Jacob Grimm and Law(s)

[What is a good font for blog postings? Our previous posts use the Verdana font. This posting uses Trebuchet. Is it better for reading longer texts? Tell us what you think in the comments if you have an opinion. We may have some more variations in the coming posts.]

Jacob Grimm is one of the most famous scholars to have studied law. Grimm is best known in English-speaking countries for his collection of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”. What is lesser known is that Grimm is also remembered in the world of linguistics for having discovered “Grimm’s Law“, the most famous law in all of linguistics, and for collecting ancient Germanic myths, tales and legends, some of which later came to be known as the “fairy tales” of our childhood (even though many such tales may in fact have some actual historical background).

Interesting is the following analysis of the connection between law and language – between the legal and the linguistic – found at the Wikipedia article on Jacob Grimm, which is almost a verbatim copy of the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica entry on Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm. Note, however, the great amount of work which has gone into creating the Wikipedia links, which the 1911er does not have.

The Wikipedia entry for Jacob Grimm has this paragraph on law and linguistics:

“Although, by the introduction of the Code Napoleon into Westphalia, Grimm’s legal studies were made practically useless, he never lost his interest in the scientific study of law and national institutions as the truest exponents of the life and character of a people. By the publication (in 1828) of his Rechtsalterthumer, he laid the foundations of historical study of the old Teutonic laws and constitutions which was continued with brilliant success by Georg L Maurer and others. In this work Grimm showed the importance of linguistic study of the old laws, and the light that can be thrown on many a dark passage in them by a comparison of the corresponding words and expressions in the other old cognate dialects. He also knew how (and this is perhaps the most original and valuable part of his work) to trace the spirit of the laws in countless allusions and sayings which occur in the old poems and sagas, and even survive in modern colloquialisms.”

Today, the people of the law should pay more attention to what the linguists are doing, because much of what the linguists are doing is not correct.

Of interest is Grimm’s statement that law and national institutions are the truest exponents of the life and character of a people.

How do you change the society of peoples on our planet whose modern and historical character is one of lawlessness and the lack of the rule of law? Is this not the major problem in the Middle East and in other places of strife and conflict on our planet?

What do we do with peoples whose national character is manifested by their bowing down to idols (of religion) or by their allegiance to a rule by men (i.e. to rule by the whims of tyrants or religious despots) rather than by a rule by law? That in our opinion is the major modern problem of the current clash of civilizations.

We would ask: if a nation by the character of its people does not value individual freedom, can we ever really give it to them? or will they always revert back to the tyranny from which we are trying to free them? Perhaps there is no choice available but to act according to the most optimistic of answers, whereas those with a pragmatic bent of mind may be sceptical about the ultimate outcome.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #12 – Americas Populated only Recently

LawPundit does not limit itself to the legal field. There are all kinds of laws and beliefs in this world beyond “law” itself and also encompassing the laws of the physical sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, much of what we believe in science is not based on evidence but rather on intuition or guesswork.

The highly acclaimed Edge Foundation has 120 prominent minds commenting on John Brockman’s question: “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH YOU CANNOT PROVE IT?”

We comment on these comments by 120 prominent minds: This is #12.

Belief Without Proof : Evidence and the World – #12 – Americas Populated only Recently

JARED DIAMOND, Professor, biologist and geographer at UCLA and author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, believes that:

“[H]umans first reached the continents of North America, South America, and Australia only very recently, at or near the end of the last Ice Age.”

We Agree.

Diamond also writes:

Every year, discoveries of many purportedly older sites are announced, then to be forgotten. As the supporting evidence dissolves or remains disputed, we’re now in a steady state of new claims and vanishing old claims, like a hydra constantly sprouting new heads.”

We agree.

The reason, says Diamond, is:

“It makes better newspaper headlines to report “Wow!! New discovery overturns the established paradigm of American archaeology!!” than to report, “Ho hum, yet another reportedly paradigm-overturning discovery fails to hold up.””

We agree.

Megaliths of the Holy Land Deciphered

The Law Pundit does not generally mix in LexiLine postings with other of his websites, blogs and activities, but he recently made a discovery which is spectacular (if true), and it is thus presented here to our readers.

Megaliths of the Holy Land Deciphered as Ancient Land Survey by Astronomy

To the files of the LexiLine Group Newsletter on the History of Civilization which the Law Pundit owns and moderates, a new folder has been added entitled

Holy Land: Decipherment of the Megaliths of the Holy Land

In that folder are found the files

megalithsoftheholyland.gif and megalithsoftheholyland.png (both identical to the above graphic)

under the title

Astronomical Decipherment of the Megaliths of the Holy Land

as well as

tallalumayri.png (shown here below)

which shows the Megaliths of Tall al-Umayri, Madaba Plains, also deciphered previously as astronomy by the Law Pundit.

Megalithic Temple of Tall al-Umayri, Madab, Jordan deciphered as astronomy

These files intersect and complement one another as Tall al-Umayri, Madaba is a planisphere centered at Andromeda. In the megalithic survey of the Holy Land ca. 3000 BC, Madaba is a star of Andromeda. It is a perfect match.

My book Stars Stones and Scholars: The Decipherment of the Megaliths as an Ancient Survey of the Earth by Astronomy does not include a decipherment of the megaliths of the Holy Land because I had previously not deciphered them due to insufficient materials.

Due to an amazing stroke of good fortune, I recently acquired a book by Dieter Braasch entitled Pharaonen und Sumerer – Megalithiker aus dem Norden which contains a map of megalithic sites in the Holy Land (p. 171) based on an original map published by Peter Thomsen (1875-1954) in a book entitled “Kompendium der palästinensichen Altertumskunde” and published in 1913 (Verlag von J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1913. (VIII, 109 pp.) 23×16 cm. Wrappers, frontspiece, 42 text figures, German text.) See AbeBooks which has numerous copies available at varying prices.

According to my decipherment, which leaves no doubt whatsoever, The MEGALITHIC sites of the Holy Land (Fertile Crescent, today’s Israel, Palestine, parts of Jordan) are an astronomical sky map (Planisphere) of the Heavens ca. 3000 BC. It is an astronomical geodetic survey which is also recorded at TALL AL UMAYRI on the Madaba Plains in Jordan somewhat South of Amman and east of Jerusalem with Madaba marking principally Andromeda as confirmed by this new megalithic map based on Thomsen (1914) and Braasch (1997) and as deciphered by yours truly, Andis Kaulins, in 2005.

Based on a Vernal Equinox point ca. 3000 BC just West of Beersheba, the megalithic sites on Thomsen’s map extend from Beersheba in the South to Sidon in the North.

As I have discovered, ALL of the megalithic sites of the Holy Land on Thomsen’s map represent stars of the heavens. These sites are found organized into clusters of stars which represent classical stellar constellations of the sky, some as we see them today, some somewhat different, but all clearly recognizable. It would be possible to err on one or two such constellations, but not on this many. The overlap of the Holy Land Megaliths with this star map by pure chance is zero. There is no doubt that this was an ancient survey of the region by the megalith makers.

In the South are marked Aries, Triangulum, Andromeda, Perseus and Auriga. Today’s Jerusalem would be located at the top of Perseus as the star gamma, west of Madaba (Southwest of Amman, Jordan), which marks the star beta in Andromeda.

Perseus and Auriga are to the West of the Dead Sea, whereas Aries, Triangulum and Andromeda are to the right of the Dead Sea.

The River Jordan to the North thus marks Al Risha, the legendary cord of the fish in astronomy. I had suspected this earlier when I wrote about Madaba:

“In the astronomical survey of the fertile crescent, we thus find – provisionally – that Jordan apparently marked Andromeda, as evidenced by the large prominent stone in the temple which has the stars of Andromeda cupmarked on it. JORDAn is a name said to derive from Hebrew YARAD meaning “descend” or “flow down” and thus originally applied to the River Jordan. We find the ancient Arabic name al ‘ARD for Andromeda to be possibly related (see Richard Hinckley Allen, Star Names, p. 36). Perhaps this is origin of the astronomical line marked here at Andromeda as al RISHA, the band of the fish, which was called ARIT in Egypt, according to Renouf. All of those terms are similar matching the geography to astronomy in the hermetic tradition.”

North of the Dead Sea, we find Cassiopeia to the right of Cord of the Fish except for one star to the left. The “5-point-dice” form of Cepheus is also to the right of the River Jordan as is Lacerta, a constellation which the ancients considered important in ancient days.

Above Cepheus we find stars of Draco (apparently intermingled with the bright stars of Ursa Minor?) in a large half circle to mark the North Ecliptic Pole, i.e. the immovable “eye of God” in the heavens. But perhaps only Draco is intended.

To the left are the stars of Ursa Major (not complete – are two megalithic sites missing?). To the right of and above Draco, as well as to the right of the Sea of Galilee, we find megalithic sites marking Cygnus and Lyra.

The big surprise is found further North where all the bright stars of Hercules are used to mark the Northern region of the Holy Land.

To the left we find Tyros (Tyre) marking Arc-Turus and Sidon (Latvian Ziedon-is, blossom) marking Spica (the linguistic equivalencies are speculative).

We do not know if any megalithic sites exist North or South of these marked Megaliths.

In spite of the constant strife over this region in modern times, in 3000 BC the Holy Land belonged to the megalith-makers.

European Commission sworn in by EU High Court but Wasteland Media Takes Little Notice

Update: Please note that the European Union was expanded to 27 States on January 1, 2007 as Romania and Bulgaria joined the ranks of Member States.

What a difference, and I am not sure it is a good one from the standpoint of the European Union or the major news media, if we look one day later after President Bush’s inauguration, to the January 21, 2005 swearing-in ceremony of the 25-member European Commission by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

We found the story at the Scotsman Online at EU High Court Swears in European Commission.

The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union.

Nevertheless, the home page of the European Commission had nothing about the swearing-in ceremony, not even at its press release page, as of 5 p.m. Brussels time on this Friday, the day of the ceremony.

We did however find a mention of it at:

the Agenda page of Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission from Luxembourg
the Agenda page of Joe Borg, Member of the European Commission from Malta

EuropeanVoice.com has a rather confusing calendric entry regarding the ceremony.

The online front page of the BBC has nothing about it and concentrates on music, murder and soccer. How low the BBC has sunk in recent years.

CNN.com has an online front page filled with stupid garble about marginal events of little importance. An irrelevant photo captioned “Bush’s father and Vice President Cheney give the president money for the collection plate” highlights the page and CNN then goes in one breath from that meaningless photo to Bush’s very important inauguration message of US policy “with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” What jerks the people at CNN are, treating the inauguration address and Bush and Chaney in church as vaudeville.
There is no mention of the ceremony in Luxembourg.

Google News has nothing about the ceremony but a lot of muckraking.

USNews.com has nothing about the EU on its front page.

The International Herald Tribune features Middle East events of no long-term importance.

The German FAZ.net has nothing about the EU and features yet more news about a corrupt German politician. So what is new?

Even our favorite German newspaper DieWelt prefers a sensationalistic article about nuclear weapons problems to sober reporting of Bush’s inaugural speech. No word on the EU.

When T.S. Eliot wrote “The Wasteland” he was probably foreseeing modern mainstream media:

“What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? [with emphasis on the rubbish] Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, [MSM – mainstream media – calls those broken images headline stories today] where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. “

In any case, the EU ceremony, on the world scene, is apparently a “no event”.
On the other hand (we will exclude the on-the-ball Scotsman), when one looks at what garbage the major news media generally carry as their main news features, we can thank the Lord for blogs and bloggers.

The Scotsman writes about the EU ceremony:

“The ceremony in Luxembourg came two months after EC President Jose Manuel Barroso finally had his team approved by the European Parliament.

In their oath of office before the European Court of Justice, 25 EU commissioners – one from each EU state – promised not to favour their countries. The pledged to work “in the general interest” of the EU and vowed “neither to seek, nor to take instructions from any government or from any other body” until the end of their posts in 2009.

The Commission is the EU’s driving force and executive body. It drafts EU laws, oversees their implementation and ensures the free movement of goods, services, capital and people across the union.

Over the years, it has been given a greater role in steering economic policies. Mr Barroso, a former prime minister of Portugal, has given key posts to reform-minded figures to revive Europe’s sluggish economic growth. “

Compare that message with President Bush’s inaugural address and much in the difference between the missions of the United States and the EU worldwide will become clear. The United States has the responsibility to protect freedom and liberty on this planet, whereas the EU is provincially centered on its own economy and its own welfare, operating by means of commissions and committees, and taking its freedom and liberty for granted, which it has only by the grace of the military power of the USA.

Our advice to the mainstream media, by the way, if they are to survive the advance of blogging and similar “grass roots” developments, is that they learn to be able to distinguish and at least partially separate the wheat from the chaff in reporting daily ephemeral events and concentrate at least occasionally on things which have long-term significance. The inaugural address is one such piece of news which sets the tone of world policy of the USA for coming years. It should not be treated as vaudeville and should be given treatment in breadth. One begins truly to wonder what idiots are in charge of much of the major news media.

Free RSS News Feeds: Politics, Law, Media, Europe and more

Moreover.com has free Moreover RSS News Feeds for more than 330 news categories divided up into the following general headings (Business: general :: Business: media :: Companies :: Entertainment :: Finance :: Industry :: Internet :: Lifestyle :: Regional :: Science :: Society :: Sports :: Technology :: Top stories :: US regional). We have made a sample selection of some of these 330 feeds by category:


US Political Columnists

US Politics News


Law News

IP and Patents News

UK Law News


Media: Europe News

UK Media News


EU Integration News

Europe News

European Business News

Economics: The Theory of Earning and The Theory of Spending

Our previous post attacking the inheritance of wealth is not without a precedent in economics.

See The Economics of Inheritance (1939,1971) by Josiah Wedgwood (Director of the Bank of England 1942-1946 and owner of Wedgwood ceramics – the famous “Wedgwood China“)

“in which he [Wedgwood] attacked the principle of inherited wealth.”

As written at Josiah Wedgwood:

“Like many radicals at the time, Josiah Wedgwood was deeply influenced by the writings of Henry George. After reading Progress and Poverty Wedgwood wrote: “Ever since 1905 I have known that there was a man from God, and his name was Henry George! I had no need thenceforth for any other faith.” In Progress and Poverty [1877] George argued that the gap between the rich and the poor could only be closed by replacing the various taxes levied on labour and capital with a single tax on the value of property.”

Our previous post on Milton Friedman’s “economics of spending” does not mean that we are not capitalists. Quite the contrary, we are staunch capitalists – it is clearly the most pragmatic of all possible economics. However, any economic “theory of spending” must also have a comparable “theory of earning”. When we plug the search phrase “theory of earning” into Google, we get only 12 hits as compared to 105 for the “theory of spending”. Not only is an economic “theory of earning” nearly non-existent, but an economic “theory of spending” is also unexpectedly sparse. What on earth do the economists research??

Mike Alexander has a page devoted to the sparsely found “Spending Theory“, which analyzes the Harry S. Dent view in The Great Boom Ahead (1993) which concludes that spending is determined by demographic factors.

Alexander writes:

“Dent proposes that economic boom times are associated with increasing size of the mid-forties population, the major ‘spenders’, and that bust times are associated with a decreasing size of this population. He calls these oscillations in the number of middle-agers (at their peak-spending years) the spending wave.”

Interestingly, Dent in his book The Roaring 2000s (1998) calculates that immigration boosts spending with a 14-16 year lag since the average age of immigrants (in the USA) is age 30. Hence, writes Alexander, for Dent:

“it is the absolute changes in immigration (or birth) rate that affect the economy [years down the road].”

However, writes Alexander, a theory of spending must also take into account the theory of earning:

“What can explain the post-war boom were the strongly rising wages during this period, reflecting strong productivity growth. Two things are required for there to be a rise in spending. One is the desire to spend and the other is the means to spend. The first ought to be influenced by the population-relative spending wave in much the way that Dent hypothesizes. The second depends on growth in people’s earnings and the employment level. We can construct a “wage-adjusted” spending wave by multiplying the smoothed spending wave by the product of the median real wage and the percentage of workers who are employed. This adjusted spending wave correlates well with the post-war stock boom. Clearly, there was a spending wave in the 1950’s and 1960’s that arose not so much from an increase in the propensity to spend (demographics), but rather, from an increase in the ability to spend (wages & employment).

The adjusted spending wave shows a peak in 1969 and then a long decline until the early 1980’s, reflecting the combined effects [of] the rapid fall-off in the unadjusted spending wave after 1969 and stagnant wages after 1973. The rise of the wage-adjusted spending wave in the 1980’s and 1990’s reflects the strong growth in the middle-aged population after 1982, even though wages have remained stagnant. If the economy were to fall into recession in 2001, as seems increasingly likely, wages would likely fall in real terms and unemployment would certainly rise. We can use the relative changes in wages and employment during the 1990 recession as a template for predicting how the wage-adjusted spending wave might change after the year 2000 if we were to have a recession. … We find that, assuming a recession beginning this year, the wage-adjusted spending wave will have peaked in 2000, suggesting that the stock market peak in 2000 (and not some later peak around 2007) was the end of the secular bull market.” [emphasis added]

The way it looks to us, Alexander’s analysis has been proven correct. Although the demographics are present for increased spending at the current time, there has not been a necessary growth in people’s earnings or in their employment level. In the USA, the rich have been becoming increasingly richer (partly due to stupid tax refunds made by the Bush administration) and the poor have been becoming increasingly poorer, with the middle classes being dried out economically by greed at the top levels of the wealth ladder.

Indeed, the Bush administration tax refunds have been taken out of a government budget surplus which constituted assets of “all of the people” and put into the hands of the better-earning few, who have put that money back into treasury certificates, etc. – i.e. have loaned that same money back to the government to creat a budget deficit – whose interest payments “all of the people” will have to pay down the road. Some people have thus been made much richer and many have been made much poorer – this is the economic legacy of the Bush administration (note: we otherwise are generally favorable to the Bush administration in foreign policy).

Essentially, our analysis supports the most elementary conclusions of Keynesian economics. As stated at ECON 6030 STUDY PROBLEM #1: KEYNESIAN MACROECONOMICS by Roger W. Garrison, Professor of Economics at Auburn University)

“The workers’ loss of income means reduced spending, but spending isn’t reduced as much as the reduction in income (This is the key implication of Keynes’s consumer-spending theory: … Income and expenditures spiral downwards until … excess inventories are dissipated–at which point income equals expenditures, and the economy is in macroeconomic equilibrium….”

“The income level needs to rise if prosperity is to be achieved, but the market process (as envisioned by Keynes) will instead cause income to fall–until the level of savings is just enough to finance the current level of investment and government spending. This sort of perversity is characteristic of the market system according to John Maynard Keynes’s 1936 book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.”

Keynes’ major contribution to economics in that book was the following:

Distinguished British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) set off a series of movements that dramatically altered the ways in which economists view the world. In his most important work, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), Keynes critiqued the laissez faire policies of the day, particularly the proposition that a normally functioning market economy will bring full employment. Keynes’ forward-looking work transformed economics from merely a descriptive and analytic discipline to one that is policy-oriented. For Keynes, enlightened government intervention in a nation’s economic life was essential to curbing what he saw as the inherent inequalities and instabilities of unregulated capitalism.

[Amazing here is that politicians in Germany do not understand the implications of Keynesian theory for Germany’s unemployment problem and we would not be surprised if most of the Schroeder cabinet had never even heard of Keynes. It is rather incredible that such economic incompetents are running one of the world’s leading economies.]

In any case, rather than concentrating on a sensible “theory of earning”, the economists wander about – sometimes aimlessly – in the world of capital, envisioning only that CAPITAL and its INTEREST (i.e. accumulated and mostly INHERITED viz. GRATUITOUS wealth profiting from “earners”) – rather than POLICY and LAW (as in the case of inheritance or in achieving full employment), are the key to modern economies, without however analyzing the effects of “inherited wealth” or “gratuitous wealth” on those same economies.

By “inherited wealth” or “gratuitous wealth”, we mean here not only wealth that passes in testate (i.e. by a testament viz. will) but also include such inherited wealth and CAPITAL as private or government oil fields, etc., which confer “income” on the owners without their actually “earning” anything by work or talent. An owner of an oil field becomes wealthy because he has obtained ownership of the oil field and subsequently farms out the work to working “earners”. Many oil-producing countries have thus become phenomenally wealthy while others do the work. This kind of non-earned money tends to lead to evil ends, not only in oil-producing countries but all over the world. People who have not “earned” the money by either work or talent are given the means to make economic and political decisions which affect the world. This can not turn out well in the long term since people obtaining “freebies” are major policy makers for a world which can only survive if the “earners” earn.

Friedman sees the worst possible alternative of his four listed spending possibilities to be his number four:

“Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

We see the worst possible spending alternative to be an unstated FIFTH:

“Worst of all, I can spend money I have not earned on endeavors to make the world a worse place for everyone who does not believe the way I do.”

We need only study man’s war-torn history, not just merely current events, for myriad examples of this type of economic spending. Indeed, most governments fall into this fifth alternative category of spending, pushing their own private views of the world rather than trying to make that world a better place for their citizens.

When economists talk about capital and interest rates, they have to look to who it is that has that capital, how they got it and what interests drive the economic and political decisions of the controllers of capital. Then one can talk about money supply and interest rates and not before. A prime example of this principle are oil prices, which are determined politically and selfishly by oil cartels (otherwise illegal in capitalist systems) who control accumulated wealth which they themselves largely have not earned but which wealth is produced for them by external technology, external workers AND external consumers. They merely “sit” on the land where the oil is located. This lack of any connection between “having” wealth and actually “earning” that wealth leads to bizarre spending patterns by those controlling that same wealth. It is not necessary here to list them – everyone knows what they are.

If the people who “earned” the wealth of the world made the decisions – and this is one principle of democracy in permitting every citizen to vote and having that vote count equally as every other vote – then things would look better, as they do in the capitalist countries of civilization, such as the USA, where decisions to spend accumulated wealth are still connected – if imperfectly – to the will of the majority of “earners”. Such earners will tend to spend money for things that benefit THEM and THEIR interests in the long term. In countries such as many of the oil-producing nations, where democracy is not present in fact, tyrannical rulers or ruling privileged luxury oligarchies spend accumulated non-earned wealth to create worldwide political, social and military problems and to push their belief systems on others.

Strangely, on the macro-scale of nations, most people understand fully what a terrible thing the accumulation of wealth in the hands of “non-earners ” is. At the same time, those same people have trouble admitting that inheritance of wealth at the lowest level, i.e. personal inheritance by individuals, is equally undesirable.

So, the world continues to honor men who inherit wealth and do nothing, as some of the wealthy nobility of Europe do and dishonor men who do not inherit wealth and do nothing, as some of those who inherit nothing do. But both are doing nothing and are actually equals, from the standpoint of the economic needs of the world. Only “their” wealth is working – and that need not then be in their hands – it can be elsewhere.

Let a man earn what he can, and he will likely spend that money sensibly. Give a man his wealth without having earned it, and his spending will likely be inimical to societal needs in the long term. That is our theory of earning and spending.

There are of course exceptions to every rule. We have good friends who have inherited wealth and are doing wonderful things with their inheritance. So in some cases inheritance works.

But vast numbers of men around the world with similar fortunes do nothing for humanity – indeed, quite the contrary, they either spread violence and misery or spend their time in the vanities of money. Hence, the exceptions can not be used to make a general rule for all.

In closing, we must distinguish capital “earned” and capital “gratuitously received”. We look with great admiration to a man like Bill Gates of Microsoft – an “earner” rather than “inheritor” of his accumulated wealth – who is putting that wealth to work for the good of all through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And that is as it should be.

Who is making this world a better place: Bill Gates or the oil-producing countries?

The answer is clear, even if we occasionally have trouble with Windows XP.

Four Ways To Spend Money – Milton Friedman Misses the Boat

Via JurisPundit on Behavioral Economics

we are taken to

Cafe Hayek

on the Distorted Case for [Government] Intervention

quoting Milton Friedman

as interviewed by David Asman of FoxNews at QandO:

“There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.

Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!

Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40% of our national income.”

Milton is a great guy and we love some of his economics, which are quite practical, if often too simplistic, but Miltie sometimes misses the boat on the fact that “spending” money also has something to with “earning” money as opposed to “having” or “inheriting” non-earned money.

Although all the world struggles to earn a living, most of the world’s wealth is passed by inheritance each generation in amounts that most people could never earn in a lifetime. Is that inherited money really “their” money? Yes, by law it is, but only because “the government” says so. We could or could not allow inheritance by law. Why should we? Why not make everyone earn their way? Why not abandon taxes on “earned” money and increase taxes to 100% on “not-earned” money. Then you would have a fair system for all and the world would look much different than it does today.

We have plenty of examples of inherited money being burned away by the inheritors, because even if it is “their” money, they never earned it. The daughter of Onassis reportedly spent millions per day, yet the revenue on her inherited wealth increased more per day than she could spend. Her money? Naw. It was the money others were earning for her by the sweats of their brow, not hers.

Miltie, you missed the boat and really do not have a good idea of where the money is. If you have to earn money, you are basically poor. If you have money earning for you – which only can happen if “others” are working to earn it – then you have a luxury ride. That’s the way a good share of our economy works and why over 90% of America’s wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population.

The problem is not so much government. The problem is in fact false distribution – and that distribution exists because of inheritance and not because of Uncle Sam. Frankly, Uncle Sam does not do enough to distribute America’s wealth fairly, and that is why there is so much criminality and social unrest. On this score, Europe thus far has done a much better job, but we now have so many idiots here in government as well, chief of whom are the Schroeder administration in Germany, so things do not look good for the future. Some are getting richer and richer and more and more are getting poorer and poorer. Miltie, your economics will not help them.

Down the road, there will be war and revolution. That is the price for false economics and inequitable distributions of wealth.