A ransomware attack has been launched worldwide, targeting thousands of computer networks in dozens of country. The program encrypts your computer files and demands a payment of $300 in bitcoin within 3 days, doubling after that, and locking you out permanently in 7. Not without a sense of fairness, the poor may appeal for clemency after six months. One of the biggest targets of this has been the National Health Service of the United Kingdom. Often touted by those who favor a single payer socialist healthcare system (in spite of its very poor record of treating major illnesses), the NHS has been brought to its knees by a computer virus. Thousands of non-emergency patients have been turned away.
Earlier today, a group of people gathered on the State House steps in Concord, New Hampshire. Attendees soon discovered that the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire had an announcement to make. A freshman Democrat state representative, Joseph Stallcop, from Keene was defecting to join the Libertarian Party. He cited his upset with the government use of force against pipeline protestors in North Dakota and his “classic liberal” values conflicting with his party. This marks the third defection from the Democrats in just a few months, the other two switching to Republican.
In 1929, our intellectual forefather Ludwig von Mises penned a lengthy tome about how socialism does not work. Not only does it not work in practice, he noted, it does not even work in theory, as some people say. The fundamental premise of his argument is that socialism cannot allocate resources effectively. Only the price system of the market (capitalism) can do that. No one person or committee of persons can appropriate resources for millions of people. In fact, even within a family unit, there is a good bit of friction when making such decisions. Scaling that up any further causes problems. The only thing that really can be done is provide a very basic distribution, but even that quickly becomes a logistical nightmare when scaled up too high.
The infamous physicist, who has been nearly fully paralyzed for decades, suffers from a degenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease. After diagnosis, life expectancy is a few years. About 10% live past ten years. So, how is it possible that Hawking has survived for decades, especially in a country that has a socialist rationed healthcare system that usually just manages terminally ill patients until they die. There is no point wasting money on them from the bureaucrats point of view. Indeed, Hawking was offered a nursing home in the 1980s, but his wife would not allow it. Unless he is an animatronic robot, or extremely lucky, he would have had to use capitalism to survive this long, which would be ironic, given his socialist predilections and defense of the horrid NHS.
It must be tough to be a French libertarian, if there even are any. Ive never met one, but maybe they exist. I like to say that French politics consists of ten socialists parties, a globalist party, and a nationalist party. The country itself is a mix of deep socialism and traditonalism. So deeply tangled up in regulations and taxes that several books could be written about, its a wonder they even have an economy. What ever happened to the land that gave us the great Frederic Bastiat?
I was reading a City Journal article about how Californias rulers are leaving its younger population an awful state of affairs: low wages, limited jobs, expensive housing and other costs. The reasons for this are complex, mostly boiled down to big government, however, one thing stuck out at me: California has a massive income gap. Ironic given how liberals are always jumping and shouting about income inequality and their favorite state is one of the most egregious. I speculated that liberal states would be more unequal, and more conservative states would be more equal.
May the Forced blog post be with you: Its Star Wars day! Sean Malone at the Foundation for Economic Education asks if the Galactic Empire was really so bad, and concludes that there isnt that much indication about the political or state of affairs in Star Wars, but if the Empire is restrictive, then the Rebellion is good. I would have to disagree on all of that. There is a lot of talk about smuggling and farming and commerce here and there. A movie about just economics would likely not interest people very much. Star Wars is actually marketed as a space opera and a fantasy story, NOT science fiction. Its a story with traditional tropes, some real world themes, but not serious.