Monday, December 23, 2013


Since the end of the 19th century with the return of neo-mercantilism, countries all over the world have adopted a religion of statism in the form of central planning. This form has diverse names. You can call it mixed economy, interventionism, corporatism, crony capitalism, or fascism if you want. Now that the results are becoming unpleasant, governments are looking for a scapegoat - free market capitalism. Most people are unaware that statism caused the existing global economic crisis with its programs of state welfare, state supported trade unions, state created business monopolies, and state inflated monetary supply.


Faustino Ballve, Essentials of Economics

Gary North, Tentmakers

The Mont Pelerin Society

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wiser this Time

Monetary inflation is addictive both for governments and those who benefit from it. Once started, it is difficult to stop. Politicians and bankers may think that they are wiser this time not to repeat past mistake. 

In this article, I just want to introduce Andrew D. White's book published in 1896 describing the economic experience of France in the latter part of 18th century. In reading the first 10 pages of the book, you will have an overview of France's situation at that time and how both the leaders and the people thought that they were wiser than John Law's generation. 

Introducing Andrew D. White's ebook

Several days ago, I was thinking how I could use my time meaningfully particularly in my reading of Austrian economics. Among many topics, I selected to study the most researched one, inflation. And so I dug into the available literature provided by and came up with a list of more than a hundred ebooks in my bibliography. I started with Andrew D. White's Fiat Money Inflation in France: How it Came, What it Brought, and How it Ended. 

White's ebook has only 79 pages, but summarizing the ideas contained in it is still too big to digest for an average reader. So I decided to summarize it in bite-sized portion. The ideas in this article are taken from pages 1 to 10. In reading the first ten pages of the booklet, you will see an overview of economic condition of France in the latter part of 18th century. 

France in 1789

The year was 1789. Both the national leaders and the citizens of France were fully aware of the great dangers of increasing the money supply. The memory of economic ruin during John Law's era was still fresh in their mind. They still remembered the country's suffering about seventy years ago. 

The nation's leaders knew that once the increase of paper money was issued, it is like using an addictive drug that's difficult to stop. They were totally informed about the disastrous consequences of monetary inflation. Nevertheless, they still pursued the easy path to economic recovery despite their knowledge that their action would result to long-term destruction of wealth, reduction of the purchasing power of those who depend on fixed salary, of the emergence of professional "thieves", "a class of debauched speculators" (p.1), of stimulation to overproduce, of industries' depression afterwards, of the breakdown in the habit of saving, and of the appearance of political and social immorality (pp. 5-6). The nation experienced all these bitter consequences of increasing the money supply. However, they thought they were wiser after such experience, and they would never repeat the same mistake. They were deceived.

So in 1790, the government issued the release of "four hundred millions of livres in paper money" (p. 7). Everybody was happy with the immediate results of the injection of new money into the total money supply. ". . . the treasury was at once greatly relieved; a portion of the public debt was paid; creditors were encouraged; credit revived; ordinary expenses were met, . . . trade increased and all difficulties seemed to vanish." (p. 10). 

After five months of short-term celebration, economic uneasiness and distress reappeared. Instead of admitting that the issue of paper money five months earlier was a mistake, the French unanimously cried for another dosage of monetary inflation. The country was trapped, and it appeared that nothing could stop them down to the path of economic calamity. 

Governments Never Learn

The information provided by White in his booklet deserves wider audience so that discerning readers would take necessary action to protect themselves from economic catastrophe that would certainly result from the determined action of governments to inflate their nations' money supply. This concise information teaches that not only France of 18th century failed to learn the painful lesson from John Law's generation; similar scenario is happening in our time.

Politicians and mainstream economists ignore the warning coming from the Austrian school. They think they are wiser this time, and they will never repeat the same mistake committed by the French. 


White, A. D. (1896). Fiat money inflation in France: How it came, what it brought, and how it ended. New York: The Appleton and Company. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Link to Libertarian Websites

Secretly Agreed, but Publicly Attacked

While reading Murray N. Rothbard's "Mystery of Banking," I stumbled with three curious paragraphs on pages 233-234 related to the creation of the Federal Reserve. It was stated that after a secret meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia in December 1910 of most powerful banking personalities and came up with an agreement to pass a bill to create a central bank, two economists who helped in drafting the bill and the structure of the bank publicly opposed the bill they made. The question is why? Why after agreeing with the banking tycoons of that time in secret, these economists attacked the bill publicly?

Photo Credit:

These are the three paragraphs:

"With intellectuals and politicians now sympathetic to a newly centralized statism, there was virtually no opposition to adopting the European system of central banking. The various shifts in plans and proposals reflected a jockeying for power among political and financial groups, eventually resolved in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which the Wilson administration pushed through Congress by a large majority."

"Amid all the maneuvering for power, perhaps the most interesting event was a secret summit meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia in December 1910, at which top representatives of the procentral banking forces met to hammer out an agreement on the essential features of the new plan. The conferees consisted of Senator Nelson W. Aldrich (R., R.I.), a Rockefeller kinsman who had headed the pro-central banking studies of the Congressionally created National Monetary Commission; Frank A. Vanderlip of Rockefeller’s National City Bank; Paul M. Warburg, of the investment banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., who had emigrated from Germany to bring to the U.S. the blessings of central banking; Henry P. Davison, a partner of J.P. Morgan & Co.; and Charles Norton, of the Morgan-controlled First National Bank of New York. With such powerful interests as the Morgans, the Rockefellers, and Kuhn, Loeb in basic agreement on a new central bank, who could prevail against it?"

"One particularly ironic note is that two economists who played an especially important role in establishing the Federal Reserve System were highly conservative men who spent the rest of their lives attacking the Fed’s inflationary policies (though not, unfortunately, to the extent of repudiating their own roles in creating the Fed). These were University of Chicago professor J. Laurence Laughlin and his former student, then a professor at Washington & Lee University, H. Parker Willis. Laughlin and Willis played a large part, not only in the technical drafting of the bill and the Fed structure, but also as political propagandists for the new central bank."


Rothbard, M. N. (2008). The mystery of banking. Online. Available:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Activist Artists

". . . if we accept the social structures of capitalism, we are indeed left with the limited choices that undermine meaningful human agency. . ." 

"The central Marxist critique of capitalism is located on the terrain of human capacities. Capitalism is unjust and undemocratic not because of this or that imperfection in relation to ideal conceptions of equality or freedom. We reject capitalism because at its core it involves the control by some of the time, creativity, and potential of others. And the narrowness of the market discipline capitalism imposes as part of that drive to constant accumulation frustrates humanity’s capacity for social liberation." 

". . . have confirmed that the soul-destroying world that capitalism more and more offers us is a fundamental barrier to human development. . ."

Sam Gindin thinks that assimilating leftist activist ideas in art can break the pervasive fatalism that characterizes our era to achieve social change. He describes this idea as "radical art," and this can be done in two ways. First, "artists have to step beyond their studios and workplaces to act in the world as directly political people." Second, artists "must assimilate a critique of capitalism's impact on human possibilities," which to my mind, means the failures and excesses of capitalism. 

By fatalism, he is careful to distinguish it from passivity. Alternative vision is articulated and actions are taken, but there is a pervasive belief that the way to achieve the goal can never be found. He observed this fatalism represented in social democracy disempowered by the logic of capitalism and remains satisfied with its anemic neo-liberalism. Another brand of this fatalism is coming from a new generation whose vision is contrary to social democracy, but characterized with acceptance of the existing system. 

For sure, the writer likes the vision of progress found in capitalism, but rejects it as a method. He sees both imperialism and capitalism as working together. He laments that despite of obvious evidence of the failure of capitalism, its power did not diminish, but strengthened instead. 

So in his vision of seeing the emergence of activist artists, he wants that the energy and talents of this new breed of artists will focus in destroying capitalism. He shares conviction with Brecht that to allow the continuation of capitalism is to "undermine meaningful human agency." He agrees with Marxism that "capitalism is unjust and undemocratic," a barrier to social liberation, "soul-destroying," and manipulative of "time, creativity, and potential of others."


It is obvious that the above proposal springs from a Marxist's analysis of an "imperialist-capitalist" system, which Sam Gindin describes as the ruling ideology. Contrary to Gidin's idea, I see his article as a typical example of mainstream analysis, and by mainstream, I mean socialism, which is the very climate that we are in at present.

From the point of view of Austrian economics, capitalism is not the ruling system these days; it is actually, socialism. The writer fails to distinguish free market capitalism from corporatism or crony capitalism. If he is attacking the latter, I think he is accurate. 

In Planned Chaos, Ludwig von Mises distinguished between two types of socialism. These are the Russian or the communist version (which Gindin advocates) and the German version during Hitler's time, which is more appropriate to describe as interventionism. So instead of seeing Marxism as the champion to dismantle capitalism, what Gindin actually describes is a conflict between two forms of socialism using capitalism as a disguise. Government interventionism is the reigning political and economic policy these days that Gindin wrongly described as capitalism. It is this German kind of socialism that he wants to be replaced with the Russian kind of socialism in its progressive form.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Evangelii Gaudium, Free Market, and Interventionism

Pope Francis' "Evangelii Gaudium" triggered a series of responses coming from both anti-capitalists and defenders of the free market. After reading several responses particularly from the free market side, I got curious yesterday to take a look at the content of the apostolic exhortation itself. After skimming, I noticed that the media has only focused on the "tree" and missed the "forest". Out of 288 sections, only 24 sections speak about economics. That is less than 10% of the overall content. To my mind, the sections that contain economic materials are 52 to 60 and 202 to 216, and even in sections 202 to 216, only two sections directly speak about economics. So all in all, it's only 11 sections that deal with economic issues.

I think the reason why the Pope's exhortation related to economics received sharp criticism is because it touches an existing sensitive issue that divides people today. One typical example of that is a thread forum in Facebook.

Someone posted last November 27 a news from RT with a heading "Not to share wealth with poor is to steal": Pope slams capitalism as "new tyranny" in a Facebook group. After few exchanges from several members, a series of questions were addressed to me. I found them helpful in gathering my thoughts. However, I thought it's better to ask first the opinion of other Filipino free market thinkers before giving my reply. To my mind, the questions touched at least six important issues: the existence of a market that is 100% free from state interference, poor's welfare, basic nature and function of the government, deregulation, checking on TNC's books, and "partnership" between producers and consumers. I decided to limit myself only on the first four. 

These are the series of questions:

I am not an economist but at least partly involved in this intricate life of the market as having inculcate and willingly embraced the market's cultural ideology of consumerism - i consume therefore i am. but i have some qualms on seeming dearth of options and left us totally between an economy mediated by corrupt government and complex bureaucracy and of the one which is totally free from state intervention. Could you confidently say that once the market able to create totally an extraterritorial space where in they would run the whole system on their own free from the restriction of nation-state, they would take care of the situation of the poor? - there would equity on distribution of goods and profits better that what the state has given as part of its mediation work?l Could you confidently say that deregulated industries now in the Philippines such as the 3 giant gas conglomerate, Meralco, the two water distributors, among others are actually heading now into a more humane and fair costing of services they offered now that the government's hands are tied to monitor their pricing? Could we as part of this transnational system of market go directly their offices and peek on their books to see the whole transaction even without the state authority backing us up? Are we really partners in this market system...or we are partners as mere consumers of the transnational corporation who just want to maximize their income by pushing aside their partner in crime - the government?
And this is my response: 
I am also not an economist. I simply realized that to study the subject is part of my civic duty as a citizen. Concerning the questions that were raised, I just want to limit myself in four of them - existence of the market 100% free from state interventionism, poor's welfare, basic nature of the state, and deregulation. 
I acknowledge that the free market has its own defects, but I think it is far better to bear with them than the one we have right now. Historically, the closest example of a free market I have in mind is the economic system during the later part of 18th up to the middle of 19th century. Unfortunately, after that period, the history of economics saw a comeback of mercantilism under the banner of neo-mercantilism. Austrian economists describe this economic system in diverse names such as corporatism, crony capitalism, and interventionism, which is wrongly described by mainstream as capitalism. I think that's why some free market thinkers are considering of dropping the name and using "free market" instead because "capitalism" is loaded with negative meanings. As for me, I think, interventionism is more appropriate to describe the current system. 
At present, we also have few examples of free market. Though I don't share the vision of a stateless society by Anarcho-capitalism, I think that's their primary goal. Seasteading and the free state project like the one in New Hampshire are the concrete examples of this. 
Concerning poor's welfare, I think we need to distinguish between the state's legal action and the moral and personal decision on the part of individuals. Henry Hazlitt in his book, "Man vs. The Welfare State" has clearly demonstrated that instead of alleviating the condition of the poor, the inevitable outcomes of government's interference are actually leading to an economic trap and disaster. Some of these outcomes are "increase in government spending, increase in taxes, chronic deficits, chronic inflation, constant loss in the buying power of the people's earnings and savings, expansion of governmental power in the details of everybody's business and everybody's life, and concentration of power in fewer hands" (pp.1-2) that will finally end in dictatorship. In short, these are the results we are witnessing right now that cause poverty to increase all the more. And besides, the essence of "free market is all about freedom, responsibility, and equality before the law, not equality of condition. So citizens have the freedom to be industrious or be lazy, freedom to be responsible or irresponsible. So equality of condition is not guaranteed under the free market. Otherwise, people will become lazy and demand that their condition be near or at par as the most hard working people in society" (Nonoy Oplas). And that is exactly why state welfare program fails for it penalizes the industrious and encourages government dependence and laziness. 
Turning to the basic nature or functions of the State, Austrian economists and libertarians are divided. Even among those who advocate for limited government, there is disagreement. Some would consider that the government has only two indispensable functions: to protect the people from foreign aggression and to safeguard the people from criminal elements in the society. Others would include additional functions such as provision of public utility, health care, basic education, construction and maintenance of streets and roads, and provision of a trustworthy monetary system. But even in these additional functions, the precise limits are still under question. Concerning economic affairs, the proper role of the government is confined in making sure that the market functions freely, which is the exact opposite of what the government is doing. I think I have to repeat here what Dr. John V. C. Nye said in his lecture in 2011 about the primary problem of the country: 
"Philippines' major problems have less to do with macroeconomic or fiscal stability but with a badly distorted micro-economic price situation, poor and unreliable property rights and contracting, a stiflingly legalistic bureaucracy, a slew of policies and institutional constraints that are anti-investment and anti-competitive, and a political economy that favors the worst mix of populism, elite rent-seeking, and high-minded but unproductive nationalism."
Finally, about deregulation. Personally, I consider deregulation a "joke" or perhaps a "myth" and a "doublespeak". If there is real deregulation, why are there only three "giant gas conglomerate"? And concerning power and water, are they under operation of the free market or are they under crony companies? (Paul C. How)
At this point, we need to distinguish between two kinds of monopolies. Under the free market, monopolies also exist, but they are not capable to exploit the consumers. This is because under free market, a monopolist is always facing the threat of potential competitors if he charges prices that are too high or provides poor service. Competitors have incentives to enter into the monopolized industries and take market share from the monopolist by offering lower prices or better service. 
The scenario changes under government-created monopolies. When government interferes by erecting barriers through legislation, it blocks competition and restricts consumers' choice. I think the words of Adams Summers concerning deregulation also applies in Philippine economy: 
"Politicians and regulators forced a sham of a 'deregulation' scheme, and then blamed the free market when it inevitably failed! The problem was not too much free-market competition; it was too much regulation (despite the 'deregulation doublespeak)." 
I would like to conclude this response with the analysis of Mont Pelerin Society about the biggest threats that the world is facing right now. For MPS, the biggest threats to both personal and economic liberty are the expansion of government's power, welfare state, trade unions, business monopoly, and inflation. All of these are interrelated and government intervention is the common thread among them.
Related Articles:

Pope Francis’ Tragic Vision of Capitalism

Pope Francis is No Economist

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Judge Andrew Napolitano on Evangelii Gaudium

Another response to the Pope's Evangelii Gaudium. This time, it's from Judge Andrew Napolitano:
"The problem with modern capitalism — a problem that escaped the scrutiny of His Holiness — is not too much freedom, but too little. The regulation of free markets by governments, the control of the private means of production by government bureaucrats, and the unholy alliances between governments, banks and industry have raised production costs, stifled competition, established barriers to entry into markets, raised taxes, devalued savings and priced many poor out of the labor force. The Pope would do well to pray for those who have used government to steal freedom so as to satisfy their lust for power, and for those who have bowed to government so as to become rich from governmental benefits and not by the fruits of their own labors."
"Traditional Catholic social teaching imposes on all of us a moral obligation to become our brothers’ keepers. But this is a personal moral obligation, enforced by conscience and Church teaching and the fires of Hell — not by the coercive powers of the government. Charity comes from the heart. It consists of freely giving away one’s wealth. It is impossible to be charitable with someone else’s money. That’s theft, not charity."
"If the government takes money from you to buy the person a fish, half of the money will be wasted."
"The Pope seems to prefer common ownership of the means of production, which is Marxist, or private ownership and government control, which is fascist, or government ownership and government control, which is socialist. All of those failed systems lead to ashes, not wealth. Pope Francis must know this. He must also know that when Europe was in turmoil in 1931, his predecessor Pius XI wrote in one of his apostolic exhortation: 'No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true Socialist.' ”

Salvation through Government Spending

"In the early nineteen thirties, in the depth of the Great Depression, the theory became fashionable that the cause of all depressions was lack of purchasing power. The people just did not have enough money, and because of unwarranted pessimism they were refusing to spend enough even of what they had. The solution was therefore simple: at such a time the government should boldly increase its own spending, 'prime the pump,' and 'get things moving again.' Naive advocates of this theory assumed that more government spending was the whole answer. The more sophisticated advocates saw that the increased spending would not give people more purchasing power if the government kept the budget balanced and took it all away again in higher taxes. . .The trick, in other words, was deliberately to unbalance the budget—to run a deficit." - Henry Hazlitt, Man vs. The Welfare State, 1969, pp. 4-5

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) is right when he said, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" (Les Guêpes, 1849).

Instant Utopia

"In the last generation politicians and governments have been promising the voters that they could not only bring perpetual full employment, prosperity, and 'economic growth,' but solve the age-old problem of poverty overnight. And the end result is not merely that accomplishment has fallen far short of promises, but that the attempt to fulfill the promises has brought an enormous increase in government spending, an enormous increase in the burden of taxes, chronic deficits, chronic inflation, and a constant loss in the buying power of the people's earnings and savings. . . Another result of the promise of instant utopia has been a gigantic growth of governmental power—of interference in the details of everybody's business and everybody's life. As this power has increased, it has also become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. . . One mark of the welfare state everywhere has been the gathering of power into the hands of one man. This is no mere unfortunate coincidence; it has been inevitable." - Henry Hazlitt, Man vs. The Welfare State, 1969, pp.1-2

Is there truth in the above quotation from Henry Hazlitt? Try to assess the governments of the world today on the basis of the idea in this quotation and then judge for yourself whether Hazlitt's analysis is accurate or not.

In the Philippines, if my memory still serves me right, I think all the presidents in my lifetime so far had given their promise to fight poverty. However, from Marcos, Cory, Ramos, Erap, Arroyo, and now Pnoy, none of them have succeeded in alleviating the condition of the poor, but instead, again, if my common sense is right, I think Filipinos now are poorer than ever. I accept that there are people who do not share this common sense, and could easily come up with the latest data to contradict this personal observation. But as far as myself is concerned, I think Hazlitt's analysis describes if not most, I think all of the governments today including our own.

So the government's fight against poverty is not bringing the results that we all desired. Instead, what we see are failed promises and greater poverty. One question that bothers me is about the sincerity of those in office. Are they really sincere in their goal or is it just a political slogan? Let us grant that they are sincere, and then another question must be asked: Why are they failing to produce the desired results despite their sincerity? Is it not because they are mistaken in their basic understanding of the nature and function of the government?

Instead of alleviating the condition of the poor, Hazlitt identifies seven inevitable outcomes of government's fight against poverty. And these outcomes are actually addictive for those in power and leading to economic trap and disaster. What are these outcomes? They are as follows:

  • Increase in government spending

  • Increase in taxes

  • Chronic deficits

  • Chronic inflation

  • Constant loss in the buying power of the people's earnings and savings

  • Gigantic growth of governmental power or interference in the details of everybody's business and everybody's life

  • Concentration of power in fewer hands that will finally end in dictatorship. 

All these outcomes or results are obvious now in the US. Here in the Philippines? I think it is still not so obvious, but our instincts feel it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Interventionism and Neo-Malthusian Solution to Overpopulation

For the past several days, I was sidetracked by numerous readings, but I accomplished almost nothing in terms of writing a review. So among numerous ebooks I have on economics, I choose Henry Hazlitt's "The Conquest of Poverty" for review. But it has twenty chapters. It's too big for me in view of the fact that I also have many teaching responsibilities. So I decided to digest the book two chapters at a time. 

In reading the first two chapters, I selected three quotations, which I consider best capture the idea of the chapter. In chapter 1, the "Problem of Poverty", my chosen quotation is about the impact of government intervention on the economy of Argentina and Russia. Here is the quote:

"Foolish governmental interference led the Argentine, once the world's principal producer and exporter of beef, to forbid in 1971 even domestic consumption of beef on alternate weeks. Soviet Russia, one of whose chief economic problems before it was communized was to find an export market for its huge surplus of grains, has been forced to import grains from the capitalist countries. One could go on to cite scores of other examples, with ruinous consequences, all brought on by short-sighted governmental policies." (p. 19)

This quote from Hazlitt speaks about the economic destruction resulting from government intervention in the affairs of the free market. Hazlitt can identify additional examples, but he limits himself only in the experiences of Argentina and Russia.

In chapter 2, "Poverty and Population", the name of Thomas Robert Malthus plays a significant role. This is because he wrote a book that is considered a landmark in the discussion about the correlation between poverty and overpopulation. 

The two quotations I selected talk about the contrast between Malthus and neo-Malthusians' solutions to the problem of overpopulation and poverty. Malthus as an individualist and libertarian, the solution he proposed to overpopulation was both voluntary and simple. For him, the role of an individual particularly individual responsibility is primary. A responsible individual will not bring a child into this world without first finding the necessary livelihood to support him. 

However, the neo-Malthusians didn't follow the footstep of Malthus. Since the neo-Malthusians are collectivist in ideology, they came up with a different solution. Their remedy to overpopulation resorted to government coercion, propaganda, sterilization of men and women, and even abortion. To my mind, this shows their determination to stop populationg growth at any cost. Moreover, they justified their action by claiming that since it is the community's responsibility to keep an individual alive, it is also the community's prerogative to decide whether to procreate or not. 

Here are the two quotes from chapter 2: 

"What, then, is the solution? Most of the neo-Malthusians, unfortunately, are collectivist in their thinking; they want to solve the problem in the aggregate, and by government coercion. They not only want governments to flood their countries with propaganda for The Pill, The Loop, and other methods of contraception, encouraging even abortion; they want to sterilize men and women. They demand 'Zero Population Growth Now.' A professor of 'human ecology' at the University of California declares that the community cannot 'watch children starve.' Therefore: 'If the community has the responsibility of keeping children alive it must also have the power to decide when they may be procreated. Only so can we save ourselves from the degradation of runaway population growth.' " (p. 29).

"Malthus was an individualist and a libertarian. His own proposed remedy for overpopulation was both voluntary and simple: 'I see no harm in drawing the picture of a society in which each individual is supposed strictly to fulfill his duties The happiness of the whole is to be the result of the happiness of individuals, and to begin first with them. No co-operation is required. Every step tells. He who performs his duty faithfully will reap the full fruits of it, whatever be the number of others who fail. This duty is intelligible to the humblest capacity. It is merely that he is not to bring beings into the world for whom he cannot find the means of support.' If each of us adhered to this principle, no overpopulation problem would exist." (p. 30).

Source: Hazlitt, H. 1996. The Conquest of Poverty. New York: The Foundation for Economic Education, Inc. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Abolish the Fed and the IRS!

In US Generals Now Take Action to Watch Obama, F. Michael Maloof enumerates actions that retired US Army Gen. Paul E. Vallely and Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles Jones believe must take place for the recovery of American economy. I like six of these actions, and they are the following:

1. Abolish the Federal Reserve

2. Abolish the IRS

3. Eliminate and consolidate federal agencies. 

4. Get rid of Department of Energy

5. Repeal Obamacare, and

6. Eliminate income tax

How I wish similar actions will also take place in the Philippines. 

Major Crash

"A major crash is coming. The bubble and the housing bubble were not crashes, at least as I imagine a crash. They were the beginnings of corrections that were aborted by government economic intervention. The country survived these two major bubbles, but only at the cost of making the next one bigger. Government did not save us from these two events. They created them and by deferring their correction assured the next one would be bigger and more painful." - Monty Pelerin's World


I taught the subject, Rizal for two semesters in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary located at Dasmarinas, Cavite. I forgot the exact year. After surveying the available textbooks in our library, I decided to use Constantino and Abaya. I don't like Agoncillo and Zaide. My goal that time was not to give too much attention to Rizal, but to challenge the students to think, and somehow to arouse their spirits towards nationalism or patriotism. I was clueless about the difference between these two terms. 

Reading just now, "The Last Betrayal of Dr. Jose Rizal" from Vincenton, the blogger mentions about the difference between the terms. He wrote that "Rizal was a PATRIOT, not a 'nationalist'." For him, nationalism is a recent invention and those who fail the distinction between these two words are "politically and philosophically CLUELESS." That describes me. 

The Vinceton article is well-thought and written. I stumbled with four new additional insights. They include the evil results of ignorance of our rights, an important distinction in relation to human rights and happiness, a libertarian way to see Rizal's political book, and correcting altruism. 

The evil results of man's ignorance of his rights are taken from an important line contained in France's Declaration of the Rights of Man: ". . . the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments . . ." This statement is old (1789), but its message is most relevant in a day where the growing power of the State is causing "public calamities" and "corruption". 

Another insightful distinction is made by the blogger. This time it is between "the right to happiness" and "the right to pursue happiness". I thought they're the same. 

The writer claims that Rizal does not believe that man has basic right to happiness simply because he exists. Instead, what man has is the right "to pusue" happiness. This distinction is so important particularly in understanding socio-political issues today. 

Concerning Rizal's political book, Noli Me Tangere, here's what the owner of Vinceton has to say:

"There must be some more profound reason why he titled his first novel 'Noli Me Tangere' (Touch Me Not). It sounds almost the same– or it almost has the same import– as the French’s 'Laissez-nous faire' (Let us be or Leave us alone). This reveals Rizal’s not fully articulated understanding that government is force, a political idea first expressed by America’s founding fathers, particularly George Washington, who wrote that 'Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.' ”
"Rizal’s Noli was his political protest against the Spanish theocratic BIG GOVERNMENT. In France, the term 'Laissez-faire' was French businessman M. Le Gendre’s protestation against his economically restrictive/intrusive French BIG GOVERNMENT."
And finally about altruism:

"Rizal was NO altruist. While he treated the indigent for free, he charged his wealthy patients, both locals and foreigners, for his medical services. His wealthy patients paid handsomely for his excellent services. In other words, he could afford to help the poor, and this is NON-SELF SACRIFICIAL. Take note that ALTRUISM means self-sacrifice or putting the welfare/interest of others above your own."


Note: In the Introduction of Omnipotent Government, Ludwig von Mises clarified the distinction between nationalism and patriotism.