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OpenMarket: December 2008

  • Gold Is Not the Enemy – Poverty Is

    December 31, 2008

    National Geographic magazine has published an article titled The Price of Gold focusing on the high price of gold and the high human costs of gold production. The piece reveals useful data on artisan miners in the world and the health hazards they face daily while mixing mercury to separate rock from gold. Overall, the article leans firmly against India's growing demand for gold and the metal's global providers: 75% of the world's gold comes from large-scale...

  • Thank You, 2008, and Good Riddance!

    December 31, 2008
    For supporters of freedom and markets, the Year of Our Lord 2008 has been close to a disaster. As D:Ream used to sing, things can only get better, surely? Ah, if only...
  • The End of the Global Warming Frenzy

    December 31, 2008
    Sunday was a beautiful day in Washington.  The temperature hit the high 60s and I wore shorts.  I dreamed it was spring. But as the new year comes in, so has the cold.  At times like this I dream of global warming!  Please, please, please drive away the cold. Alas, the indefatigable Christopher Booker suggests that 2008 may be the year that the global warming scare died. And here I was planning on summer in December. The alarmists aren't yet ready to go away, but their ability to convince humankind to collectively jump off the economic cliff may be disappearing. Writes Booker in the Daily Telegraph:
    Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as...
  • LibertyWeek 23: Madoff About You

    December 30, 2008
    Happy New Year, LibertyWeek listeners. We celebrate a fresh start with a holiday health update and move quickly into the biggest story Scandal Watch has seen yet – Bernard Madoff’s (allegedly) massive $50 billion (alleged) investment fraud, including its impact on non-profit organizations like The Innocence Project. We review another chapter from the Nanny State Diaries in which British drivers are being asked to give up control over their speedometers, and report of the scandalous spread of federal crime spurred on by the arrival of The Greatest Depression. Moving on to Technology News, we take the Australian government to task for their attempts at Internet censorship (thanks for the heads-up, World Socialist Web Site!) and discuss the controversy over new Top Level Domain names. Finally, Olympic...
  • The New Energy Blog in Town

    December 30, 2008
    CEI mentor and friend Julian Simon called energy the "master resource" in his 1970 book Population Matters. He called it that because "energy enables us to convert one material into another." Bizarrely, the current zeitgeist instead regards energy as some sort of cost or degradation of the earth. CEI has always stood steadfast against this insane view of energy. Luckily, we have allies in the fight. Some of the nation's best thinkers on energy issues have come together to create a blog entitled, fittingly, MasterResource. You may see a few of us even pop up there from time to time.
  • Prediction 2009: No Agreement at Copenhagen

    December 30, 2008
    The global warming community have suggested for a while now that, given the almost-certain change in US administration policy on global warming (remember John McCain's position), the conference of the Kyoto Treaty parties in 2009 at Copenhagen would result in a sea change in global action on greenhouse gas emissions. Copenhagen would produce a new treaty, son-of-Kyoto, that would have full US participation, set stringent and enforceable emission limits aimed at getting the world to the sort of emissions levels some scientists demand, and start to involve the developing world in emissions reductions. This is not going to happen. For a start, it looks like US policy is going to concentrate on getting a domestic settlement in place before agreeing to any international action other than the traditional "agreeing to agree." Secondly, with the world in financial chaos, governments are...
  • Peter Schiff: A Financial Prophet

    December 30, 2008
    Watch this great video and see the scorning and scoffing of a man predicting a financial meltdown due to the housing situation. And read his common sense in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:
    Governments cannot create but merely redirect. When the government spends, the money has to come from somewhere. If the government doesn't have a surplus, then it must come from taxes. If taxes don't go up, then it must come from increased borrowing. If lenders won't lend, then it must come from the printing press, which is where all these bailouts are headed. But each additional dollar printed diminishes the value those already in circulation. Something cannot be effortlessly created from nothing. The good news is that economics is not all that...
  • Al Gore, Call Your Office: Climate Alarmist Says there's no Alarm

    December 29, 2008
    Global warming is a tough issue for laymen.  Learned people strut about saying that the science is conclusive, done, finished.  The world is destined for disaster. But embarrassing contrary peer-reviewed studies then float by, as independent experts pull the curtain back, revealing the machinations of the alarmist lobby.  Rather like the Wizard of Oz, Al Gore & Co. say pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, whooping and wheezing about the end of the world. If the science really is settled, you'd think the alarmists would leap at the chance to prove it.  But Lawrence Solomon recently found just the contrary.  When pressed on the issue, his alarmist opponent ran in the other direction. Writes Solomon, author of The Deniers:
    It was a global...
  • An End to the Good Times?

    December 29, 2008
    Egads. Even the New York Times isn't sure that the good times of endless government spending can go on forever. Peter Goodman writes in the Times:
    Borrowing and spending beyond ordinary limits largely explains how Americans got into such economic trouble. For decades, businesses and consumers feasted relentlessly, as if gravity, arithmetic and the tyranny of debt had been defanged by financial engineering. Armed with credit cards and belief in a bountiful future, Americans brought home ceaseless volumes of iPods and cashmere sweaters, and never mind their declining incomes and winnowing savings. Banks lent staggering sums of money to homeowners with dubious credit, convinced that real estate prices could only go up. Government spent as it saw fit, secure that foreigners could...
  • Bailouts Aggravate Financial Crisis

    December 29, 2008
    In the New York Times, economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University argues that the $700 billion financial-system bailout is impeding an economic recovery. Because of the "ad hoc," standardless way the money is being doled out, "the market doesn't know what to expect and many financial institutions are sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see what regulators will do next. Regulatory uncertainty is stifling the ability of financial markets to engineer at least a partial recovery." Professor Cowen also notes that past bailouts helped spawn the current financial crisis. "The financial crisis is a result of many bad decisions, but one of them hasn't received enough attention: the 1998 bailout of the Long-Term Capital...

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