quinta-feira, 30 de junho de 2005

The politics of good intentions ...That was then

"To abandon this small and brave nation to its enemies, and to the terror that must follow, would be an unforgivable wrong...To withdraw from one battlefield means only to prepare for the next.... We are there because we have a promise to keep. Over many years, we have made a national pledge to help ...defend its independence. And I intend to keep that promise.To dishonour that pledge, to abandon this small and brave nation to its enemies, and to the terror that must follow, would be an unforgivable wrong.We are also there to strengthen world order...Because we fight for values and we fight for principles, rather than territory or colonies, our patience and our determination are unending." Lyndon B. Johnson on April 7, 1965, (nesta altura, 500 soldados tinham morrido. No Cambodja o seu Principe ainda mantinha o regime num equilibrio precario que viria a desabar com os bombardeamentos. Mais tarde seria o regime vietnamita ja vitorioso, a acabar com o genocidio).

Liberalismo, ideologia, propriedade

A propósito de no Lóbi do Chá se escrever: “Problemas dos extremos e uma provocação inevitável : Na mesma medida em que os comunistas se acham únicos defensores da liberdade, os liberais acham-se únicos e autênticos defensores da propriedade.” (aproveito para agradecer a amável nota sobre a Causa Liberal).

A propriedade é o meio pelo qual a acção humana se torna possível em sociedade. A regra ética que torna a acção humana, pacifica, voluntaria e de soma não nula.

A propriedade não nasceu de nenhuma reflexão intelectual mas do acto natural de apropriação dos recursos por quem os ocupava, usava e trabalhava. Descobrindo depois, que essa soberania pode ser usada para adquirir outra de que necessite, não pela conquista, mas pela troca voluntária. Assim nasce a civilização e o desenvolvimento.

Aquilo a que chamamos de sistema judicial não e mais do que o resultado do acto instintivo do proprietário defender a sua propriedade (incluindo o seu corpo). Nota: razão pela qual devemos desconfiar da estatização da função da segurança e defesa - aquilo que une todo o totalitarismo é despojar a população dos meios de defesa pessoal.

A propriedade não é uma ideologia, assim como os direitos naturais não são uma questão de opinião. Ate porque qualquer ideologia (com uma certa ideia de sistema social) tem de partir da base que as partes (pessoas) abdica dos seus direitos naturais voluntariamente para adoptar as consequências dessa ideologia em particular.

Por exemplo, mesmo a social-democracia, para ser conferida de legitimidade, tem de partir do pressuposto que:

1- As pessoas acordam em participar num determinado sistema maioritário, aceitando e cumprindo o que nesse sistema for decidido.
2- As pessoas acordam que o seu livro arbítrio e propriedade estão sujeitas ao plebiscito maioritário. Na verdade acordam que em tal sistema não existe verdadeiramente livre arbítrio nem propriedade.
3- As pessoas retêm no entanto a capacidade de em qualquer altura sair desse “sistema” para regressar ao seu direito inalienável de se organizar numa ordem natural (de direitos naturais).

As ideologias, como dizia Russel Kirk, são uma espécie de religião invertida. A propriedade não é uma ideologia.

PS: A utopia comunista tem igualmente de justificar que as pessoas abdicam voluntariamente dos direitos de propriedade. E na realidade tem de definir uma propriedade estrita (fronteira) dentro da qual esse sistema social e praticado voluntariamente. Claro que o primeiro sinal de que algo estava errado, foi fechar as fronteiras para quem quisesse sair de tal propriedade. A social-democracia descobriu que todos os passos que levem a um governo mundial (tipo democracia mundial), anulara tambem essa possibilidade.

Energia Alternativa

Central nuclear em Portugal representa investimento de 3,5 mil milhões (act)


"Man is born naked into the world, and needing to use his mind to learn how to take the resources given him by nature, and to transform them (for example, by investment in "capital") into shapes and forms and places where the resources can be used for the satisfaction of his wants and the advancement of his standard of living.

The only way by which man can do this is by the use of his mind and energy to transform resources ("production") and to exchange these products for products created by others. Man has found that, through the process of voluntary, mutual exchange, the productivity and hence, the living standards of all participants in exchange may increase enormously.

The only "natural" course for man to survive and to attain wealth, therefore, is by using his mind and energy to engage in the production-and-exchange process. He does this, first, by finding natural resources, and then by transforming them (by "mixing his labor" with them, as Locke puts it), to make them his individual property, and then by exchanging this property for the similarly obtained property of others.

The social path dictated by the requirements of man's nature, therefore, is the path of "property rights" and the "free market" of gift or exchange of such rights. Through this path, men have learned how to avoid the "jungle" methods of fighting over scarce resources so that A can only acquire them at the expense of B and, instead, to multiply those resources enormously in peaceful and harmonious production and exchange." Murray N. Rothbard

Leituras recomendadas

Lembro que amanhã será editada a 10ª edição das "Leituras Recomendadas". Se quiserem subscrevê-las inscrevam-se na lista da Causa Liberal (canto superior direito desta página).

quarta-feira, 29 de junho de 2005

2 anos de Blog da Causa Liberal

* 2 anos passaram desde a primeira mensagem:

2003/06/26 Bem-vindos : Bem-vindos ao blog da CAUSA LIBERAL.Espero que a discussão seja profícua, sob o mote "liberdade individual e responsabilidade". # posted by CJF : 6/26/2003 10:06:10 PM

* Espera-se que tenha estado a contribuir para o "... estudo, debate e divulgação do Liberalismo Clássico"

O ataque do Estado Social a sociedade civil

"By relieving individuals of the obligation to provide for their own income, health, safety, old age, and children's education, the range and temporal horizon of private provision is reduced, and the value of marriage, family, children, and kinship relations is lowered. Irresponsibility, shortsightedness, negligence, illness and even destructionism (bads) are promoted, and responsibility, farsightedness, diligence, health and conservatism (goods) are punished.

The compulsory old age insurance system in particular, by which retirees (the old) are subsidized from taxes imposed on current income earners (the young), has systematically weakened the natural intergenerational bond between parents, grandparents, and children. The old need no longer rely on the assistance of their children if they have made no provision for their own old age; and the young (with typically less accumulated wealth) must support the old (with typically more accumulated wealth) rather than the other way around, as is typical within families.

Consequently, not only do people want to have fewer children—and indeed, birthrates have fallen in half since the onset of modern social security (welfare) policies—but also the respect which the young traditionally accorded to their elders is diminished, and all indicators of family disintegration and malfunctioning, such as rates of divorce, illegitimacy, child abuse, parent abuse, spouse abuse, single parenting, singledom, alternative lifestyles, and abortion, have increased.

Moreover, with the socialization of the health care system through institutions such as Medicaid and Medicare and the regulation of the insurance industry (by restricting an insurer's right of refusal: to exclude any individual risk as uninsurable, and discriminate freely, according to actuarial methods, between different group risks) a monstrous machinery of wealth and income redistribution at the expense of responsible individuals and low-risk groups in favor of irresponsible actors and high-risk groups has been put in motion. Subsidies for the ill, unhealthy and disabled breed illness, disease, and disability and weaken the desire to work for a living and to lead healthy lives. One can do no better than quote the "dead Austrian economist" Ludwig von Mises once more:

being ill is not a phenomenon independent of conscious will. . . . A man's efficiency is not merely a result of his physical condition; it depends largely on his mind and will. . . . The destructionist aspect of accident and health insurance lies above all in the fact that such institutions promote accident and illness, hinder recovery, and very often create, or at any rate intensify and lengthen, the functional disorders which follow illness or accident. . . . To feel healthy is quite different from being healthy in the medical sense. . . . By weakening or completely destroying the will to be well and able to work, social insurance creates illness and inability to work; it produces the habit of complaining—which is in itself a neurosis—and neuroses of other kinds. . . . As a social institution it makes a people sick bodily and mentally or at least helps to multiply, lengthen, and intensify disease. . . . Social insurance has thus made the neurosis of the insured a dangerous public disease. Should the institution be extended and developed the disease will spread. No reform can be of any assistance. We cannot weaken or destroy the will to health without producing illness.4" The Intellectual Incoherence of Conservatism by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

terça-feira, 28 de junho de 2005

Novos artigos no site da Causa Liberal

As you go

“O Caminho Para a Servidão” de Friedrich A. von Hayek (condensado) (pdf)
Por Luís Aguiar Santos

Liberdades antigas


"In Athens, most disputes were settled through arbitration rather than in the Jury Courts. There were two kinds of arbitration: public and private. In private arbitration, the two parties to the dispute would select a mutually agreeable third person or persons to decide the case; the results of private arbitration were recognized in the law as binding and final, and no appeal was permitted (unless malfeasance could be shown on the part of the arbitrator).

Alternatively, the contending parties could bring their dispute to a state-appointed public Arbitrator. (The board of public Arbitrators consisted of all male citizens in their sixtieth year.) Because the disputants had no choice about which Arbitrator was assigned to them, and might end up with a dud, it was thought only fair in the case of public arbitration (unlike private arbitration) to allow the Arbitrator's decision to be appealed to the Jury Courts. The choice between private arbitrators, public Arbitrators, and Jury Courts introduced a salutary competitive element into the Athenian judicial system." Roderick T. Long

Re: Medina Carreira brilha, mas...

Estado "grande" (>50% da riqueza, o funcionario publico/ministerios intocavel) + semi-propriedade privada (hiper-"legislada", condicionada, subsidiada umas, manietadas outras) + Proteccionismo = Fascismo

E que esse novo Fascismo tenha avale democratico, de intelectuais bem intencionados e o acordo tacito de parte da esquerda socialista, apenas e uma repetiçao da historia.

Soluçao? Para manter a Naçao e preciso um novo Estado. Que novo Estado? A auto-soberania local, das cidadades e regioes organizadas sob um estrito federalismo nacional. Ou o fazem a bem, ou perdem a Naçao, ou a refazem mais dificilmente no meio do caos.

Medina Carreira brilha, mas...

Ontem no "Prós e Contras", na RTP1, Medina Carreira voltou a brilhar e a pôr os pontos nos ii: a economia, esmagada por uma despesa pública que é já 50% do PIB (e continua a crescer), não vai "arrancar"; a receita fiscal já chegou ao limite do que é tributável e também não vai crescer; ninguém acredita que os mercados financeiros continuem a alimentar a dívida pública numa altura em que a própria situação financeira do Estado se encarrega de pressionar em sentido ascendente os juros que pagamos pelo dinheiro já tomado de empréstimo pela República. Ou seja, ou se corta na despesa, e já, ou dentro de alguns anos o Estado está na bancarrota e nós estaremos todos a entregar cada vez mais do que ganhamos ao governo: 70% de IRS? 50% de IVA?

Outro cenário possível, como já aqui disse, é uma "inflação continental" que nos "salve"; mas desenganem-se os keynesianos funcionais de todos os partidos: mesmo que essa inflação chegue, ela não melhorará este cenário, antes o agravará.

Também não nos salvará o paleio da "inovação", dos "estímulos" e coisas do género em que se entretiveram alguns dos comparsas de Medina Carreira na conversa da noite. Tudo isso são floreados que não fazem sumir o buraco gigantesco do qual o País se aproxima a passos largos. Nem os subsídios à inovação para indústrias exportadoras, referidas pelo cérebro ainda mercantilista de Silva Lopes.

O que não se percebeu em Medina Carreira foi que advogasse o regresso ao proteccionismo! Tinha, vossa excelência, de estragar tudo? Ao proteccionismo?! Ainda não aprendemos com os nossos séculos XIX e XX? Valha-me Deus!

Sobre o fim coercivo do padrao (moeda) ouro

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered" Thomas Jefferson

Liberdades antigas

Political Liberty and the Classical Tradition, Thomas J. Fleming

(...) It is not often commented upon in civics classes, but few of the founding fathers of the American republic were fond of democracy. The exception was Jefferson, but his view of democracy was completely opposite to the American system today, whose centralized and intrusive power would have horrified the poor states-rights Virginian. But Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Madison, and the others were determined, in drawing up the Constitution, to prevent democracy, which they regarded as a kind of mob-rule that ended in tyranny. As Franklin said, when asked what kind of government they had given the nation at Philadelphia, “a republic, if you can keep it.” Any government that has no monarch may be described as a republic, but the word is also used in something of the sense of Aristotle’s word politeia, a constitutional commonwealth, what John Adams to as the rule of law and not of men. As Aristotle also points out, a democracy that elevates the will of the people above the law is really only another kind of tyranny. (...)

When Jefferson spoke glowingly of democracy, he did not mean the right of a 51 percent majority of voters in a national election to ride roughshod over the other 49 percent of the voters and, in fact, the majority of the people. Here in America, voter turnout is 50-60 percent, thus a victory really represents something like 25-30 percent of eligible voters. What he envisioned was a society in which every level of social organization, from the family to the state, would take care of its own interests. In the same way that he believed that Virginia’s problems should not be solved by the voters of Massachusetts—or of all the states represented in Congress—he also believed that local communities should not be dictated to by the government of Virginia.

Jefferson believed that the separate states should be sovereign in all that concerned them, and he agreed with John Adams that the federal government should be limited to affairs of state, making war, coining money, managing the postal system, and adjudicating disputes between states. But Jefferson did not stop there: He believed that a state itself was too large to be run on democratic lines and wanted to see power devolved first to the level of the county and then all the way to the neighborhood or village—the “wards” as he called them—which he would have made republics in miniature, responsible for their own police, roads, charitable assistance, and education. (...)

The Real Athens

Then let us return briefly to Athens and see how it actually functioned. The first thing to note is that for the two basic institutions of democracy, there were no elections. The nine chief magistracies were selected by lot. Greeks believed, with considerable justification, that elections would always be controlled by the wealthy, which makes them inherently undemocratic—as they are in America, where heavily-funded coalitions of lobbyists select the candidates and to a large extent determine the outcome of most elections.

While it is certainly fair to describe to describe Athens as a democratic city, so long as we agree that slaves and women should not vote and that immigrants should not be made citizens, but it was not a democratic state, because a city without bureaucrats or police can hardly be called a state in the modern sense. No matter how tyrannically the Athenian assembly might behave toward subject cities or towards political leaders it took a dislike to, its ability to intervene in the private life of most citizens was neglible in comparison with the social authority exercised by modern states.

Most of the state functions we take for granted were completely absent. Athens as a city-state had no public schools or universities, no social workers, no social security, no agency to regulate marriage and divorce. All of these functions of welfare and moral regulation were under the control of the families themselves or, where families had problems, of the phratries and demes. Athenian citizens paid market duties and import tolls, but no taxes on their income or wealth—an income tax was the badge of servitude for Greeks and Romans alike. Think of this as you file your tax returns. The real Athens offers a truly Jeffersonian vision that is very compatible with the American constitutional system in theory though not in practice.

To conclude: Democracy has two facesone is the face of Aristotle and Jefferson, a completely decentralized system in which power is exercised at the lowest possible level and is subject to law and tradition. As Aristotle noted, any democracy in which the will of the people takes precedence over law and tradition is only another kind of tyranny.

The other face, the false face, is that of the demagogues of the Athenian Assembly, and also of Robespierre and Abraham Lincoln and both political parties today. This is a system based on the principle of untrammeled majority rule, subject to neither law nor tradition. If the people want to overturn any clause in the Constitution, they are free to do so. This explains why the Bill of Rights, which were designed to protect the states and the people from the federal government are now used to reinforce the power of the federal government against the people and the states.

Sovereign authority did not lie in an elected parliament but in the popular assembly, which sounds very democratic until we recall that the only people eligible were adult male citizens, most of whom had to be able to prove descent from Athenian parents on both sides. Slaves, foreigners, and women could not vote. It was more difficult for a foreigner to become a naturalized citizen than in Switzerland—and that is saying a great deal. I should have added “straight,” because whatever bisexual proclivities the Athenians had, they disenfranchised men whose primary sexual orientation was toward other men by giving official notice not to attend the Ecclesia. If they disobeyed, they were, at least in principle, subject to the death penalty. (...)"

segunda-feira, 27 de junho de 2005

quarta-feira, 22 de junho de 2005

Who is John Galt?

"I am a trader. I earn what I get in trade for what I produce. I ask for nothing more or nothing less than what I earn. That is justice. I don't force anyone to trade with me; I only trade for mutual benefit. Force is the great evil that has no place in a rational world. One may never force another human to act against his/her judgment. If you deny a man's right to Reason, you must also deny your right to your own judgment. Yet you have allowed your world to be run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical. (...)

You know that you can't give away everything and starve yourself. You've forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it's your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn't built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to Man and what happiness is possible on Earth. (...)

To those of you who retain some remnant of dignity and the will to live your lives for yourselves, you have the chance to make the same choice. Examine your values and understand that you must choose one side or the other. Any compromise between good and evil only hurts the good and helps the evil. If you've understood what I've said, stop supporting your destroyers. Don't accept their philosophy. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, and your love. Don't exhaust yourself to help build the kind of world that you see around you now. In the name of the best within you, don't sacrifice the world to those who will take away your happiness for it.

The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath:

I swear by my Life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine. " Ayn Rand

sexta-feira, 17 de junho de 2005

JPP e o nojo da politica

No Abrupto, a propósito da tendência para aniquilar a política com o recurso falseador a "pareceres técnicos" dificilmente neutros, José Pacheco Pereira atribui esse vício de nojo e repúdio da política pura a uma herança do salazarismo. Sejamos justos. Quem conhece a nossa história oitocentista, sabe que esse repúdio da política, esse nojo sobranceiro que a quer substituir por uma "honestidade" puritana e uma incolor competência "técnica" foi uma causa e não uma consequência do salazarismo: Salazar pôde "reinar" num país no qual essa cultura já estava instalada. Essa cultura do nojo à política é filha do radicalismo anti-cartista do século XIX e da sua metamorfose no republicanismo do último quartel desse século: é aí que encontramos o puritanismo "apolítico" e as "soluções científicas" a irromper em Portugal, ambos bem temperados, aliás, com uma boa dose de histeria nacionalista. Este foi o caldo (nem de esquerda nem de direita, desenganem-se) que abriu o caminho a Salazar ou, se não tivesse sido ele, a alguém muito parecido.

Manuela Ferreira Leite

Na entrevista de ontem à noite na RTP1, Manuela Ferreira Leite desfez a farsa do “défice de 6,8%”, que não é um número relativo a contas já fechadas (de 2004), mas uma projecção relativa ao fim de 2005, e que, como estimativa, pressupõe já opções que não foram suas e critérios contabilísticos questionáveis. Entre as opções que não são suas estão os aumentos já prometidos dos salários da função pública (que ela congelara) e a estratégia de fazer entrar um funcionário público por cada dois que se reformasse (ela estabelecera que, salvo raras excepções, não entrasse nenhum). Entre os critérios contabilísticos, a não inclusão das receitas extraordinárias permitiu engordar o défice para criar alarido político.

A ex-ministra mostrou depois que essas contas que construíram o “défice de 6,8%” decorrem já de uma estratégia de “saneamento” completamente inconsequente, que repousa totalmente nas receitas (e no seu esperado aumento) e não na real contenção das despesas. Claro que, como a ex-ministra das finanças comentou, isto não augura nada de bom quanto à concretização do esperado equilíbrio financeiro do Estado.

Manuela Ferreira Leite atacou depois o aumento do IVA (sintomático de uma política toda virada para as receitas), que afectará decisivamente a nossa competitividade em relação à Espanha (e acrescento eu: levará a uma quebra do consumo, anulando o esperado crescimento das receitas e pressionando o aumento do desemprego) e explicou por que razão o agravamento dos impostos sobre o álcool e o tabaco não farão aumentar as receitas e, pelo contrário, estimularão a procura a abastecer-se fora do país; explicou ainda que o novo governo meramente adiou as portagens nas SCUT porque não há recursos para manter tal decisão por muito mais tempo.

Finalmente, pôde rir-se daqueles que tiveram de reconhecer que a sua política financeira não era afinal tão alarmista e “obsessiva” como diziam os que agora foram chamados a governar. O que é pena no meio de tudo isto? Que Manuela Ferreira Leite não tenha sido chamada a suceder a Durão Barroso. O país não teria apenas a ministra das finanças de que precisa. Teria a primeira-ministra de que precisa.

A ausencia de um Ministerio da Industria permite...

...que apareçam capitalistas como este (a ler na integra, via LRC).

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says (This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.)

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.

So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did.

You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you all very much. "

quinta-feira, 16 de junho de 2005

Menos mal

Wolfowitz calls for subsidy cuts Paul Wolfowitz has made Africa his number one priorityWealthy nations must reduce their agricultural subsidies to help African producers enter new markets, World Bank chief Paul Wolfowitz has argued.

Desabafos de "nao intervencionistas"...

"Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can't help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East." -- John Sheehan, S.J.

Safety nets and Moral hazard

"Under the larger and larger safety nets created by the state, firms get more and more dependant on public help in order to survive. Big companies lobby for subsidies, duties on imports, and other kinds of help. Banks and large industries such as airlines hope to be declared “too big to fail.”

Individuals are also less and less responsible. In Europe many people grow up with the idea that the State owes them something: jobs, health, free education, vacations, happiness, and deliverance from despair. People are led to believe that the State will always care about their problems and address their community concerns. People are made to believe that whatever they do (they lose their job, they get sick, they become depressed) the State will be there to help.

The perverse result of all this is that citizens no longer bear full responsibility for their actions. All this can be explained through the concept of the moral hazard." Why do people vote for Communists? by Luca Ferrini

Novos artigos no site da Causa Liberal

"Hilaire Belloc e o Estado servil"
Por Carlos de Jesus Fernandes

"O colapso do paradigma liberal em Portugal (1880-1900): a deriva intervencionista e a crise do Estado de Direito" (em pdf)
Por Luís Aguiar Santos

quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2005

Alexandre Herculano e a politica de defesa

"(…) Imaginai, porém, um país de descentralização, de municipalismo: imaginai Londres tomada por um exército inimigo, ou revolvida por uma revolução social. Que aconteceria? A Inglaterra sofreria perdas enormes, muitas delas talvez irreparáveis; mas a vida pública, a nacionalidade, a monarquia representativa, ficariam de pé. A vida politica descentralizada, pelos condados e pelos burgos, daria dentro de certo tempo uma resposta tremenda à conquista ou à revolução. Aplicai a Washington a mesma hipótese, e estai certos de que o resultado seria análogo. Agora, que a história de França nos últimos sessenta anos vos diga os efeitos de uma centralização exagerada, da raquítica existência das suas comunas insignificantes, colocadas absolutamente fora da esfera política, quase nulas administrativamente. A França não tem feito durante sessenta anos senão ser republicana, imperial ou monárquica à mercê das batalhas que se ganham ou se perdem nas ruas de Paris."

terça-feira, 14 de junho de 2005

Solzhenitsyn's Maxim

"(...)The Russian novelist and famous dissident has made almost no public appearances since returning to his homeland in 1994, and his privacy is jealously guarded. That is why his return to public life – in an interview on the Rossiya (channel 2) television station, generally regarded as pro-Putin – has attracted such attention. For Solzhenitsyn to come out of his cocoon, a sort of self-imposed internal exile in which he has been contemptuously silent on the subject of politics, it must be important, and, as it turns out, Solzhenitsyn is worried about the survival of the Russian nation. Russia, he says, could face a Ukrainian-style uprising financed by foreign interests:

"An Orange Revolution may take place if tensions between the public and the authorities flare up and money begins flowing to the opposition."

He didn't say, at least in the excerpts I saw, where the money would be flowing from, but – I ask you – where else would it come from except Washington, D.C.? The U.S. government has brokered a whole series of color-coded "revolutions," from Georgia to Ukraine, in Kyrgyzstan and now in Belarus, and it makes sense that they will ultimately home in on the object of their determined encirclement: Putin's Russia.

Solzhenitsyn agreed with his interlocutor that Russia has freedom of expression, but these are only "signs." "One sign does not mean democracy." Western accusations that Russia is "backsliding" into authoritarianism – a staple of the neoconservatives these days – have to be put in context: "'It is often said that democracy is being taken away from us and that there is a threat to our democracy. What democracy is threatened? Power of the people? We don't have it,' he told Rossiya, the state-run channel. 'We have nothing that resembles democracy. We are trying to build democracy without self-governance. Before anything, we must begin to build a system so that the people can manage their own destinies.'"

Local government is the key to understanding how the liberalization of Russian society is going to proceed, he averred: "Democracy cannot be imposed from above, by clever laws or wise politicians. It must not be forced [on people] like a cap. Democracy can only grow upwards, like a plant. Democracy must begin at the local level, within the local self-government."

Nor can it be exported at gunpoint: "'Democracy is not worth a brass farthing if it is being installed by bayonets.' Taking clear aim at Washington, he said that over a decade ago the U.S. 'launched an absurd project to impose democracy all over the world. (...)'" Justin Raimundo

Os milicianos e os de carreira

Diz o Henrique Raposo num post d'O Acidental a propósito da morte de Cunhal: "Hoje tenho liberdade porque uns militares de carreira fartaram-se de ser milicianos e de morrerem numa guerra sem vitória possível". Bom, do que esses militares de carreira se fartaram foi de ver os oficiais milicianos serem promovidos na hierarquia militar sem terem passado pela Academia. Era impossível fazer a guerra sem milicianos (os de carreira não eram suficientes) e teve de se lhes dar incentivos, que os de carreira achavam injustos. Isto foi o que esteve na origem do M.F.A. e o "25 de Abril" foi apenas mais uma atitude corporativa na sociedade portuguesa, dessa vez com grandes consequências, como sempre quando os militares resolvem mexer-se (ou recusarem-se a isso): como em 1820, como em 1910, como em 1926...

Por ai nao me parece...

Rui A. diz no Blasfémias que "o comunismo soviético foi a expressão moderna do aristocratismo imperial czarista". Isto quererá dizer alguma coisa? Eu não entendo.

quinta-feira, 9 de junho de 2005

Ciclos Economicos e a Escola Austriaca

No pura economia, da-se conta que a Teoria dos Ciclos Economicos Austriaca (que se inicia com o tratado definitivo (sobre moeda e credito) de Mises em 1913 "The Theory of Money and Credit" (e reforçado no seu monumental "Human Action") e desenvolvido tambem por Hayek, começa a convencer Krugmanites.

Fica a mençao que a sua aplicaçao a analise da Grande Depressao foi feita por Murray N. Rothbard num livro com a introduçao de Paul Johnson: The Great Depression".

Mentes Brilhantes indeed (e mal conhecidas e divulgadas).

Um Caminho para Portugal...

...o regresso a um Federalismo Municipal

"(…) Vinde cá, defensores do absolutismo, quem vos deu o direito de falardes desta nobre terra de Portugal nos tempos em que era livre?

(…) Em Portugal o despotismo é que é moderno, e a liberdade antiga. Cerrai de todos os olhos, vós que amais curvar-vos ante um senhor dos vossos bens e das vossas cabeças.

(…) Em que dia desceu este do céu (…) para ordenar aos seus escribas que rasgassem centenas de pactos constitucionais, onde estavam escritos os foros e liberdades desta terra; centenas de pactos municipais, onde estavam consignadas as liberdades e garantias das cidades e vilas do reino?

Em que dia desceu o direito divino a santificar a conversão em simples leis fiscais, dos códigos em que se continham as imunidades e franquias populares, cujo espírito sempre e cuja letra muitas vezes provam que esses códigos eram rigorosos contratos políticos, livremente oferecidos e aceites?

(…) Respondei, defensores do absolutismo! Que eram os nossos parlamentos até 1480, senão as assembleias onde o povo protestava sempre, ameaçava não raro, e castigava algumas vezes cerrando as bolsas, as quebras do que, na linguagem imperfeita daquelas eras, chamava os seus privilégios, e que nós chamamos direitos e garantias políticas?"

Em "Alexandre Herculano contra o Absolutismo da Centralização"

The origin and growth of the EU government: financial irresponsibility

Nota: o que faz sentido, a participaçao de Portugal na UE (e o EUro) induziu a que os custos estruturais do Estado pudessem subir exponencialmente, protegidos pelo Euro (a taxa cambial do escudo servia como indicador da irresponsabilidade), subsidios e credibilidade acrescida (aind que temporaria).

Ou seja, em vez de ter funcionado como um veiculo de responsabilidade, induziu a tornar ainda mais possivel a irresponsabilidade.

"(...) the origin and growth of the EU government can be found in regime financial irresponsibility:

The case of the European Union is an excellent illustration of a central institution that helps to reduce the co-ordination costs of several highly indebted—and contagion-threatened—governments. In the European Union, some states—Belgium, Italy, and Greece—are virtually bankrupt. Other states, including Austria, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, and Sweden, are on the wave of becoming so, and the rest is not much better.20 In other terms, more and more members of the European Union need to be bailed out.21 It will not take a very long time before no private investor will give them new credits. As the governments know this, they have started to become serious in their bargains with other governments. This has accelerated the negotiations leading to the reinforcement of the central bureaucracy in Brussels. Most of the governments became more interested in a coordination of their financial and economic policies. They needed an instrument to facilitate the complicated multi-lateral bargain. Of course, the European Commission was glad to step in. Now, it is our governments’ servant. In the future, it could be their master." The Progression Theorem and the EU Jeffrey Tucker

E ainda mais sobre a "Orange Revolution"

John Laughland, among others, warned us about the ideological coloration of the "orange revolutionaries," but dissenting voices were in a minority. Now that the "revolution" has given way to a government, however, the character of the new regime is becoming apparent.

An editorial in the pro-Yushchenko Kyiv Post wonders if the Orange Revolution is turning red, on account of the socialist measures recently enacted -- including price controls on gas and meat -- and now that same newspaper has revealed that a pro-government member of the Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, recently attended a conference in Kiev, the theme of which was "Zionism as the Biggest Threat to Contemporary Civilization.”

The Kyiv Post reports "the conference included calls for the deportation of Ukraine’s Jews." An honored conference guest: David Duke. The Rada member in attendance: Levko Lukyanenko, a supporter of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's party.

Okay, so maybe this is a marginal figure, not representative of the "orange" mainstream." Nope. In this little biography, Lukyanenko is described as not only a member of the Rada, but a former ambassador to Canada and a founding member of the Helsinki Watch Group, not to mention "the co-author of the Declaration of Ukrainian National Sovereignty and the author of the Act of the Proclamation of Ukrainian Independence."

On April 20, he was presented with the title "Hero of Ukraine" by President Viktor Yushchenko." (via Justin Raimundo)

Republica versus Monarquia e a Grande Guerra

Os Republicanos devem encarar o facto historico no qual o desaparecimento das monarquias na Europa ter dado lugar a tragedia civilizacional do comunismo, fascismo, nazismo (e a Segunda Grande Guerra e a Guerra Fria). França e um Presidente Democrata Wilson (hostil a monarquia: França e EUA ainda eram aliados) terao sido dos maiores grandes responsaveis...

(Powell on WWI Posted by Stephan Kinsella) Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Introduction to his book Democracy: The God that Failed: Studies in the Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy, and Natural Order, where Hoppe emphasizes the disastrous consequences of America's actions in WWI--how America's intervention transformed the war from an old-fashioned territorial dispute into an ideological conflict of good against evil, a war "to make the world safe for democracy and free of dynastic rulers"... which then degenerated into a total war... which prevented the European war from being "concluded with a mutually acceptable and face-saving compromise peace rather than the actual dictate", with

"...Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia [remaining] traditional monarchies instead of being turned into short-lived democratic republics. With a Russian Czar and a German and Austrian Kaiser in place, it would have been almost impossible for the Bolsheviks to seize power in Russia, and in reaction to a growing communist threat in Western Europe, for the Fascists and National Socialists to do the same in Italy and Germany. Millions of victims of communism, national socialism, and World War II would have been saved. The extent of government interference with and control of the private economy in the United States and in Western Europe would never have reached the heights seen today. And rather than Central and Eastern Europe (and consequently half of the globe) falling into communist hands and for more than forty years being plundered, devastated, and forcibly insulated from Western markets, all of Europe (and the entire globe) would have remained integrated economically (as in the nineteenth century) in a world-wide system of division of labor and cooperation. World living standards would have grown immensely higher than they actually have."

Leituras Recomendadas

Devido ao feriado do 10 de Junho a 7ª edição das "Leituras Recomendadas" será editada hoje. Se as passar a recebe-las já sabem: inscrevam-se na lista da Causa Liberal(no canto superior direito).

quarta-feira, 8 de junho de 2005


E mais uma "unintended consequence" da grande "vitoria" que foi a Segunda Guerra e Yalta:

"(...)Mao now stands revealed as one of the greatest monsters of the 20th century alongside Hitler and Stalin. Indeed, in terms of sheer numbers of deaths for which he responsible, Mao, with some 70 million, exceeded both.(...)

(...) He is shown during his command of armed forces in the countryside in the late 1920s and early 30s to have lived off the produce of the local peasants to the extent of leaving them destitute. He consciously used terror as a means to enforce his will on the party and on the people who came under his rule

Among the most significant of their discoveries is that the myth of the Long March was a sham. Chiang Kai-shek in effect made a safe passage for the Reds through particular provinces where his rule was weak, so that his pursuing forces could overcome the local warlords. Moreover, Chiang was constrained from destroying the Reds because his son was held hostage in Moscow. Even the fabled crossing of the Dadu chain bridge, when, according to Mao, his heroic soldiers managed to cross the narrow bridge against heavy machine-gun fire, is shown to be a complete invention. The indefatigable authors consulted Nationalist sources, interviewed local historians and even visited the scene.

Mao is shown to have been completely dependent on Soviet support and to have taken the view that the Chinese communists would succeed only if they were able to link up with the Soviet Union and receive massive assistance. This eventually happened in Manchuria in 1946-47. The American General Marshall, who had attempted to mediate in the civil war, had unwittingly saved the communist armies by imposing a truce in the summer of 1946 that lasted for four months. It was this truce that prevented Chiang's armies from crushing the retreating Reds. The ceasefire enabled the latter to be massively replenished by the Soviet side and then reverse the tide to win in Manchuria and then gain the rest of China.

(...) Mao himself comes across as a uniquely self-centred man whose strength was his utter disregard for others, his pitilessness, his single-mindedness, his capacity for intrigue and his ability to exploit weakness. He neglected his wives, whom he treated cruelly, and had no time for his children. He loved food and reading and had an infinite supply of young women. Mao lacked personal courage and had some 50 villas built for him in different parts of China, which were constructed to withstand bombing and even nuclear attack.

Mao had none of the skills usually associated with a successful revolutionary leader. He was no orator and he lacked either idealism or a clear ideology. He was not even a particularly good organiser. But he was driven by a personal lust for power. He came to dominate his colleagues through a mixture of blackmail and terror. And he seems to have enjoyed every minute of it. Indeed what he learned from his witnessing of a peasant uprising in his home province of Hunan in 1927 was that he derived a sadistic pleasure from seeing people put to death in horrible ways and generally being terrified. During the Cultural Revolution he watched films of the violence and of colleagues being tortured (...)"

Bad element Jung Chang and Jon Halliday have revealed Mao as one of the 20th century's greatest monsters, says Michael Yahuda

A Causa da Grande Guerra: "Entangling alliances"

Intellectuals Attack Laissez Faire, Imperialism & War, Trade Wars & Political Conflicts, Arms Race, Entangling alliances, National Hatreds, Fatal Miscalculations

A ler na integra, fica aqui uma parte do artigo (a do "Entangling alliances", no limite, se uma causa tivesse de ser escolhida, para mim seria esta): A Libertarian View of the Worst Catastrophe, by Jim Powell

"(...)The war began with an assassination and a series of miscalculations. On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot while driving through Sarajevo. The assassin was Gavrilo Princep, a Serbian nationalist student. Princep was involved with the Black Hand, a terrorist group promoting Greater Serbia. The Black Hand was directed by Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević, head of Serbian military intelligence.

During the 1912–1913 Balkan Wars, Serbia had doubled its territory. Officials in Vienna believed that the Serbs coveted some of their territory, that Serbs had plotted the assassination, and that they must be stopped. But what was Austria-Hungary to do?

If Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia, Russia might back Serbia, because Slav nationalists were agitating for Russia to be the protector of fellow Slavs. The Russian army was about twice the size of the Austro-Hungarian army, so Russian intervention would spell trouble. Since Russia had an alliance with Britain and France, it was possible that Russian intervention might draw in those countries as well.

Moreover, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II knew that war meant risks for his regime. He had been humiliated just a few years before, in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) that triggered the Revolution of 1905 and brought the regime close to collapse. Russia certainly wasn’t prepared for a major war. Russia seemed unlikely to go into a war alone.

On July 3, Woodrow Wilson’s principal advisor Edward House reported that Foreign Secretary Grey let the Kaiser know about his desire for peace, but "Sir Edward said he did not wish to send anything official or in writing, for fear of offending French and Russian sensibilities." Apparently Grey’s commitments to these nations were such that he couldn’t function as a peacemaker.

Before deciding to take action against Serbia, Austria-Hungary needed help, and the most likely ally was Germany. On July 5, the Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II gave Austria-Hungary his famous "blank check" – supporting Austria-Hungary in its view that Serbia must be dealt with firmly. The conflict looked like another Balkan War – no big deal. Officials in Austria-Hungary expected that German backing would deter Russia from entering the conflict and help recruit Bulgaria as an ally. The Germans didn’t appear to be planning a general war, because when the Kaiser issued his "blank check," Moltke, Wilhelm Groener (head of the army’s railroad department) and Walther Nicolai (head of military intelligence) were all away on a summer vacation.

How could Germany and Russia fight each other? Kaiser Wilhelm II was a cousin of Czar Nicholas II and – one might add – an uncle of Britain’s King Edward VII. Surely, royals ought to be able to talk with one another and avoid a war.

On July 23, Austria-Hungary’s ambassador to Serbia presented an ultimatum: Serbia must eliminate terrorists based in the country and suppress publications critical of Austria-Hungary. Furthermore, representatives of Austria-Hungary must participate in the investigation of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.

Serbia wasn’t ready for war, because it was still rebuilding its military forces after the recent Balkan Wars that had resulted in 91,000 Serbian casualties. In many Serbian infantry units, about a third of the soldiers lacked rifles. Accordingly, Serbia tried to defuse the situation, saying it would go along with Austria’s demands as much as possible. Serbia promised to suppress terrorism and publications critical of Austria-Hungary. The only point it couldn’t go along with was the idea of having foreigners involved with the investigation.

Austria ordered the mobilization of its army on July 23. Serbia ordered its army to mobilize two days later. Mobilizing an army didn’t mean war was inevitable, because it had served as a tool of diplomacy, to step up the pressure in a negotiation. But Austrian officials felt it was crucial to stop nationality conflicts from escalating before they blew apart their multi-national empire. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia.

The following day, Foreign Secretary Edward Grey told the Austrian Ambassador: "I did not wish to discuss the merits of the question between Austria and Serbia." Grey later confirmed his disinterest in the dispute: "The notion of being involved in war about a Balkan quarrel was repugnant. Serbia, to British people, was a country with which a few years ago we had severed diplomatic relations, because of a brutal murder of the King and Queen; and though that was over, and we were now on good terms, there was no sentiment urging us to go into a war on Serbia’s behalf."

Austrian Ambassador Friedrich Szápáry asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov not to mobilize the army, but then came reports that Austrian forces were bombarding Belgrade, the Serbian capital. On July 30, with the implicit support of Britain and France, Czar Nicholas II decided to order a mobilization of the Russian army against Austria-Hungary and Germany. Such a mobilization had long been viewed as an act of war. Presumably Russia’s ally France would soon join the war, and Germany would find itself fighting on two fronts. Germany’s best bet, militarily, seemed to be a quick victory over France in the west so it could focus on the much larger Russian armies in the east. Historian S. L. A. Marshall declared, "The news of full mobilization by Russia fixed Europe’s fate."

On August 1, Kaiser Wilhelm II supported his ally Austria-Hungary by declaring war against Russia. French war minister Cambon recalled demanding that Grey commit Britain to the defense of France, if France should enter the war. When Grey replied that the British government hadn’t decided what it would do, Cambon fumed: "After all that has passed between our two countries, after the agreement between your naval authorities and ours by which all our naval strength has been concentrated in the Mediterranean so as to release your fleet for concentration in the North Sea, so that if the German Fleet sweeps down the Channel and destroys Calais, Boulogne, and Cherbourg, there can be no resistance, you tell me that your Government cannot decide upon intervention? How am I to send such a message? It would fill France with rage and indignation. My people would say you betrayed us. It is not possible. It is true the agreements between your military and naval authorities have not been ratified by our Governments, but there is a moral obligation not to leave us unprotected."

August 3, Germany declared war against France. How could Britain enter the war, since there wasn’t an official alliance with France? British officials had discussed a naval blockade of Germany, and Chief of Staff John French expressed the view that "to bring the greatest pressure to bear upon Germany, it is essential that the Netherlands and Belgium should either be entirely friendly to this country, or that they should be definitely hostile, in which case we should extend the blockade to their ports." British officials contemplated violating the sovereignty of Belgium, yet the rationale for fighting Germany on behalf of France turned out to be the German invasion of Belgium on August 4. Britain cited it as an excuse to declare war against Germany.

All the belligerents expected war would be brief. None had plans for a long military campaign. Officials throughout Europe were shocked when, in the fall of 1914, it became apparent that the killing might go on for a long time.(...)."

O Ciclo Liberal

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." [Gandhi]

Milton Friedman

Num artigo/entrevista aqui

"Friedman supported Bush's first-term candidacy, but he is more accurately libertarian than conservative and not a reliable Bush ally.

Progress in his goal of rolling back the role of government, he said, is "being greatly threatened, unfortunately, by this notion that the U.S. has a mission to promote democracy around the world," a big Bush objective.

"War is a friend of the state," Friedman said. It is always expensive, requiring higher taxes, and, "In time of war, government will take powers and do things that it would not ordinarily do."

Gostei desta:

When he moved to San Francisco in the 1970s, the city was debating rent control, he recalled. So he wrote a letter to The Chronicle saying, "Anybody who has examined the evidence about the effects of rent control, and still votes for it, is either a knave or a fool." What happened? "They immediately passed it," he laughed.

sexta-feira, 3 de junho de 2005

Wishfull thinking...

"America chose to lead and had the courage to act," he [Dick Cheney] told 906 graduates on the academy's sun-drenched football field. "And so the murderous regimes of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein are history, more than 50 million people have been liberated from tyranny, and democracy is coming to the broader Middle East." [...porque nao deixam o raio dos arabes e muçulmanos - e as mulheres la do sitio - deixarem-se oprimir tanto tempo quanto o quiserem...nao parecem ter qualquer problemas em morrer por causas...portanto...] "You will be among those who lead us to victory against freedom's enemies," he said. "And you will play an historic role in the great victories to come." [...oh dear...]

Deep Throat

Durante uns tempos na internet circulou a rumor que seria Pat Buchanan (desmentido pelo próprio), que na altura trabalhava na administração (motivo: a China). Com a confirmação de Mark Felt, não deixa de ter piada sabermos que Nixon na altura achava que o FBI se preparava para "lhe fazer a folha".

Agora, existe quem culpe a retirada dos americanos e o autentico desabar do Estado do Vietname de Sul por todas as desgraças da zona (Cambodja) mas para quem não sabe, foi o bombardeamento secreto do Cambodja (o general americano dizia ser necessário enviar o Vietname do Norte e toda a zona "back to stone age") que levou a que os khmers vermelhos tomassem o poder ao regime monárquico destituindo o seu Príncipe (que perante os bombardeamentos teve de tolerá-los mais do que seria necessário).

Depois, e quem é novo (e mesmo mais velho) talvez não saiba (não que seja segredo) foram os próprios comunistas vietnamitas a invadir o Cambodja e pôr cobro ao genocídio (por incrível que pareça, os EUA, na ONU, puseram-se sempre contra o Vietname e votando do lado dos khmers vermelhos durante os anos seguintes).

O Vietname resume o que de pior tem a aliança dos bem intencionados (Lyndon Johnson, o vice Presidente de Kennedy, decidiu prosseguir com a Guerra, apesar de em vida Kennedy estava decidido a sair antes que as coisas se descontrolassem…como aconteceu. A Administração era Democrata e foi a responsável por mais um grande salto da social-democracia nos EUA com o seu programa social da “Great Society”) com a “teoria do dominó”, o militarismo e o espírito de intervencionismo.

O liberalismo e o capitalismo não participam nestes eventos. Os Estados é que o fazem.

Segurança Social e Liberalismo II

Os efeitos perversos da segurança social:

1) A erosão da família (e comunidade)

- a poupança acumulada pela família deve financiar o investimento necessário nos mais jovens
- os jovens, para quem a geração acima de si nada pode poupar, têm o dever de a suportar

2) A subversão do acto moral da solidariedade que só o é quando voluntário, provocando que a sociedade civil deixa de a praticar conscientemente, espontaneamente, reflectidamente.

3) A realidade anti económica onde toda uma poupança forçada na população activa, ser de facto imediatamente consumida, não contribuindo em nada para a formação de capital (a única fonte de crescimento do nível de vida).

A ler: Social Security and the Destruction of Capital, Antony Mueller (Mises Institute)

"Social security is neither social nor secure. It is not social because the transfer system provokes the very dependency it is said to heal, and it is not secure because the comprehensive modern welfare system undermines economic prosperity.

As a coercive system of transfers from the active to the inactive, from the saver to the consumer, and from the producer to government, social security systems have an inherent tendency to destroy the formation and transformation of capital and to inhibit the division of labor.

Social security severs the link between savings and investment for the individual and puts both into the hands of government. It is by this mechanism that the illusions of wealth as pseudo-savings are being created.(...)

Under the assumption that the inactive part of the population spends most of the transfer income on consumption, the personal savings that come from the economically active group are never saved in economic terms and on net basis, but directed towards consumption. (...)

A nation, which is confronted with a growing portion of elderly, cannot in any economic sense fabricate the goods and services well in advance of consumption time, but must provide these step by step in accordance when demand emerges. Capital is not like a tree that grows by itself and each year provides the apples for consumption. Economic production needs current funding guided by entrepreneurial activity.(...)

Modern social security schemes are conceived as financial flow systems. They regulate the flow of financial funds between the so-called “active” part of the population to the “inactive” part: between the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, and with welfare payments between the haves and the have-nots. It is obvious that such a system must move toward a crisis, when the proportion between these two parts is changing toward a shrinking active part in relation to a growing share of the inactive part of the population.

When the burdens become too high for the active population, those on the margin will opt for becoming inactive, particularly when the benefits on this side are made more attractive. This way, social transfer systems enlarge the number of the needy and reduce the relative share of the active part.(...)

Coercive capital-based systems do not eliminate the vicious cycle that is inherent to the welfare state. There in lies the basic logical contradiction of the modern welfare state: the welfare state is flawed by its inherent tendency to undermine its own economic basis. The way out is not the reform of the welfare state, but its dismantlement. The cure for the system is not its reform but its demise.

Whether capital-based or pay-as-you-go, with both mechanisms government imposes an anonymous "contract" upon the citizens, and with old age social security upon an abstract series of generations. This way, a bureaucratic mechanism is implanted as a substitute for the division of labor within the family and among society and of the natural bonds that exist among the family generations and among the neighborhood.

This way, social security contributes to the erosion of the family in modern societies and to the disappearance of spontaneous private solidarity.(...)"

quinta-feira, 2 de junho de 2005

Queremos o florim de volta!

Uma das razões mais invocadas pelos eleitores do NÃO nos Países Baixos é o descontentamento com o euro. As pessoas não puderam pronunciar-se sobre a união monetária, que lhes foi impingida pelos políticos federalistas, e aproveitaram agora para "pôr tudo no mesmo saco". Mas esta atitude dos eleitores de misturarem as duas coisas é sábia, porque a união monetária foi realmente o maior golpe político que abriu caminho para o projectado super estado e a sua constituição-que-se-chama-tratado-mas-que-os-sem-vergonha-já-chamavam-mesmo-constituição. A união monetária não teve nenhuma lógica económica: como Hayek demonstrou em 1976, o que tem sentido numa união aduaneira é a concorrência entre diferentes moedas e não um monopólio monetário.

Como se sabe, se se tivessem pronunciado na altura, os Alemães também teriam recusado o euro, porque queriam preservar o seu marco. E continuam com a mesma opinião. E eu começo a ficar com a impressão de que, se houvesse referendos em todos os países da antiga C.E.E., só "nós" e os Espanhóis (e talvez os Belgas, que são um tanto ou quanto esquisitos) seriam a favor do tratado constitucional. Talvez os Italianos também dissessem que sim... Mas, quer dizer, as populações dos países com alguma coluna vertebral (e que vivem pelos próprios meios) parecem claramente contrárias à querida "Europa política" dos federalistas. Porque será? Porque ainda não viram a Luz?

Senhores federalistas, embrulhem!

Agora foi nos Países Baixos! Mais um país fundador da antiga C.E.E. recusa a ideia de um super estado europeu. Como vão os federalistas furiosos explicar isto? Trotsquistas e lepenistas? Não! Estratégia do medo? Alguém acredita nisso? Depois de um resultado claro em França, um resultado claríssimo nos Países Baixos: 61,6% dizem NÃO! Os próprios políticos neerlandeses tinham pedido uma participação de, pelo menos, 30% do eleitorado; votaram 63% dos eleitores! Isto é, as pessoas dão-se ao trabalho de romper com a velha abstenção astronómica das eleições "europeias" e ir votar não. E, neste caso, trata-se de um país em relação ao qual as explicações simplistas não funcionam. Palavras para quê?

Segurança Social e o Liberalismo

A proposito de JPLN no Blasfemias: "O problema dos "Pseudo-Reformados". (Contributo para o debate sobre a reforma da Segurança Social)"

"The argument for it rests as much on the desire of individuals to protect themselves against the consequences of the extreme misery of their fellows as on any wish to force individuals to provide more effectively for their own needs."F.A. Hayek. The Constitution of Liberty.

A pensão de reforma

1. O fim da actividade profissional acarretou, durante muito tempo, sérias dificuldades para as pessoas cujo rendimento dependia do seu trabalho. Esta terá sido uma razão fundamental para a implementação de sistemas de segurança social, que permitem que as pessoas que deixam de trabalhar, em virtude, usualmente, da idade avançada, possam continuar a auferir rendimentos, vulgarmente designados por "pensão de reforma".

2. Os sistemas de segurança social poderiam funcionar tendo como princípio a ideia segundo a qual a parte do vencimento que era retirada à pessoa e "guardada" pelo sistema de segurança social serviria de base para calcular o valor a ser recebido por essa pessoa após a cessação da actividade profissional. Esse princípio (princípio da capitalização) é compatível com uma visão liberal da sociedade.(...)"


Uma visão Liberal da sociedade é contra a participação compulsiva quer em esquemas de capitalização regulamentadas quer ainda mais a actual ficção de transferência de impostos entre activos e não activos

Os Hayekianos que me perdoem mas um dos exemplos como podem ser os Liberais a prejudicarem o Liberalismo é o “The Constitution of Liberty”, do qual, felizmente Hayek, assim como que se afastou mais tarde e discretamente das suas passagens claramente sociais-democratas. Mas o mal fica feito porque depois temos os estatistas a afirmar "mas se ate Hayek concordava com...?" (passou-se o mesmo com Friedman e o seu monetarismo anti-padrao ouro, os vouchers, o imposto negativo (rendimento minimo), a retençao na fonte - do qual foi o criador os EUA...mas tambem e justo que se diga que Friedman tambem se tem afastado discretamente das suas anteriores posiçoes de compromisso).

A poupança é uma função a ser exercida pelo indivíduo e a família. No actual estado de coisas, são os jovens e população activa que sustenta a terceira idade, quando seria lógico que seria a poupança acumulada na família a sustentar o investimento quando à educação e primeiros anos de via das crianças e jovens.

Mas a isso junta-se que a carga fiscal sobre os primeiros anos de trabalho prejudica quem precisamente necessita de investir mais (casa, carro, formação, etc.).

Qualquer esquema de poupança compulsória deve ser rejeitada, podemos é passar a falar de males menores.

O mal menor seria a segurança social passar apenas a ter de se financiar para providenciar tipo um “salário mínimo” para desempregados e pensões de reforma.

Se assim for, o actual imposto de cerca de 33% sobre os rendimentos de trabalho poderiam ser fortemente diminuídos, podendo assim, o rendimento disponível ser aumentado de imediato (até uns bons 20%?), o que resulta em termos filosoficos numa maior lilberdade individual. "There is no way to liberty. Liberty is the way".

PS: Quanto ao funcionalismo publico - estes não pagam qualquer imposto e todo o rendimento que recebem tem origem nos impostos (e grande parte dele, no deficit). É assim uma ficção ainda maior afirmar que contribuem para qualquer esquema de segurança social. Ou seja, quer os salários quer as reformas do funcionalismo público tem como origem os impostos pagos pela actual população activa.

quarta-feira, 1 de junho de 2005

O que eu vejo no defice...

Medina Carreira mostrou recentemente, com números que ninguém pode negar, que o Estado português estará insolvente dentro de meia dúzia de anos. O crescimento da riqueza tem sido muitíssimo inferior ao crescimento da despesa do Estado e esse desnível é assustador nos últimos dez anos. E é neste quadro que estamos hoje.

A famosa “obsessão do défice” da dra. Manuela Ferreira Leite deveria ser a obsessão de todos aqueles que prezam o seu periclitante bem estar e o dos seus filhos. Tradicionalmente, as “curas” para este mal são três (a quarta e mais racional, a diminuição da despesa, nunca foi considerada por nenhum Estado): o agravamento da carga fiscal, o endividamento e a impressão de dinheiro.

A primeira “cura”, que, como as outras duas, é, na verdade, um paliativo, está sempre a ser administrada; ainda agora o IVA, que há dois anos pulara 2% vai pular mais 2%. Graças a estes “pulos”, entre impostos directos e indirectos, os singulares e as empresas já entregam cerca de metade do que produzem ao Estado (a revolução francesa fez-se por muito menos!). Medina Carreira também disse que, na situação actual, a capacidade dos contribuintes portugueses está praticamente esgotada: porque os Portugueses, em média, têm um rendimento baixo, porque o crescimento de riqueza está estagnado e os muito ricos são poucos, o Estado já tem pouco para onde expandir a sua voragem espoliadora sem começar a criar batalhões de novos pobres (e desempregados da iniciativa privada).

No que respeita ao endividamento, e porque a dívida pública é gigantesca e ainda fresca e o défice é o que sabemos, não se vê que existam governos ou bancos a querer emprestar muito mais dinheiro cujos juros é agora quase certo que nunca receberão. (Pequeno parênteses: claro que já nem vale a pena armarmo-nos em botas de elástico e reprovarmos que se considere sequer a possibilidade de contrair ainda mais empréstimos!)

Quanto à impressão de dinheiro, truque sujo que os políticos portugueses delegaram no Banco Central Europeu, Portugal tem a sua quota parte de aumento da emissão fuduciária, mas já não a controla a seu bel-prazer como entre 1891 e 2001 fazia com o Banco de Portugal. Daí que muita gente, em Portugal e por essa Europa fora, já diga que é necessário pôr o Banco Central Europeu (BCE) a funcionar com critérios políticos, isto é, a aumentar a emissão de dinheiro a pedido dos políticos que não conseguem controlar o crescimento das despesas públicas. Como há países na União Europeia com situações similares à nossa, a grande esperança para os admiradores da “integração europeia” é que se force o BCE a aumentar a emissão monetária, provocando uma salvífica onda inflacionista de dimensão continental. Quem sabe até se, para salvar o “estado social”, não se consegue uma hiper-inflação verdadeiramente europeia, varrendo por igual toda a Europa azul e das estrelinhas, do Atlântico aos Urais!

(Delírio? Não há já quem diga que o euro está “sobrevalorizado” em 60%?)

O grande medo é se o ciclo português de desagregação financeira do “estado social” se antecipa ao europeu. Como se aguenta até vir a inflação europeia “salvífica”? Até por isto, mesmo neste cenário dantesco, os políticos portugueses deviam ter juízo, muito juízo, e fazer coisas difíceis.

Mas, sincronizados ou não com a Europa, o que nos espera é um regresso aos loucos anos Vinte. Literalmente, LOUCOS…

Podem crer

A única certeza em relação à nova taxa de 21% do IVA é que, daqui a poucos anos, vamos sentir muitas saudades dela!

O novo obscurantismo, as novas trevas

O que existe de novo no "governo sócrates"?

Uma espécie de rendição total da sociedade civil. Uma espécie de aceitação de todas e quaisquer demências estatistas. Um teste à infinita capacidade de resignação.

A resignação própria de outras populações que acabam por suportar todos totalitarismos e ilusões. Como Mises disse, nenhum regime, por mais totalitário, se mantém sem algum grau de suporte por parte da população. Reparem, como tenho dito, o regime comunista caiu na União Soviética sem que tenhamos assistido a perseguições. Porquê? Porque no fundo, a população comungava das ilusões do socialismo científico.

Querem subir os impostos, promover a poupança, aumentar o consumo, (um preço), aumentar o emprego mas manter e aumentar todos os entraves ao emprego. Querem que os mais produtivos, ficando apenas com cerca de 1/3 (as contas têm estado a ser feitas pela blogoesfera) do que produzem, trabalhem ainda mais para criar emprego para outros que terao direito a reter ½ do que trabalharem.

O facto é que temos a demência social-democrata à solta.

Digo social-democrata porque é o que resulta do actual paradigma civilizacional: um centralismo democrático que cria uma classe (a nova corte?) de pessoas (políticos e funcionários, todos os dependentes do Estado, todos os recebedores líquidos do Estado social – e que tanto podem ser subsidio dependentes como empresários a quem o Estado todas as benesses dá por causa do investimento estrangeiro, etc.) ainda por cima convencidos da sua indispensabilidade para que o mundo sequer exista, tenha como absoluta verdade que a democracia legitime tudo o queira por em prática.

Os ataques à propriedade deixaram de ser pela nacionalizações, mas pela regulamentação sectorial, do consumidor, impostos, pelos incentivos a procurar os apoios aos programas idiotas do momento.

O debate entre a verdade económica e as ilusões das novas trevas está aqui resumido por Mises:

“There are no means by which the general standard of living can be raised other than by accelerating the increase of capital as compared with population. All that good government can do to improve the material well‑being of the masses is to establish and to preserve an institutional setting in which there are no obstacles to the progressive accumulation of new capital and its utilization for the improvement of technical methods of production. The only means to increase a nation’s welfare is to increase and to improve the output of products. The only means to raise wage rates permanently for all those eager to earn wages is to raise the productivity of labor by increasing the per‑head quota of capital invested and improving the methods of production. Hence, the liberals conclude that the economic policy best fitted to serve the interests of all strata of a nation is free trade both in domestic business and in international relations.

The interventionists, on the contrary, believe that government has the power to improve the masses’ standard of living partly at the expense of the capitalists and entrepreneurs, partly at no expense at all. They recommend the restriction of profits and the equalization of incomes and fortunes by confiscatory taxation, the lowering of the rate of interest by an easy money policy and credit expansion, and the raising of the workers’ standard of living by the enforcement of minimum wage rates. They advocate lavish government spending. They are, curiously enough, at the same time in favor of low prices for consumers’ goods and of high prices for agricultural products.”

No artigo Mises acaba por concluir que o intervencionismo alimenta-se do próprio caos que provoca (e assim tem sido desde sempre):

“But the socialist writers are at least clear‑sighted enough to see that simply to paralyze the market system results in nothing but chaos. When they favor such acts of sabotage and destruction, they do so because they believe that the chaos brought about will pave the way for socialism.

But those who pretend that they want to preserve freedom, while they are eager to fix prices, wage rates, and interest rates at a level different from that of the market, delude themselves.

There is no other alternative to totalitarian slavery than liberty.

There is no other planning for freedom and general welfare than to let the market system work. There is no other means to attain full employment, rising real wage rates and a high standard of living for the common man than private initiative and free enterprise”

Por mim apetece-me modificar uma máxima conhecida:

“There is no way to Liberty. Liberty is the way”

Ou se calhar, e ainda melhor:

“There is a way to liberty and general welfare. Property Rights are the way”