Hagamos una Revolución Gloriosa en Guatemala

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En los últimos días, semanas y meses he visto a muchos amigos y conocidos que inspirados por el conservadurismo burkeano se han opuesto a los cambios que algunos hemos exigido.  Ellos parecen creer y confiar en la experiencia de pasado y en la superveniencia de las tradiciones. Ha sido así que, entendieron como amenazas al status quo la solicitud de antejuicio contra Morales, las críticas que hicimos contra los diputados y ministros aliados con la impunidad y se opusieron a la solicitud de detener el gobierno actual y pedir la renuncia de Jimmy Morales, Jafeth Cabrera y la cancelación de su partido.  Otros de ellos se han opuesto a estos cambios no por conservadores, sino por traidores y por proteger sus privilegios heredados o recientemente adquiridos.

Edmund Burke fue una de las mentes más ilustres del siglo dieciocho y su oposición a la Revolución Francesa es elocuente y comprendo los motivos por los cuales se opuso a la misma. No los apoyo y tampoco los justifico, pero comprendo su visión conservadora y aprendo de ella pues su visión explica que esa Revolución y drásticos cambios surgieron del resentimiento de una clase más pobre que desgarró el tejido social, substituyendo así la sabia gestión del progreso natural por una dictadura de los principios abstractos, segados de todo lo concreto histórico.

Las próximas semanas podrían ser el momento de nacimiento de una revolución guatemalteca y es necesario que estudiemos los efectos de la revolución francesa y cómo se equivocaron al hacer tabula rasa en vez de reconstruir la sociedad en un proceso mesurado y de cambios que sí podría gestarse desde una CICIG fortalecida y sólida.  De Burke recordemos que enfatizó que la revolución puede ser necesaria, pero “solo para mantener y poner al día la tradición, cuyo orden ha sido probado por su resistencia en el tiempo.”  Esto quiere decir que, cambiar el gobierno guatemalteco y pedir la renuncia de los congresistas que firmaron el Pacto de Impunidad podría ser viable, es necesario y requerirá de una consolidación democrática a través de una asamblea constituyente y de que se convoque a nuevas elecciones.

El Estado de Guatemala ha sido el fruto de una larga acumulación de experiencias y de reglas probadas por la experiencia histórica.  Sabemos ya cuáles de estos sistemas de gobierno no funcionan. Pero requerimos construir un gobierno que combata las causas de esos sistemas de gobierno fallidos.  Los problemas de Guatemala se encuentran en la falta de acceso a la alimentación, salud y educación digna para el 60% de la población que vive actualmente en la pobreza. Somos una pequeña clase de gobernantes quienes estamos destruyendo este país. Está en nosotros cambiar las reglas del juego y aprender de las experiencias pasadas para construir un nuevo gobierno.

La crisis política del Ejecutivo corrupto, un poder Legislativo que protega la impunidad y el subdesarrollo económico y social de Guatemala se deben a la existencia de una Constitución que no vela por el respeto de los derechos individuales.

Necesitamos una REFORMA CONSTITUCIONAL donde prevalezca el Derecho, se combata la corrupción con el apoyo de la CICIG y se fomente la economía de libre mercado.

Regresemos a discutir la creación de un sistema bicameral, la caducidad de la legislación, la reducción del número de diputados y la disminución en la discrecionalidad de los funcionarios.

Aspiremos todos a ser hombres y mujeres de Estado. Porque lo que nos distingue a nosotros de los políticos es que NO perdemos NUNCA de vista los principios y la ética. Al contrario, nos caracterizamos por SIEMPRE aplicar los principios a la política, atendiendo a las circunstancias, pero sin eludir la responsabilidad de actuar y cambiar, pues, de no hacerlo, sabemos que contribuiríamos a la irreparable ruina de nuestra querida Guatemala. Seamos nosotros actores del cambio y tengamos una Revolución Gloriosa.

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Scholarships for a PhD in History

I’d love to apply for this! If only I could! Perhaps, in my next life.

FYI, historians! Apply to this amazing PhD in one of Europe’s best program!

Scholarships for a PhD in History at the International Max Planck Research School for Moral Economies of Modern Societies (IMPRS Moral Economies), Berlin.

http://www.royalhistoricalsociety.org/Call%20for%20Application%202014%20IMPRS%20Moral%20Economies.pdf

 

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Israel-Palestine: Is a reasonable debate possible?

Notes On Liberty

The question in the title is to be taken very seriously and not just as a prelude to a comforting ‘of course there is’ answer and a few helpful hints to how to engage in respectful debate. This is a debate which stretches at the  limits of debate, at all attempts at civility and respect for other points of view in debate. I am trying to find a way to discuss the issues in a way that is equally considerate of the rights and interests of all parties to the debate, while also finding that debates about Arab Palestinian and Jewish Israeli positions may at some point just not be open to rational debate, and can only be settled by pragmatic compromise at best, and violent imposition  in the less happy scenarios.

This started with a social media post on my part condemning George Galloway, a very left socialist British…

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The left and an anti-rentier agenda

The Devon Henry George Society

In a series of articles appearing on Salon last year Michael Lind argued that left and right alike are confused by a failure to distinguish productive businesses that sell innovative goods and services from “rentier” interests — landlords, lenders, copyright holders and others — which use their natural or artificial monopoly power to extract Dog in the mangerexcessive tolls, fees and other recurrent payments from the rest of society, including productive businesses. Lind made the case that the fees or rents extracted by these interests constitute a kind of “private taxation” and that this is the greatest threat facing the productive economy.

This line of thinking is essentially a Georgist one and it doesn’t sit easily on the tired old left-right spectrum that dominates mainstream political discourse today. Many who identify with the left, worried that growing wealth inequality is leading to complete domination of society by big moneyed interests, denounce “capitalism” and…

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The legacy of George Washington’s Postal Service Act of February 20, 1792

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WASHINGTON — Faced with billions of dollars in losses, the Postal Service announced on Wednesday (Feb. 06 2013) that it would seek to stop Saturday delivery of letters, a sweeping change in mail delivery that immediately drew criticism from postal unions, some businesses and lawmakers.

What went wrong I wonder?  Would it had been better if George Washington had never passed the Postal Service Act of 1792? How many billions would taxpayers have saved since then?  Would private companies like the  American Letter Mail Company of Lysander Spooner have served better the market? Or would the system have collapsed without government intervention?

In February 20, 1792 the Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department was signed by President George Washington.  An interesting date to remember in these days in which the Postal Service made it to the news with their Losses and their controversial solution by ending Saturday Letter Delivery.

We know for certain that in a free market no company would survive if they had kept losses as huge as the one USPS has had over all these years. They had losses of   $15.9 billion only last year.  A principle of free market transactions is that in competing  there appears a beneficial rivalry among sellers trying to achieve goals as increasing profits, market share, and sales volume by varying the elements of the marketing mix: price, product, distribution, and promotion.  Thus, enabling for those companies which succeed in growing larger and for those companies which fail to disappear.  With the existence of monopolistic services (like the Postal Service in the US) industries and business sponsored by government disrupted market transactions (bureaucratically made) and thus enabled for failing companies to continue existing even though they were not beneficial for society in the long-term.

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This reminds me to the company founded Lysander Spooner whom “being an advocate of self-employment and opponent of government regulation of business, Spooner started his own business called American Letter Mail Company which competed with the U.S. Post Office. Postal rates were notoriously high in the 1840s,[7] and in 1844, Spooner founded the American Letter Mail Company, which had offices in various cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.[8] Stamps could be purchased and then attached to letters which could be sent to any of its offices. From here agents were dispatched who traveled on railroads and steamboats, and carried the letters in hand bags. Letters were transferred to messengers in the cities along the routes who then delivered the letters to the addressees. This was a challenge to the United States Post Office’s monopoly.[7][9] As he had done when challenging the rules of the Massachusetts bar, he published a pamphlet titled “The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails.” Although Spooner had finally found commercial success with his mail company, legal challenges by the government eventually exhausted his financial resources. He closed up shop without ever having had the opportunity to fully litigate his constitutional claims. The lasting legacy of Spooner’s challenge to the postal service was the 3-cent stamp, adopted in response to the competition his company provided.[10]

Lets have this as food for thought…

Walmart’s Irrational “buy American” Campaign

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Walmart‘s latest push to Buy American and Hire Veterans is irrational.  In a world of interconnectedness in which products from pencils to airplanes are produced with parts and components made all over the world the “buy American” argument falls into pieces.

In today’s world mass consumption economy there is not a single product that can be claimed to be “national” or “unique” without ignoring the intertwined network of global production.  If your argument is “yes” there is such a thing as “100% national” or “100% American” then I will still be able of arguing against your position.  Why?  Because the economy of the United States of America is not only part but dependent on the global economy.

By 2012, only about 32 cents for every dollar of U.S. debt, or $4.6 trillion, was owned by the federal government in trust funds, for Social Security and other programs such as retirement accounts, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The largest portion of U.S. debt, 68 cents for every dollar or about $10 trillion, is owned by individual investors, corporations, state and local governments and, yes, even foreign governments such as China that hold Treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign governments hold about 46 percent of all U.S. debt held by the public, more than $4.5 trillion. The largest foreign holder of U.S. debt is China, which owns more about $1.2 trillion in bills, notes and bonds, according to the Treasury.

In total, China owns about 8 percent of publicly held U.S. debt. Of all the holders of U.S. debt China is the third-largest, behind only the Social Security Trust Fund‘s holdings of nearly $3 trillion and the Federal Reserve‘s nearly $2 trillion holdings in Treasury investments, purchased as part of its quantitative easing program to boost the economy. (Data via: How Much U.S. Debt Does China Really Own?)

So, the next time you think you are “Buying American“, I invite you to reconsider how irrational such an argument is.

RIP James M. Buchanan (October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)

Nobel laureate and Classical Liberal economist James M. Buchanan has died today.  He was one of the most important economist of the 20th. Century and will be long remembered for his work on the principles of economic self-interest and their use to understand why politicians do what they do.

He received a Doctor Honoris Causa Degree from my home university at Universidad Francisco Marroquin in 2001 (link to video of his visit to UFM) and his books were some of the most important ones in my education during my college years.  At UFM I learned about Buchanan with Carrol Rios de Rodriguez.  Prof. Rodriguez is one of my favorite teachers and she was the former Director of the a Center for the Study of Public Choice, where the ideas of Buchanan and Tullock first were taught to me.

Here are some interviews to remember the work of this great man and I invite you all to read his books and continue learning!

Hayek and Buchanan: Rawls, Egalitarianism and Social Justice

James Buchanan on Chicago School Thinking: Old and New

James M. Buchanan on Economists and the Great Recession

James M. Buchanan on “Institutional Sources of America’s Fiscal Tragedy”

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Rest in Peace James M. Buchanan

(October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)