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As part of our effort to share Austrian Economics with the world, we announced the first version of the Mises.org torrents in 2009, 2.0 in 2010, and 3.0 in 2011.  These torrents allow you to download the content on Mises.org for offline reading and sharing.

Version 4.0 is now available in a new user-friendly format. We have completely re-organized the files and focused on only including the books and media featured on the website. In addition to the books and media themselves, the torrent now includes links to purchase physical version of books and to the latest version of the file on Mises.org. Download them here: books (8.6) GB, media: (114 GB), and journals (4.3GB)

You will need a bittorrent client such as uTorrent if you don’t already have one to open these links.

Update:  the 2013 books and media torrents are available.

HTTPS Everywhere is a web browser extension from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that encrypts your communications with many major websites. This makes it very difficult for third parties to track your online activity. Mises.org now has enhanced support for HTTPS Everywhere, so you can surf and shop on Mises.org using totally encrypted communications. (Read more about how this was done.)

The End of an Era

March 11, 2012 by

The Mises Blog went live on May 5, 2003. Since then, it has hosted 16,647 posts and 234,839 comments and become one of the highest-ranked economics blogs on the internet, thanks to a fantastic slate of authors and an eager, informed, and intelligent community of readers, commentators, and friends. Thanks so much to all of you for making this possible.

As use of the blogosphere, Facebook, Twitter, and similar tools has exploded in the last few years, the need for a large, diverse, and busy group blog hosted at mises.org has diminished. We all have many channels for sharing news and views, and the formal, “traditional” organizational blog has become a little old fashioned. Therefore we’ve decided to close the Mises blog and replace it with smaller, lighter, more focused, streams — a news feed and a streamlined opinion blog, the Circle Bastiat. The Mises blog archives will remain on the site now and forever.

Thanks again for being part of the Mises community!

An ASC lecture titled “Misesian Praxeology: An Illustration from the Field of Sociology of Delinquency” delivered by Renaud Fillieule will be streaming live today at 1:30 pm Central.

DiLorenzo, Gordon, and Block.  Sign up today!

The ASC 2012 Rothbard Memorial Lecture will be broadcast via Ustream today at 4:30 pm Central Time.  David Howden will be discussing Fractional Reserve Free Banking.

More pics here.

Watch the live-streamed talks here.

It turns out Hillary Clinton was serious. She’s really not trying to get in at the World Bank. Jeffrey Sachs, on the other hand

Banks are foreclosing on Churches in record numbers. The causes are very familiar:

During the property boom, many churches took out additional loans to refurbish or enlarge, often with major lenders or with the Evangelical Christian Credit Union, which was particularly aggressive in lending to religious institutions.

Then after the financial crash, many churchgoers lost their jobs, donations plunged, and often, so did the value of the church building.

Meanwhile, “Foreclosures and other distressed properties account for more than a third of all home sales.”

Not surprisingly then, the National Association of Realtors reports that “Housing affordability at all-time high.” (NAR’s advice: There’s never been a better time to buy!)

The Financial Times reports that 2011 was the first year in decades without the opening of a new U.S. Bank.

If there’s a question about the lack of demand for purchase homes right now, one need only look to the jobs data. In today’s employment report, a “third solid month” of employment growth is reported, yet, total employment continues to be way down:

Some 43 percent of the 12.8 million unemployed Americans had been out of work for more than 6 months in January, the latest Labor Department data on the long-term unemployed. In all, nearly 24 million people are either out of work or underemployed. Those people aren’t out of work for lack of trying: there just aren’t enough jobs to go around. For every opening, there are four unemployed workers who need a paycheck.

Total employment numbers are still comparable to 2001 levels.

And we’ll definitely be needing taxpayers to work more, because the U.S. government will be shelling out at least $5 trillion over the next decade, just to pay interest on the debt.

“Teaching Tomorrow’s Economists” by Robert P. Murphy

I am happy to announce that the Teacher’s Manual is now available for my introductory textbook, Lessons for the Young Economist. It can be used by classroom teachers, but is also ideally suited to homeschooling instruction by parents who may not be confident in their own economics knowledge.

“Defending the Blackmailer” by Walter Block

[Walter Block will be teaching a 6-week online course on his classic work, Defending the Undefendable, starting March 26, 2012. Enroll today.]

At first glance it is not hard to answer the question, “Is blackmail really illegitimate?” The only problem it would seem to pose is, “Why is it being asked at all?”

Do not blackmailers, well, blackmail people? And what could be worse? Blackmailers prey on people’s dark, hidden secrets. They threaten to expose and publicize them. They bleed their victims and often drive them to suicide.

Mises Matters

March 9, 2012 by

Former Mises Daily copyeditor Mike Reid writes,

Hi, Doug and BK.

Here’s a little note to say that your work has impact.

I spent most of today working on a story for the Heartland Institute about pro-free-market politics in Wichita.

Two separate informants (a professor and an elected official) each told me today that they had either personally been to an LvMI event or used LvMI resources in creating their own free-market events. The official then also told me that a leading activist at the centre of the local free-market uprising has been to Auburn for Mises events.

So keep up the great work, guys,

Mike

Being a billionaire isn’t such an exclusive group anymore. Back in 1998, there were reportedly 230 billionaires worldwide. Now, according to Forbes magazine, the number has grown to 1,226. The United States still has the most with 425, but now 58 countries have billionaires. Russia and China have nearly 100 each.

Nobody seems too excited about billionaires, likely because a billion is an unimaginable number—a thousand million. There was once a time when being a millionaire meant real wealth, but no more. Most financial planners will say that the average person needs to retire with more than a million dollars socked away to live comfortably in retirement.

The word millionaire was coined in 1720 during John Law’s ‘Mississippi Bubble” to describe those making vast fortunes in Law’s Mississippi Company stock that rose from 150 livres to 10,000 in the matter of months. But just as quickly, the stock and the currency wildly inflated by Law’s Banque Royale, crashed and Law was forced into exile.

Like Ben Bernanke, Law believed France’s economic problems as being one of not enough money. He started small with his privately owned Banque Générale, within a year all royal revenues were to be paid in the Banque’s notes and these notes were to be cashed on sight at government offices, making these offices essentially branches of Law’s bank.

Two years into Law’s system, the livre was devalued again, by 40 percent. Despite the devaluations, Law’s reputation continued to rise and by the end of 1718, the state took over Law’s bank, which became the Banque Royale. A nomadic gambler just three years before, Law suddenly had immense power, controlling the monopoly on coining money, the collection of tax revenues, as well as tobacco and salt revenues. His Mississippi Company (Compagnie du Mississippi) would buy up the debt of the French government, a proposal John T. Flynn compares to Roosevelt’s plan to extinguish America’s debt by having the Social Security Board purchase it.

Law inflated the money supply through the Banque Royale, he created jobs through public-works projects; he attempted to release the hoarded savings back into business with the promotion of Mississippi Company shares; he exploited France’s colonial empire, relieved the debt-ridden government of its debts, and was making money for himself and his patrons.

Law’s system unraveled a mere four years after it began. People fled Law’s paper for the safety of gold and silver, despite Law’s attempts to demonetize and confiscate specie. Ultimately, Law’s system would only serve to forestall France’s bankruptcy, not solve it. Law himself would die near poverty a decade later.

What were once Law’s millionaires are now Bernanke’s billionaires. “Law is the precursor of the inflationist redeemers,” Flynn explained. “Like all the inflationist salvations, his career was short.”

Bernanke has been on the job for six years, and the Gates, Buffetts, and Slims of the world are reaping the benefit. But for how long?

Late last month, Bloomberg reported that British Petroleum continues to experience substantial growth in the amount of money it receives from the Pentagon for its oil services. From 2010 to 2011, Pentagon contracts with BP increased by one-third from about 1 billion to 1.35 billion.

This was presented by some in the media as a scandal, since presumably, BP should be punished by the Pentagon for it’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The larger story, however, should be about just how much the Pentagon spends on oil every year.

The BP contracts are just one small portion of total Pentagon spending on oil, and as Bloomberg reported earlier in February, Pentagon spending on oil surged 26 percent from 2010 to 2011, rising from $13.7 billion to $17.3 billion during that period. That’s about 117 million barrels of oil.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Defense is the largest purchaser of oil on earth, and reportedly consumes more than any other governmental department or body worldwide. Obviously, the effect of such a huge driver of global demand on the global oil price certainly isn’t zero.

There have been talks in Washington of cutting the military’s budget by about 500 billion over the next ten years. In spite of the fact that this amount is laughably small, the military is claiming that the global oil price, which the military itself is pushing up, will make even a tiny reduction difficult.

We can consider this along side the much ballyhooed effort by the Pentagon to “go green” and slash its use of fossil fuels. It also promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions by ten percent. This cut, however,

exempts the military’s bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the jets, ships, and ground vehicles that swallow up 75 percent of the military’s fuel supply.

So, the Pentagon will be cutting emissions except when it’s not. And by cutting its reliance on fossil fuels, it can presumably get to work driving up the price of non-fossil fuels. Whether or not the reduction of fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions should be a goal of public policy is debatable, but in typical fashion, the reality of the effort to “go green” hardly matches the PR.

The idea of the Pentagon becoming environmentally conscious is itself somewhat ridiculous. Governments worldwide have committed some of the worst environmental disasters in history, and government militaries tend to be among the worst perpetrators. Civilian functions of government can be environmentally disastrous, as in the case of the Soviets and the Aral Sea, but governmental war efforts seem to produce the lion’s share of the damage done. Even leaving aside all the fire bombing and the nuclear bombs and the depleted uranium bombs still being used by the Pentagon, we’re left with nuclear test sites, the myriad of polluted weapons production sites, such as Rocky Flats and the non-stop use of oil that is necessary to move around machines of war day in and day out across the globe. The U.S., for example, has essentially been at war nonstop since 1990. That sort of thing gets expensive in both budgetary outlays and in environmental impact.

American taxpayers aren’t just paying once for the Pentagon’s spending spree on oil. They’re also paying through higher prices at the pump. Worldwide, private citizens continue to pay for government militaries through lost limbs thanks to leftover land mines, or polluted soil and groundwater due to depleted uranium, through unexploded munitions, or through just old-fashioned air pollution.

Yet governments continue to lecture private citizens for the crime of driving an automobile to the grocery store or failing to recycle a few aluminum cans.

Note: See Rothbard on air pollution.

ASC 2012 Pictures

March 8, 2012 by




More here!

Austrian Scholars Conference 2012

On now: The Hayek Memorial Lecture by Nicolai Foss, Copenhagen Business School on “The Continuing Relevance of Austrian Capital Theory.”

Preliminary schedule.

Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View eBooks, Mises Institute