Andrew Yang: The Capitalist Candidate Championing a Universal Basic Income

Andrew Yang wants you to know: he’s not a socialist.

The businessman is among the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders and is campaigning almost solely on a universal basic income (UBI) proposal. Nicknamed his “Freedom Dividend,” it promises to give $1,000 a month to every adult between the ages of 18 and 64.

It’s a plan that reeks of pie-in-the-sky idealism. But, perhaps ironically, Yang’s campaign is colored by his affinity for capitalism, particularly as the founder of a nonprofit—Venture for America—that trains young entrepreneurs. And he touts his pragmatism in what is almost certainly an attempt to sway skeptics.

“I’ve looked at the numbers…” Yang said repeatedly at a rally in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, eliciting loud cheers from supporters who fervently waved signs that said “MATH.”

The presidential hopeful told Reason that his Freedom Dividend would put “more people in position where they can actually participate in a free market,” making for a “much more dynamic” economy.

UBI has a bevy of full-throated critics on both sides of the aisle. In 2016, Oren Cass wrote in National Review that it is “a logical successor to the worst public policies and social movements of the past 50 years.” Eduardo Porter of The New York Times said it provides a “non-negligible disincentive to work” and that government aid would become “less generous over time.”

But it’s also had an unlikely array of supporters over the years, like Thomas Paine and Martin Luther King, Jr.—not to mention famed libertarian economists Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Charles Murray.

“The good news is that a well-designed UBI can do much more than help us to cope with disaster,” Murray wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2016. “It also could provide an invaluable benefit: injecting new resources and new energy into an American civic culture that has historically been one of our greatest assets but that has deteriorated alarmingly in recent decades.”

Murray and Yang approach the UBI discussion from a similar vantage point: Automation is picking up speed, and it’s coming for your job. “We are approaching a labor market in which entire trades and professions will be mere shadows of what they once were,” says Murray. Similarly, Yang calls his Freedom Dividend a “tech check”—an homage to the retail workers, call center employees, and truck drivers who may increasingly find themselves without work in the coming years.

But Murray and Yang diverge considerably when it comes to how they would pay for a UBI—as well as how it would interact with the welfare system. Murray champions the burn-it-all-down approach, financing the stipend by eradicating all social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as housing and agricultural subsidies.

Yang sees it differently. He proposes centralizing health care costs and taxing tech giants like Amazon, who he says are automating jobs into oblivion and driving some stores across the country into the ground. Emboldened by the Freedom Dividend, recipients will spend their money in their local communities, facilitating a “trickle up economy.”

And while he pictures welfare dependence waning, Yang maintains that it has its rightful place in society. “You don’t want to take away benefits that hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally relying upon for their very survival,” he told Reason. “The goal is to create more positive incentives.” Over time, he says that welfare enrollment would decline with a rise in empowered consumers, “because many people in the Dividend would never find themselves in those programs.”

The jury is certainly still out on UBI, and objections to Yang’s Freedom Dividend are not without merit. Some research lends credence to the idea that a guaranteed check will discourage employment and overall productivity. Others counter that those fears are unfounded, citing Alaska’s Permanent Fund: The state sends a yearly stipend to residents and has not experienced significant dips in aggregate employment. The latter claim is a bit harder to stomach, as Alaska paid residents $1,600 in 2018—hardly enough to quit your day job. Yang proposes $1,000 per month, although some argue it will help people pursue their professional goals by lowering barriers to entry.

Yang is also backing Medicare for All, the decriminalization of opioids (including heroin and fentanyl), as well as the regulation of social media companies to encourage healthier habits.

“We have the smartest engineers in the country trying to turn supercomputers into dopamine delivery systems for teenagers,” he told Reason. To address this, he suggests that social media developers be required to encourage moderation; according to Yang, an alert system that tells users to “find a human” or “go outside” would be a start. “Financial incentives of their companies will never suggest that they do this, and so they need a hand,” he said—although the long-term benefit of such initiatives would likely be dubious.

Although Yang’s candidacy is a long shot by most standards, he considers himself the perfect foil to President Trump.

“Donald Trump is our president today because he got a lot of the fundamental problems right,” he said at his Monday night rally. “When he was going around saying, ‘Hey things are not great,’ and then the counter was ‘Things actually are great,’—that was not the right response.”

But Yang says that, while Trump may have diagnosed the problem, he’s prescribing the wrong medicine. “His solutions are that we have to turn the clock back,” he said. “Time only moves in one direction. I want to accelerate our economy and society. I want to prepare us for the true challenges of the 21st century.”

“And I’m the right man for the job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math!”

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Andrew Yang: The Capitalist Candidate Championing a Universal Basic Income

Andrew Yang wants you to know: he’s not a socialist.

The businessman is among the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders and is campaigning almost solely on a universal basic income (UBI) proposal. Nicknamed his “Freedom Dividend,” it promises to give $1,000 a month to every adult between the ages of 18 and 64.

It’s a plan that reeks of pie-in-the-sky idealism. But, perhaps ironically, Yang’s campaign is colored by his affinity for capitalism, particularly as the founder of a nonprofit—Venture for America—that trains young entrepreneurs. And he touts his pragmatism in what is almost certainly an attempt to sway skeptics.

“I’ve looked at the numbers…” Yang said repeatedly at a rally in Washington, D.C., on Monday evening, eliciting loud cheers from supporters who fervently waved signs that said “MATH.”

“By putting more people in position where they can actually participate in a free market, we actually make the market much more dynamic, as opposed to an economy where people are stuck,” the presidential hopeful told Reason.

UBI has a bevy of full-throated critics on both sides of the aisle. In 2016, Oren Cass wrote in National Review that it is “a logical successor to the worst public policies and social movements of the past 50 years.” Eduardo Porter of The New York Times said it provides a “non-negligible disincentive to work” and that government aid would become “less generous over time.”

But it’s also had an unlikely array of supporters over the years, like Thomas Paine and Martin Luther King, Jr.—not to mention famed libertarian economists Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and Charles Murray.

“The good news is that a well-designed UBI can do much more than help us to cope with disaster,” Murray wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2016. “It also could provide an invaluable benefit: injecting new resources and new energy into an American civic culture that has historically been one of our greatest assets but that has deteriorated alarmingly in recent decades.”

Murray and Yang approach the UBI discussion from a similar vantage point: Automation is picking up speed, and it’s coming for your job. “We are approaching a labor market in which entire trades and professions will be mere shadows of what they once were,” says Murray. Similarly, Yang calls his Freedom Dividend a “tech check”—an homage to the retail workers, call center employees, and truck drivers who may increasingly find themselves without work in the coming years.

But Murray and Yang diverge considerably when it comes to how they would pay for a UBI—as well as how it would interact with the welfare system. Murray champions the burn-it-all-down approach, financing the stipend by eradicating all social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as housing and agricultural subsidies.

Yang sees it differently. He proposes centralizing health care costs and taxing tech giants like Amazon, who he says are automating jobs into oblivion and driving some stores across the country into the ground. Emboldened by the Freedom Dividend, recipients will spend their money in their local communities, facilitating a “trickle up economy.”

And while he pictures welfare dependence waning, Yang maintains that it has its rightful place in society. “You don’t want to take away benefits that hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally relying upon for their very survival,” he told Reason. “The goal is to create more positive incentives.” Over time, he says that welfare enrollment would decline with a rise in empowered consumers, “because many people in the Dividend would never find themselves in those programs.”

The jury is certainly still out on UBI, and objections to Yang’s Freedom Dividend are not without merit. Some research lends credence to the idea that a guaranteed check will discourage employment and overall productivity. Others counter that those fears are unfounded, citing Alaska’s Permanent Fund: The state sends a yearly stipend to residents and has not experienced significant dips in aggregate employment. The latter claim is a bit harder to stomach, as Alaska paid residents $1,600 in 2018—hardly enough to quit your day job. Yang proposes $1,000 per month, although some argue it will help people pursue their professional goals by lowering barriers to entry.

Yang is also backing Medicare for All, the decriminalization of opioids (including heroin and fentanyl), as well as the regulation of social media companies to encourage healthier habits.

“We have the smartest engineers in the country trying to turn supercomputers into dopamine delivery systems for teenagers,” he told Reason. To address this, he suggests that social media developers be required to encourage moderation; according to Yang, an alert system that tells users to “find a human” or “go outside” would be a start. “Financial incentives of their companies will never suggest that they do this, and so they need a hand,” he said—although the long-term benefit of such initiatives would likely be dubious.

Although Yang’s candidacy is a long shot by most standards, he considers himself the perfect foil to President Trump.

“Donald Trump is our president today because he got a lot of the fundamental problems right,” he said at his Monday night rally. “When he was going around saying, ‘Hey things are not great,’ and then the counter was ‘Things actually are great,’—that was not the right response.”

But Yang says that, while Trump may have diagnosed the problem, he’s prescribing the wrong medicine. “His solutions are that we have to turn the clock back,” he said. “Time only moves in one direction. I want to accelerate our economy and society. I want to prepare us for the true challenges of the 21st century.”

“And I’m the right man for the job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math!”

from Latest – Reason.com http://bit.ly/2IHRa8c
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System D: 2.5 Billion People Can’t Be Wrong

Authored by Mark Nestmann via InternationalMan.com,

Nearly two billion people work in it. And it accounts for perhaps 20% of the world’s total economic activity.

“It” is the black market, or System D, a slang phrase adapted from the French word débrouillard. A débrouillard is a resourceful and self-reliant person. A débrouillard figures out how to get what they need regardless of the obstacles. The obstacles are usually the laws or price controls put in place by the state.

There are a lot of débrouillards in the world. In 2009, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), estimated that around 1.8 billion people – at the time, half the world’s working age people — had unofficial jobs that weren’t registered, regulated, or (in many cases) taxed. The OECD estimated that by 2020, two-thirds of the world’s workforce would be part of System D.

The OECD considers anyone between the ages of 15 and 64 to be “working age.” As of mid-2018, about 65% of the world’s 7.7 billion people were working age; that’s about 5 billion people. If half of them rely on System D to support themselves and their families, that comes to 2.5 billion people.

Most of these 2.5 billion people are débrouillards by circumstance rather than choice. They live in countries like Venezuela, Zimbabwe, or Nigeria where the only way to buy the goods and services they need is by breaking the law. Venezuela is a great example. Consumer basics like food and medicine are no longer available in stores or pharmacies. The only way to get them is through System D.

A 2012 study concluded that collectively, the black market accounts for more than one-fifth of global GDP. Today’s global GDP comes to about $80 trillion. System D, then, adds another $16 trillion of economic activity to the global economy. If the black market were a country, it would have the world’s second largest GDP, second only to the US ($19.3 trillion).

Most of us have participated in System D transactions, whether we were aware of it or not. If you’ve bought tickets from a scalper, you’ve participated in the black market. Or if you pay your maid or landscaper with cash. And there’s no guarantee the seller of that curio you bought in a market on your last vacation reported their income.

Governments hate black markets because they can’t control them. In Venezuela, where inflation has reached nearly one million percent annually, the government has responded with strict price controls. Since it’s unprofitable to sell goods or services at state-sanctioned prices, they’ve become largely unavailable. They’re still available in the black market, thanks to débrouillards. But buyers pay steep premiums compared to the prices the government officially allows merchants to charge. Even though the government blames the black market (along with the US) for Venezuela’s economic woes, ironically, débrouillards may be the only reason the economy hasn’t collapsed entirely.

Of course, not all black markets are benign. Human trafficking, slavery, cybercrime, and counterfeiting all are part of the $16 trillion black market. Counterfeiting alone amounts to about $1.1 trillion of black-market activity; human trafficking for another $150 billion. Black markets where there are identifiable victims account for about 10% of the global black market or around $1.6 trillion annually.

By focusing on black markets in which there are identifiable victims, governments seek to tar all black markets with the same brush. Don’t fall for that bogus conclusion. Most System D activity involves voluntary transactions between willing buyers and willing sellers. The majority of System D transactions are part of the gray- or black-market categories in the chart below.

One important factor encouraging the growth of black markets is the rise of the “darknet,” a restricted area of the internet invisible to ordinary search engines and accessible only through specialized browsers like Tor, with transactions carried out in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The most famous example of a darknet market is the ill-fated Silk Road website, which, among other activities, allowed users to buy and sell illegal drugs. Uncle Sam shut down Silk Road in 2014. And in 2015, a judge sentenced the man behind it, Ross Ulbricht, to two consecutive life sentences plus 40 years and a fine of nearly $200 million.

But the Silk Road takedown hardly shut down the darknet. When it was taken down, Silk Road’s transaction volume came to about $400,000 daily or $150 million annually. Today, the total darknet volume is around $1 billion annually. That’s a tiny fraction of the global black-market total, but it’s increasing fast.

Governments have many tools at their disposal to fight the black market. Price controls and exchange controls, such as those in effect in Venezuela, are two common strategies. Another is to ban, restrict, or regulate the most popular forms of money débrouillards use to exchange value. For instance, in the ongoing “War on Cash,” dozens of countries have restricted the use of cash or (as in India) even banned large-denomination bills. Many countries have also banned or restricted the use of cryptocurrencies.

The struggles of ordinary people to overcome obstacles to obtain the goods and services they need to survive are heroic. For many, System D is quite literally their only means of survival. Remember that the next time you read a sensationalist article in the mainstream media suggesting that cash be banned, that black marketeers be imprisoned, or that the darknet is used only for criminal activity.

*  *  *

Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.

via ZeroHedge News http://bit.ly/2Pj3CfO Tyler Durden

“I’ve Never Seen Anything So Half-Assed”: Ex-Biden Aide Slams 2020 Preparations

Despite at least eight women accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriately touching them, and countless video montages of Biden openly molesting women and children, the 76-year-old appears to be pressing forward with plans to jump into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary next week. 

Except, according to one unnamed former Biden aide, things are not going according to plan – if there is one

“I’ve never seen anything so half-assed,” the former aide told Time. “They’re improvising and doing last-minute planning. The guy has been running for President since 1987 and can’t figure the basics out, like where to stand on his first day? This should make everyone very nervous.” 

Another source described as a Biden “insider” told Time “The guy’s best day is the day he announces,” adding “Everything after that gets worse.

Not to be dissuaded, Biden is “finally expected to pull the trigger,” according to a Friday report by Vanity Fair.

According to reports in the Atlantic and NBC News on Friday, the former vice president will announce his third presidential bid next Wednesday, ending months of speculation and officially launching his 2020 challenge to Donald Trump. He’ll enter the race as a front-runner, sitting atop early polls thanks in part to his high profile. But he will also need to elbow past a crowded field of worthy opponents, some of whom may better reflect the party’s diversity and progressive energy. –Vanity Fair

Biden aides told The Atlantic that the former VP thinks the primary will be “easier than some might think,” and that he “sees a clear path  path down the middle, especially with Bernie Sanders occupying a solid 20 percent of the progressive base, and most other candidates fighting for the rest.” 

Of course, most other candidates – in fact none of them, have been accused of inappropriate touching. Then again, none of them are BFFs with President Obama, who will surely support his former VP. Maybe he’ll wear that friendship bracelet on the campaign trail? 

via ZeroHedge News http://bit.ly/2va5b6D Tyler Durden

New Federal Immigration Guidance Says Stoners Lack ‘Good Moral Character’

Today the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency, which processes citizenship applications and is part of the Department of Homeland Security, released a policy alert saying that consuming state-legal marijuana could still be grounds for denying someone’s citizenship application.

“Since 1996, a number of states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to decriminalize … both medical and non-medical (recreational) marijuana in their respective jurisdictions,” reads USCIS’s alert. “However, federal law classifies marijuana as a ‘Schedule I’ controlled substance” meaning its sale or possession is a still a violation of federal law.

Therefore, says the agency, admissions of past marijuana use—even if said use occurred in a state or country where it was legal—could be a bar to establishing an applicant’s “good moral character,” a requirement immigrants need to meet in order to become citizens.

With the policy alert, smoking pot explicitly joins the many other vices that could be used to deny aspiring Americans full citizenship. Current federal policy also considers polygamists, adulterers, prostitutes, and “habitual drunkards” to be unworthy of naturalization.

As the Cato Institute’s David Bier points out, the new policy goes further than just barring immigrants who’ve been convicted of marijuana offenses or otherwise admitted to consuming it.

Reads the USCIS policy alert, “even if an applicant does not have a conviction or make a valid admission to a marijuana-related offense, he or she may be unable to meet the burden of proof to show that he or she has not committed such an offense.”

“In other words, even if an immigrant attempting to become an American has never been convicted of using marijuana and won’t admit doing so, they could still be denied U.S. citizenship,” writes Bier.

Deeming stoners to be “immoral” is obviously a pretty antiquated view, particularly given the fact that a full 65 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legal. And while a lot of progress has been made on that front on the state and local level, USCIS’s policy alert is a helpful reminder that federal prohibitions are still doing a lot of damage.

from Latest – Reason.com http://bit.ly/2Dp7abx
via IFTTT

New Federal Immigration Guidance Says Stoners Lack ‘Good Moral Character’

Today the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency, which processes citizenship applications and is part of the Department of Homeland Security, released a policy alert saying that consuming state-legal marijuana could still be grounds for denying someone’s citizenship application.

“Since 1996, a number of states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to decriminalize … both medical and non-medical (recreational) marijuana in their respective jurisdictions,” reads USCIS’s alert. “However, federal law classifies marijuana as a ‘Schedule I’ controlled substance” meaning its sale or possession is a still a violation of federal law.

Therefore, says the agency, admissions of past marijuana use—even if said use occurred in a state or country where it was legal—could be a bar to establishing an applicant’s “good moral character,” a requirement immigrants need to meet in order to become citizens.

With the policy alert, smoking pot explicitly joins the many other vices that could be used to deny aspiring Americans full citizenship. Current federal policy also considers polygamists, adulterers, prostitutes, and “habitual drunkards” to be unworthy of naturalization.

As the Cato Institute’s David Bier points out, the new policy goes further than just barring immigrants who’ve been convicted of marijuana offenses or otherwise admitted to consuming it.

Reads the USCIS policy alert, “even if an applicant does not have a conviction or make a valid admission to a marijuana-related offense, he or she may be unable to meet the burden of proof to show that he or she has not committed such an offense.”

“In other words, even if an immigrant attempting to become an American has never been convicted of using marijuana and won’t admit doing so, they could still be denied U.S. citizenship,” writes Bier.

Deeming stoners to be “immoral” is obviously a pretty antiquated view, particularly given the fact that a full 65 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legal. And while a lot of progress has been made on that front on the state and local level, USCIS’s policy alert is a helpful reminder that federal prohibitions are still doing a lot of damage.

from Latest – Reason.com http://bit.ly/2Dp7abx
via IFTTT

Simon Abundance Index Launch on Monday at the Cato Institute

The Limits to Growth in 1972 featured calculations of “exponential reserve index” for important nonrenewable resources that assumed exponential growth rates in consumption while multiplying known reserves of each resource fivefold. After crunching the numbers, the authors reported, “The effect of exponential growth is to reduce the probable period of availability of aluminum, for example, from 100 years to 31 years (55 years with a fivefold increase in reserves). Copper, with a 36-year lifetime at current usage rates, would actually last only 21 years at the present rate of growth, and 48 years if present reserves are multiplied by five.”

Let’s consider copper. The World Bank reported that world reserves of copper stood at 154 million tons in 1960, rising to 451 million tons in 1976. At constant levels of consumption, the World Bank calculated that 1960 reserves would have lasted only 37 years and the 1976 reserves would be exhausted in 59 years. At a 2 percent annual growth rate, reserves would be depleted 28 and 40 years respectively.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports, 47 years after the publication of The Limits to Growth, that world known reserves of copper stand at 830 million tons as of 2018. Furthermore the USGS notes that identified resources contain about 2.1 billion tons of copper, and undiscovered resources contain an estimated 3.5 billion tons. Evidently, the book’s calculation that humanity should have been about to run out of copper in the next year or so turned out to be completely wrong.

Economist Julian Simon from the University of Maryland understood that the authors of The Limits to Growth were vastly underestimating human ingenuity operating under the rule of law in free markets to solve problems such as impending resource exhaustion. Simon challenged the gloomy prognostications made by the authors of The Limits to Growth in his brilliant books The Ultimate Resource in 1981 and the magisterial The Resourceful Earth, co-authored with Herman Kahn, in 1984.

This led to Simon’s famous bet with population doomster Paul Ehrlich. In October 1980, Ehrlich and Simon drew up a futures contract obligating Simon to sell Ehrlich the same quantities that could be purchased for $1,000 of five metals (copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten) 10 years later at 1980 prices. If the combined prices rose above $1,000, Simon would pay the difference. If they fell below $1,000, Ehrlich would pay Simon the difference. In October 1990, Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07. There was no note in the letter. The price of the basket of metals chosen by Ehrlich and his cohorts had fallen by more than 50 percent.

Inspired by Simon’s pioneering analyses, Marian Tupy,* editor of Human Progress at the Cato Institute, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University-Hawaii have devised the Simon Abundance Index. Tupy and Pooley use data on 50 different commodities to track their price trajectories over the past 37 years from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The index measures the timeprice of commodities and change in global population to estimate overall resource abundance. They find that the planet’s resources became 379.6 percent more abundant between 1980 and 2017.

At 11:00 a.m on Monday, April 22, to mark the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, the Cato Institute is holding a public event to unveil the Simon Abundance Index. Besides Tupy and Pooley, the event will feature as speakers Julian Simon’s son David M. Simon and techno-utopian George Gilder, author of Life after Google. Folks in the Washington, D.C. area can go here to register to attend the event or sign up to see it online.

Happy Earth Day!

*Disclosure: Marian Tupy and I are working together on book that tracks and explains nearly 100 global population, income, commodity, and environmental trends.

from Latest – Reason.com http://bit.ly/2VUi2pl
via IFTTT

Simon Abundance Index Launch on Monday at the Cato Institute

The Limits to Growth in 1972 featured calculations of “exponential reserve index” for important nonrenewable resources that assumed exponential growth rates in consumption while multiplying known reserves of each resource fivefold. After crunching the numbers, the authors reported, “The effect of exponential growth is to reduce the probable period of availability of aluminum, for example, from 100 years to 31 years (55 years with a fivefold increase in reserves). Copper, with a 36-year lifetime at current usage rates, would actually last only 21 years at the present rate of growth, and 48 years if present reserves are multiplied by five.”

Let’s consider copper. The World Bank reported that world reserves of copper stood at 154 million tons in 1960, rising to 451 million tons in 1976. At constant levels of consumption, the World Bank calculated that 1960 reserves would have lasted only 37 years and the 1976 reserves would be exhausted in 59 years. At a 2 percent annual growth rate, reserves would be depleted 28 and 40 years respectively.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports, 47 years after the publication of The Limits to Growth, that world known reserves of copper stand at 830 million tons as of 2018. Furthermore the USGS notes that identified resources contain about 2.1 billion tons of copper, and undiscovered resources contain an estimated 3.5 billion tons. Evidently, the book’s calculation that humanity should have been about to run out of copper in the next year or so turned out to be completely wrong.

Economist Julian Simon from the University of Maryland understood that the authors of The Limits to Growth were vastly underestimating human ingenuity operating under the rule of law in free markets to solve problems such as impending resource exhaustion. Simon challenged the gloomy prognostications made by the authors of The Limits to Growth in his brilliant books The Ultimate Resource in 1981 and the magisterial The Resourceful Earth, co-authored with Herman Kahn, in 1984.

This led to Simon’s famous bet with population doomster Paul Ehrlich. In October 1980, Ehrlich and Simon drew up a futures contract obligating Simon to sell Ehrlich the same quantities that could be purchased for $1,000 of five metals (copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten) 10 years later at 1980 prices. If the combined prices rose above $1,000, Simon would pay the difference. If they fell below $1,000, Ehrlich would pay Simon the difference. In October 1990, Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07. There was no note in the letter. The price of the basket of metals chosen by Ehrlich and his cohorts had fallen by more than 50 percent.

Inspired by Simon’s pioneering analyses, Marian Tupy,* editor of Human Progress at the Cato Institute, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University-Hawaii have devised the Simon Abundance Index. Tupy and Pooley use data on 50 different commodities to track their price trajectories over the past 37 years from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The index measures the timeprice of commodities and change in global population to estimate overall resource abundance. They find that the planet’s resources became 379.6 percent more abundant between 1980 and 2017.

At 11:00 a.m on Monday, April 22, to mark the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, the Cato Institute is holding a public event to unveil the Simon Abundance Index. Besides Tupy and Pooley, the event will feature as speakers Julian Simon’s son David M. Simon and techno-utopian George Gilder, author of Life after Google. Folks in the Washington, D.C. area can go here to register to attend the event or sign up to see it online.

Happy Earth Day!

*Disclosure: Marian Tupy and I are working together on book that tracks and explains nearly 100 global population, income, commodity, and environmental trends.

from Latest – Reason.com http://bit.ly/2VUi2pl
via IFTTT

30 Extremely Bizarre “Florida Man” Stories That Prove That America’s In Far More Trouble Than We Thought

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

“Florida Man” just keeps getting into more trouble.  In recent years, “Florida Man” has become one of the Internet’s hottest memes, and there is never a shortage of new material because residents of the state seem to have a knack for getting arrested for some of the most bizarre crimes imaginable.  So earlier today when I saw a headline that said “Florida man strips naked and poops in Naples family’s yard”, I knew that I had to do this article.  Normally my articles deal with very heavy topics, and even though this article will be much more light-hearted, I am still making a serious point.  Without a doubt, the “Florida Man” headlines below are very funny, but the fact that there are so many of them should disturb all of us.

The fabric of our society is literally coming apart right in front of our eyes, and if we continue down this path it is hard to imagine any sort of a positive future for our nation.  So please keep that in mind even as you are laughing at these headlines.

If you are not familiar with the “Florida Man” meme, let me give you a few pointers before we get started.

First of all, Florida Man gets arrested a lot.  He is always in trouble with the police, and he often leads them on really wild chases.

Florida Man has also usually either been drinking or consuming mind-altering drugs.  This often leads to extremely risky behavior, and there are often very funny unintended consequences.

In addition, Florida Man doesn’t really like clothes.  In many cases he is either partially or completely naked.

Finally, Florida Man stories get a bonus if they involve animals, injuries, weapons or bodily functions.

With all that being said, here are 30 extremely bizarre Florida Man stories that prove that America is in far more trouble than we thought…

#1 Florida man steals $33,000 in rare coins, uses them in change machines

#2 Florida Man Arrested for Allegedly Throwing Live Alligator Into Wendy’s Drive-Thru Window

#3 Florida man, drunk and naked, allegedly set house on fire in failed cookie baking attempt

#4 Florida man finds World War II grenade, tosses it in the trunk, brings it to a Taco Bell

#5 Florida Man Shattered Toilet After Firing Gun Indoors, Missing Roommate—’Hell Yes, That Could Have Hurt Me’

#6 Drunk Florida man arrested at Olive Garden after eating handfuls of pasta

#7 Florida man arrested for shoplifting after job interview at Kohl’s

#8 Monkey in diaper found clinging to Florida man in stolen car, police say

#9 Florida man dies in meth-lab explosion after lighting farts on fire

#10 Puppy shoots Florida man, deputies say

#11 Florida man caught on video licking doorbell

#12 Florida man arrested for speeding told deputies, ‘the car is a Ferrari and it goes fast’

#13 Florida man gets out of jail, back in 15 minutes later

#14 Florida Man Threatens To Destroy Everyone With Army Of Turtles, Police Say

#15 Florida man arrested in golf cart with 5 bottles of Fireball

#16 This Florida man stole laxatives — because he thought they were opioids, police say

#17 Florida man spent weeks in jail for heroin that was actually detergent

#18 Police: Florida man angry over cost of cigarettes hits clerk with beer bottle

#19 A Florida Man let it all hang out at a strip club, dancer says. He wasn’t part of the act

#20 Florida man wanted a woman’s egg rolls so badly it landed him in jail, police say

#21 Thong-wearing Florida man arrested while building shed with garbage on stranger’s property

#22 Florida man caught abusing young alligator, putting cigarette in its mouth

#23 Florida man arrested after traffic crash found with ‘fake urine,’ says it’s for ‘role play’ with spouse

#24 Florida man finds iguana in toilet, calls 911

#25 Florida man tried to bring replica grenade launcher on plane, TSA says

#26 Florida man uses fake ID, steals $41K in dental implants, $10K for French bulldog

#27 Florida man denies syringes found in rectum are his

#28 Florida man threatens to kill man ‘with kindness,’ uses machete named ‘Kindness’

#29 Naked Florida man revealed on video sneaking into restaurant and munching on ramen

#30 Florida man escapes alligator by punching it in the face while searching for golf balls

Needless to say, sometimes things don’t end well for Florida Man.

For example, one Florida Man was just killed by a rare bird when he fell down in the backyard of his own home.  The following comes from a CNN article entitled “A cassowary, a rare emu-like bird, attacks and kills Florida man, officials say”

A cassowary, a giant bird with long claws on each foot, killed its owner after he fell in the backyard of his Gainesville, Florida, home, officials told CNN.

The bird’s owner, Marvin Hajos — who is 75, according to CNN affiliate WCJB — made the initial call to 911 Friday about 10 a.m. ET. A second call came from another person at the scene who reported a medical emergency involving a large bird, said Lt. Joshua Crews of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

I hope that you enjoyed this light-hearted article, and I promise that I will get back to writing about heavy stuff tomorrow.  And even though I had a lot of fun putting this article together, it still underscores a very serious point that I am constantly making.

America is in very serious trouble, and if we do not change our ways we do not have a positive future ahead of us.

I recently published my 1,500th article on End Of The American Dream, and if you enjoy the articles I hope that you will support my work.  Will live in very dark times, and we need more people that are willing to stand up and be a light.

Because it is when times are the darkest that the light is needed the most, and as you can see from this article, America is in desperate need of a new direction.

via ZeroHedge News http://bit.ly/2PixdG8 Tyler Durden

It’s Problematic to Accuse Ancestry’s Interracial Ad of Whitewashing Slavery

To ignore the countless slaves who were victims of rape would be a travesty. To say that Ancestry is doing that very thing with their latest slavery-era ad is reaching.

Ancestry is a popular genealogy website based out of Utah. For years, people of all backgrounds have used the information to learn more about lost family histories. Recently, Ancestry thought to advertise its services with a commercial depicting an interracial couple escaping from the South.

A white man is seen trying to convince a black woman named Abigail, presumably a slave, to run away to the North with him, presumably so they can be married and live the rest of their lives together. Abigail begins to question the idea before he tells her that there’s a place “across the border” where they can be together. After asking her to leave with him, the screen cuts to pictures of the couple and a marriage certificate.

The website was quickly accused of whitewashing history and romanticizing sexual exploitation. The outrage over the commercial was so severe that the ad was removed altogether.

“Ancestry is committed to telling important stories from history. This ad was intended to represent one of those stories. We very much appreciate the feedback we have received and apologize for any offense that the ad may have caused. We are in the process of pulling the ad,” the company tweeted.

Let me start by saying that I share the same sentiments about cutesy depictions of slavery. Far too often, the uncomfortable parts are glossed over in favor of a good Hollywood story. Just watch the slave scenes in The Patriot or Brad Pitt, whose studio produced 12 Years a Slave, grace the screen.

However, the mere existence of past atrocities and bad storytelling does not mean that the Ancestry ad deserved the outrage that it received.

For one thing, there’s no possible way a viewer would assume that the commercial is showing exploitative sexual abuse. At least one user questioned if Abigail belonged to the man trying to get her to run away with him. It’s a safe assumption that the characters are forbidden lovers and nothing further.

Others criticized the commercial for having the white love interest suggest that they run north, either to another state or to Canada, to be together. While it’s true that northern states enjoy a sort of ahistorical absolution for their imposition of segregation on free blacks, it’s also not completely far off to have this couple look for hope in the North. After all, we praise the bravery of Harriet Tubman and other conductors of the Underground Railroad, which was designed to help slaves in the South escape to the North to access better and freer lives.

Most importantly, there is no universe in which a single romance discounts the very real suffering of rape victims. Had the commercial insinuated that many historical rapes were actually just romances, then this point would be legitimate. But it’s also likely that consensual interracial relationships existed in this climate. These are no less worthy of a story. In fact, The New York Times did a profile on the descendant of this very kind of union in 2018.

Social media brigades like this one have led to some pretty big blunders.

Only two years ago, the world was doubled-over in laughter when a young girl waltzed right into her dad’s live interview. The dad giving the live interview was a white professor named Robert E. Kelly. Once the internet was given enough time to whip up some hot takes, social media users criticized Kelly as a father and employer after assuming that the Korean woman who frantically rushed into the room after the young girl was his terrified nanny. As it turns out, the “terrified nanny” was actually Kelly’s mortified wife and mother of the young girl. Critics were soon called out for relying on poor stereotypes to deny even the slightest possibility that this was a legitimate family unit.

When critics went after black British filmmaker Amma Asante’s Where Hands Touch, a fictional love story between a biracial German girl and a member of the Hitler Youth, Asante maintained that the accusations of Nazi romanticization were unfounded. Not only is their violence and bigoted rhetoric quite present in her film, but Asante has also made it known that she is on a professional mission to highlight untold black stories in her work, like the existence of biracial Germans during the Holocaust.

“When stories are hidden, and they haven’t been told, I think that when we hear about them, we have an expectation that they should sit more firmly with experiences that we know and we recognize,” she told IndieWire amid the controversy. “I interviewed people who have experiences, and those experiences weren’t necessarily comfortable ones, but it’s their truth, and it’s not our right to challenge that.”

from Latest – Reason.com http://bit.ly/2XxU6sh
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