Book Review: Come And Take It

Come And Take It is a book about 3D printing of firearms and the implications thereof by American entrepreneur Cody Wilson. The book details Wilson’s experiences over nine months in 2012-13 when he decided to leave law school and figure out how to use a 3D printer to make a functional plastic handgun. It also conveys his thoughts on political events of the time, such as the re-election of President Barack Obama and the Sandy Hook school shooting. The story of Wilson’s entrepreneurship is not so different from many others; he must decide whether to make his venture be for-profit or non-profit, decide whether to work for the state or the people, figure out how and where to get funding for his operations, find the right people to work with, wrestle with the impulse to continue his schooling versus working on his entrepreneurial idea, and deal with legal challenges and roadblocks thrown his way by established interests. What sets it apart is the unique nature of his work. Rating: 3.5/5 Read the entire article at ZerothPosition.com

The post Book Review: Come And Take It appeared first on The Zeroth Position.

Source: Reece Liberty.Me

Bipartisanship

 

There are only two major parties today:

The Stupid Party and The Evil Party.

Once in awhile the two parties get together to do something that is both stupid and evil,

– and that’s called Bipartisanship.

Tom Woods


Also check out Tom’s signature product, Liberty Classroom where you can learn the history and economics that you weren’t told about in school:

An Austrian Perspective on Jared Diamond

By Michael Tabone of Evolution of Economics


Jared Diamond wrote both “Guns, Germs and Steel” as well as “Collapse“. Both have to do with “how” civilizations are formed and how they collapse.

 

However: they are incomplete and completely devoid of an Austrian Econ/Libertarian treatment. And these two books are very often part of standard college curriculum or at least referenced.

John Bratland, economist with the US department of the Interior, wrote in the Journal of Libertarian Studies, volume 22 (2010): 65-98, on exactly this.

He goes through the good and bad of Diamond’s theory and how Mises, Hoppe and others in the Austrian/libertarian tradition can fill in and correct Diamond’s gaps/flaws.

Here is the link:

https://mises.org/library/austrian-reexamination-recent-thoughts-rise-and-collapse-societies

Bastiat’s “The Law” – Condensed

Freedom Juice – A glass a day keeps tyranny at bay

Edited by Freedom Juice


We hold from God the gift which, as far as we are concerned, contains all others, Life—physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot support itself. We have been entrusted with the care of supporting it, of developing it, and of perfecting it. To that end, we have been provided with a wonderful collection of faculties, and plunged into the midst of a variety of elements. It is by the application of our faculties to these elements, that we acquire property.

Personality, liberty, property—this is man.

It is of these three things that it may be said, that they are anterior and superior to all human legislation.

It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. It is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men have made laws. What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Every man has the right of defending his person, his liberty, and his property, since these are the three constituent or preserving elements of life; elements, each of which is rendered complete by the others, and cannot be understood without them. For what are our faculties, but the extension of our personality? and what is property, but an extension of our faculties?

If every man has the right of defending, even by force, his person, his liberty, and his property, a number of men have the right to combine together, to extend, to organize a common force, to provide regularly for this defense.

Collective right, then, has its principle, its reason for existing, its lawfulness, in individual right. Thus, as the force of an individual cannot lawfully touch the person, the liberty, or the property of another individual—for the same reason, the common force cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, the liberty, or the property of individuals or classes. For this perversion would be in contradiction to our premises. Who will dare say that force has been given to us, not to defend our rights, but to annihilate the equal rights of our brethren?

Man can only derive life and enjoyment from perpetual application of his faculties to objects, or from labor. This is the origin of property.

Continue reading “Bastiat’s “The Law” – Condensed”

Readitfor.me | Playing to Win

There are 5 choices you need to make in order to have a winning business strategy.

That’s the premise of the book Playing To Win, written by two guys who know a lot about winning – former Rotman School of Business Dean Roger Martin, and the former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, A.G. Lafley.

Buy Playing to Win on Amazon

Taking the time to define and refine your business strategy is tough, especially when you feel like it’s taking all of your effort just to make sure the wheels don’t fall off the wagon. (I don’t know about you, but that’s the way I feel most of the time.)

But the strategy choices you make can make or break your business, so they deserve your attention. Even if you have to carve out time on nights and weekends to get it done.

The choice that made the biggest impact on me was deciding what your core capabilities are. And although it’s not from the book, there’s a great quote from Jeff Bezos I used in the summary to illustrate the point:

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. …

[I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

Continue reading “Readitfor.me | Playing to Win”

Is the New York Times doing as well as it says it is?

A theme that has emerged from this blog has been the decay and inevitable destruction of the mainstream media. However, if one reads only the New York Times, one could be forgiven for thinking that its prospects have never been better:

“Trump is the best thing to happen to the Times’ subscription strategy,” said Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times on CNN Sunday. “Every time he tweets it drives subscriptions wildly.”

He added, “Our digital subscriptions are through the roof, our print subscriptions are up.”

Trump has long derided the Times for critical coverage of his campaign and administration, deeming it the “failing New York Times” whenever he speaks about the paper publicly.

Indeed, the Times added 276,000 net new subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2016. But is the Times’ financial picture as sound as it’s made out?

In the press release touting the increase in new subscribers, the Times  reported that adjusted operating profit (which reverses a one-time charge) declined from $289 million in 2015 to $240.9 million in 2016. Among the reasons for this decrease is the 9% year-over-year decline in adversting revenue, from $638.7 million in 2015 to $580.7 million in 2016.

Furthermore, one can ask reasonable questions about the quality of the new subscribers. For example, the Times has entered into a marketing arrangement with Spotify, in which not only a new Times subscriber receives a free Spotify Premium account, but can pass along two complimentary subscriptions to his or her friends. Therefore, one can ask what the Times pays in net acquisition cost for, and receives in additional revenue from, each new subscriber.

Beyond that, there is the curious question of where Times’ subscribers actually reside, which is a key metric for advertisers. As ZeroHedge reports:

Ultimately, for the NYT to be viable as a going concern, it will need to stem the plunge in ad revenue which may also be adversely impacted by Trump’s relentless bashing.

And then there is the question of overall traffic, which brings up another curious observation.

Three weeks ago we showed that, inexplicably, according to Alexa a whopping 49% of the NYT’s readers were out of China, which was impossible since the US publication is firewalled in China.

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Since our public observation, the NYT’s Chinese “traffic” has crashed to just 3.5%, which while still improbable, is far more reasonable.

As a consequence of this, the public-facing NYT traffic has tumbled to the lowest level in a year. It is this, more so than Trump’s twitter feed, that advertisers will be closely looking at when making future ad campaign decisions.

Notwithstanding exclamations to the contrary by its editors, the clouds over the viability of the New York Times have yet to dissipate.

NB: This is not intended to be construed as providing investment advice in any way.

The post Is the New York Times doing as well as it says it is? appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool

SpaceX Set to Outperform NASA’s Existence Next Year

Reports are surfacing exclaiming that Elon Musk’s SpaceX is gearing up to launch two space tourists around the moon in 2018. According to the reports, the two individuals have already made their deposits and are currently undergoing fitness tests and the like. No human has ever traveled around the moon before.

So just like that, the private sector version of NASA will outperform NASA’s entire existence next year in regards to human space travel. I have always dreamed of a private NASA, and SpaceX is proving why freer markets should always the answer. If this was a perfect world, SpaceX could be the catalyst that sets the free market in a positive light among current non believers. I mean if we can explore space deeper than a governmental organization can, why wouldn’t it be even easier to utilize the benefits of the free market on Earth?

SpaceX just might be able to wipe the stupid flat Earth argument from Earth too!

Now, there is a reason I added that extra ‘r’ to free markets above. It is true that Musk gets around $4.9 billion in government subsidies, which are used for all his ventures including Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp., and SpaceX, which is also known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Obviously, I do have a big problem with government subsidies because they ultimately steal that money from current or future taxpayers. However, Musk wouldn’t be a good businessman if he didn’t try to seek out free money where it was offered. Assuming the government would have collected this money anyways, I would prefer it go to Elon Musk, who is exponentially less likely to use that money to engage in mass murder of innocent people, whereas the government typically loves doing that with their money. However, if he manages to start some war with an alien species, I will admit my mistake.

All this begs the question that if Musk didn’t get any government subsidies would we still be exploring space? Honestly, I doubt it, but that just proves that most individuals aren’t quite as ready to explore space as I am. However, this is impossible to prove with the interference by the government, as they get to steal their income, instead of providing value to others. It wouldn’t be the craziest thing ever if he was able to privately raise enough money for this adventure, but it would require much more work than getting free money from government. If you understand human nature, we will always try to be the most productive, with the least amount of effort.

Regardless, this is a YUGE win for the free market against governmental organizations.

 

Source: Gimme Liberty

Reasoning with Leftists: The Strategic Position [podcast]

There has been quite a bit of debate in libertarian circles about whether we should waste our time reasoning with leftists. In general, my views have been that this is largely a waste of time and leads to unproductive conversation. In a sense, I was proved wrong but I still agree with my general analysis on this issue, but some clarification is needed. After a productive conversation with my friend, percussionist, and an intelligent and open-minded Marxist I think it’s important to remind all libertarians that not every leftist is completely unreasonable and indoctrinated with progressive propaganda. I compared my talk with him with a random girl I matched with on Tinder and tried to see how reasonable she really was. I was able to get my friend to realize that the wars are a far bigger for humanity than not letting refugees into America. He had never really thought of it that way, and it definitely sparked some new thoughts in his head. The girl on the other hand, responded as you would expect a progressive SJW to respond. Choose your battles wisely, and use this short list which can be used to reason with certain leftists:

  1. You must have a previous friendship established, which grants you much more clout and trust in the other person’s head
  2. You must have these debates in person, as body language, tone, etc. is a very important part of any message
  3. Ask the right questions that will allow them to think about certain issues in a new light

Listen Here:

Reasoning with Leftists: The Strategic Position 

Source: Gimme Liberty

“Arrival,” Market Anarchy, and the Kardashev Scale

So, apparently the Oscars were held last night.

I don’t really pay attention to what happens in Hollywood, but I like films (who doesn’t). I particularly enjoyed the murky tone and feeling of Arrival, which won an Oscar in the category of “Best Sound Editing.”

–There are no spoilers in this article–

The film employs an overarching plot device in order to tell a very intimate story of loss, personal conflict, and discovery. In this respect, it is very similar in construction to other recent films like Interstellar [2014] and Moon [2009].

Of course the overarching plot in Arrival is first contact with extraterrestrials, who arrive on Earth in 12 separate, but identical spacecraft. Even though the film itself is about first contact with aliens, the  movie’s overall message has nothing to do with aliens, and instead grapples with questions of determinism and the Sapir-Worf Hypothesis.

However, I wanted to use Arrival to discuss my theory that mankind’s use of government is merely an evolutionary stage in our development as a species–one that we either will, or must outgrow in order to continue our existence.

While the alien species does seem to be organized in some general way, it is not apparent in the film whether if that organization is governmental. There is nothing in the film to suggest that it is. I would argue that interstellar travel would effectively be impossible unless human civilization can shed itself from the yoke of government. Continue reading ““Arrival,” Market Anarchy, and the Kardashev Scale”