Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #104 “Liberty And The Minimum Wage”

maxresdefault           One of the beauties of Liberty is seen by transactions that are consummated by willing buyers and willing sellers of their legal contracts.  But often this beauty is tarnished by government intervention.  As an example, take the minimum wage laws.  If an under-educated and low-skilled worker will accept a job for $10 per hour, and an employer will benefit from hiring that worker, both parties benefit.  But if the laws require the employer to pay workers a minimum wage of $15 per hour, the lower-skilled workers will lose their job opportunities both to higher-skilled workers and to automation.

Furthermore, think of it this way.  In many ways, the greatest threats to civilization today are not global warming or terrorism, but instead they come from youth joblessness.  And that is problem is exacerbated because young people usually are less marketable than older workers.  So minimum wage laws protect jobs for older, more experienced workers.  And they put the young, who often tend to be more hopeless and violent, out of work.  How can young workers climb the economic ladder if they can’t even get onto the first rung?  So minimum wage laws are a mean trick for many young people and, from a security standpoint, for the rest of us as well.  Socially it is far better to have 100 people working for $10 per hour than 65 people working for $15 per hour.  We can, and for many reasons should, have a safety net below which we do not allow anyone to fall, but that should be addressed separately.  The government should let willing buyers and sellers alone, for the benefit of us all.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2 Paragraphs 4 Liberty: #103 “Liberty According To Chunga”

untitled            When I was in the Peace Corps in the small town of Palmar Norte, Costa Rica, I stayed in a set of upstairs cubicles where the other “professors” in the high school stayed during the school year, and which was on the second floor of the only place in town that could hold a dance.  It was run by a man named Chunga, who had left Mainland China when Chiang Kai-shek was overthrown by Mao Zedung in the late 1940s.  During one of my conversations with Chunga I told him that I had noticed that almost all of the shops in our town were run by Chinese, and asked him if there was a reason for that.  He responded to me that, of course, after Mao’s revolution many anti-communists fled to Taiwan and others kept on going to Hawaii.  But many others also continued all the way to the West Coast of most countries in the Western Hemisphere.  But when they arrived in their new land, they followed an ancient custom.

The custom was that many Chinese towns were informally run by a group of elders who had been successful businessmen.  And there was a mentoring and support tradition that encouraged young men (certainly not women!) who had ideas for businesses to come to the elders with what amounted to an oral business plan.  The elders would listen and, if impressed, would both make suggestions and also donate the seed money to get the project started.  Chunga stressed that this was not a loan, so it would not have to be repaid.  But it could only be done once, and if the young man was not successful he would probably have to leave town because he would be in such disgrace.  As a practical matter, each of young men hoped that some day, if they were successful, they too could join the group of elders and continue the process.  So that tradition had been carried on in Costa Rica, as well as most of the towns and cities on the West Coast of the Americas.  This is free enterprise at its best, and is just another example of how Liberty works better than government.  (About ten years after I finished my Peace Corps service I heard that Chunga had died of lung cancer from his years of smoking.  But that is another story.  In addition, to a limited degree, I have since then tried to get other minority communities to establish this tradition in their towns, but that is another story as well.)

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2 Parapgraphs 4 Liberty: #102 “There Is A Cost to Revolutions”

100_1437                Revolutions!  Arab Spring!  Throw Out the Colonial Powers!  Liberty for the People!  For many movements throughout recent and past history these have been rallying cries, and often for good reason.  But almost always there is a cost to revolution, and often it is unacceptably high.  For example, and as stated in the “World in 2017” edition of The Economist, this year is the 100-year anniversary of Lenin seizing power from the Bolsheviks in Russia, which led to a lengthy succession of tragedies: Stalin’s rise to power, the death of more than 20 million people as a result of the collectivization of agriculture and forced industrialization and, in many ways in reaction to communism, the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco.  The French Revolution soon gave rise to the active use of the guillotine, and Mao’s revolution in China also imposed collectivism that directly led to the deaths of millions.  Unfortunately, with the increased popularity of populism, which has resulted from the large disparity of wealth in our society, many of the same seeds are present today that gave rise to those failed revolutions.

So, how can these seeds be neutered?  By reminding the world, first, that free trade, property rights and Liberty have delivered millions of people out of poverty and, second, that the leaders of the world who oppose these successful approaches are mostly paper tigers.  One of these, expressly, is Vladimir Putin, who presides by fear and fraud over a country whose economic power is stalling and whose people are plagued by poverty, ignorance and illness.  North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe are other current examples.  Yes, Liberty is a good and successful thing, but some places are not yet ready for it. The United States of America in was a truly unusual example, but basically our revolution was fought so we could secure our rights as Englishmen.  We should continue to uphold and fight for Liberty here and abroad, but should be slow to expect that it can take root where the soil is not as fertile as it was here in 1776.  Ask present-day Syria, Libya and the Sudan.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President,
along with Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President

Please forward this on to your circle of friends for their consideration.  And, by the way, these columns are now on Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejimgrayOAI, and wordpress at judgejimgray@wordpress.com.  Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty.




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