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It's the disinformation from some that so annoys about climate change

Adam Smith Institute - 5 hours 47 min ago

Anyone watching a little TV these days will see the adverts. The starving polar bear, the heartfelt pleas for money to stop this happening. Then the larger insistence that climate change is threatening the very survival of that species.

Which it might even do but it isn’t as yet:

Too many polar bears are roaming the Canadian Arctic, and the growing population is posing an increasing threat to Inuit communities, according to a controversial new government report which has been bitterly contested by environmental scientists.

The bitterly contested is that climate change is changing hunting grounds thus pushing those bears extant closer to humans. The alternative explanation is simply that there are more bears.

This should be easy enough to work out, count the bears as best we can and see whether there are more of them now than there used to be. The answer being yes.

Thus we should view this insistence on the damage climate change is already doing to polar bears as disinformation.

Do note what we generally say about the larger subject around here - let’s have a carbon tax as that’s the solution to the basic problem. What irks in this instance is the claim which turns out not to have substance.

As with the pictures of polar bears swimming far from land - yes, that’s what polar bears do. Similarly the images of starving such. Yes, that’s how apex predators die. Unlike everything else in the food chain they don’t become lunch as soon as the rheumatics kick in, they die sans teeth sans everything. There are no hospice beds, no Liverpool Pathway, to ease the passing. There’s the inability to hunt then starvation.

It’s the demonstrably untrue claims about climate change that annoy. The propaganda. As they should annoy those who desire greater action - if you base your justifications upon things that can be proven wrong then when they are people are going to more than wonder about the underlying claim you’re making, aren’t they?

Categories: Current Affairs

The Brutality of Slavery

Mises Institute - 9 hours 43 min ago

[This article is excerpted from Conceived in Liberty, volume 1, chapter 6, "The Social Structure of Virginia: Bondservants and Slaves". An MP3 audio file of this article, narrated by Floy Lilley, is available for download.]

Until the 1670s, the bulk of forced labor in Virginia was indentured service (largely white, but some Negro); Negro slavery was negligible. In 1683 there were 12,000 indentured servants in Virginia and only 3,000 slaves of a total population of 44,000. Masters generally preferred bondservants for two reasons. First, they could exploit the bondservants more ruthlessly because they did not own them permanently, as they did their slaves; on the other hand, the slaves were completely their owners’ capital and hence the masters were economically compelled to try to preserve the capital value of their human tools of production. Second, the bondservants, looking forward to their freedom, could be more productive laborers than the slaves, who were deprived of all hope for the future.

As the colony grew, the number of bondservants grew also, although as servants were repeatedly set free, their proportion to the population of Virginia declined. Since the service was temporary, a large new supply had to be continually furnished. There were seven sources of bondservice, two voluntary (initially) and five compulsory. The former consisted partly of “redemptioners” who bound themselves for four to seven years, in return for their passage money to America. It is estimated that seventy percent of all immigration in the colonies throughout the colonial era consisted of redemptioners. The other voluntary category consisted of apprentices, children of the English poor, who were bound out until the age of twenty-one. In the compulsory category were: (a) impoverished and orphaned English children shipped to the colonies by the English government; (b) colonists bound to service in lieu of imprisonment for debt (the universal punishment for all nonpayment in that period); (c) colonial criminals who were simply farmed out by the authorities to the mastership of private employers; (d) poor English children or adults kidnapped by professional “crimps”—one of whom boasted of seizing 500 children annually for a dozen years; and (e) British convicts choosing servitude in America for seven to fourteen years in lieu of all prison terms in England. The last were usually petty thieves or political prisoners—and Virginia absorbed a large portion of the transported criminals.

As an example of the grounds for deporting political prisoners into bondage, an English law in force in the mid-1660s banished to the colonies anyone convicted three times of attempting an unlawful meeting—a law aimed mostly at the Quakers. Hundreds of Scottish nationalist rebels, particularly after the Scottish uprising of 1679, were shipped to the colonies as political criminals. An act of 1670 banished to the colonies anyone with knowledge of illegal religious or political activity, who refused to turn informer for the government.

During his term of bondage, the indentured servant received no monetary payment. His hours and conditions of work were set absolutely by the will of his master who punished the servant at his own discretion. Flight from the master’s service was punishable by beating, or by doubling or tripling the term of indenture. The bondservants were frequently beaten, branded, chained to their work, and tortured. The frequent maltreatment of bondservants is so indicated in a corrective Virginia act of 1662: “The barbarous usage of some servants by cruel masters being so much scandal and infamy to the country... that people who would willingly adventure themselves hither, are through fears thereof diverted”—thus diminishing the needed supply of indentured servants.

Many of the oppressed servants were moved to the length of open resistance. The major form of resistance was flight, either individually or in groups; this spurred their employers to search for them by various means, including newspaper advertisements. Work stoppages were also employed as a method of struggle. But more vigorous rebellions also occurred especially in Virginia in 1659, 1661, 1663, and 1681. Rebellions of servants were particularly pressing in the 1660s because of the particularly large number of political prisoners taken in England during that decade. Independent and rebellious by nature, these men had been shipped to the colonies as bondservants. Stringent laws were passed in the 1660s against runaway servants striving to gain their freedom.

In all cases, the servant revolts for freedom were totally crushed and the leaders executed. Demands of the rebelling servants ranged from improved conditions and better food to outright freedom. The leading example was the servant uprising of 1661 in York County, Virginia, led by Isaac Friend and William Clutton. Friend had exhorted the other servants that “he would be the first and lead them and cry as they went along who would be for liberty and freed from bondage and that there would be enough come to them, and they would go through the country and kill those who made any opposition and that they would either be free or die for it.”1 The rebels were treated with surprising leniency by the county court, but this unwonted spirit quickly evaporated with another servant uprising in 1663.

This servant rebellion in York, Middlesex, and Gloucester counties was betrayed by a servant named Birkenhead, who was rewarded for his renegacy by the House of Burgesses with his freedom and 5,000 pounds of tobacco. The rebel leaders, however,—former soldiers under Cromwell—were ruthlessly treated; nine were indicted for high treason and four actually executed. In 1672 a servant plot to gain freedom was uncovered and a Katherine Nugent suffered thirty lashes for complicity. A law was passed forbidding servants from leaving home without special permits and meetings of servants were further repressed.

One of the first servant rebellions occurred in the neighboring Chesapeake tobacco colony of Maryland. In 1644 Edward Robinson and two brothers were convicted for armed rebellion for the purpose of liberating bondservants. Thirteen years later Robert Chessick, a recaptured runaway servant in Maryland, persuaded several servants of various masters to run away to the Swedish settlements on the Delaware River. Chessick and a dozen other servants seized a master’s boat, as well as arms for self-defense in case of attempted capture. But the men were captured and Chessick was given thirty lashes. As a special refinement, one of Chessick’s friends and abettors in the escape, John Beale, was forced to perform the whipping.

In 1663 the bondservants of Richard Preston of Maryland went on strike and refused to work in protest against the lack of meat. The Maryland court sentenced the six disobedient servants to thirty lashes each, with two of the most moderate rebels compelled to perform the whipping. Facing force majeure, all the servants abased themselves and begged forgiveness from their master and from the court, which suspended the sentence on good behavior.

In Virginia a servant rebellion against a master, Captain Sisbey, occurred as early as 1638; the lower Norfolk court ordered the enormous total of one hundred lashes on each rebel. In 1640 six servants of Captain William Pierce tried to escape to the Dutch settlements. The runaways were apprehended and brutally punished, lest this set “a dangerous precedent for the future time.” The prisoners were sentenced to be whipped and branded, to work in shackles, and to have their terms of bondage extended.

By the late seventeenth century the supply of bondservants began to dry up. While the opening of new colonies and wider settlements increased the demand for bondservants, the supply dwindled greatly as the English government finally cracked down on the organized practice of kidnapping and on the shipping of convicts to the colonies. And so the planters turned to the import and purchase of Negro slaves. In Virginia there had been 50 Negroes, the bulk of them slaves, out of a total population of 2,500 in 1630; 950 Negroes out of 27,000 in 1660; and 3,000 Negroes out of 44,000 in 1680—a steadily rising proportion, but still limited to less than seven percent of the population. But in ten years, by 1690, the proportion of Negroes had jumped to over 9,000 out of 53,000, approximately seventeen percent. And by 1700, the number was 16,000 out of a population of 58,000, approximately twenty-eight percent. And of the total labor force—the working population—this undoubtedly reflected a considerably higher proportion of Negroes.

How the Negro slaves were treated may be gauged by the diary of the aforementioned William Byrd II, who felt himself to be a kindly master and often inveighed against “brutes who mistreat their slaves.” Typical examples of this kindly treatment were entered in his diary:

2-8-09: Jenny and Eugene were whipped.

5-13-09: Mrs. Byrd whips the nurse.

6-10-09: Eugene (a child) was whipped for running away and had the bit put on him.

11-30-09: Jenny and Eugene were whipped.

12-16-09: Eugene was whipped for doing nothing yesterday.

4-17-10: Byrd helped to investigate slaves tried for “High Treason”; two were hanged.

7-1-10: The Negro woman ran away again with the bit in her mouth.

7-15-10: My wife, against my will, caused little Jenny to be burned with a hot iron.

8-22-10: I had a severe quarrel with little Jenny and beat her too much for which I was sorry.

1-22-11: A slave “pretends to be sick.” I put a branding iron on the place he claimed of and put the bit on him.

It is pointless to criticize such passages as only selected instances of cruel treatment, counterbalanced by acts of kindness by Byrd and other planters toward their slaves. For the point is not only that the slave system was one where such acts could take place; the point is that threats of brutality underlay the whole relationship. For the essence of slavery is that human beings, with their inherent freedom of will, with individual desires and convictions and purposes, are used as capital, as tools for the benefit of their master. The slave is therefore habitually forced into types and degrees of work that he would not have freely undertaken; by necessity, therefore, the bit and the lash become the motor of the slave system. The myth of the kindly master camouflages the inherent brutality and savagery of the slave system.

One historical myth holds that since the slaves were their masters’ capital, the masters’ economic self-interest dictated kindly treatment of their property. But again, the masters always had to make sure that the property was really theirs, and for this, systematic brutality was needed to turn labor from natural into coerced channels for the benefit of the master. And, second, what of property that had outlived its usefulness? Of capital that no longer promised a return to the master? Of slaves too old or too ill to continue earning their masters a return? What sort of treatment did the economic self-interest of the master dictate for slaves who could no longer repay the costs of their subsistence?

Slaves resisted their plight in many ways, ranging from such nonviolent methods as work slowdowns, feigning illness, and flight, to sabotage, arson, and outright insurrection. Insurrections were always doomed to failure, outnumbered as the slaves were in the population. And yet the slave revolts appeared and reappeared. There were considerable slave plots in Virginia in 1687, 1709–10, 1722–23, and 1730. A joint conspiracy of great numbers of Negro and Indian slaves in Surry and Isle of Wight counties was suppressed in 1709, and another Negro slave conspiracy crushed in Surry County the following year. The slave who betrayed his fellows was granted his freedom by the grateful master. The 1730 uprising occurred in five counties of Virginia, and centered on the town of Williamsburg. A few weeks before the insurrection, several suspected slaves were arrested and whipped. An insurrection was then planned for the future, but was betrayed and the leaders executed.

Joint flight by slaves and servants was also common during the seventeenth century, as well as joint participation in plots and uprisings. In 1663 Negro slaves and white indentured servants in Virginia plotted an extensive revolt, and a number of the rebels were executed. The colonists appointed the day as one of prayer and thanksgiving for being spared the revolt. Neither slave nor indentured servant was permitted to marry without the master’s consent; yet there is record of frequent cohabitation, despite prohibitory laws.

It has been maintained in mitigation of the brutality of the American slave system that the Negroes were purchased from African chieftains, who had enslaved them there. It is true that the slaves were also slaves in Africa, but it is also true that African slavery never envisioned the vast scope, the massive dragooning of forced labor that marked American plantation slavery. Furthermore, the existence of a ready white market for slaves greatly expanded the extent of slavery in Africa, as well as the intensity of the intertribal wars through which slavery came about. As is usually the case on the market, demand stimulated supply. Moreover, African slavery did not include transportation under such monstrous conditions that a large percentage could not survive, or the brutal “seasoning” process in a West Indies way station to make sure that only those fit for slave conditions survived, or the continual deliberate breaking up of slave families that prevailed in the colonies.

From the earliest opening of the New World, African slaves were imported as forced labor to make possible the working of large plantations, which, as we have seen, would have been uneconomic if they had had to rely, as did other producers, on free and voluntary labor. In Latin America, from the sixteenth century on, Negro slavery was used for large sugar plantations concentrated in the West Indies and on the north coast of South America. It has been estimated that a total of 900,000 Negro slaves were imported into the New World in the sixteenth century, and two and three-quarter million in the seventeenth century.2

Negroes came into use as slaves instead of the indigenous American Indians because: (a) the Negroes proved more adaptable to the onerous working conditions of slavery—enslaved Indians tended, as in the Caribbean, to die out; (b) it was easier to buy existing slaves from African chieftains than to enslave a race anew; and (c) of the great moral and spiritual influence of Father Bartolome de Las Casas in Spanish America, who in the mid-sixteenth century inveighed against the enslavement of the American Indians. Spanish consciences were never agitated over Negro slavery as they were over Indian; even Las Casas himself owned several Negro slaves for many years. Indeed, early in his career, Las Casas advocated the introduction of Negro slaves to relieve the pressure on the Indians, but he eventually came to repudiate the slavery of both races. In the seventeenth century two Spanish Jesuits, Alonzo de Sandoval and Pedro Claver, were conspicuous in trying to help the Negro slaves, but neither attacked the institution of Negro slavery as un-Christian. Undoubtedly one reason for the different treatment of the two races was the general conviction among Europeans of the inherent inferiority of the Negro race. Thus, the same Montesquieu who had scoffed at those Spaniards who called the American Indians barbarians, suggested that the African Negro was the embodiment of Aristotle’s “natural slave.” And even the environmental determinist David Hume suspected “the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even an individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufacturers amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarian of the whites... have still something eminent about them.... Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men.”

Contrary to the views of those writers who maintain that Negroes and whites enjoyed equal rights as indentured servants in Virginia until the 1660s, after which the Negroes were gradually enslaved, evidence seems clear that from the beginning many Negroes were slaves and were treated far more harshly than were white indentured servants.3 No white man, for example, was ever enslaved unto perpetuity—lifetime service for the slave and for his descendants—in any English colony. The fact that there were no slave statutes in Virginia until the 1660s simply reflected the small number of Negroes in the colony before that date.4 From a very early date, owned Negroes were worked as field hands, whereas white bondservants were spared this onerous labor. And also from an early date, Negroes, in particular, were denied any right to bear arms. An especially striking illustration of this racism pervading Virginia from the earliest days was the harsh prohibition against any sexual union of the races. As early as 1630 a Virginia court ordered “Hugh Davis to be soundly whipped, before an assembly of Negroes and others for abusing himself to the dishonor of God and shame of Christians by defiling his body in lying with a Negro.” By the early 1660s the colonial government outlawed miscegenation and interracial fornication. When Virginia prohibited all interracial unions in 1691, the Assembly bitterly denounced miscegenation as “that abominable mixture and spurious issue.”5

Other regulations dating from this period and a little later included one that forbade any slave from leaving a plantation without a pass from his master; another decreed that conversion to Christianity would not set a slave free, a fact which violated a European tradition that only heathens, not Christians, might be reduced to slavery.

By the end of the seventeenth century, the growing Virginia colony had emerged from its tiny and precarious beginnings with a definite social structure. This society may be termed partly feudal. On the one hand, Virginia, with its abundance of new land, was spared the complete feudal mold of the English homeland. The Virginia Company was interested in promoting settlement, and most grantees (such as individual settlers and former indentured servants) were interested in settling the land for themselves. As a result, there developed a multitude of independent yeomen settlers, particularly in the less choice up-country lands. Also, the feudal quitrent system never took hold in Virginia. The settlers were charged quitrents by the colony or by the large grantees who, instead of allowing settlers to own the land or selling the land to them, insisted on charging and trying to collect annual quitrents as overlords of the land area. But while Virginia was able to avoid many crucial features of feudalism, it introduced an important feudal feature into its method of distributing land, especially the granting of large tracts of choice tidewater river land to favorite and wealthy planters. These large land grants would have early dissolved into ownership by the individual settlers were it not for the regime of forced labor, which made the large tobacco plantations profitable. Furthermore, the original “settlers,” those who brought the new land into use, were in this case the slaves and bondservants themselves, so it might well be said that the planters were in an arbitrary quasi-feudal relation to their land even apart from the large grants.

Temporary indentured service, both “voluntary” and compulsory, and the more permanent Negro slavery formed the base of exploited labor upon which was erected a structure of oligarchic rule by the large tobacco planters. The continuance of the large land tracts was also buttressed by the totally feudal laws of entail and primogeniture, which obtained, at least formally, in Virginia and most of the other colonies. Primogeniture compelled the undivided passing-on of land to the eldest son, and entail prevented the land from being alienated (even voluntarily) from the family domain. However, primogeniture did not exert its fully restrictive effect, for the planters generally managed to elude it and to divide their estate among their younger children as well. Hence, Virginia land partly dissolved into its natural division as the population grew. Primogeniture and entail never really took hold in Virginia, because the abundance of cheap land made labor—and hence the coerced supply of slaves—the key factor in production. More land could always be acquired; hence there was no need to restrict inheritance to the eldest son. Furthermore, the rapid exhaustion of tobacco land by the current methods of cultivation required the planters to be mobile, and to be ready to strike out after new plantations. The need for such mobility militated against the fixity of landed estates that marked the rigid feudal system of land inheritance prevailing in England. Overall, the wealth and status of Virginia’s large planters was far more precarious and less entrenched that were those of their landowning counterparts in England.

  • 1. Abbot E. Smith, Colonists in Bondage.
  • 2. Over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, only about one-fifteenth of the total Negro imports into the New World arrived in the territory of what is now the United States. That the slaves fared even worse in the Latin American colonies is seen by the far higher death rate there than in North America.
  • 3. Cf. Winthrop D. Jordan, “Modern Tensions and the Origins of American Slavery,” Journal of Southern History (February 1962), pp. 17-30.
  • 4. Ibid. Jordan cites many evidences of Negro slavery—including court sentences, records of Negroes, executions of wills, comparative sale prices of Negro and white servants—dating from 1640, before which time the number of Negroes in Virginia was negligible.
  • 5. “Spurious” in colonial legislation meant not simply illegitimate, but specifically the children of interracial unions.
Categories: Current Affairs

Eastern Newfoundland synod issues call to merge diocese

Anglican Ink - 10 hours 37 min ago

The diocese’s average sunday attendance declined from 9,300 in 1990 to 3,900 in 2015.

A Tight Argument

Blog & Mablog - 10 hours 47 min ago

“Denial of fruitfulness will result—follow me closely here—in lack of fruit” (Same Sex Mirage, p. 177).

The post A Tight Argument appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

The Brutality of Slavery

Mises Institute - 12 hours 43 min ago

In a slave system, threats of brutality underlay the whole relationship.

Narrated by Floy Lilley. This article is excerpted from Conceived in Liberty, Volume 1, Chapter 6, "The Social Structure of Virginia: Bondservants and Slaves".

Categories: Current Affairs

One friend’s a Chieftain. Another is Chilled. Three reasons why it’s silly for me to compare myself with either.

Ministry Nuts and Bolts - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 19:17
Theologically, the healthy and wide spectrum resonates with grace, but one end tips into being motivated by guilt, and the other end tips into inertia. One denies the gospel, and the other takes the gospel for granted.
Categories: Friends

Coffee Sellers Are Not Fundamentally Different from Banks

Mises Institute - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 17:55

With the 2007-8 financial crisis came a splendid alphabetical soup of central bank interventions to stimulate financial markets, lower interest rates, provide astonishing amounts of liquidity to banks and, allegedly, prevent another Great Depression. Likening the failure of big banks to falling elephants crushing even the smallest grass, former Fed Chairman Bernanke argued that consequences from bank failures would have caused much more havoc to the economy than the liquidity provision and bailouts his Fed oversaw.

Now, do banks really deserve special consideration in this sense? Let me illustrate by comparing the fates of two imaginary entrepreneurs:

Our first entrepreneur — let’s call him John — sees an opportunity in the beverage business. Specifically, he’s convinced that he can source high-quality Brazilian coffee beans, roast and serve impeccably aromatic coffee in downtown Manhattan. He draws up the business plan, estimates what he believes coffee-craving New Yorkers would be willing to pay for his coffee and assesses how many customers he could reasonably serve per day.

Setting his plan in action, he borrows some money from friends and family, rents an appropriate space, hires a construction team and interior designers to create the coffee-scented heaven he imagines, finds some competent baristas to staff it and finally opens his doors to hesitantly curious customers. From here, as in all entrepreneurial ventures, there are two paths John’s business may take:

  1. If customers love his coffee and willingly part with their dollars , enough so that John can cover costs as well as offer some return to his shareholders/creditors, we consider John’s venture successful. The profits describe the added value for consumers, regardless of whether you see John as a Misesian uncertainty-carrying and future-appreciating speculator or a Kirznerian arbitrageur, alert to discrepancies between prices of higher and lower-order goods.
  2. If customers scoff at his atrocious coffee-like concoction, and refuse to buy drinks in the amounts John estimated, we consider John’s venture unsuccessful. The losses he is bound to incur similarly describe the (negative) value his venture created by combining scarce producer goods into less-valuable consumer goods.

When John, under the second scenario, closes up shop, fire-sells his remaining inventory at prices far below those at which he bought them, defaults on his loans and outstanding rent obligations to his landlord, there are losses all around. His creditors lost the money they invested; the property owner lost the remaining unpaid rent, and the wholesale provider of coffee beans might not see his last invoice paid in full. We may call them and other losses externalities. Losses may bankrupt John’s suppliers. For example, John's failed venture might drive other entrepreneurs out of business by ending their access to an important customer.) But we accept them as part of the creative flux of markets where profits and losses indicate consumer valuations, validating the entrepreneur’s prior and speculative actions. Even if these losses would be huge (say the wholesaler of coffee beans goes bankrupt and all her employees lose their jobs), we lament their personal fates, but don’t call for government to subsidize John, keep the wholesaler from bankruptcy, or provide liquidity so they can stay in business.

Enter our second entrepreneur — Jane. Jane is somewhat more financially savvy and spots an underappreciated opportunity in an entirely different market. Majoring in finance, she knows that the yield curve (the difference in yields between bonds of long maturity and bonds of short maturity) is generally upward-sloping. For a variety of reasons investors require a term premium for holding long-dated debt. Jane knows this, but believes that the input prices of her proposed business are still undervalued: she raises a sizable amount of money, offers slightly better short-term rates than prevailing in the market — by overbidding other entrepreneurs gains access to an even larger pool of funds — combines it all into an efficiently-staffed office with the latest credit-rating models and starts offering long-term loans to home-owners at attractive rates.

Careful not to make John’s mistake in his second scenario, she ensures that the margins between her input costs (what she pays her investors and wholesale funders in interest) and output prices (the annual interest rates she earns from her large and suitably diversified portfolio of mortgage lending) are markedly positive, earning a serious amount of income for herself and her shareholders.

Even though she is aware of the liquidity risk she incurs (“My clients won’t pay me back for a very long time: what happens if I can’t repay – roll over – my 3-month wholesale funding?”), she judges it a minor worry and decides not to take out any kind of interest-rate hedges or liquidity insurance. She’s confident that her initial disbelief at other market actors’ pricing is incorrect. In any case, she can always find new short-term funding at suitable rates should some of her funders refuse to roll over their loans.

At this point, let’s briefly summarize our two entrepreneurs: they both entrepreneurially speculated on an uncertain future, believing they could provide a product (coffee or loans) at certain prices above their cost of operation (office, overhead, employees) plus their input costs (coffee-beans wholesale or wholesale funding). The economic analysis, similarly, is no different: profit-and-loss statements indicate whether John and Jane serve their customers well, adding value through their business ventures. That’s also where the comparison allegedly ends.

For where John’s mistaken entrepreneurial decisions over coffee preferences, wholesale prices and consumers’ willingness to pay warrant no particular attention from governments, central banks and economists, Jane’s case is, for some unfathomable reason, entirely different.

When Jane one day wakes up to wholesalers refusing to rollover her funding and she’s urgently in need of liquid assets to pay the debt that’s falling due, the trust in profit-and-loss statements for revealing consumer value creation is entirely absent. Calls for alphabet-soup government agencies are heard from central bank offices to Treasury departments and New York Times columns: fire-selling Jane’s remaining assets (mortgage loans) at low prices will bankrupt her, not to mention all other Jane-like ventures that hold similar assets, creating a devastating downward spiral. Jane’s business is simply too important to go bankrupt. Letting her successful banking business go under would be catastrophic for all her employees, clients, suppliers as well as for the financial system.

The analytical mistake in arguing for public assistance to Jane — but not John — seems obvious, but well-read economists might still disagree, offering versions of the three following arguments:

  1. Jane’s business is solvent but illiquid, whereas John’s coffee store is insolvent.
  2. There is an externality aspect to Jane’s business model not present in John’s; when Jane’s assets are liquidated, the prices of all other such assets are likely to fall, thus hurting anyone who hold them, including innocent third parties.
  3. Jane’s employees have unique information about her clients; she knows their creditworthiness better than anyone, even other banks. Part of the value she creates is unique to her firm and cannot be sold as easily as the title to the assets she’s holding. Since this information is socially valuable, letting Jane’s bank fail would amount to a societal loss.

All of these claims are mistaken. First, like all banks, Jane’s business is to manage liquidity. Banks’ business model, in addition to appropriately evaluate clients’ creditworthiness, is to correctly manage the maturity transformation they are engaged in. The amount of liquidity risk a financial institution takes on is part of its entrepreneurial decision; it is not an accidental exogenous event as most of the banking literature seems to believe. Heavily exploiting the yield curve, earning hefty interest rate margins between illiquid long-dated assets and liquid short-term liabilities without (costly) risk-mitigating interest rate hedges, is no different from high entrepreneurial risk-taking in other industries.

The second reason equally applies for John: when he sells his left-over coffee inventory he greatly depresses the going market price of unused coffee beans, threatening all other wholesalers of coffee beans with bankruptcy; should John’s supply be large enough and the market for coffee beans thin enough, he could be depressing the prices for longer than those suppliers can stay in business. In the exact same way Jane’s fire-selling threatens other businesses “through no fault of their own,” John’s liquidation depresses prices for others, threatening their businesses. There is, in other words, no special reason why banks deserve public support for their business models when coffee stores do not.

As for the third objection, John’s coffee bean store also has particular enterprise-unique information; his baristas knows which variety of coffees their regular customers want. A new coffee store may only imperfectly replace the detailed and intricate coffee desires John satisfied. The fact that John’s store could not cover its costs is evidence enough that this unique knowledge was not sufficiently valuable.

In sum, banking and banks’ liquidity are not subject to other economic laws than are coffee stores, and they should not be given special consideration.

Categories: Current Affairs

Beta: EasyApache 4 updated

CloudLinux - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 16:59

New updated EasyApache 4 packages are now available for download from our updates-testing repository.

Changelog:

ea-libcurl-7.62.0-2.cloudlinux

  • EA-7983 - ssh2 EA4 module addition with pecl breaks and requires manual pkg install of libssh2

ea-tomcat85-8.5.32-14.cloudlinux

  • EA4D-106: Added ea-tomcat85 to CloudLinux repositories
  • EA-7998 - Tomcat Manager menu is not searchable in WHM

ea-php71-7.1.24-1.cloudlinux

  • EA-8005 - Update PHP Meta Package
  • Update PHP 7.1 meta SPEC file for update to 7.1.24

ea-php71-php-7.1.24-1.cloudlinux

  • EA-8004 - Update PHP Source
  • Cleaned up the patch files
  • Update to v7.1.24, drop v7.1.23

ea-php72-7.2.12-1.cloudlinux

  • EA-8001 - Update PHP Meta Package
  • Update PHP 7.2 meta spec file for version 7.2.12

ea-php72-php-7.2.12-1.cloudlinux

  • EA-8000 - Update PHP Source
  • Fixup the patch files
  • Update to v7.2.12, drop v7.2.11

Update command:

yum update ea-* --enablerepo=cl-ea4-testing

 

 

Categories: Technology

PCA, R.I.P.

Blog & Mablog - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 16:51
Introduction:

Bear with me for just a few moments. This will get livelier, and a lot more interesting, in just short while.

I am not seeking to qualify my point, as should become apparent shortly, but I do need to state my qualifications to make the point. Those qualifications, as I hope you will acknowledge shortly, are sterling, and a central part of my argument. We are struggling with different definitions of the word qualification here. In speaking to this issue of the coming demise of the PCA, I have the qualifications to make no qualifications.

I am not a member of a PCA church, nor have I ever been a member of a PCA church. I grew up in Southern Baptist circles, and after my hitch in the Navy, found myself pastoring a Jesus-people-like baptistic fellowship. That church started to grow, and so I couldn’t really get away to seminary. I finished my formal schooling in philosophy, and then turned to an OJT reading program in theology. As a result of books—a series of dangerous books—I began to careen through some of my paradigm shifts, like I was a exegetical pinball or something. I started out a conservative evangelical of baptistic mien, and in the mid-eighties I became postmill. Then in 1988 I became a Calvinist. One thing led to another, and by 1993, I was a paedobaptist.

Me becoming a paedobaptist caused no little consternation on the session of our church, and so the elders began the process of removing me from the pulpit. We then had a heads of household meeting in which the congregation (still mostly baptists or agno-baptists) told the elders in no uncertain terms that they did not want to divide over this issue, and that they wanted the elders to work it out. After that crisis, the church did eventually come to a “baptismal cooperation agreement,” which enabled our baptists, paedobaptists, and agno-baptists to work together.

The reason this is relevant is that it essentially cut off any real prospect of us joining a confessionally Reformed body like the OPC or PCA. We did send one delegation to a meeting of the Northwest Presbytery of the PCA, but nothing came of that. I did not want to join a historically Reformed body if the price of that admission was me double-crossing the baptists who had stood by me in our baptismal crisis/controversy. And so that brought in the Groucho Marx rule as applied to presbyteries—I didn’t want to join one that would have us. I didn’t want anyone to water down their standards on baptism (heh), and I also didn’t want to desert the men who had stood with me.

So there we were, and that set the stage for the formation of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC), which also accommodates differing views on baptism.

Yes But . . .

Now I know that some of you may be looking at your watches. This seems like it should be filed under that’s-all-very-interesting-but. Are you not simply tracing for us the very shadowy outlines of your fairly oblique connections with the PCA? And thus establishing for us the uncouthness of your rudeness in pronouncing a funeral oration—as it is apparent from the title of this post—over a body you never had anything to do with? How am I not taking a passing dog by the ears?

But here is the point, and it’s a hummer. The PCA was formed in 1973, and I think it is safe to say that from that time down to the present,one of the biggest controversies that that denomination has ever gone through was the Federal Vision controversy. That controversy spanned many years, many presbyteries, and included pronouncements of the General Assembly. Numerous PCA men were charged with doctrinal heterodoxy in PCA courts (Leithart, Wilkins,Meyers, et al)with varying results but with no one convicted of heresy. Conferences were held, books were published, phone calls were not returned, invitations to speak were withdrawn, anathemas were hurled, and so on. A Niagara of words poured over the lip of the falls. As said above, this was one of the biggest controversies, if not the biggest,the PCA has ever had.

And I was one of the central combatants in that fray. I was smack in the middle of it. That position gave me a peculiar vantage.

Most of my contributions to the polemical back and forth were published here on Mablog. I recently pulled all those posts together in one book, see just below, and the word count for that book came in northwards of 300,000 words. I had a great deal to say, and almost all of it was in response to what others were saying, usually pretty loudly. And those incoming accusations, many of them, most of them, were from the PCA.

And so here is my foundation premise, the one I want to argue from. Lick your pencil, and write this down.

I believe that no one in North America has a better grasp than I do on what it means to have the PCA deal with something or someone they consider a threat. I honestly think that I am the world’s leading expert on this topic. No one knows better than I do what it looks like when the PCA swings into action to deal with a problem. On this one, I know my onions first hand.

The Mills of the Gods:

Now I have heard from some good people in the PCA that the Revoice business is being attended to. The mills of the gods . . . exceeding fine . . . slow, painstaking . . . Presbyterians are all about process . . . patience, patience, patience.

Excuse me, and please see above. I know how the PCA is capable of responding to a perceived threat, and I know (in addition) the comparative threat levels they have assigned to the various positions in all this. Consider this carefully.

As some know, I have discontinued identifying myself as an advocate of the Federal Vision. I explain all of that here.

But prior to making that disclaimer, I used to describe the Federal Vision advocates in terms of different kinds of beer. I was an FV amber ale, and Jim Jordan was an oatmeal stout. I considered my amber ale to be a version of classic Westminsterian theology, and the other end of the FV spectrum was an amalgam, as critics saw it, of Reformed theology, Biblical Horizons, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and some deep weird. I am not saying this in a pejorative way—my point is elsewhere. So the most outré enemy for the PCA during that tumultuous time was, taking their take, an odd form of Lutheranism, and the denomination went absolutely bonkers over it. I mean, the place looked like the floor of the orangutan cages after a bout of diarrhea swept through the zoo.

There were no mills of the gods grinding away, exceedingly fine. No, there was yelling, and shouting, and pushing, and blogging, and books, and yelling, and resolutioning, and charges brought, and anathematizing, and more blogging, and names called and names named.

The courts of the PCA were certainly involved—but they were involved because of the larger controversy. The ministers of the PCA cared about the issue, and acted like they cared about the issue, and acted in public like they cared about the issue.

I am not here addressing whether they got all the issues right or wrong. I am simply observing—as someone who knows first-hand—that the PCA knows how to react if they think someone is trying to bring some funny business from outside, from Canterbury or Wittenberg say, to their Geneva. Assuming a perceived threat, they know how to do it.

So, how do you think they responded when someone proposed bringing queer treasure into the New Jerusalem? How do you think they responded when a PCA church sponsored a conference using all the LGBTQ+ jargon? Don’t you love that plus? What’s under that, I wonder? Actually, nobody wonders. We all know what’s under there. And how do you think they responded when Covenant Seminary cozied up to the event, keeping just the right distance, thus demonstrating their expertise in plausible deniability?

Stop. You’re making me yawn.  

Where Did All the Valiant-for-Truths Go?

The last time I came through these parts, there were thousands of men, Tarzan-like, beating their chests and crying out, solasolasolafeeeeedei. Where’d they all go? I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow.

I am going to put this as bluntly as I can. The threat facing the PCA over the sexual revolution, and all its attendant issues, is many times greater than the threat posed by the Federal Vision. This would even be the case even if everything that all the critics said about the Federal Vision were true, and were true clean through.

Ponder this. The threat of the sexual revolution, the sexual tsunami that is about to hit the PCA beaches, is a gargantuan threat, and there has been virtually no response to speak of. The wake caused by the FV speedboat sloshed over their feet, and carried somebody’s flip flop out into the river, and the whole denomination came unstuck.

Why No Response?

The Revoice conference was a vanguard move. It was an incursion into the world of the PCA to find out how hard—or soft as the case may be—the defenses were. Behind those initial forays by technically-celibate Christiany speakers are the massed armies of the secular world

Why no fight? Why no valor? I am reminded of the definition of valor in Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary.

VALOR, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler’s hope.

“Why have you halted?” roared the commander of a division at Chickamauga, who had ordered a charge; “move forward, sir, at once.”

“General,” said the commander of the delinquent brigade, “I am persuaded that any further display of valor by my troops will bring them into collision with the enemy.”

Declaring war on the Federal Vision got you some inside-baseball orthodoxy points, and was a good career move within the denomination. But declaring war on the sexual revolution might get you in some real trouble. It might cost you something substantial, out in the real world. You see, that handful of Revoice presenters represented what most think will be the future of the country, and therefore the PCA, and what not a few want to be the future of the PCA, and the country.

Cowards on the ramparts. Cowards in the citadels. Cowards in the corridors. Cowards in the seminaries. Cowards in the publishing houses. Cowards at the conferences. Cowards on the sessions. Cowards in the presbyteries. Cowards in the pulpit. A sea of frothing pink cowardice.

I know basic ecclesiastical physics. I know where your rock is, and I know where they have placed the fulcrum. I know how long and how sturdy their lever is. I can see what they are doing, and it doesn’t really matter how many individual people you might know who “disagree” with it. When the mainline Presbyterians lost their denomination, about eighty percent of their ministers were still orthodox and evangelical. They also didn’t know where the fulcrum was, and where the lever was.

“Doctor, how is it possible for him to have died? I can’t believe it. Most of his body didn’t have cancer . . .”

To all this, the technically and ostensibly orthodox will want to wail:

“But the situation is so complicated, and seems so hopeless.We don’t know what to doooooo . . .”

“I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you pretend that, instead of saying that we should ‘bring queer treasure into the New Jerusalem,’ the presenters at Revoice had said something really bad, something that sounded like Norman Shepherd, something like ‘justifying faith working through love.’ Take it from there. Start throwing things.”

So here it is. If you are in the PCA, barring a miracle from heaven, your denomination is finished. You demonstrated first in the FV brawl that you knew how to fight, and are demonstrating now, when the threat is orders of magnitude greater, that you can’t be bothered. There is therefore no excuse.

In Conclusion, Let Me Make Myself a Litmus Test

Unless and until your leaders stop caring what all the respectable people think about Wilson, and start caring, a whole lot more, about what Wilson thinks about all the respectable people, your church is deceased. Departed. Toast. Finis. Caput. Bought the farm. Done. Handed in its lunch bucket.

“Yeah, well, we would have been willing to listen to some of your insights if you had not gone off on that southern slavery jag. You’re the one who wrecked it.”

“The fight about southern slavery was not an apologetic for slavery at all. It was an apologetic for the plain teaching of the Bible. And we were fighting that fight, decades ago, back in the nineties, because we saw where they were placing the fulcrum, and what lever they were going to use. We saw what sexual direction the rock was going to flip. And everything is unfolding just as we predicted. You should have listened then also.”

Either believe the Bible, all of it, or just cut to the chase and call yourself a liberal. And once you are a liberal, there will be absolutely no remaining principle of resistance when the LGBTQ plussers are speaking as confidently as all dammit at the microphones of your General Assemblies.

So whatever you say, apart from massive repentance, your beloved denomination is going to assume room temperature shortly. Count on it.

There is a good bit more to say about all of this, but I think this is sufficient for now. I am quite done.

I Was Told There Would be Free Books . . .

The free Kindle book that goes with today’s post is Same Sex Mirage, which is my treatment of the illusion that two bolts or two nuts can cinch just as tight as any tradition bolt/nut combo. Your free copy can be obtained here.

The post PCA, R.I.P. appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

5 Gospel promises that minister to your Christmas stress

The Good Book Company - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 16:01

It’s November—which means that, whether we like it or not, we’re snowballing down the hill towards Christmas.  

And my guess is that that thought fills you with a mixture of excitement and trepidation—perhaps more of the latter, if you’re part of the 61% of women who describe the Christmas season as the most stressful time of the year.

You might remember the 2012 TV advert for ASDA that showed a mum choosing the tree, battling through the shops, wrapping the presents, writing the cards, untangling the lights, supervising the baking, ferrying the kids, making the beds, cleaning the house, laying the table, cooking the dinner—only for her to sit down at the end of Christmas day and be asked by her husband, “What’s for tea love?”. The advert got banned for sexism, but I sort of admired its honesty.

It’s no wonder that the pressure to have a great Christmas—one that matches up to our own rose-tinted memories or our culture’s sugar-coated commercials—leaves many feeling overwhelmed. As Matt Chandler writes in An Even Better Christmas, “This is the season of massive shop-till-you-drop, make-sure-everybody-is-totally-happy, gift-buying, food-gorging panic attack.”

One journalist writing for the Telegraph reflected: “It’s not that I don’t like Christmas—I love it—but as a people-pleaser the pressure (largely self-inflicted) to make it perfect for everyone puts me on edge from the start of December. By the middle of the month I’m frazzled and more likely than ever to fly off the handle.”

[inline_product:evenbet]

So what can we do about it?

What’s interesting about the article quoted above is the way it probes the reasons why so many people feel under so much pressure at Christmas. And it’s by probing underneath the surface of our hearts that we can diagnose our real problem, and apply the real gospel truths that will help us withstand the pressure.

Maybe your Christmas stress comes down to one of these reasons…

  • I want to impress. The reason you’re keen to keep it all together is because you really want to look like you can keep it all together—sort of like a festive edition of the Proverbs 31 woman. Nothing feels quite as satisfying as having people think well of you; nothing feels quite as mortifying as the thought that they don’t.

Gospel truth: Admitting that you can’t do it all, and coming to Christ for the strength to do what is needed, is what shows off God’s glory. “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12 v 9).

  • I want to feel valued. Few things can be as crushing as a small child who is unimpressed with what you’ve given them. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were just grateful for a change? When will people finally notice the effort you’re putting in and give you the love and appreciation you’re craving?

Gospel truth: God treasures us wholly and completely—not because of what we’ve done, but out of his grace: “For [God] chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[  predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1 v 4-5).

There’s only one Person’s standards who ultimately matter, and he’s freed you from the guilt of not meeting them

  • I want to be in control. Maybe all this talk of Christmas has you itching to reach for a pen and write a to-do list. Everything’s fine if things are going according to plan. But as soon as circumstances beyond your control (or, let’s be honest, family members beyond your control) start to derail things, your internal pressure gauge goes off the scale.

Gospel truth: God is in control, so if you’re not, that is OK. “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19 v 21).

  • I want to make up for my past. All you want to do is give your family the Christmases you never got to enjoy as a kid—ones where people don’t fall out, or where people aren’t disappointed by the lack of gifts under the tree.

Gospel truth: It’s not down to us to make up for lost time, because God has promised to one day redeem and restore all the broken bits of our story. “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Revelation 21 v 5)

  • I feel guilty. Your loved ones need to have a Christmas with this, or that, or this other thing. If not, they’ll be missing out and it will be your fault. Or maybe you just don’t have the time or the money to provide the things you’d like to, and it leaves you with a nagging sense of guilt all December.

Gospel truth: There’s only one Person’s standards who ultimately matter, and he’s freed you from the guilt of not meeting them: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus … the Spirit who gives life has set you free” (Romans 8 v 1-2).

If your festive stress is rising, why not write out the verse that seems most relevant, and stick it up somewhere you’ll see it?  

An Even Better Christmas, by Matt Chandler, is a personal, warm and compelling book, that shows us how the God of the Bible offers what we all really crave—joy and peace—not just at Christmas, but all year round, and into eternity! It’s short and accessible, so perfect to give away to non-believing friends and family or at Christmas services and other evangelistic events.

Categories: Christian Resources

Imunify360 3.8.4 beta is here

CloudLinux - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 16:00

We are pleased to announce that a new updated Imunify360 Beta version 3.8.4 is now available. This latest version embodies further improvements of the product as well as bugfixes.

Fixes

  • [DEF-6024] - write-back is not possible: connection lost;
  • [DEF-6040] - sentry: investigate & fix SecurityError: Blocked a frame with origin "..." from accessing a cross-origin frame;
  • [DEF-6108] - incorrect SIGTERM handling during plugins activation;
  • [DEF-6112] - PleskAPIException: PleskAPI exception: [error = Access to API is disabled for 127.0.0.1], xml-response: ?xml versio...;
  • [DEF-6140] - PanelException: No avaliable control panel found!;
  • [DEF-6196] - proxied requests to webshield considered captcha requests;
  • [DEF-6198] - operationalError: too many SQL variables;
  • [DEF-6323] - OSSEC rules;
  • [DEF-6349] - WebshieldDictException: send error: 'str' object has no attribute 'hostmask';
  • [DEF-6385] - fix issue with productName in translations
  • [DEF-6425] - adding to blacklist with ttl 'whitelists' IP forewer
  • [DEF-6426] - fixed styles issues revealed by new translations
  • [DEF-6462] - fixed execute.py - long responses from the agent shouldn't be cut

Tasks

  • [DEF-6119] - specify minimal alt-python version required by imunify360-agent
  • [DEF-5881] - CloudFlare support
  • [DEF-5937] - control panel admin should be whitelisted when he logs into cPanel
  • [DEF-5939] - country whitelisting
  • [DEF-5962] - release new Imunify360 version to Plesk Marketplace
  • [DEF-5977] - install mod_remoteip automatically for all customers
  • [DEF-5984] - implement config file updating forced by server push
  • [DEF-5992] - gather statistics (same as Revisium does)
  • [DEF-6029] - sort/filter malicious files by status by default
  • [DEF-6056] - i18n - support RTL languages - part 2
  • [DEF-6066] - display domain name for modsec incidents in UI
  • [DEF-6075] - naming of Imunify (Scan/Clean/360)
  • [DEF-6127] - add time limit to global/group unblock rule
  • [DEF-6133] - refactor pack_plesk_extension.sh
  • [DEF-6158] - fixed drag&drop for mat-slider and mat-slider-toggle
  • [DEF-6204] - use angular material for tooltips
  • [DEF-6257] - remove validation of history event name, add global i18n validation with reporting to sentry
  • [DEF-6275] - review translations
  • [DEF-6317] - add features-management for av+ - ui part

To install the new Imunify360 Beta version 3.8.4 please follow the instructions in the documentation .

The upgrading is available since Imunify360 version 2.0-19.

To upgrade Imunify360 on CentOS/CloudLinux systems, run the command:

yum update imunify360-firewall --enablerepo=imunify360-testing

To upgrade Imunify360 on Ubuntu systems, run the command:

apt-get update apt-get install --only-upgrade imunify360-firewall

 

 

Categories: Technology

Sorry Stiglitz, It’s Socialism That’s Rigged, not Capitalism

Mises Institute - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 14:45

Ever since winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in “Economic Science” in 2001, Joseph Stiglitz has been a one-man advocacy band for growth of the state. After 9/11, for example, he called for the formation of a federal agency to provide security for airline passengers, which he claimed would send a “signal” for quality. (Stiglitz won his prize for “proving” that free markets are “inefficient” and always result in less-than-optimal outcomes because of asymmetric information. Only government in the hands of Really Smart People like Stiglitz can direct production and exchange consistently to efficient and “just” results.)

More than a decade ago, Stiglitz lavished praise for the socialist government of the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, declaring:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to have had success in bringing health and education to the people in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas, to those who previously saw few benefits of the country’s oil wealth.

He went on to claim that the Chavez policies of expropriating the capital structure of private oil companies in Venezuela would result in a more “equal” distribution of wealth in that country, something he believes is desirable everywhere. Interestingly, since Venezuela’s socialist “experiment” went south, complete with hyperinflation and one of the worst financial and economic crises ever seen in the Western Hemisphere, Stiglitz has been silent, at least when it comes to explaining why the so-called economic miracle in Venezuela was unsustainable.

Although Stigliz no longer is lavishing praise on Venezuelan socialism, he hardly is silent about his belief that only expanded state power can “save” the U.S. economy from self-destruction. In a recent article in Scientific American, he declares that “The American Economy is Rigged.” However, he adds in the title, “And what we can do about it.”

Those familiar with the public declarations of Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, and others in the “markets are internally destructive” camp, nothing Stiglitz writes in the article is surprising. For that matter, it is pure Stiglitz to have it in Scientific American, since he can claim he is engaged in scientific discourse, something he can prove with a lot of mathematical equations that “prove” free markets are bad :

From Stiglitz’s perspective, markets are rife with failure in processing and conveying information, and government must be ready to correct these failures. In his Nobel lecture, Stiglitz spoke of having “undermined” the free-market theories of Adam Smith, asserting that Smith’s “invisible hand” either didn’t exist or had grown “palsied.” He noted that major political debates over the past two decades have tended to focus on the “efficiency of the market economy” and the “appropriate relationship between the market and the government.” His approach favored government.

Furthermore, he declared in his Nobel lecture that “perfect competition is required if markets are to be efficient” (italics his). To Austrian economists, his statement raises the question as to why we are to assume that governments somehow possess the necessary information to produce “efficient” outcomes in economic exchanges, but Stiglitz never has tried to go there. He simply assumes governmental superiority regarding information and then runs with that assumption.

Stiglitz’s latest article lays out the theme that markets systematically produce inequality, and that over time we are faced with the situation in which only a privileged few people benefit from the capitalist system while the vast majority slip into the economic abyss. He writes:

In his celebrated 2013 treatise Capital in the Twenty-First Century, French economist Thomas Piketty shifts the gaze to capitalists. He suggests that the few who own much of a country's capital save so much that, given the stable and high return to capital (relative to the growth rate of the economy), their share of the national income has been increasing. His theory has, however, been questioned on many grounds. For instance, the savings rate of even the rich in the U.S. is so low, compared with the rich in other countries, that the increase in inequality should be lower here, not greater.

An alternative theory is far more consonant with the facts. Since the mid-1970s the rules of the economic game have been rewritten, both globally and nationally, in ways that advantage the rich and disadvantage the rest. And they have been rewritten further in this perverse direction in the U.S. than in other developed countries—even though the rules in the U.S. were already less favorable to workers. From this perspective, increasing inequality is a matter of choice: a consequence of our policies, laws and regulations.

In the U.S., the market power of large corporations, which was greater than in most other advanced countries to begin with, has increased even more than elsewhere. On the other hand, the market power of workers, which started out less than in most other advanced countries, has fallen further than elsewhere. This is not only because of the shift to a service-sector economy—it is because of the rigged rules of the game, rules set in a political system that is itself rigged through gerrymandering, voter suppression and the influence of money. A vicious spiral has formed: economic inequality translates into political inequality, which leads to rules that favor the wealthy, which in turn reinforces economic inequality.

All of this results in what he calls a “feedback loop” that results in the downward spiral. We are to assume that the growth in income inequality will grow until we are at the Marxian state of “the reserve army of the unemployed,” or at least a reserve army of people that are unable to find work that will allow them to support themselves.

Like so many others who have claimed capitalism is destroying the middle class, Stiglitz turns to the policies created during the Great Depression and after World War II for salvation, seeing the time from the 1930s to the late 1950s as a supposed golden era of prosperity. He writes:

After the New Deal of the 1930s, American inequality went into decline. By the 1950s inequality had receded to such an extent that another Nobel laureate in economics, Simon Kuznets, formulated what came to be called Kuznets's law. In the early stages of development, as some parts of a country seize new opportunities, inequalities grow, he postulated; in the later stages, they shrink. The theory long fit the data—but then, around the early 1980s, the trend abruptly reversed.

To reverse this trend of rising inequality – and rising poverty – Stiglitz calls for a return to the Depression-era policies of high marginal taxes and using the regulatory structure to recreate the financial and business cartels built by New Deal regulations that dominated American production, finance, and transportation at that time. Indeed, apart from the anti-discrimination laws that now are part of the modern legal landscape, Stiglitz believes that the only hope for our future is to return to the past:

…we need more progressive taxation and high-quality federally funded public education, including affordable access to universities for all, no ruinous loans required. We need modern competition laws to deal with the problems posed by 21st-century market power and stronger enforcement of the laws we do have. We need labor laws that protect workers and their rights to unionize. We need corporate governance laws that curb exorbitant salaries bestowed on chief executives, and we need stronger financial regulations that will prevent banks from engaging in the exploitative practices that have become their hallmark. We need better enforcement of antidiscrimination laws: it is unconscionable that women and minorities get paid a mere fraction of what their white male counterparts receive. We also need more sensible inheritance laws that will reduce the intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage.

Challenging Stiglitz’s Logic

Stiglitz hardly is the only modern economist that wants the American economy to be restructured to resemble how it looked in 1939. Paul Krugman many times called for a “New New Deal” and actually claims that the U.S. middle class didn’t even exist until President Franklin D. Roosevelt created it with his policies.

In reading the Stiglitz “we need” rant, it is clear that he sees the economy as both mechanistic and deterministic. Capital will have increasing returns because, well, capital has increasing returns, which means that over time, capital will increase the incomes of its owners and everyone else will become poorer. In fact, as one goes through the entire article, one can conclude that he believes, like Marx, that a market system is internally unstable and that it always will implode because a few people will see their incomes increase, but only at the expense of the masses, who will see their incomes decrease.

Indeed, if one follows Stiglitz to his logical conclusions, one would have to assume that the U.S. economy is a trap of exploitation and misery for American workers, as they toil longer hours and watch their standard of living slip away. He writes:

At the time of the Civil War, the market value of the slaves in the South was approximately half of the region's total wealth, including the value of the land and the physical capital—the factories and equipment. The wealth of at least this part of this nation was not based on industry, innovation and commerce but rather on exploitation. Today we have replaced this open exploitation with more insidious forms, which have intensified since the Reagan-Thatcher revolution of the 1980s. This exploitation…is largely to blame for the escalating inequality in the U.S.

Like Krugman, Stiglitz uses an array of statistics and graphs to “prove” that before Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher took power, the American and British economies were ensconced in “equality” and prosperity. For some unknown reason, however, free-market ideas suddenly emerged seemingly from nowhere to influence politicians to create a new economic system that undid the carefully-crafted structured post-New Deal economy which had created the American middle class and turned them into poverty-stricken serfs.

There is a problem with the Stiglitz analysis: It is wrong both theoretically and empirically. First, the 1970s were a decade both of inflation and economic decline in both the USA and Great Britain. In the USA, the economy wavered between inflationary booms (with inflation reaching well over 10 percent) and devastating busts, including the 1974-75 recession, and in Great Britain, the situation was even worse, as demonstrated in a 1977 “60 Minutes” broadcast, “Will There Always Be An England?”

The sad thing is that Stiglitz is trying to claim that Americans were better off economically in 1980 than they are now, which only can mean he believes Americans had a better standard of living 40 years ago than today. Yet, as pointed out by Philip Brewer, it is easy to confuse something like income equality to higher living standards. The so-called Golden Age of the 1950s was a time when a third of Americans lived in poverty. Writes Brewer :

In the 1950s and 1960s, a working man could support a family at a middle-class standard of living with just one income. It might surprise you to learn that one person working full-time, even at minimum wage, can still support a family of four at that standard of living. Nowadays we call that "living in poverty."

Theoretically, Stiglitz holds that capital and resource owners over time receive increasing returns to capital which has the effect of raising the owners’ income over time, but only at the expense of everyone else. Thus, in his view, capital is the culprit, and as an economy accumulates increasing amounts of capital, income inequality — and poverty — logically follow. The only way to reverse this trend, he believes, is for the state to confiscate huge amounts of income from capital and resource owners and transfer it to lower-income people through welfare payments or availability of government services.

If Stiglitz is correct, it would be the first time in recorded history that capital accumulation gained through a profit-and-loss system would be responsible for decreasing the overall standard of living in an economy. Furthermore, Stiglitz seems to be oblivious to the economic role of capital: increase the supply of goods and services in an economy. By looking only at the income which capital owners gain and by failing to understand the real economic significance of capital accumulation, Stiglitz is left with applying a crabbed Marxist analysis in which the “rich” gain increasing shares of income, thus leaving everyone else with smaller income shares – with the result being an overall “glut” of goods that cannot be sold, leading to increasing numbers of layoffs, unemployment, and ultimate economic collapse. That economists from Jean Baptiste Say to Ludwig von Mises — and, may I add, the historical record — have debunked his arguments fails to keep Stiglitz from repeating them.

By publishing his article in Scientific American and couching his analysis in the language of science, Stiglitz wants us to believe that his viewpoints are systematic and have the aura of inevitability, as though he were describing the results of the Law of Gravity. In reality, Stiglitz simply repeats the fallacies of Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes and presents a stiff, mechanistic, and utterly false view of how an economy works.

Throughout history, we have seen how socialism takes an economy backward, whether it is practices in the former U.S.S.R., Mao’s China, Cuba, and now Venezuela. He was unable to comprehend how Venezuela’s “socialist miracle” would fall apart, and now he intellectually is unable and unwilling to engage the truth as to why the deterioration of a socialist economy results in wealth for a few and real poverty for the masses. In other words, he cannot comprehend why the socialist economy is rigged.

Categories: Current Affairs

Imunify360 3.7.9 is here

CloudLinux - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 12:50

We are pleased to announce that a new updated Imunify360 version 3.7.9 is now available. This is a bugfix release.

Fixed

  • [DEF-6198] - OperationalError: too many SQL variables;

To install the new Imunify360 version 3.7.9 please follow the instructions in the documentation.

The upgrading is available since Imunify360 version 2.0-19.

To upgrade Imunify360 on CentOS/CloudLinux systems, run the command:

yum update imunify360-firewall

To upgrade Imunify360 on Ubuntu systems, run the command:

apt-get update apt-get install --only-upgrade imunify360-firewall

Please note, that this is first stable release, so it also brings all changes since 3.6 into the stable.

Categories: Technology

Release note of kernelcare 2.16-1

CloudLinux - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 12:33

We are going to release kernelcare 2.16-1 with updated user text output.

In case you have any automation set-up based on the system messages, you can review new messages here  

To apply updates run:

yum update kernelcare

Categories: Technology

8 gifts to help 8 people you know encounter Christ this Christmas

The Good Book Company - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 11:37

1. For the stressed out Christian: Love Came Down at Christmas

For most of us, the weeks before Christmas are at best busy, and at worst incredibly stressful. And how much more so when we don’t take time out to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus! This Advent devotional contains 24 daily readings from 1 Corinthians 13. Sinclair B Ferguson brings the rich theology of the incarnation to life with his trademark warmth and clarity. We'll see what “love” looked like in the life of Christ and be challenged to love like him.

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2. For the not-yet Christian: An Even Better Christmas 

The Christmas season is probably the best time of year to talk to people about spiritual things. Recent statistics from the Church of England [link] show that Christmas service attendance is the highest it’s been for more than a decade. In this short, personal, warm and compelling book by Matt Chandler, we see how the God of the Bible offers what we really crave—joy and peace—at Christmas, all year round, and into eternity!

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3. For the drifting Christian: Enjoying God

We believe in God, we serve God, we trust God, but would we say that we enjoy God on a day to day basis? What exactly does a personal relationship with God look like, and how is it even possible?

This seminal work by Tim Chester shows us how we can enjoy God in every moment of every day, whether we are experiencing good times or hard times; whether we are changing nappies, or stuck on a train. He explores how the Father, the Son and the Spirit relate to us in our day-to-day lives, and how to respond.

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4. For the parents: Bake Through The Bible at Christmas

Lots of people will be taking to their kitchens to bake this Christmas—why not use it as an opportunity to teach children about the birth of Jesus? With 12 recipes and accompanying Bible stories, Bake Through The Bible At Christmas how to make Christmas baking about Christ!

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5. For the teens: Light in the Darkness

This stunning graphic realisation brings Luke 1 – 2 to life in a new way, powerfully capturing the joy, pain and emotion of that first Christmas. See it for yourself here. Perfect not just for teens and young adults, but anyone who enjoys graphic novels.

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6. For the tots: A Very Noisy Christmas

Some people think that Christmas was a "Silent Night". Far from it. It was filled with shouting, singing and screaming! It was as noisy as any of our Christmas celebrations.

This fun and fresh retelling of the Christmas story comes with invitations to make some noise, so that children can join in as parents read to them. But it also shows children that at the heart of the Christmas story is something we should all be quiet and see: God's Son Jesus was born, so that we can be friends with God forever.

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7. For the kiddos: The Christmas Promise Colouring Book

A great stocking filler—32 pages of colouring, puzzles and mazes based around the Christmas story that children will love. Use alongside The Christmas Promise to discover exactly how God kept His Christmas Promise by sending his New, Forever, Rescuing King.

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8. For older children: XTB Christmas Unpacked

Christmas Unpacked is a great resource to help children and families explore the Bible together over the Christmas holidays. There are three weeks of Bible readings 7-11 year olds find out for themselves what Christmas is really all about, with pictures and puzzles—plus three weeks of family Bible readings which tie in.

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If none of these are what you're looking for, you can browse our entire Christmas range here.

Categories: Christian Resources

Liberal Theology, Liberal Politics

Peter Leithart - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 11:00
In her book on Benjamin Constant, Liberal Values, Helena Rosenblatt examines the intertwining of religious and political concerns in the work of Constant and his lover/collaborator, Madame de Stael. Through his early study of liberal Protestant theologians in Germany, Constant “hit upon what would be a central principle of his mature liberal philosophy – that […]
Categories: People I don't know

At last, an accurate description of Gordon Brown's personal income tax policies

Adam Smith Institute - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 07:01

Or rather, an accurate critique of it from the Labour side. Clive Lewis tells us of what we consider the most pernicious of Brown’s personal taxation policies. The manner in which he deliberately drove that income tax system ever deeper into the wallets of the poor. For this is indeed what he did, insisted that people ever lower down the income scale must be paying:

He accused Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s New Labour of “leaning on those further down the income scale”, while leaving “almost untouched” the “huge fortunes of those at the very top” – citing cuts to corporation tax, and fiscal drag, which brings more people into higher tax bands by leaving thresholds unchanged.

Leave aside that taxation of the rich part and concentrate on that of the poor. This is the part of the system - and Brown made it worse - which we’ve long regarded as actually being immoral. Not just inefficient, or not likely to work well, or constrained by reality, but actively immoral.

For we agree with Adam Smith, that the better off should contribute more than in proportion to their income. Which means to us that the poor not contribute at all as a function of their income. If we have taxes upon apples then people who buy apples, whatever their incomes, should be paying the apple tax. But not income taxes upon low incomes.

What Brown did was that fiscal drag. Wages tend to rise faster than inflation. So, rises in the personal allowance which are only at the level of inflation drag ever more into that fiscal net - fiscal drag. You can see Brown’s performance on that here. At least once he didn’t raise the personal allowance at all and that at a time of strong wage growth. That’s reaching ever further down into the poor to pay for the British state, not what we think should be done. The effects in real terms - before that background of rising incomes - are here. Incredibly, in those real terms, Brown reduced the value of the personal allowance.

There are many things to criticise over Brown’s tenure as Chancellor. But this is the one we think unforgivable, his deliberate - and obviously complicated and disguised - insistence that the army of Labour voters to be bought by the beneficence of the state be paid for on the backs of the poor. Even if it’s only Clive Lewis who has woken up to this so far that is an advance for the Labour Party, that one understands it. Even if only the one.

Categories: Current Affairs

And They Can Even Have Some of the Honeydew

Blog & Mablog - Wed, 14/11/2018 - 02:00

“I don’t want liberty for secularists because secularism is true—it isn’t. Secularism is an opium dream, complete with flashing eyes and floating hair. I want liberty for secularists because Jesus is Lord” (Same Sex Mirage, p. 174).

The post And They Can Even Have Some of the Honeydew appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

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