes would’ve had one language with two dialects, the Southern and Northern dialects, and because of the North’s political/spiritual dominance over the South, the Northern dialect would’ve been considered the “standard” form of the language, but here’s the Avatar who grew up speaking mostly Southern instead but with some strong inflection of Northern because of Tonraq, AND THEN ON TOP OF THAT DIFFERENT SCRIPTS FOR EACH LANGUAGE….

and THEN LIKE…. the Fire Nation language, which was taken all over the world because of the 100 Year War, and so every single language on the planet has some Fire Nation loan words which some people are nOT HAPPY ABOUT (see: the Tatars in Russia making moves to strip Russian words from their language and preserve historic, unRussified Tatar) so you have people in the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom absolutely refusing to speak Fire Nation or use Fire Nation loanwords because it’s part of a system that was imposed on them through war and imperialism, they want to preserve their own languages, thank you very much!!

Earth Kingdom is full of different languages and dialects - again, whatever is spoken in Ba Sing Se is considered ‘standard’ and everything else a ‘dialect,’ but even between the rings of Ba Sing Se the language has some variations that denote class distinctions; and then Omashu has a completely different language from Ba Sing Se and it’s part of the second-largest language family in the Earth Kingdom. 

And THEN YOU GET TO REPUBLIC CITY, which has its roots in a Fire Nation colony on Earth Kingdom land, so people historically speak both Fire and the coastal dialect of Omashu, but then you get all of these people coming from all over the world so then you have people speaking a rich patois of several different languages. you got some Water Tribe, you have some Fire with a strong Archipelago accent (most Fire Nation immigrants to Republic City are rural, not from Caldera City), you have like twelve different dialects of BSS lang and Omashu lang. The creole based on Fire + Coastal Omashu becomes the common tongue. 

Finally we get to our Republic City natives. Asami mostly just speaks the standard form of Republic City creole but Mako and Bolin know like several different languages/dialects apiece and can switch with ease. Just for starters, they’re fluent in Classical Fire (because of Naoki), Lower Ba Sing Se (because of San), and the Republic City creole. 

the OWL taught Korra the standard form of every major language (as the Avatar, she has to know) and she takes it very seriously (because, as the Avatar, she has to know) but of course it’s very structured and formulaic and she had lots of fun language problems on her first day in Republic City, attempting to use Upper Ba Sing Se on Republic City natives, and then finally caving and going to the Water Tribe areas and asking for help getting to Air Temple Island in her luscious and thick Southern Water Tribe accent.

i could go on lasdjhfkjahff adffa f because then you get the way people downplay their own accents for various reasons, like - mako tries to remove as much ~ street ~ as possible from his language, because there’s a stigma against it, but when he gets emotional he slips up and he’s been known to snarl some incredibly foul phrases at lightning speed. but then he learns to let go of that attitude of ‘i will strip my shady upbringing from my native tongue’ when he becomes a cop, because people open up much more to him if he speaks their language or some form of it. so sometimes it’s like, why is a cop speaking like a triad man from the south docks…….

and also korra modulating between the use of North and the use of South, when she addresses the Water Tribes at the end of Book 2 she makes a point of relying mostly on South (to make a political point, the Southern Water Tribe is its own country now) but slips in some phrases in Classical North, the language of most WT cultural texts, to pay tribute to the  relationship between NWT and SWT

lol woOPS ANYWAY!!!!


aang woke up after a hundred years and there was no one left who spoke his language


Young Hannibal Swears Enmity To Rome, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca, (248–183 or 182 BC), commonly known as Hannibal was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician who is popularly credited as one of the most talented commanders in history. His father Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War. Hannibal lived during a period of tension in the Mediterranean, when Rome (then the Roman Republic) established its supremacy over other great powers such as Carthage, and the Hellenistic kingdoms of Macedon, Syracuse, and the Seleucid empire.

One of Hannibal’s most famous achievements was at the outbreak of the Second Punic War, when he marched an army, which included war elephants, from Iberia over the Pyrenees and the Alps into northern Italy. In his first few years in Italy, he won three dramatic victories Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae and made several Roman allies. Hannibal occupied much of Italy for 15 years, however a Roman counter-invasion of North Africa forced Hannibal to return to Carthage, where he was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama. Scipio studied Hannibal’s tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, and finally defeated Rome’s nemesis at Zama having previously driven Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, out of Spain.

After the war Hannibal successfully ran for the office of suffete. He enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome. However, Hannibal’s reforms were unpopular with members of the Carthaginian aristocracy and Rome, and he fled into voluntary exile. During his exile, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III in his war against Rome. After Antiochus met defeat and was forced to accept Rome’s terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in Armenia. His flight ended in the court of Bithynia, where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamum. He was afterwards betrayed to the Romans, but Hannibal was determined not to fall into his enemies’ hands. He poisoned himself at Libyssa on the eastern shore of the Sea of Marmara. Before dying, he left behind a letter declaring: “Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced, since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man’s death”.

The 1994 accord is often incorrectly portrayed by both its detractors and its supporters in Washington. It did successfully freeze the operation of the Yongbyon reactor and reprocessing plant, and it did stop the construction of the two bigger reactors, all of which the detractors are reluctant to acknowledge. But it did not commit North Korea to the unconditional surrender of its nuclear weapons option, as supporters of the agreement often suggest, and it did not cover missiles. From the start of the freeze negotiations, North Korea made clear that the dismantling of the Yongbyon facilities and the termination of other activities designed to keep its nuclear option open would depend on American behavior. The nuclear option would be surrendered once and for all only after the United States fully normalizes relations and no longer poses what Pyongyang considers to be a military threat.

As one of those present at the creation of the freeze, I was vividly aware of how suspicious North Korea was that the United States might not live up to it. The interpreter during my meeting with Kim Il Sung later told me that the seven-minute conversation in Korean with Kang Sok Ju that preceded Kim’s acceptance of the freeze centered on whether Pyongyang could avoid being conned by the United States, and if so, how.

Kang displayed a surprising knowledge of U.S. politics in our conversation on the day following my meeting with Kim. He correctly anticipated that there would be strong conservative opposition to a package deal and that the normalization of relations would not come easily. He made clear that if a freeze agreement could be negotiated, he would make sure that it gave North Korea the built-in leverage necessary to ensure U.S. compliance with its terms. Above all, Kang emphasized that the critical test of compliance would be whether the United States proved to be ready for full normalization, including an end to the economic sanctions imposed during the Korean War and a U.S.–North Korean peace treaty that would formally end the war and lead to a relaxation of military tensions.

Gallucci attempted to negotiate an airtight agreement that would not only freeze the North’s existing nuclear facilities under strict inspection but also bar missile testing. He pressed for a binding North Korean commitment not to build new nuclear facilities. Kang did agree to a freeze of existing facilities under comprehensive inspection safeguards that have since been strictly honored. But he flatly rejected the inclusion of missiles in the agreement. On the issue of new nuclear facilities, a last-minute compromise was reached. A secret codicil prohibited the construction of new facilities to produce fissile material. But the agreement did not provide for the immediate implementation of the inspections that would have been necessary to enforce the codicil and to discover the extent of fissile material accumulations prior to the freeze. North Korea would have to accept such sweeping inspections only when construction of a “significant portion” of the two light water reactors promised in the agreement had been completed. Only when the nuclear “core” of the reactors had been installed would its existing nuclear facilities have to be dismantled. Since this was expected to take ten years or more, Pyongyang retained its freedom, in the interim, to pursue preparations for resuming its nuclear program if relations with the United States did not improve.

As it turned out, relations quickly became embittered. North Korea had agreed to the freeze primarily because the United States promised in article 2, section 2 to phase out U.S. economic sanctions. Getting rid of sanctions was important to Pyongyang for both political and economic reasons. Politically, the sanctions symbolized the fact that the Korean War had not ended. In North Korean eyes, the only plausible rationale for sanctions was a U.S. desire to “stifle” the Pyongyang regime and bring it down. Economically, the removal of sanctions was the key to opening up the North Korean economy because they closed off the American market to products made in the North by South Korean, Japanese, and other foreign companies. But the freeze agreement had been concluded in late October, several weeks before the Republican sweep in the 1994 congressional elections. Fearful of jeopardizing congressional funding of the agreement, the Clinton administration backed off from the sanctions pledge after the elections. Many administration officials believed that North Korea would soon collapse, anyway, making it unnecessary to worry about a backlash from Pyongyang.

—  Selig S. Harrison, Korean Endgame: A Strategy for Reunification and U.S. Disengagement

Shacklebolt to resign?

3rd July 2016

Kingsley Shacklebolt’s position as Minister of Magic has today been speculated, following rumours he is pondering his resignation.

A spontaneous cabinet meeting of all Heads of Department was called by Shacklebolt yesterday evening, presumably to discuss the matters surrounding Shacklebolt’s rumoured departure. The minister’s secretary Lance Spair refused to comment on the matter when questioned earlier this morning, though appeared slightly flustered and fatigued; Daily Prophet photographer Jules Fernhead noted that “he’d clearly been in meetings all night, he was wearing his jumper back to front.”

Shacklebolt celebrated his 18th year as minister last month, and is not due for another election until 2019. Recent polls illustrate a strong national approval for Shacklebolt’s post, leading many to question the basis for possibly vacating his role.

There are a variety of potential reasons for Shacklebolt’s likely abdication, since the Ministry has faced recent turmoil following the abnormal movements of trolls, giants and werewolves during the past 8 months. Muggle Britain’s inevitable departure from the EU is also another likely trigger, the imminent arduous negotiations over the next 4 years could perhaps be a step too far for the 67-year-old.

The possibility of Shacklebolt leaving his post has also aroused rumours of his successor; probable individuals include Head of the Department for International Co-Operation Deon Royston and Head of the Department of Magical Education Astarte Samson. Though the most foreseeable candidate would be Head of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement, Hermione Granger. Granger has headed the department for 2 years and has worked an effective partnership with Shacklebolt, whose alliance dates back to the legendary ‘Order of the Phoenix‘. At only 36-years-old, If Granger were elected she would be the youngest Minister since the MoM’s inception in 1707.

Shacklebolt has overseen the rocky transition of post-war Britain, imposing various political and constitutional reforms which have shaped the stable society we live in today. Though many would be disheartened by his departure, if he did leave, there is no doubt he will be one of the most highly regarded M.o.M’s in British history.

funghoulies  asked:

there's probably at least one biography about Steve that gets famous bc it's like POSSIBLE HOMOSEXUAL FEELINGS FOR SGT BARNES??? OR JUST BATTLEFIELD CAMARADERIE?

The relationship between Captain Rogers and Sergeant Barnes was one that began far from the battlefield and instead in the slums of Brooklyn where they met in their youth. While it’s left to speculation entirely, it’s been questioned in historical circles as to the extent of their relationship which has been sourced as being “extremely close” and “affectionate”. Betty Dinges, a neighboring resident who knew the boys personally, spoke in an interview in 1955 in a government-wide documentation as to commemorate our fallen soldiers. In her recollections she recalls overhearing several things through the thin apartment walls, thing in her words that were “particularly obscene and sometimes downright ridiculous” at times depending on the evening. Barnes was known for being cavalier in his relationships with the other sex but wouldn’t put it past him to be interested in things beyond such, even insighting the possibility of a large-scale cover up. Rogers, meanwhile, she says “would do most anything for Barnes”, hinting at the possibility of a deeper relationship than simply soldiers on the battlefield. “They’d go to dances together all dressed up in whatever they could put on and not come back until late in the night. Always laughing, always close.”

Rogers was known in his years before the Super Soldier Serum to have been highly involved in the fine arts, often using Barnes as a subject of art as found in sketchbooks recovered from his home and put on public memorial display. [Photographs on the right are from the National Archive located in Washington D.C circa 1936] While pages have been extracted and unrecoverable, the evidence is suggestive to at the very least an infatuation that has roots long before the beckon of war.  

Corporal Timothy Aloysius Cadwallander Dugan, fellow Howling Commando and close friend to both Rogers and Barnes, provided little comment when the question of romance was proposed first-hand. “Nothing unusual to see them doing a little shoulder leaning or hand touching, it was a way of coping and we all did it time-to-time. I’m not denying the possibility but not imposing it. It was war and we did whatever we had to in order to survive. Two men sharing a smoke and hell, even holding hands? Nothing out of the normal. Closer to each other than the rest of us? Sure. But when you’re laying in the sub-zero cold with nothing but your bare comrade next to you, you do what you gotta do. We mourned Sergeant Barnes together and to this day the Captain as well.” Dugan refused any further comment after numerous efforts of requesting a personal interview.

they had told him numerous times over that the modern world was more open than it had ever been before but steve was beginning to think that was a bunch of bullshit. the book on its own was acclaimed by television shows and cited in countless different places, spurring multiple film documentaries and websites dedicated to understanding an inkling of whatever it was they believed to have a darker and even problematic subtext.

of course it made no difference if they were right or not — hell he didn’t even remember speaking to betty dinges on his floor but maybe a few times in his whole life and knew she smiled more than she spoke. should have been more quiet though dammit,  they had been rather careless and bucky just didn’t care. of course it didn’t matter now, a book was dead weight in his hands, and steve simply sat with his shoulders back reading the words on the cover over and over again.

Roger That: The Untold Love Story.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Since Civil War spoilers are threatening to spill very soon, will this blog be spoiler free?

Yes, very strictly. This mod has actually been on a self-imposed Civil War ban for a couple of weeks now that includes all the official promos and cast interviews after the second trailer, as well as the reviews that are about to drop. So if you’re spoiler free like me, this blog will be a completely safe space right up until the movie release.

And followers, I can’t emphasise this enough, the spoiler free thing is a two-way deal. Please DO NOT send us any messages about Civil War reviews, promos, interviews, or any new content that may drop between now and release. I’d really like to keep this blog running through the wait period, but if I start to see spoilers in the inbox then I’m going to have to close it down.