Monday, 28 December 2009

Crítica a Avatar

Comentario editado al post "Avatar y la Libertad" del blog La Libertad y la Ley. Please find the English version of this article below.

No me considero un analfabeto funcional (¿es necesario no parar de insultar para escribir un blog?) pero creo que Avatar es una película abiertamente contraria al liberalismo, es decir, James Cameron ha conseguido lo que se proponía. Precisamente quería debatir esta película en la próxima quedada liberal hispano-londinense.

Avatar es claramente anti-desarrollista. Muestra que los buenos son los seres antropomorfos azules y los humanos que se posicionan en contra del desarrollismo.

La tribu no es una comuna en absoluto, muy al contrario es un claro ejemplo de absolutismo ilustrado donde sólo la familia jefe tiene el poder, toma decisiones y se declaran únicos conocedores de la verdad. Es decir, Papá Estado encarnado en los gobernantes es el depositario de la soberanía y el hombre no puede pensar por sí mismo sino aceptar lo que la sacerdotisa de turno ordene como si fuesen decisiones de la Madre Naturaleza.

Además, no estoy de acuerdo en que los que nacen en cierto lugar son los propietarios únicos de tal lugar: eso es nacionalismo, que está bastante alejado de la idea liberal.

Me considero liberal, por tanto estoy en contra del uso de la fuerza para iniciar una agresión, pero esta película intenta asociar la libre empresa al imperialismo y a la violencia. Los liberales no podemos caer en la trampa, debemos indicar que la mayoría de las agresiones están dirigidas o controladas por los gobiernos y los estatistas, aunque muchas veces la ejecución esté a cargo de una empresa privada.

Hollywood y la Mafia del Cine Español están plagados de socialistas entre los que las pelis maniqueas que usan sensiblerías en contra del liberalismo ganan el aplauso fácil.

Love and freedom.

---------

I think Avatar is a film openly positioned against liberalism, i.e., James Cameron has obtained what he intended. I would like to have a debate about this film at the next hispanic-londoner libertarian meeting.

Avatar is clearly against the use of natural resources to fund the development of mankind. It portrays the blue antropomorphic beings (the Na'vi) and the humans who defend their culture as the good characters.

The tribe is not a commune at all; on the contrary it is a clear instance of enlightened absolutism where the chief family is the only holder of power, take decisions on their own and claim to be the only ones who know the truth. In other words, Dad State embodied by the governments are the holders of sovereignity and men cannot think by themselves but follow the priestess' commands as if they came from Mother Nature.

I am libertarian, so I am against the use of violence to initiate an agression, i.e., in cases that are not self-defence. (I would admit one exception to this rule that I shall explain some day.) But Avatar intends to asociate the free-market to imperialism and violence. Libertarians should not fall into this trap; we should highlight that most violent agressions are led or controlled by the governments and the statist people, though many times such agressions are executed by a private company.

In addition, I diagree with the idea that people who are born in a given place are their only owners: that is nationalism, that is pretty far away from the liberal/libertarian idea.

Hollywood and the Spanish Cinema Mafia are full of socialists who quickly praise manichean films that use mawkish ideas and sentimental plots against liberalism.

Love and freedom.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

From "Denationalisation of Money" by Hayek

Mi propuesta concreta consiste en que los países se comprometan mediante un tratado formal a no obstaculizar en manera alguna el libre comercio dentro de sus territorios de las monedas de cada país (incluidas las monedas de oro) o el libre ejercicio, por instituciones legalmente establecidas en cualquiera de los países firmantes del tratado, de la actividad bancaria sin trabas.

F. Hayek, Denationalisation of Money (1976)


A strong discussion is being held in the world on how to tackle the current financial, economical and credit crisis and on how to prevent the crisis from ocurring again in the future. Everyone is speaking, some are listening, most are waiting for others to come up with the solution, but only a very few are actually giving original, potentially appropriate ideas. Well, that is what usually happens in any debate.

However, no matter how one can argue for a better answer or how inappropriate the executed propositions are, only the empowered parties are able to put their ideas into practice within the scope of their power. Thus governments are able to take their (almost always) wrong decisions and waste taxpayers' wealth; companies' and banks' directors are able to take their (often) wrong decisions and waste shareholders' wealth; property or capital owners are able to take their (frequently) wrong decisions and waste their own wealth; workers are able to take wrong decisions and waste their own efforts.

Free market makes directors, shareholders, workers and property or capital owners accountable of their own decisions. However, governments and governors are not subjected to the free market but have enough power to avoid any accountability (even before the taxpayer). One of the main signs of this lack of accountability for governments is inflation or depreciation of the currency.

Hayek claims in his "Denationalisation of Money" that History is in a great part a series of inflations caused by the authority and the governments. I concur.

Love and freedom.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Adjetivos de izquierdas

Ser de izquierdas significa tener una compasión infinita por la humanidad en abstracto y un absoluto desprecio por los seres humanos de carne y hueso.

Daniel Rodríguez Herrera (Libertad Digital, 16/08/2009)


El socialismo nace del egoísmo y de la envidia.

Love and freedom.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Sobre la paradoja estatista

"Quiero quedarme lo que gano" se considera egoísta y retrógrado.

"Quero quitarte lo que ganas" se considera altruista y progresista.

Boudreaux, Cafehayek.com

(vía A. Esplugas)


Comentario a la entrada "Paradoja progresista" de Albert Esplugas.

Siguiendo aquella entrada sobre la necesidad de una retórica liberal, los escritores y lectores de la blogosfera liberal debemos llamar "estatistas" a los que se hacen llamar "progresistas". Los "progres" son meramente estatistas (por no decir retrógrados). Es más, los anti-mercado son estatistas por partida doble: partidarios del Estado y del "status quo".

Va a ser, por cierto, difícil cambiar el Estado y el "status quo" porque, por desgracia, hasta el presidente del Gobierno de la Nación es un sindicalista retrógrado y piquetero. Un estatista, vamos.

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Huerta de Soto explica la crisis en 30 minutos (y II)

La recesión económica es el comienzo de la recuperación, porque es cuando se ponen de manifiesto los errores cometidos en la etapa previa. Se caracteriza por un realineamiento, un cambio en los precios relativos y en general una bajada de ellos, sobre todo en los bienes de capital en los que se han cometido más errores.

J. Huerta de Soto, Entrevista para la Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala


Les regalo la segunda parte de la entrevista concedida por el catedrático de economía Jesús Huerta de Soto de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de España a la Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala. Visiten mi artículo original para poder ver ambas partes.

Love and freedom.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Solución a la deuda del Ayuntamiento de Jerez

Y que no se nos olvide que estos señores que sólo han sido capaces de ofrecernos un folio, cargado de medidas que pueden conducir al "desmantelamiento" del Ayuntamiento como prestador de servicios, son los que nos gobiernan.

Lidia Menacho, Blog "Habla Jerez" (24/07/2009)


Comentario al post "1 folio para tapar [un agujero de] 450 millones de euros" de Lidia Menacho:

Las actuales instituciones públicas (ayuntamientos, diputaciones provinciales, comunidades autónomas, estados nacionales, federaciones supranacionales) y las organizaciones satélites son sistemas ineficientes de asignación de recursos tanto como proveedores de bienes y de servicios como de organización de las sociedades humanas. La Historia prueba repetidamente que el sistema menos ineficiente (esto es, óptimo en la práctica) es el Mercado (entended bien este concepto antes de rechazarlo, leed a Jesús Huerta de Soto). Además, el Mercado es el sistema más democrático al tener como condición indispensable la voluntariedad de las partes que establecen una relación o transacción. Por añadidura, el Mercado es el sistema menos corrupto que se ha inventado (por favor, buscadme un caso de corrupción en el que no haya algún político involucrado).

La insostenible deuda pública que atenaza España no me sorprende (de hecho, la esperaba); lo que me sorprende y apena es que los españoles sean engañados continuamente por los estatistas (todos aquellos que viven de o son injustamente favorecidos por el Estado) para seguir confiando en este sistema de organización social tan corrupto e ineficiente que se llama Estado. Aunque realmente los estatistas no engañan a todos, sino que sobornan a un número suficiente de ciudadanos para poder mantener el poder (nada de progresistas, son estatistas por partida doble: partidarios del Estado y del status quo).

La única forma de mejorar la ciudad de Jerez es reducir su dependencia del Estado (incluyendo el Ayuntamiento). Mientras no se siga este camino, Jerez, España y el resto del mundo seguirá yendo periódicamente a la ruina (como la crisis que está ocurriendo ahora que precisamente NO es culpa del Mercado sino del Estado).

Si realmente quieres ayudar a Jerez, debes intentar que el Ayuntamiento y los demás poderes públicos se inmiscuyan lo menos posible en la vida de la gente, es decir, reduzcan su poder al mínimo. Sólo de esa forma los jerezanos podrán ayudarse a sí mismos y progresar.

Dices que el PSOE de Jerez propone unas medidas que involuntariamente provocarán el "desmantelamiento" del Ayuntamiento como prestador de servicios; yo digo: ¡bienvenidas sean esas medidas!

Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

El Xerez CD en Primera División

La fiesta del ascenso del Xerez a Primera ha sido la noche más grande que he visto en años en Jerez.
Un colega mío (21/06/2009)


Sí, sí, vamos mi Xerez, yo te quiero, yo te adoro, pero a ver cuántos jerezanos se van a tener que hipotecar para poder ver el Xerez-Madrid y el Xerez-Barsa en el Chapín. Aunque eso sí, pedir día libre en el curro para la jornada del miércoles no les va a hacer falta, para eso están todos en el paro. Sin contar los impuestos y las multas del ORA necesarios para pagar las deudas del Ayuntamiento (y los Mercedes de los pobres futbolistas...). En fin, jerezanos, que tenemos lo que nos merecemos: un equipo en Primera y ser campeones de la Champions del paro.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Human leadership: men or women?

The History of living beings follows the rules of Nature, the first one of which is about the survival of the species (or rather specific "selfish" genes associated to the species).

In the human beings’ case, chances of survival of the species were seen to be higher through the development of families and tribes. Female members must have had the highest status in human being’s early groups as they were the key to the survival of the group given they give birth to the offspring. Wombs are women's key competitive advantage over men from Nature's point of view.

However, as human groups had to fight for food and territory in order to ensure their survival, physical contact-prone war boosted the status of men over women. This is because men's usually greater physical strength made them more useful face-to-face warriors. Besides, women’s death reduced the ability to raise new group members. Thus, war enabled men to demand leadership of human groups.

In recent years, the development of war arts with no physical contact has weakened the importance of physical strength in battles and has enabled women to fight next to the male members of their groups.

Thus, as the rationale for male leadership is weaker, women find it easier to assert their roles within the human groups. Since men have been stripped off their key competitive advantage over women (physical strength), but women retain theirs (wombs), it is possible that women recoup the leadership status of the human society.

Scientific and engineering progress, though, is already changing human groups’ structure and it may completely overhaul it if ways to override Nature’s choices are found, mastered and applied not only on an exception basis. These ways may include techniques for a variety of non-natural developments, such as full, stable sex changes, addition of wombs to male humans, artificial production of sperm/eggs, building of android robots, off-family styles of breeding the offspring, cloning, appearance of Homo Sapiens sub-species, creation of Homo Sapiens Sapiens beings, or the creation of an alternative species that is able to breed with human beings.

Who knows what the future will bring? All I know is that for the time being all human beings are born free and equal in dignity, rights, freedoms, and obligations, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Por un Frente Liberal

Comentario a la entradilla "Votarías a Stalin como mal menor?" de Albert Esplugas.

Albert:

El truco para cambiar el sistema no es ir en contra el sistema, sino aprovecharte de él.

La pregunta ante la ausencia de un partido político genuinamente liberal no es si te abstienes o votas por el mal menor. La pregunta es por qué diantres los liberales/libertarios/ancaps no montamos un partido liberal/libertario/ancap? Por eso propongo un Frente Liberal.

El problema es que los liberales/libertarios/ancaps somos demasiado individualistas y celosos de nuestra libertad como para trabajar en un proyecto del estilo de un partido político.

El Instituto Juan de Mariana o el agregador RedLiberal han sido y son iniciativas cruciales para el desarrollo del liberalismo en España. Un partido político (por desgracia, la única forma de ejercer el poder en el sistema partitocrático español) es el siguiente paso natural.

Con 100.000 votos se colocaría entre los 10 primeros partidos de España. De verdad que no podemos juntar ese número de votos?

El Partido Pirata sueco ha demostrado que se puede convencer a mucha gente por internet. Por ejemplo, ya sólo con apoyar la eliminación del canon digital se agregaría un buen número de votantes.

La duda es cómo liberales/libertarios/ancaps podríamos ponernos de acuerdo en el programa electoral, en la lista de candidatos y en la tarea común de este hipotético "Frente Liberal"?

Love and freedom.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Tips to bid successfully

Please find below some tips to bid successfully.

Attributes of a winning bid:
1. Capability.
2. Creativity.
3. Credibility.
4. Compatibility.
5. Commitment.

Phases of a winning bid.
1. Prepare: mobilise, understand, plan.
2. Execute: interact, articulate, present.
3. Win: follow-up, capitalise.

Client roles in a competitive tender process
1. Gatekeeper
2. Decision-maker
3. Evaluator
4. Influencer
5. Coach

Phases of a client relationship:
1. Unknown party.
2. Service supplier.
3. Trusted advisor.
4. Trusted partner.

Love and freedom.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Tips for a successful team

Please find below tips to form a successful team.

Attributes of a winning team:
1. Common goal.
2. Self-belief.
3. Collaboration.
4. Creativity.
5. Role balance

By recognising specific personality types and skill bases, a random group of individuals can be structured to become a highly effective team that delivers much more than the sum of its parts. Successful teams combine the right mix of people with complementary skills. At the same time, individuals in a balanced, successful team will feel more motivated and will perform more effectively.

Some studies suggest eight essential roles are needed to form an optimum team:

1. Explorer Networker: keeps in touch with new thinking, inquisitive, excited by ideas/challenges, enjoys people, spots opportunities, uses initiative.

2. Leader Co-ordinator: encourages people to participate, offers co-ordination and control, resolves differences of opinion, averts and defuses conflicts.

3. Driver: energises people, pushes for action, asserts views on what needs to be done, challenges alternative opinions.

4. Completer Achiever: approaches tasks in an urgent meticulous manner, maintains standards, meets deadlines.

5. Specialist: a technical approach, specific area of expertise, maintains a specialist role.

6. Analyst: demonstrates analytical rigour in thinking, decisions are considered and educated.

7. Team Coach: attentive to people's needs and welfare, listens to concerns, explores feelings on a particular issue.

8. Innovator: source of creative thinking for strategies and problems, break-through approaches, original ideas.

What team member role do you fulfill?

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tips to achieve success

No success is achieved without trying. Yet fear of failure is as important a cause for procrastination as fear of pain.

Skillset is absolutely necessary for people to reach an average level; however, it's mindset what turns average people into successful elite.

Motivation, focus, and positive physiology make people believe in themselves. Confidence is the key to success. If you aim at the target and follow through, you will likely get through.

None the less, please do not belittle skillset because if we motivate a monkey, what do we get? Just a motivated monkey!

Love and freedom.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Lingüistas por el "-ente"

Me cuenta L., una amiga lingüista, que en español existen los participios activos como derivados verbales. Por ejemplo:

- el participio activo del verbo "atacar", es atacante;
- el de "sufrir", sufriente;
- el de "cantar", cantante;
- el de "existir", existente.

¿Cuál es el participio activo del verbo "ser"?
El participio activo del verbo "ser", es 'ente'. El que es: el ente, que tiene entidad.

Por ese motivo cuando queremos denotar que una persona posee la capacidad para ejercer la acción que expresa un verbo, adjetivamos el nombre usando el participio activo conveniente posponiendo la terminación 'ente' a la raíz del verbo.

Así, a la persona que preside se le dice presidente, no presidenta, independientemente del sexo que tenga la persona o del género que tenga el nombre. Más aún:
- se dice la capilla ardiente, no ardienta;
- se dice la o el estudiante, no la estudianta;
- se dice el o la adolescente, no la adolescenta;
- se dice la o el paciente, no la pacienta.

Lean en voz alta un ejemplo chirriante de este mal uso del español:

La vicepresidenta era una estudianta adolescenta, sufrienta y poco pacienta, que quería ser eleganta para que la nombraran representanta y además llegar a ser integranta de la asamblea constituyenta. Ahora por fin es la vicepresidenta presenta, pero llegará el día que la veremos sonrienta en una capilla ardienta por ahora inexistenta.

¡Qué mal suena esta retahíla, Vicepresidenta, política dirigenta y miembra contenta!


No se debe llevar la política de igualdad hasta el absurdo (o la absurda ;-).

Love and freedom.

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Terminator Turns into a Spendinator

Cato Institute fellow Danny Mitchell said, California is the "France of America". Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has turned from Terminator into Spendinator.

Obama's America and Gordon's UK are following California's unsustainable spending path and they will all pay the consequences later (I mean, the taxpayers will pay the consequences later). Increasing government spending means extracting wealth from the market economy either by taxation or by borrowing which will have to be paid in the future by taxation again.

As Milton Friedman said today's style of democratic government is not a government of the majority, but a government of sufficient coalitions of special interest minorities:
La mayoría gobierna. Pero es un tipo bastante especial de mayoría. Está formada por una coalición de minorías con intereses especiales diferentes. El método para conseguir la elección para el Congreso consiste en reunir grupos de, digamos, el dos o el tres por ciento de los electores, cada uno de los cuales está muy interesado en un tema especial que difícilmente preocupa al resto de los votantes. Cada grupo estará dispuesto a votar a un candidato si éste promete apoyar este punto, sin considerar lo que haga respecto a otros temas. Si juntamos un número suficiente de estos grupos, alcanzaremos una mayoría de un 51 por ciento. Este es el tipo de mayoría que dirige el país.


Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Huerta de Soto explica la crisis en 30 minutos

Esta crisis financiera de 2008 ha demostrado que la economía intervenida no funciona. Hay que dejar paso al mercado libre.

J. Huerta de Soto, Entrevista para la Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala


El catedrático de economía Jesús Huerta de Soto de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de España explica la crisis financiera y económica en una entrevista concedida a la Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala. Disfrútenla y aprendan.

Love and freedom.



Update 29/07/2009.

Les regalo la segunda parte de la entrevista concedida por el catedrático de economía Jesús Huerta de Soto de la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos de España a la Universidad Francisco Marroquín de Guatemala.

Friday, 8 May 2009

City A.M.'s editor is aware of Huerta's free banking view

I want to share with you the continuation of my correspondence with Allister Heath, editor of London morning paper City A.M., on free banking. The first issues of this correspondence can be read here and here.


From: Borjabrela
To: Allister Heath
Date: 6 May 2009 01:57
Subject: Re: Comment to "Time running out for dollar dominance"

Dear Allister,

Thanks for replying to my email. I did not expect you were going to have even a minute for this humble reader. Much appreciated.

In Spain free-marketeers are fortunately gathering together around associations such as the Austrian-school Juan de Mariana Institute (http://www.juandemariana.org/en/) to promote the ideas of freedom, individual rights and the free market. (Note: I am member of no association yet).

Spanish free-marketeers like to consider Professor Huerta de Soto's economic cycle theory as the best explanation of the perspective on money, banking, and the law of the Austrian school (beating that one by R. Garrison) and definitely the best explanation of the economic issues. It seems that some people at the Mises Institute agree.

Please find Professor Huerta's main work at:
http://www.mises.org/store/Money-Bank-Credit-and-Economic-Cycles-P290.aspx

I am very interested in learning your opinion on Professor Huerta's theory. I believe it very accurate and I think it should be promoted.

Many Thanks and Regards


From: Allister Heath
To: Borjabrela
Date: 6 May 2009 16:11
Subject: Re: Comment to "Time running out for dollar dominance"

The key is whether you support fractional reserve banking but backed by a commodity standard; or whether you want to get rid of fractional reserve banking entirely, as Huerta wants to do. Of the two approaches, I prefer the Garrison-Larry White-George Selgin view.
Best wishes
Allister

xxxxxxxxx

I have just read that Juan Ramon Rallo (member of Juan de Mariana Institute) has published a Entrevista con Albert Esplugas sobre la banca libre (Interview with Albert Esplugas on free banking, only available in Spanish) in his blog, where he argues against (precisely) the view of Larry White and George Selgin.

Huerta-Rallo v Garrison-White-Selgin: that is a very exciting debate!

Love and freedom.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Back to the Future Recession


From: John Mauldin [mailto:wave@frontlinethoughts.com]
Sent: 25 April 2009 06:01
To: Borjabrela
Subject: Back to the Future Recession - John Mauldin's Weekly E-Letter (Excerpts)

MV=PQ. This is an important equation, right up there with E=MC2. M (money or the supply of money) times V (velocity -- which is how fast the money goes through the system -- if you have seven kids it goes faster than if you have one) is equal to P (the price of money in terms of inflation or deflation) times Q (roughly standing for the Quantity of production, or GDP).

So what happens is, if we increase the supply of money and velocity stays the same, and if GDP does not grow, that means we'll have inflation, because this equation always balances. But if you reduce velocity (which is happening today) and if you don't increase the supply of money, you are going to see deflation.


We are in the middle of a Great Experiment, the one truly great experiment of this time; so the economists are fascinated. We have Keynes versus von Mises versus Irving Fisher versus Friedman, and they all have theories about what you should do after depressions and what works.

Let's get back to our discussion of the Great Experiment. Von Mises said there is nothing you can do about a deleveraging cycle, you basically just let it all go to hell and then pick up the pieces. The hair-shirt economists, I call the Austrians: just let it drop, take your medicine, take your 15-20% unemployment, and just deal with it, because you'll be able to come back faster from the lower base. By the way, to von Mises, the velocity of money was a meaningless concept. Gold was where you should have had your money to begin with.

Then there is Friedman, who produced his great work that says inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon. He had his studies to prove it. But when he did his studies, in the 30 years that he analyzed, the velocity of money was remarkably stable. So of course, inflation had a 1-to-1 correlation with money supply.

Fisher says, "The velocity of money is important." For Fisher, debt deflation controlled all other economic variables. It was the driving economic force. You're going to have to rationalize all your debts. There's nothing you can do about it; but what you do is, do as much as you can to provide a soft landing for the people who lose their jobs. Do whatever you can to get them along and to keep the system working, but you are still going to have to go through a credit reorganization. We are going to find out in 5-6 years who was right. That is the experiment we are living through. My bet's on Fisher, just for the record.

So how did we get it so wrong? How did we get here? Let's go back to first principles: Ideas have consequences. And bad ideas tend to have bad consequences. We've taught two generations of financial managers theories that were patently absurd. Rob Arnott is going to be here later with us for the panel discussion. Rob recalls standing in front of 200 academics, professors in schools that teach economics. He asked them, "How many of you believe in the efficient market hypothesis?" Something like two or three raised their hands. "How many of you teach it?" All of them raised their hands.

The future is going to look different, yet we think we can model it. The models are bullshit. (That's a technical economics term that requires advanced degrees to use.) They just are. Now you can take some comfort from them, and you have to try and figure stuff out, and you look for correlations. That's what I do, and we all do that. I confess I use models every day.



Good letter from John Mauldin.

I disagree with the bashing of the efficient markets hypothesis. In my opinion the Market (which is the grouping of all people who can enter into voluntary transactions) is the largest group of human beings that can be formed and achieves optimal efficiency in the LONG RUN. The issue is to try and model the short future with the efficient markets hypothesis because the behavioural markets hypothesis (carrot and stick markets) may work in the SHORT RUN.

MV = PQ formula seems correct. The solution to the current economical problems is accountability as usual. No one wants to be responsible for the wrong amount of M and lots of hypocresy exists around the increase of P (the largest theft in History). So let private suppliers of money which pay for their own mistakes supplying money (excessive credit or random price movements) and you will most likely get a stable P and an appropriate M.

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Presidente, dimisión

Hay muchos motivos para pedirle, José Luís Rodríguez, Presidente del Gobierno del Reino de España, que dimita, pida perdón a los españoles y convoque inmediatamente elecciones al Parlamento Nacional anticipadas. Apunto debajo unos cuantos motivos:

1. Por el aumento del paro hasta más de 4 millones de personas incluso manipulando las cifras para ocultar 1 millón de desempleados.
2. Por el incendio de Guadalajara donde murieron varios bomberos por la irresponsabilidad de su gobierno.
3. Por la negociación con ETA después de haber prometido no hacerlo.
4. Por liberar al terrorista De Juana Chaos sin que haya pagado de forma justa por sus numerosos asesinatos.
5. Por la incapacidad de su gobierno para evitar o siquiera alertar del incremento de los precios por la burbuja crediticia.
6. Por la crisis con Marruecos, que está derrotando a España en todas las batallas por las traiciones del partido político que usted dirige.
7. Por no enfrentarse a Hugo Chávez, a Evo Morales y a Daniel Ortega a pesar de sus repetidos ataques contra España.
8. Por el lavado de cerebro que supondrá la asignatura Educación para la Ciudadanía.
9. Por atacar a radios que le critican como la Cope.
10. Por los soldados españoles muertos en Afganistan, Líbano y en Yemen.
11. Por ser un cobarde ante los asesinatos de la banda terrorista Eta en el aeropuerto de Barajas.
12. Por no ilegalizar partidos defensores del terror como ANV y PCTV hasta que no le interesó políticamente.
13. Por la Ley de la Memoria Histórica con la que los que se consideran agraviados por la Guerra Civil del 36 intentan resucitar el odio entre españoles.
14. Por rendirse ante los regionalismos segregacionistas.
15. Por la ineptitud del gobierno que usted dirige para resolver los incendios en Galicia o las inundaciones en el Levante español.
16. Por los desastres de infraestructuras en Cataluña; por... (sigo otro día)

Love and freedom.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The Bernanke Reflation

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal 03/03/2008
(summarised by Borjabrela)

The Bernanke Reflation

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress that the Fed will do whatever it takes to stop the credit squeeze from becoming a recession. That's about as close as a central banker will get to saying he's thrown price stability to the wind. If inflation rises -as it now surely will- the Fed will worry about that after the econocmy is safely past the credit crunch.
Call it the Bernanke reflation, though it's more precise to call it the Fed's second inflation gamble of the decade. The first was Alan Greenspan's roll of the dice from 2003-2005, keeping interest rates too low for far too long in the aftermath of the dot-com bust. That spurred the first boom in commodity prices, as well as the subsidy for debt that led to the housing bubble and the credit mania whose collapse we are now dealing with. Mr. Bernanke was a Fed Governor during much of that time, and he seems to have learned his lessons all too well. He's now going all-in for round two.
Meanwhile, even the Phillips Curve is making a comeback. That's the notion -discredited in the 1970s- that there is a trade-off between inflation and economic growth. In its new version, argued by Fed Governor Frederic Mishkin, the Phillips Curve doesn't exist in the long term but does in the short term. Thus the Fed can afford to open the monetary flood gates now because the slower economy could lead to lower prices later this year. Then when the economy recovers, the Fed can afford to tighten money again.
The Americans aren't fooled by this, and they know their dollars buy less with each passing month. This explains their rising economic anxiety -and anger- better than trade or job losses do. Inflation is the great thief of the middle class.


Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Germany: Republic of Fear

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal 03/03/2008

Republic of Fear
by Malte Lehming (summarised by Borjabrela)

Your heart rate sinks, muscles stiffen, you lose control of bodily functions: You're frozen with fear. This primal reflex to danger is a familiar phenomenon in nature but it's less common for it to strike nearly all of a political class in a democracy. Welcome to Germany.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was an event that was celebrated at the time as a triumph of freedom and hope over despair. Barely 20 years after the united Germany is frozen with fear. It's as if the East Germans have exacted a delayed revenge on their brothers and sisters in the West: "Your political model may have won, but we'll infect your society by reviving militant antimilitarism, a yearning for security at all cost, and a craze for distributive justice - until the whole country is paralysed."

Four electoral shocks show this. First, in the 2002 Bundestag elections, Social Democrats and Greens saved themselves from defeat with thunderous anti-Iraq war propaganda, playing upong strong anti-American resentments. They laid the groundwork for a new, left-wing German national consciousness that had not previously existed because of the country's Nazi past. "For the first time, I'm proud to be a German," went the refrain -proud to have resisted a war that no one had asked them to join in the first place. Gerhard Schroder ultimately won the elections. But no German government would ever change this: better to sacrifice NATO and give up on the fight against terrorism than advocate such unpopular notions as solidarity with one's allies.

Second, in the 2005 Bundestag elections Mrs. Merkel made the mistake of overestimating her countrymen's sense of reality. She announced economic reforms, which were urgently necessary, but was consequently accused of neo-liberalism. On the German scale of negatives, neo-liberalism come right after fascism. So instead of a reform-minded coalition with the Free Democratic Party, Mrs. Merkel was forced into a "grand" standstill coalition with the Social Democrats. The preliminary result of these two electoral shocks: No more war. No more reforms.

Third, in the 2008 elections in the Hesse state the incumbent Christian Democrat governor was defeated when he revived the old coservative slogan: freedom not socialism. So the third lesson: No more freedom. Anyone who asks Germans to choose between freedom and socialism risks their choosing the latter.

Fourth shock, the rise of the Left Party. The Left Party's slogans are extremely popular: Out of Afghanistan! More justice! Better protection from layoffs! Across-the-board minimum wages! No university fees! No privatisation of state-owned companies! On all these points, surveys show the ultraleft in sync with a majority of Germans.

To counter this, helpless Social Democrats are abandoning any sort of "Third Way" and the Christian Democrats are push into the center acting demonstratively unconservative, cuddly, impartial. Germany's political class is stunned by this effect. Those who become rigid with fear hope they won't be discovered by their predators. But this instinct designed to ensure survival can quickly spell their doom. Once discovered, motionless as they are, they become very easy prey.


Love and freedom.

Monday, 27 April 2009

City AM editor's reply to my letter

Allister Heath, editor of London morning paper City A.M., replied to the letter I emailed him on 26 March 2009 regarding the denationalisation of money.

From: allister.heath@cityam.com
To: Borjabrela
Date: 3 April 2009 19:22
Subject: RE: Comment to "Time running out for dollar dominance"

I am very familiar with Hayek’s IEA book. However, I much prefer the monetary alternative outlined in (for example) http://www.umsl.edu/~whitelh/tmi.html
The best explanation of the modern Austrian credit cycle theory is probably contained in http://www.auburn.edu/~garriro/tam.htm
What I was trying to do was see whether SDRs could be turned into an alternative, sounder regime as a first step towards reform.
Thanks for reading City A.M.

Best wishes
Allister

I am very pleased with his reply. I have already ordered Roger Garrison's "Time and Money. The Macroeconomics of Capital Structure" via Amazon.

Love and freedom.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Suceso doméstico

Suceso. Una tarde nublada de otoño.
Sucesos. A toda página y una foto
En la esquina.
El suceso más trágico del día, seguro.
Total: uno nada más. Uno más.
Ni ella cayó, ni yo huí: sucedió
al contrario.
En realidad la culpa es suya;
sí, señor, de usted, señor, no me mire
sorprendido, usted que lee y se calla.
(Pase página y perdone la molestia)

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Accounting standards under attack

Standard-setters should defuse the argument by making clear that their job is not to regulate banks but to force them to reveal information. The banks, their capital-adequacy regulators and politicians seem to dream of a single, grown-up version of the truth, which enhances financial stability. Investors and accountants, however, think all valuations are subjective, doubt managers’ motives and judge that market prices are the least-bad option. They are right. A bank’s solvency is a matter of judgment for its regulators and for investors, not whatever a piece of paper signed by its auditors says it is. Accounts can inform that decision, but not make it.

The Economist.com, Messenger, shot (16/04/2009)


The Economist on April 16th 2009 has a piece (Messenger, shot) on banks and accounting standards in favour of the accounting standard-setters' independence and alerts that accounting rules are under attack by politicians and banks.

The centre of the problem is the 'mark-to-market' technique of pricing the fair value of the financial elements: assets and liabilities, income and expenses and the resulting equities.

Banks and other companies have been benefiting from this 'mark-to-market' pricing technique while the global economy was on the upbeat side of the credit cycle, since cheap credit allowed eager buyers and happy sellers inflate the asset price bubble while keeping the liabilities' side easy to service and re-fund if necessary. Thus banks and many other companies have been able to post ever-increasing profits in the past years since the dot-com crash in 2002.

Alas, what goes around comes around and bankers now face the problem of having to report big losses when that very same 'mark-to-market' pricing technique forces them to price down their assets uncovering many ill-fated investments and inefficiencies in many revenue models.

Now bankers and their purchased friends the politicians are whining that this 'mark-to-market' valuing of their assets is not fair because "market prices overstate losses, because they largely reflect the temporary illiquidity of markets, not the likely extent of bad debts." Well, indeed they are right, but they never complained when the market prices overstated profits and asset prices when they largely reflected the temporary cheap access to credit of markets!!

The Economist advises: "To get the system working again, losses must be recognised and dealt with. Standard-setters should defuse the argument by making clear that their job is not to regulate banks but to force them to reveal information. Banks’ regulators have to take responsibility. The FASB and IASB can help regulators to create whatever balance-sheet they want. But in doing so they must not compromise their duty to investors." I fully agree with this advice.

+++

As an auditor and trainee accountant, I learnt that the main objective of the financial reporting is the provision of true and fair information about the status and performance of the company. And central to this is the valuing of the financial elements at a fair value, defined by the International Accounting Standards Board as the value of an asset or liability in an arm's length transaction between unrelated willing and knowledgeable parties.

There is an interesting debate around the 'mark-to-market' pricing technique as a fair value method to be used for financial reporting. I will comment it in future posts, but in the end it comes down to the two school of thoughts on markets: the efficient markets hypothesis and the behavioural markets hypothesis.

This is one of the reasons why I sign with my typical:

Love and freedom.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Launch of "Blogs Brela"

This is a personal note to announce the launch of http://blogs.brela.es/, a simple aggregator of the blogs written by members of my family. As my father would say, they are to publish whatever their authors want and whenever they want, and they only seek to be read by their author and their family.

Love and freedom.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Why is Spain so corrupt? Ask El País

Economist's Charlemagne comments in his notebook an article published in the Spanish newspaper El País entitled "Why is there so much corruption in Spain?".

My friend A. told me once that he likes The Economist but gets annoyed at its little knowledge about Spain. This post by Charlemagne unfortunately supports his opinion.

To start with, Charlemagne bafflingly states that El País is Spain's best newspaper. On what base? Why does a fact-led magazine such as The Economist step into such muddled waters as judging what is better or worse? Wouldn't have been enough saying "best-sold general printed newspaper"? Apart from this, I don't understand how Charlemagne can praise so much a paper whose editorial opinion is opposite to The Economist's.

Second, I find it funny that a researcher who publishes in El País wonders why Spain is so corrupt. He should simply ask El País' owners! El País belongs to Prisa, a company that has made corruption its main method of expansion. Prisa is a media holding founded by Jesús de Polanco Gutierrez who managed it until his death. Prisa is politically and commercially linked to the Spanish socialist party PSOE leveraging on Polanco's personal friendship with the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González.

There are very dark cases in Prisa's enlargement and enrichment of its owners which leads me to accuse El País and Prisa of corruption. For example, the concession of the third private TV licence to Prisa's Canal+ TV station was possible by the explicit modification of the law to allow it to be pay-per-view.

Another infamous case called the Antenicidio illustrates the misuse of the political connections of Prisa to be allowed unlawful actions. In 1990 the radio station Antena3Radio takes over Prisa's radio station SER as the leader in Spain's radio spectrum. Polanco unlawfully bought Antena3Radio and then closed the latter incorporating its more that 100 stations to SER. Spain's High Court of Justice declared illegal the purchase and the closure of Antena3Radio but so far Prisa has not been made to comply with the Court's ruling.

Another example of the power exercised by El País and Prisa was the Judge Liaño case. The judge Gómez de Liaño opened a prosecution against Prisa's cable TV platform Sogecable in regards to the Canal+'s members' deposits which were diverted to Prisa's digital TV platform Canal Satélite. After the pressure applied by El País and Prisa on the government, PSOE and Spain's High Council of Justice, Justice Liaño was not able to carry on his prosecution, but he was prosecuted himself and sent to prison for prevarication. Justice Liaño was later pardonned by the People's Party government and re-integrated to its functions against the opinion of Prisa and PSOE. In 2008 the European Court of Human Rights stated that Justice Liaño had not been judged by an independent and unbiased court. But the damage was already done and Prisa escaped punishment again for its unlawful activities thanks to its media and corruption power.

There are lots of other examples of the corruption inducted by Prisa and El País, but another high-profile case was the merger in 2002 of Prisa's digital TV platform Canal Satélite with Telefónica's Via Digital. The merger agreement gave control of the merged platform Digital+ to Prisa, what was considered in Spain a victory of Polanco against the former Prime Minister José María Aznar of the People's Party, who had unsuccessfully attempted to curtail Prisa's power. The merger was allowed even when Digital+ would have (and indeed had) the monopoly on Spain's digital TV field; some feeble, temporary restrictions were imposed which Prisa was happy to accept since it was going to give them monopoly of the pay-per-view TV in Spain as well as sole broadcasting rights for all football games and many other entertainment, business, information, porn, gambling, and education TV channels and programs.

++++

In regards to the article's question, Why is there so much corruption in Spain?, well, because Spanish can be corrupt. And why can Spaniards be so corrupt? Because of the same reason any other nation's citizens can be corrupt, because some of them have power over other people that they can misuse and they will misuse it if needed to thrive in life: the use of any means for survival of itself and its offspring is the number 1 rule of Mother Nature to every living being, including humans. Bluntly, Spaniards and any other nation's citizens are corrupt because there is government and because governments are made of people, who in turn are living beings, not angels.

Solution: get rid of the government and devolve power over their own lives to the individuals.

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Letter to City AM's Editor

From: Borjabrela
To: allister.heath@cityam.com
Date: 26 March 2009 13:33
Subject: Comment to "Time running out for dollar dominance"

Dear Allister,

I have the pleasure to follow your letter every weekday morning in City A.M.: I learn very much from it so many thanks.

Today's Editor's Letter gave a good solution for the avoidance of the periodical credit bubbles and crunches. Your solution openly addresses the main cause of these credit cycles, i.e., the current money supply structure with fractional reserves and state-controlled currency.

In the current money supply structure national governments or central banks (i.e. the State) have official control of the currencies, which subjects the currency supply and value to the government's whims. At the same time, the fractional reserves give any non-central bank the power to effectively create money with little control of the State. This structure results in a situation of unaccountability: the non-central banks blame the central bank for its decisions, and the central banks blame the non-central banks for their lack of responsibility. As a Spanish saying goes, neither one nor the other and the house is left dirty. At the end the ones who lose are the citizens who always have to pay to clean up the mess with unemployment, inflation and currency depreciation (an outright robbery by the government).

Your solution is creating a super-currency, controlled by no single nation (you suggest the Bank of International Settlements), whose value fluctuated depending on the underlying price of the basket of commodities to which they would be pegged. "A proper store of value, not a fiat currency".

In my opinion, your solution goes in the right direction as it attempts to stripe the governments of power over money; however, it isn't the best solution. I have also read many other suggestions and recommendations, but no one seems to remember that the optimal solution was already proposed by Friedrich Hayek in "Denationalisation of Money" (1976): free market of currencies and financial operations, whereby anyone (even the government!) can set up their own currency and financial operations and compete in equal conditions for the favour of the Market.

As the Market is the most efficient way to distribute resources, it is time to make the Market the only controller of money, which is its main resource. This way the Market will be accountable for its mistakes regarding credit as it already does for almost anything other type of mistakes. This way the States will have it more difficult to spoil the economy again.

It is high time someone remembers Hayek, who gave the best explanation of the economic and financial cycles.

Love and freedom.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Talk on free-market security

Albert Esplugas invited a couple of Spanish-Londoner acquantainces to attend one of the libertarian talks that French libertarian Christian Michel hosts in his own flat. I was lucky to be within the group of invitees so I promptly (and punctually!) showed up at this "home-made" debate.

Last Friday's guest speaker was Dr Tim Evans, President of the Libertarian Alliance, the UK’s radical civil liberties think tank. Tim Evans has a PhD from the London School of Economics and has worked for the Foundation for Defence Studies, for Slovakia's Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, for the Independent Healthcare Association in London and for the Centre for the New Europe, the leading European public policy think tank. Impressive career.

The evening's debate was about security and law enforcement in a free market. Tim Evan's talk consisted of showing how the private sector is already fulfilling an important role in the provision of defence, police, prisons, administration of justice, and other security-related functions.

As the introductory email from Christian Michel read:

The figures are startling. For every policeman in the UK, there are more than two private security guards. They patrol stores, shopping malls, office buildings and the thousand ‘gated communities’ in the country (in the US 6% of the population live in these enclaves with their own police). Non-state companies operate an increasing number of prisons in England and Wales. And as the country’s publicly funded court system fails to keep up with demand, ever more people are seeking legal recourse through a range of private arbitration and mediation services. Certainly, when I was in business, I don’t think I ever signed a contract that didn’t call for private arbitration.

There is more. A large number of defence-related services has been privatised or contracted-out to the private sector. Under rubrics of ‘greater competition’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘value for money’, much of Royal Navy fleet servicing, logistical support, personnel training and even, bewilderingly, warship provision is now reliant upon private sector capital.

What’s going on here? For-profit prisons? Gunboats owned by investment companies?? The media haven’t really seized on the issue; yet the state signing away swathes of its core functions must have long-term consequences on the social and political foundation of the country. How should we react to these developments? What should we watch for in the years ahead?


Tim postulated that the private sector has deployed the security and justice functions in the past, but that the state has taken over not because of an optimisation of the cost-benefit calculation but because of both the corporativism and the government's pursuit of all-mighty power. These two forces are recurrent behind the statism. The damage of the corporativism is clearly explained by Milton Friedman in Free to Choose. The suppliers who are already in the business would push to increase the barriers to entry and to do that they will convince the government to regulate the activities in such a way that the current suppliers are the only ones that can perform such business; those suppliers would soon dictate the regulations themselves either by lobbying or directly forming the regulatory councils. All this is always allegedly done for the general interest, but always end up benefiting the particular interests. This is obviously NOT free market but on the contrary the main obstacles for the free market.

Tim Evans claimed that 150 years of libertarian literature on this topic of free market security and law enforcement was being fully ignored by academics in the theoretical debate. Libertarians should pay more attention to this topic of security and justice, which is one of the main objections that a non-libertarian raises against free-marketeers. If the libertarians find appropriate response and approach to these objections, lots of people who are now sceptical of the free-market would embrace libertarian ideas.

The after-talk debate raised issues around how to handle terrorism, foreign attacks, state-led agressions, or petty crime in a region with no central government-led security. All in all a very interesting evening which I wish can be repeated soon.

Love and freedom.

Friday, 20 March 2009

In search of a libertarian rethoric

We are going to behave like progressive Conservatives, pursuing our aims of a fairer society, an opportunity society, a safer society and a greener society in all that we do. But we will pursue these progressive aims through Conservative means - including proper control of public spending.

David Cameron, Telegraph.com (20/03/2009)


Following my post En busca de una retórica liberal, I noted David Cameron's latest comments in the Telegraph.com regarding Tories' failure to pledge to maintain the tax band rate for the UK's richest.

Cameron is mastering the art of rethoric that Labour politicians around the world are so expert at. "Progressive Conservatism"... Does anyone know what that means? Apparently it means agreeing to achieve "progressive aims through Conservative means". But Cameron does not say what aims are progressive, what means are Conservative and on what base you may claim that.

Instead, I am afraid that Cameron is acquiring not only the manners but also the ideas of the Labour Party such as raising tax rates: hence where are the "Conservative means"?

I understand that Conservative ideology does not equal Libertarian ideology and I know that, at the end of the day, the only aims and means all political parties seem to agree with is to grab power at any cost, retain it by any means and enlarge the government's and the party's power as much as possible at the expense of the citizens.

Should Libertarians follow the mainstream political parties' styles in order to reach power? Should we do it even if that means loosening our principles and radical (of root) propositions, just like Labour, Conservative, Lib-Dem, and other ex-commies parties have done?

This is one of the debates I am more interested at, i.e., what is more important for you: principles to rule or power to rule?

Love and freedom.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Prime Minister Zapatero and his false election promise of employment

Spanish socialist party PSOE has betrayed its voters many times in the past: Saharawi conflict, NATO poll, Jugoslavia/Irak wars, etc.

Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero has often displayed the attitude and the skills of a liar. For example when he had signed the Agreement for the Liberties and Against Terrorism with the other main Spanish party, People's Party, whereby both parties agreed not to negotiate with the terrorist group ETA at the same time when some PSOE people with the acknowledgement of Zapatero himself were belatedly negotiating with the ETA's political arm. Sickening.

Regarding people's wallets issues, PSOE, as many other socialist parties, has shown little knowledge of economy as it has driven Spain twice to an unemployment rate peak, one in the 1980s and the other in the 2010s, though of course PSOE members and socialist voters would accept no correction to their disastrous policies.

Zapatero rallied towards the re-election in March 2008 promising to slash the unemployment in Spain as shown in the video below. As his second watch turned out to be, his promises were lies or illusions. In the first case, Zapatero is a liar and should not be Prime Minister; in the second case, Zapatero is stupid (scientifically speaking) and he should not be Prime Minister.



Those Spanish voters who elected Zapatero (again!) in 2008 were fooled by Zapatero's promises. It is very likely that those who voted him in Extremadura, Andalucia or Catalonia are now on their way to the dole.

As the saying goes: if you are cheated or stolen something once, it's the cheat's or the thief's blame; if you are cheated or stolen something twice, you are to blame.

Spain and the Spanish people have what they choose.

Love and freedom.

Friday, 13 March 2009

British jobs for British workers??

From: Borjabrela
Sent: Fri 13/02/2009 15:25
To: Work colleagues
Subject: I was wondering

I was wondering:

Do you agree with the statement: "British jobs for British workers", and do you agree with last week's strikes?

+++

From: Cheeky work colleague
Sent: Fri 13/02/2009 15:28
Subject: I was wondering

Anything to stop all those lazy Spanish who seem to be popping up all over the place ;)

+++

From: A motorhead work colleague
Sent: Fri 13/02/2009 15:32
Subject: I was wondering

Here here to what [our cheeky colleague] said ;). Seriously tho, can't comment on the strikes cos I have no idea what they were about. As for the jobs, there's a duty for a government to support its economy by creating - and making available - as many jobs as it can for its people, within reason. Equally the capitalist in me screams "no! Save as much money as you can! Use cheap foreign labour!".

Gut feeling - it is a bit frustrating to see loads of benefit frauds when there are immigrants doing so much manual labour.

+++

From: Cheeky work colleague behaving as the Oxford-educated man he is
Sent: Fri 13/02/2009 15:28
Subject: I was wondering

My understanding of the strikes is that a company had hired a foreign third party to build something/provide some service, and the third party had hired predominantly foreign workers to complete the work, which went down badly with the UK employees of the company, resulting in the strike.

I guess in the current climate there is a bit of a "protect your own interests" mentality, although X [our motorhead work colleague] makes a good point about the cost - if foreign workers are cheaper then it's in the company's best interests to use them, especially with the state of the economy as it is.

As far as the statement "British jobs for British workers" - I'm not sure I agree with the idea of discriminating against employing someone based on their nationality. I like to think that if two people are applying for a job then the job should go to the one of them that is best-suited to the requirements. In this case, you could even argue the foreign workers are better suited, since they will speak the same language as their superiors in the foreign third party, come from the same culture etc etc.

However, based on the media reports, there might have been a case of discrimination on the part of the third party (ie they were hiring foreign workers even where they were less suitable). If this is the case (and I don't know anything about the accuracy of the reports) then I can perfectly understand the feelings of the workers and would probably support the strike action - the idea of non-discrimination has to work both ways.

+++


I have not yet received a reply from our labour-leaning Blackburn work colleague, whose opinion I am very keen to learn.

Love and freedom.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Liverpool beats Real Madrid in Champions' League

From: Borjabrela
Sent: Wed 11/03/2009 09:32
To: Liverpool fan from work
Subject: Liverpool win

Congrats, dude. Fair and square win. I told you Liverpool was going to beat Real Madrid, though I didn't think that Madrid's performance was going to be so embarrassing. We have a problem with Champions League's quarter-finals...


+++


From: Liverpool fan from work
Sent: Wed 11/03/2009 10:06
Subject: RE: Liverpool win

Cheers mate,

Thought you were a little unlucky with the refereeing decisions - both the first two goals could have been disallowed. That said, we could have been 3 or 4 up by that time if it hadn't been for Casillas playing a blinder. It's not often the goalie on the end of a 4-0 defeat is the best player on the pitch!

Thought your defence was a bit ropey though - Pepe didn't look good at all, and Cannavaro is definitely looking a bit old now. I like Ramos though - I'd be happy for Rafa to buy him in the summer!

Hopefully you can pull it together now and catch Barcelona - I'm a bit bored of everyone going on about how good they are...

+++

From: Borjabrela
Sent: 11 March 2009 10:06
To: Liverpool fan from work
Subject: RE: Liverpool win


We are just 6 points behind Barcelona with one game to play against them, so that's not that much difference for how good they are supposed to be and how badly we are doing it. Everything could still happen.

The problems in Madrid are deeper.
First, we just came out of a disastrously stewardship by a corrupt president who poached the elections and should be in court.

Second, the administration currently is on hold until elections are held again in July (in my opinion they should have been held asap, so we would have a properly elected president already with time to hire players for next year).

Third, the main power in Madrid is Raúl but he is very old and limits the progress of Madrid. He was the best forward in the world in 2001/2 and I think he should have been given the Gold Ball back then, but now he is not fit enough for the Champions' League and that is why we have not made semi-finals since Zidane retired. His opinion makes coaches be fired (Bernard Schuster) and players not hired (David Villa). Although I am a supporter of his courage and determination, I admit that he is dragging Madrid down because (and I am very sorry to say this) he is not Di Stefano (in my opinion the best player in history, though he doesn't have World Cups) and he is not Santiago Bernabéu (the best president in Madrid's history).

Fourth, our current squad is very feeble and the players are not worthy of Madrid. Robben is great, but made of glass. Guti is great, but a prima-donna (and Real Madrid requires warriors who die for the privilege of wearing Madrid's shirt... such as Raúl). Cannavaro is an old hole in the defence. Pepe is a waste of money. Higuain, Heinze, and etc. are good, but Villa should be the number 9 in Madrid. Diarrá cannot replace Makelele or Chendo. Van Nistelroy is injured and old. The best player of all of them, and the best goalkeeper in the world is San Casillas (which does not help if you want to score goals to win games!).

The biggest surprise in La Liga is how Madrid has been able to win the last 2 Ligas with such a sorry team...

+++

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

En busca de una retórica liberal.

La manipulación retórica es efectiva porque la opinión pública está desinformada y la terminología tiene entonces una influencia desproporcionada. [...] la retórica también explota y apela a nuestros sesgos y emociones, a nuestra irracionalidad, y en este sentido influye porque dice a la gente lo que quiere oír.
[...] ¿Aprovechamos los liberales las posibilidades de la retórica de la misma manera? Mi impresión es que los liberales estamos a la defensiva en este aspecto, o somos poco creativos.


Albert Esplugas, Del "déficit público" al "estímulo", Libertad Digital (18/02/2009)


My short addition to Albert Esplugas' post Del "déficit público" al "estímulo" in his blog En busca de Ancapia.

Libertarians should start using the words that are in people's good books, but have been stolen and misstated by the socialist and populist parties. It may seem very similar to UPyD, but I propose the following:

- Progreso: deberíamos llamar así a los avances reales de la sociedad o los individuos que la libertad aporta;
- Democracia: deberíamos llamar así sólo a los sistemas que dan poder, es decir, posibilidad de elegir, al pueblo y, más aún, a los ciudadanos.
- Protección de los trabajadores: deberíamos llamar así a la mejor protección de los trabajadores que existe: la creación de trabajo que proviene de la iniciativa empresarial.
- Justicia social: qué mejor justicia social que evitar la distribución de la pobreza que originan las políticas socialistas, qué mejor justicia social que la que premia al que trabaja, y qué mejor justicia social que aquella que evita la "socialización de las pérdidas".


Love and freedom.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Pallywood

Pallywood has the power not only to convince an influencing and unsuspected public but also to enlist the best journalists, perhaps out of their naivety, in its casualty production and inflation. In modern warfare, an image is worth more than 1000 weapons, and that is what Pallywood is all about.




Love and freedom.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Wonkapistas and the CIS

I sometimes visit Wonkapistas because he usually uncovers lots of interesting data and errors that go unseen by the mainstream media.

He recently posted about the January report on electoral intention written by the Spanish Social Research Centre (CIS), an institute of the Spanish government, and linked to a page published in the CIS website. Now the CIS has open an investigation because it considers that a leak.

This is my comment to Wonkapistas' post:

Wonka,

Parece que los del CIS no son muy duchos ni en informática ni en matemáticas.

Demuestran no ser muy duchos en matemáticas cuando al sumar los resultados de las preguntas 18 y 18A dicen que, para el PNV, 0.8 (de 18)+ 0.3*0.312 (de 18A) es igual a 0.8.

Demuestran no ser muy duchos en informática cuando no saben como bloquear una página que desean mantener confidencial. Usted está en su derecho de enlazar una página publicada en internet.

La descripción de El País como filtración a un enlace a una página publicada abiertamente está en la línea de un periódico pro-gubernamental. Lo que deberían investigar es quién es el inepto que controla la seguridad de la página.

En fin, las instituciones en España siguen siendo tan imperfectas como siempre han sido.

Love and freedom.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Adam Smith gets the last laugh

The idea that The Wealth of Nations puts forth for creating prosperity is more complex. It involves all the baffling intricacies of human liberty. Smith proposed that everyone be free – free of bondage and of political, economic and regulatory oppression (Smith’s principle of "self-interest"), free in choice of employment (Smith’s principle of "division of labour"), and free to own and exchange the products of that labour (Smith’s principle of "free trade"). "Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence," Smith told a learned society in Edinburgh (with what degree of sarcasm we can imagine), "but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice."

P.J. O’Rourke, Adam Smith gets the last laugh, FT.com (12/02/2009)


Recommended reading for today: Adam Smith gets the last laugh by P.J. O’Rourke (free subscription may be required).

Adam Smith knew more about the economy, notwithstanding living about 250 years ago, that many (if not all) mainstream economists, policymakers and politicians of today. We should revisit An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (free at Project Gutenberg) and learn that the solution to the current financial mess and economical distress was already written in 1776: let the invisible hand act.

Adam Smith's opinion on the house market's contribution to the country's wealth:
A dwelling-house, as such, contributes nothing to the revenue of its inhabitant. If it is let to a tenant for rent, as the house itself can produce nothing, the tenant must always pay the rent out of some other revenue. [Although a house can make money for its owner if it is rented,] the revenue of the whole body of the people can never be in the smallest degree increased by it.


On the high profits from the speculative excess:
When the profits of trade happen to be greater than ordinary, overtrading becomes a general error. [438] [And the rate of profit,] is always highest in the countries that are going fastest to ruin.


On the artificial increase of money by the government:
To attempt to increase the wealth of any country, either by introducing or by detaining in it an unnecessary quantity of gold and silver, is as absurd as it would be to attempt to increase the good cheer of private families, by obliging them to keep an unnecessary number of kitchen utensils.


On the active government's involvement in replacing the private activities:
The state cannot be very great of which the sovereign has leisure to carry on the trade of a wine merchant or apothecary.


Easy to understand, but difficult to believe. However, Adam Smith was (and is) right as it has been proved in the last 250 years.

Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Market has the answer

These are critical financial times. The world's economy is having a reality check done after the longest period of continuous global growth since the 1920s. 2008 is the repetition of 1929, when the bubble could not be blown bigger and therefore burst.

Lots of discussions are being held about how to tackle this dire situation, but one thing is clear: policy-makers and people representatives do not know better than the people. Economy is the only "science" where the so-called experts spend their whole time trying to figure out why they always get their forecasts wrong. Politicians cannot even call themselves "economic experts", but still they attempt to rule the economy that affects everyone else.

These strenous times are showing clearly that the policy-makers, rulers, politicians and else are useless. The only entity that minimises the probabilities of getting it right is the market, which means the world's people. You and I, and the plumber and the banker, the housewife and the kids, taking 7 billion decisions per second, 24/7. Whether to go out or stay in, whether to pay the gas bill or default in the mortgage, whether to hail a taxi or to buy some wine. The market is the better instance of democracy that we know.

And the market has decided that the party is over. The scary day of September 18 2008 the US economy got to the verge of collapse, because the market believed, caught in panic or not, that there is not enough wealth (not money) to pay the world's excesses. Listen to the Democratic US Representative Paul Kanjorski, member of the US Congress Capital Markets Sub-Committee, who said that:

On Thursday (Sept 18), at 11am the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S., to the tune of $550 billion was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped a $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic out there.

If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S., would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.

We are no better off today than we were 3 months ago because we have a decrease in the equity positions of banks because other assets are going sour by the moment.




However, politicians keep trying to convince us that they will save the world by giving them more money ($700 billions before, $800 billions now, $1.5 trillions later). They are lucky that the average person is as economically illiterate than them, but a lot more honest.

You know, gents of the politician class, stop trying to fool us, the taxpayers: you have no better idea of how to behave to maximise the probabilities of survival than the sum of everyone of the world's people taking decisions voluntarily and entering in voluntary transactions, i.e., embodying the Market.

The Market has the answer and the answer is dire, but it is the best response we the People have, because the Market are we.

Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Burns night

Last Saturday my friend D. invited me to a Burns night at his London flat to celebrate Scotland's national day. A Burns night is a celebration of the birthday of the Scottish poet Robert Burns and it is usually organised around a dinner.

Now that I have been documenting about Burns nights, I realised that D. acted as a perfect host and followed every step of this traditional supper.

Wearing his kilt he welcomed the guests and introduced them to one another so everyone felt at ease. The table was readily laid and everyone sat alternating sexes and preventing diners sitting next to known people. D. opened the event by mentioning the reason why we were celebrating the dinner (Burns' day) and the purpose of the gathering (raising money for the charity Hazel's Footprints), before one of the Scots recited the Selkirk Grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Some bagpipes began to whistle in the background as D. carried a large plate with the haggis from the kitchen. The haggis is a traditional Scottish dish which consists in sheep bowels stuffed with sheep's pluck minced with onion, oatmeal, spices, and salt, all boiled for about three hours and usually presented with neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (mashed potatoes). Our supper menu was completed with a rich pudding made of porridge, double whipped cream and blueberries, watered with Scotch whisky and honey!

D. recited the Address To a Haggis by Burns while theatrically carving the haggis. Then amid the laughs of the guests, the haggis was given out and eaten (although some girls stared at it, sighed and rolled their eyes and had to be helped by their male companions, ay!).

During dinner the Scots read out some poems by Burns, and a threesome of South Africans sang some nursery songs in English and Afrikaans. D. had asked me to read out a Spanish poem. I thought about choosing one of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer's Rhymes, since Robert Burns is considered the first Romantic (or pre-Romantic) Scottish poet and Bécquer the most important Spanish Romantic poet. However, I finally selected Pablo Neruda's Poema XX from 20 love poems and a desperate song and translated it into (modern) English so everyone in the table could understand it. It was a success: a deep silence welcomed my voice reading one of the most beautiful poems in Spanish and I could see one or two hastily-swept tears when I looked around the table as I finished the poem.

Please sit back, feel the silence and share with us the Spanish and the English versions of Pablo Neruda's Poema XX:

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes está noche.
Escribir, por ejemplo: «La noche esta estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos».

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Yo la quise, y a veces ella también me quiso.

En las noches como ésta la tuve entre mis brazos.
La besé tantas veces bajo el cielo infinito.

Ella me quiso, a veces yo también la quería.
Cómo no haber amado sus grandes ojos fijos.

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche.
Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdido.

Oír la noche inmensa, más inmensa sin ella.
Y el verso cae al alma como al pasto el rocío.

Qué importa que mi amor no pudiera guardarla.
La noche está estrellada y ella no está conmigo.

Eso es todo. A lo lejos alguien canta. A lo lejos.
Mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Como para acercarla mi mirada la busca.
Mi corazón la busca, y ella no está conmigo.

La misma noche que hace blanquear los mismos árboles.
Nosotros, los de entonces, ya no somos los mismos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero cuánto la quise.
Mi voz buscaba el viento para tocar su oído.

De otro. Será de otro. Como antes de mis besos.
Su voz, su cuerpo claro. Sus ojos infinitos.

Ya no la quiero, es cierto, pero tal vez la quiero.
Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.

Porque en noches como esta la tuve entre mis brazos,
mi alma no se contenta con haberla perdido.

Aunque éste sea el último dolor que ella me causa,
y éstos sean los últimos versos que yo le escribo.


Pablo Neruda
Poem XX (I could write the saddest verses tonight.)

I could write the saddest verses tonight.
Write, for example: "The night is full of stars,
and the stars shiver, blue, in the distance".
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

I could write the saddest verses tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
In nights like this I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the boundless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

I could write the saddest verses tonight.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, even more immense without her.
And the verse sinks in the soul as dew on the pasture.

What matters that my love could not keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That is all. Far away someone is singing. Far away.
My soul is not happy with having lost her.

As though to bring her closer my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her, and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, those of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that is true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Another's. She may belong to another. As she was of my kisses before.
Her voice, her light body. Her boundless eyes.

I no longer love her, that is true, but maybe I love her.
Love lasts so short, and forgetting takes so long.

Because in nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is not happy with having lost her.

Even though this is the last pain that she makes me suffer,
And these are the last verses I write for her.


Love and freedom.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Rosa 10 interviewed by FJL

La inmensa mayoría de los españoles tiene claro que lo único que garantiza la igualdad de derechos y la libertad es la unidad de la nación española.
Rosa Díez, Interview by F.J.Losantos (23/01/2009)


Rosa Díez (Spanish MP for the young, national political party UPD) was interviewed on 23rd January 2009 by Federico Jiménez Losantos for his TV programme "The hour of Federico" in LDTV. I watched the interview via YouTube.



I agree with some bits of what Rosa Díez and UPD propose but I don't agree so much with other bits. In any case, Rosa Díez is convincing (it helps the fact that it seems that she believes in what she says) and UPD are a welcome addition to the Spanish political arena.

Love and freedom.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Friedman's "Free to choose"

La mayoría gobierna. Pero es un tipo bastante especial de mayoría. Está formada por una coalición de minorías con intereses especiales diferentes. El método para conseguir la elección para el Congreso consiste en reunir grupos de, digamos, el dos o el tres por ciento de los electores, cada uno de los cuales está muy interesado en un tema especial que difícilmente preocupa al resto de los votantes. Cada grupo estará dispuesto a votar a un candidato si éste promete apoyar este punto, sin considerar lo que haga respecto a otros temas. Si juntamos un número suficiente de estos grupos, alcanzaremos una mayoría de un 51 por ciento. Este es el tipo de mayoría que dirige el país.

Milton and Rose Friedman, Free to choose (1979)


I finished reading Free to choose by Milton and Rose Friedman about two weeks ago. The version I have read was the translation into Spanish by Carlos Rocha for the publisher Ediciones Orbis. I would like to share with you some paragraphs that I liked specially.

Following the discussion I had recently with my flatmate about the comparison between market-government, I bring the text below from the chapter Who protects the consumer?:

La intervención del estado en el mercado está sometida a sus propias leyes, no aprobadas por una Cámara, sino científicas. [...] Todo acto de intervención establece posiciones de poder. La forma en que ese poder será utilizado y con qué propósito, depende mucho más de las personas que ocupan la mejor posición para lograr el control de dicho poder que de las intenciones y objetivos de los patrocinadores iniciales de dicha intervención.

Es general la creencia errónea de suponer que el comportamiento de los organismos sociales se puede modelar a voluntad. Es el error fundamental de la mayoría de los denominados reformadores. Esto explica por qué piensan con tanta frecuencia que la culpa es del hombre, no del "sistema"; que la forma de resolver los problemas es "echar a los bribones a la calle" y poner en su lugar a personas animadas de buenas intenciones. Esto explica por qué sus reformas, cuando se efectúan ostensiblemente, acaban tan a menudo en vía muerta.


I absolutely recommend reading Free to choose. It has influenced a good deal the liberal/libertarian ideology.

Love and freedom.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Top 20 Bushisms

My job is a decision-making job, and as a result, I make a lot of decisions.

George W. Bush


You may say anything you want about the U.S. ex-president George W. Bush, but you can't deny we had fun with his Bushisms. Here you have a list of the "Top 20 gaffes by outgoing president George W Bush".

We libertarians are profoundly grateful to George W Bush, who has shown in his eight years of watch how useless the government is.

It's very to "hacer leña del árbol caído", but mind that nowadays The Times belongs ultimately to News Corporation, owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Love and freedom.

Friday, 23 January 2009

A postcard

He estado [13/12/2008] en la exposición 'Maeght y sus artistas' en la Royal Academy of Arts de Londres. Entre las importantes obras de arte abstracto expuestas, este famoso óleo de Joan Miró ["The Birth of Day I (Naissance du jour I)"] ocupaba un lugar destacado. Sabemos que el arte abstracto es difícil de entender y de apreciar, aunque a aveces sea innegablemente bello. Parece que el artista abstracto consiga comunicar una idea a través de una obra que precisa la colaboración del observador. ¿Quién es el artista entonces? En mi opinión una cosa es clara: el Artista es el Creador.
Published in the post Una postal of the blog De Espana... on 22 January 2009.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Members of Círculo Liberal

I have the pleasure to communicate that I have syndicated Abrevaderos to the blog aggregator Círculo Liberal.

This blog had not been syndicated before because I was unsure as to whether that would mean losing part of my freedom or whether that would expose this blog to the failures of other syndicated blogs. However, Círculo Liberal's introduction has calmed my worries for now:

Círculo Liberal is a simple blog aggregator born with the idea of grouping libertarian blogs. The membership to this aggregator depends entirely on the blogger's will, as long as the blogger and blog accept the following three basic ideas:

Defence of the individual liberties against any type of imposition.
Defence of the democracy against any type of dictatorship.
Defence of the limited state against the uncontrolled state or the lack of state.


I hereby accept the aforementioned three ideas. Thanks for accepting Abrevaderos to Círculo Liberal. Regards to all my fellow writers and readers.

Love and freedom.

Wealthy men give women more orgasms

"Women’s orgasm frequency increases with the income of their partner," said Dr Thomas Pollet, the Newcastle University psychologist behind the research.

He believes the phenomenon is an “evolutionary adaptation” that is hard-wired into women, driving them to select men on the basis of their perceived quality.

Jonathan Leake, Timesonline.co.uk (18/01/2009)


According to the article, this "fits into a wider body of research known as evolutionary psychology which suggests that both men and women are genetically predisposed to ruthlessly exploit each other to achieve the best chances of survival for their genes".

Love and freedom.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Unemployment record in Spain

Una frase corta resume el panorama: tanto empleo por año, como España en 2008, no había destruido ningún país europeo desde 1932, cuando la Alemania de Brüning vio destruir 1,3 millones en la Gran Depresión, siendo la clave del ascenso del nazismo.

M. Brena, De España hasta los cantares (08/01/2009)


Update on the gloomy Spanish unemployment rate (in Spanish).

Now we have left the year 2008 behind, INEM (National Employment Institute) has published the annual data on employment and social security. Last year was one of the worse years for the employment in Spain due to the economic crisis.

In 2008 the figure of unemployed people registered in INEM went up by 999,416 people to 3,128,963 people on the dole, a 46.9% increase on the 2007 unemployment figure. This the highest figure since the INEM register started, even higher than with the previous accounting methodologies for the unemployment; the latest method dates from 1996. The current figure is higher than the January 1988 record of 3,069,088 unemployed.

According to the Eurostat in November 2008, the unemployment rate in the European Union is 7.2% and in the euro-zone, 7.8%. Spain with its 13.4% is the Euro member with the highest unemployment rate for the seventh consecutive month. Slovakia is the second one with 9.1%; the lowest unemployment rates are in Holland (2.7%), Austria (3.8%), and Ciprus (3.9%).

Spain has the biggest unemployment increase from 8.6% to 13.4% in 2008; Poland's unemployment rate was slashed by 2% to 6.5%; Germany's one decreased by 1.2%.

Actually, the amount of unemployed people is much higher than 3,128,963 if we remove the make-up of the INEM figures, which don't include:
- employed people with limited availability or job-hunters with special work conditions, who amount to 150,680 people;
- "other unemployed" or temporary subsidised field workers: 237,757 people;
- unemployed workers who are undertaking training courses at INEM, trade unions and other institutions;
- workers affected by redundancies;
- first-job hunters.

In total a figure of roughly 1 million unemployed people who have disappeared from the statistics.

Even more, we could deduct from the figure of employed people those children who have been registered with the Social Security to be awarded school insurance (who shouldn't be counted as workers).

So how many unemployed are there in Spain actually?

Love and freedom.