Recommended Reading – Tuesday, December 20th

Dec 20, 2011 by

But What If The Crops Still Won’t Grow (William Russell Mead)

“Ancient Mediterranean religions seem to have taught that the job of the king was to please the gods, with the divine favor assuring good crops and plenty of food.  If the crops were bad, the solution was obvious: kill the king, sprinkle his blood on the fields, pick a new and more righteous ruler, and wait for the boom when the new harvest came in.

American elections can be viewed as a mild form of this practice today.  In fact, presidents don’t have as much influence over the economic cycle as we pretend, but it makes us feel better to oust the incumbent when the economy does poorly, so we do.” (Click here for the rest of the article)

Government Speding Jobs Myth (Cato)

“Do increases in government spending increase or decrease the number of jobs? Conventional wisdom is they will increase jobs, and a few left-wing economists, such as Paul Krugman of the New York Times, frequently are trotted out by reckless politicians and some in the news media to argue that we need more government spending in order to create jobs. If this were true, we should be able to see it in the historical evidence, so let’s look at the numbers.

Government spending grows each year, but what is relevant is whether it is increasing or decreasing as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) and how it relates to the percentage of the adult labor force at work. As can be seen in the accompanying chart, there is an inverse relationship between increasing the size of government and job creation. This empirical evidence, along with much other evidence, is contrary to the argument made by those calling for more government spending to create jobs. Some who argue for more government spending, such as economist Mark Zandi of Merrill Lynch, use neo-Keynesian models to justify their conclusions — conveniently ignoring the fact that such models almost always have been wrong.” (Click here for the rest of the article)

Maybe Atlas Should Shrug (FEE)

“When the history of the twentieth century is written, one thing will stand out above all others: the growth of state domination over the lives of all mankind. The state has brought us wars, concentration camps, mass murder. Millions of graves are filled with the results.” And it is not by accident that these tragedies committed by the State occurred. Ideas can be a dangerous thing if taken in the wrong direction.” (Click here for the rets of the article)

A Terrifying Appraisal of Greece (The American Interest)

“1. In Greece, the number of suicides has increased by 50 percent over 2009.

2. Organized crime has taken control of large swathes of downtown Athens, with drug and prostitution rings controlling the streets.

3. Mass emigration abroad of the young and educated, and mass migration from the cities to the countryside of not-so-educated in search of agricultural labor.

4. Ofiical unemployment is over 16 percent (concentrated among the young) and unofficially over 25 percent.

5. Retail trade has fallen by 20 percent and will fall further as increasing numbers of people, resorting to barter, exit the cash economy.”  (Click here for the rest of the article)

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