Unpopular Non-Political Opinions I Hold

Everybody who reads my blog knows that I’m a libertarian. But what are some of the unpopular non-political opinions I hold? Here’s my list:

  • Most people can’t think clearly because their hearts aren’t pure.
  • It is much easier to read, research, bookmark, share and write on modern gadgets. The best books on the internet are incomparably better than almost anything you’d find at the local bookstore.
  • It is much easier to read on Kindle.
  • The best blog posts are better than anything you will ever read in The New Yorker. Continue reading “Unpopular Non-Political Opinions I Hold”

Seven Libertarian Nutjobs

 

Abstractions aside, we have come so far from the schoolyard!

Truth might be a bitter pill to swallow, but we are all better off with it. There are truths which many of us do not feel compelled to go overboard in stating, while some others state it cheerfully, as these are brutal facts their taste wouldn’t conceal. The economist David Friedman called the former ‘wimps’ and the latter ‘boors’. While wimps keep away from stating truths like that of the high rate of teenage pregnancy and criminal tendencies among blacks, boors state it with much enthusiasm and delight.

Like Friedman, I too have mixed feelings. It must be obvious that if rightly analyzed and interpreted, knowing all the Non-Politically Correct (Non-PC) facts will have a positive impact on the way many people look at economic policy in particular and the world in general. But, an incurable obsession with such issues is more often than not a sign of bigotry.

An excessive focus on gender, race, sexual orientation and nationality, whether legitimate or not, while turning a blind eye to war and immigration restrictions is like complaining of one’s mother-in-law’s nagging when someone is raping your wife and mugging your children. Needless to mention, it only means that your hatred for your mother in law trumps your hatred for explicit violence by a wide margin.

Continue reading “Seven Libertarian Nutjobs”

Insider Trading: How Fair Is It?

“The market, like the lord, helps those who help themselves. But unlike the lord, the market does not forgive those who know not what they do.” – Warren Buffet
Batni, an executive director of the company, sold 10,000 equity shares of Infosys during an open trading window. He notified the intend to sell shares, but failed to notify it within one working day of the transaction. He did it 3 days later. Infosys, known as among the most ethical firms around, knew what to do. He was made to shell out five lakhs as fine, which he donated to charity. Infy raised its public image, but what happened to that person? Wasn’t he being victimized for his ability? I’ll draw your attention to Gene.G.Marcial’s “Secrets of the Street”. In the above-mentioned book there was a story about a young analyst in an Investment Bank who came to know of US Governments decision to buy forests in a particular area. He knew forests in the area belonged to a certain firm and senses the opportunity to profit from his. He proudly tells it to his boss. The boss, who is a crook, tells him to wait to be sure, before he writes about it. When the deal became public the analyst was shocked to know that the boss made a fortune of the deal. I don’t remember the exact words as I read it in my teen years, but it was somewhat like this:”No one got hurt. But, that is not the issue! Others lacked an equal opportunity to profit.” I was amused to know that he was more concerned of the fact that all didn’t get an opportunity than that no one got hurt in the deal. Such is the moral bankruptcy of opponents of insider trading.
Let’s see what it really means. Suppose I hold 10,000 shares of Subex Systems of which the price is X Rs. You know Subex is going to merge with Azure Solutions and the price is likely to go up to X+Y. You steps in and buys shares from me for X Rs. When the deal is announced you sells it all for X+Y and gets a profit of Rs.Y per share. Have I been victimized in this deal? Certainly not, whether you have had inside information or not, I would have sold those shares. Let’s assume another person would have bought it from me and profited from it, but that person would simply have been lucky. The purpose of the law is clear: The able must be punished. Are we forgetting the fact not only the investor, but the society as the whole benefits when more knowledgeable investors are rewarded and the ill informed ones punished? These are the same people who argue private schools must be shut down to create a sense of parity and protect students of Government schools from unequal competition.Proponents of such regressive policies evade impossibility of equality.
No matter the nature of laws and no matter what Government does, inside information can’t be completely wiped out from deal. People will be forced to keep away from such deals out of the fear the Government and regulatory bodies will crack the whip. It is tantamount to saying an informed and intelligent person must not start up a business to benefit the ill informed ones. It is not only preposterous, but disastrous. Let’s not see Life as a competition, a horse race in which the weights on horses are to be equaled.

Encroachment On The Right To Privacy

The 2010 census questionnaire will be mailed to every household across the United States. Questions will be on name age, race, and house ownership among others. The maximum fine for refusing to answer these census questions is 100$ per question up to a total maximum fine of 5000$. The mainstream media is busy assuring the public that with ten questions, it will be the shortest ever. It is important, it is said, as it will influence major political decisions. It is forgotten, that according to the constitution of the United States people are not legally obligated to cooperate on anything other than head count. The intrusive nature of the questions gives us the signal that we are on the way to a totalitarian cage, where we have to answer the Government on issues which shouldn’t matter to others in one way or the other. As Walter Williams pointed out, “The purpose of the census is to apportion the House of Representatives. You don’t need to know how many toilets I have to apportion the House of Representatives.” It should be obvious at any person who believes in individual rights that the Government, or any organized body doesn’t have the right to extort information from a person which he is not willing to provide. This is a clear case of state encroachment on privacy. As Ayn Rand scholar Chris Mathew Sciabarra said, “The war on privacy is a war against voluntary human association of every kind.” Privacy, according to Rand, was more than a right. She wrote in “The Fountainhead”: “All the functions of body and spirit are private.” And: “Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.” She also held that “the concept of invasion of privacy requires a clear definition of the right to privacy, which could be discussed only inside the context of clearly defined and upheld individual rights.”

The Evils of Protectionism

Digging One's Own Grave

“We are suffering from the intolerable competition of a foreign rival, placed, it would seem, in a condition so far superior to ours for the production of light that he absolutely inundates our national market with it at a price fabulously reduced. The moment he shows himself our trade leaves us—all consumers apply to him; and a branch of native industry, having countless ramifications, is all at once rendered completely stagnant. This rival, who is no other than the sun, wages war mercilessly against us, and we suspect that he has been raised up by perfidious Albion (good policy nowadays); inasmuch as he displays toward that haughty island a circumspection with which he dispenses in our case. What we pray for is that it may please you to pass a law ordering the shutting up of all windows, skylights, dormer-windows, outside and inside shutters, curtains, blinds, bull’s-eyes; in a word, of all openings, holes, chinks, clefts, and fissures, by or through which the light of the sun has been in use to enter houses, to the prejudice of the meritorious manufactures with which we flatter ourselves we have accommodated our country.”-Frederic Bastiat, Economic Sophisms Continue reading “The Evils of Protectionism”