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”

buchanan521

Rest in Peace James M. Buchanan

(October 3, 1919 – January 9, 2013)

Advertisements

Live-streaming of The Atlas Summit Available for June 28-July 1, 2012!

Register for Live-streaming! I am very happy to inform you that The Atlas Summit that is going to be held in the following days in Washington, D.C. is going to be available for Live-streaming.Here is a link to the Speaker Bios and information on the topic of their talks.

I am very exciting about this event since I will be talking this time on the History of Capitalism in two sessions.  I will be more than happy if you can join and send any questions during the Q&A Sessions: The History of Capitalism 1 and The History of Capitalism 2

If you can’t be in D.C. for the Atlas Summit you can still view all of the presentations by purchasing a live-streaming ticket. You will even be able of submitting questions for the Q&A sessions.Cost: $99 for entire conference.Students: $19 for entire conference. Sign up now!


On Earth Day 2012

Yesterday, April 22 many people gathered to celebrate “Earth Day” in order to call for a stop of human action and creativity in the process of transforming our planet.  Fortunately, against these destructive minds and philosophy many men and women have been working to show why the transformation of the world is something good, positive and beneficial for all of us.

I invite you to watch this wonderful video titled “If I wanted America to fail”

Furthermore, I also invite you to read the essay written by Alex Epstein (Founder and Director of the Center for Industrial Progress) in which he elaborates why human transformation of Earth is the product of our success in being more efficient and productive.  Because as Epstein wonderfully elaborates,

“It is only through technology–transforming the world around us for human purposes–that we eventually lessened that load. Technology, by creating a human environment in which our goals are easier to accomplish, buys us time–time to enjoy ourselves as we please, or time to create more technologies that will buy us even more time by improving our environment even more.” Read his essay here

Summer Seminar 2012. Either-Or: Atlas Shrugged and the Future of Individualism

WHEN: June 29-July 1, 2012

WHERERenaissance HotelWashington, D.C.

WHO: individuals from all around the world interested in learning Objectivist values and ideas.

FROMThe Atlas Society 

OFFICIAL WEBSITEAtlas Society Summer Seminar 2012

THEME:  “Either-Or“. “Either-Or” is an affirmation of Aristotelian logic, particularly the tenets of the Law of identity (A = A; a thing is identical to itself), the Law of excluded middle (either A or not-A; a thing is either something or not that thing, no third option), and the Law of noncontradiction (not both A and not-A; a thing cannot be both true and not true in the same instant).

For this Seminar The Atlas Society will provide seminar scholarshipto worthy students.

I am also very pleased to announce that I will have the honor of being part of this excellent group of lecturers (Click here to view entire program).  In the two lectures I will discuss what is the real history of Capitalism. Te goal of my talk is that all attendees will be able of explaining accurately why and how Capitalism is a social system that has never existed in its full, perfect, and unregulated form. In Part 1, we will explore the growth and flourishing of the ideas of free-market capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries.  In Part 2, we will ook at the assault against capitalism in the 20th century and consider where we find ourselves today.

SEMINAR LECTURERS:

 VIEW  PROGRAM
To access on your mobile phone, enter 
www.either-or.sched.org

REGISTER NOW FOR SUMMER SEMINAR 2012

New Blog: Laissez Faire by Don Watkins and Yaron Brook

A new blog has been born for those of you interested in learning and discussing the principles of Capitalism.  The title of the blog is “Laissez Faire: The Uncompromised Case for Capitalism” and is going to be written by Don Watkins and Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute.  The blog aims to discuss the philosophic ideas that shape economic policy.

I invite you start following it and to start commenting their articles.  Indeed, this is great news for the spread of Objectivism, the Philosophy of Ayn Rand!

Social Media of Laissez Faire

Drugs: A Legal Market is not a Free Market

English: Flower of a Opium Poppy
Image via Wikipedia

A couple days ago, Otto Perez Molina, recently elected as President of Guatemala; announced that he was willing to decriminalize the commercialization of drugs. According to U.S. authorities, Guatemala has became the transshipment point for more than 75 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States since 2005.  Along with this, the Opium poppy cultivation is already done in large parts of the countryside making the production of Guatemalan heroin a greater and the newest worry for the United States. The country’s elites are already part of this business and the paranoia of crimes that used be a remembrance from Colombia‘s 1990s history seems to be repeating in these Central American countries.

What impresses me the most now is how this news has started spreading around my Facebook contacts (mostly libertarians and liberals). Both groups seem to be happy to hear this announcement by Guatemala’s President.  However, both groups applaud the news for different reasons.  The legalization/decriminalization of drugs will not be the panacea we all are hoping for.  Specially not if started by any of the Central American governments.  The reasons are many and I will begin by listing some of them to open the discussion,

  • Corruption, lax enforcement, and judicial impunity levels in Central America are among the highest of the world.
  • Drug lords and their new and powerful money have been mentioned by many analysts to be already part of the politic and economic elites of these countries.
  • The Central American countries in which this drugs are produced and transported are inhabited by a large majority of people living in the lowest leves of Human Development.
  • If legalized, the trade, production and commercialization of drugs (cocaine and heroine mainly) will be regulated by these governments.
  • Without any doubt, this regulations will enable and create legalized monopolies ruled with the partnership of previous drug lords and government officials.
  • It has not been advocated by any of the political leaders which road would take the legalization of drugs. This is important, because under current legalization procedures it is not the same to get the approval for a new medicine in the market as to get the approval for a new liquor, a new energizing drink or of a new edible product.

The history of the legalization (production, trade and commercialization) of items considered by many as drugs and for others as commodities has shown that for as long as a government elite hold the power to legalize it; it was in their power to take the first steps into the acquisition of a monopoly of its trade and production.

If legalized, the emergence of a coercive monopoly would be inevitable. As noted by Ayn Rand, the governments and their partners in these coercive monopolies “will be able of setting the initial prices and production policies independently of the market, with immunity from competition, from the law of supply and demand. An economy dominated by such monopolies would be rigid and stagnant.”

If we support the complete and absolute free trade of all commodities it is necessary that we do not grant to government an intrinsic right to regulate it.  No compromise should ever be done with a government that requires regulation in order to give us legalization.  Legalization should result in freedom and not in regulation.  The drug trade should be opened to businessmen and entrepreneurs in the freest way possible. The freest way is that of requiring the traders to inform their buyers about all the necessary information about the products they are offering.

We may be taking part in a historical moment in which the most important thing are principles.  Let us remember that one of the most valuable principles of trade is Freedom; and that one of the most valuable principles of government is to seek that i will Protect Individual Rights and not to regulate their lives.

Note: To understand more which are the principles that really matter in this discussion, I invite you to take a look to the video titled: The Drug War in Guatemala: A Conversation with Giancarlo Ibarguen.

Summer Seminars for You in the U.S. Apply before March 31!

Girls chatting over book

Want to find out how individual liberty and economic freedom have shaped the modern world?

Discover the classical liberal ideas that have helped to end slavery, inspire women’s suffrage, and give us religious freedom. What’s in store at an IHS Summer Seminar?

  • Plenty of discussion about today’s toughest political and social issues
  • Top-tier teaching on principles of liberty
  • Fun and purposeful interaction with peers from around the globe

Questions to warm up on:

  • What is the proper role of government?
  • How can society solve widespread problems while respecting individual liberty?
  • What are the unintended consequences of government programs?

The Right Seminar for You: Choose from 12 Options

IHS provides programs tailored to a wide variety of backgrounds. Whether you’re a seasoned libertarian or just getting curious about individual liberty, attending an IHS Summer Seminar geared toward your interests will connect you to rich resources, engaging people, and enriching ideas.

Seminar themes range from liberty fundamentals to challenging advanced topics, to career-specific material focused on public policy, academia, or journalism. Seminar topics include peace, natural rights, individual autonomy, the morality of free enterprise, the role of a free press in society, and more.

Group Photo - Poverty and Prosperity 09

Daily Life Snapshot

A typical seminar day is filled with lectures, discussion groups, and time to socialize. Enjoy rewarding discussions that will lead to insights you can apply to your classes, career, and overall approach to life.

“One of the best and purest educational experiences of my life… Also, the most fun.” Anna Thorn

“I have learned more in one week than I do in some semester-long courses. This experience will help me for the rest of my career and schooling.” – Quinn Gribben

Campus and Dining

Locations

Seminars take place on college campuses located across the United States. All participants receive a full scholarship covering housing, meals, and books. Participants are responsible for travel costs.

Eligibility

Undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent graduates are eligible for most seminars (eligibility requirements vary by seminar; see specific seminar pages for details).

Program Overview 


Schedule of Seminars