Friday, July 22, 2011

The Crushing Irony of Keynesian Economics

During the Great Depression John Maynard Keynes reprised a discredited theory that government spending stimulates the economy. Frederic Bastiat, in 1850, had provided the jiu jitsu response to this old theory by asking, "When you spend, where does the money come from?" That is, if the government is giving away food, shelter, and clothing, from whence do they get the resources? The answer is often, "From taking the food, clothing, and shelter of others."

Bastiat's idea that Napoleon could not make France more wealthy by burning Paris or by breaking all the windows in France or by paying workers to dig holes and cover them up without withdrawing resources from the economy is known as "crowding out." Government activity crowds out private activity. There is an irony to crowding out that exposes just how foolish Keynes' recycling of Napoleon's idea is.

If the government decides to boost the economy by paying workers to grow potatoes and make potato chips, then private potato chip makers are crowded out. However, if the government decides to dig holes and fill them in, no private "hole-digger-filler-iners" are crowded out, because the market does not perform useless tasks.

So the more useless the government's spending is, the less it crowds out private spending. Hence, Keynes is wrong in any case. But Keynes' government spending would do the most damage to the private economy if the government did something useful.

Fortunately, government mostly concentrates on useless production, such as giving cocaine to monkeys, constructing bridges to nowhere, and building tunnels for turtles to walk under the highway.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thankful

In my acceptance speech at Writers of the Future, I said "Thank you," a lot of times. And just now I got another rush of "thank you."

Due to Writers of the Future, excellent professional writers will give me the time of day. They know who I am. Many have offered to help and some have already helped. I am a member of an online group of newly minted professional writers and some young giants in the field.

All of my "Thank yous" from my acceptance speech are still the core of what took me to where I am. But it just occurred to me that I owe even more thanks than before.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hewlett Packard dv8 FAIL

I have written about my Pavillion dv8's problems before. It starts flipping the wireless on and off, along with the treble and bass controls as if it were haunted. I find lots of people with this same crazy problem on the internet. You can even see videos of the problem on YouTube.

An engineer solved the problem last February. But he is not an HP employee and HP techs still have no clue that there is a solution, even though it is on the HP support forums. So tomorrow I mail my computer to HP again and hope that they will follow the solution. The difficulty is that solving the problem is not exactly their job description. They are supposed to follow a preset algorithm, do various tests, and try stuff.

Last time I sent the computer to them it was over 20 days before I got it back. The problem did not recur until a month later, but it built over time and now it's paralyzing me for longer periods of time. I could just take the computer apart and fix it myself--it involves taping some stuff to shield from static. But that would void my warranty, so if my motherboard fries next week, I'll be out of luck.

I am not optimistic.