L'Etat, c'est la grande fiction à travers laquelle tout le monde s'efforce de vivre aux dépens de tout le monde. Frédéric Bastiat

samedi 4 février 2012


Dans le Meilleur des Mondes cubain, l'ouverture n'est que de façade: les touristes sont les bienvenus tandis que la presse est muselée et les dissidents continuent de mourir.

samedi 17 octobre 2009

Anita & Mao

Anita Dunn, directrice de communication de la Maison Blanche, vénère le meurtrier Mao Tsé-Toung...

(Not so) global warming

Nouvelle mise en cause des faussaires du climat.

Nanny State

L'Etat n'a pas pour fonction d'être une grande nurserie. Dossier préparé par le Nouvel Economiste.

Bhagwati et la crise

Jagdish Bhagwati challenges Joseph Stiglitz’s analogy that the current worldwide recession is analogous to the fall of the Berlin Wall. For Stiglitz, the decline is due to neo-liberal policies gone awry. Bhagwati, on the other hand, sees things differently. First, he reads the recent evidence of economic liberalism as poverty reducing and welfare enhancing. (...)
Second, he also doubts claims that markets undermine morality. (...) And finally, rent-seeking caused the crisis.

link: Stationary Bandit: Bhagwati on the Crisis

Great Depression

"If spending on munitions really makes a country wealthy, the United States and Japan should do the following: Each should seek to build the most spectacular naval fleet in history, an enormous armada of gigantic, powerful, technologically advanced ships."

link: War did not "solve" the Great Depression | Samizdata.net

lundi 20 avril 2009

Free speech

Corée du Sud: acquittement d'un blogueur de 31 ans qui en savait trop
A South Korean online economic commentator who criticized and angered the government but commanded a huge following was freed from jail Monday after a court acquitted him of charges of maliciously spreading false information on the Internet. 
The arrest of Park Dae-sung in January and his ensuing trial on charges of spreading false data in public with a harmful intent — a crime punishable by as much as five years in prison — prompted debate about how much freedom of expression should be tolerated in cyberspace in this extensively wired country.

dimanche 19 avril 2009

World Bank

Avec la démission en 2008 de Suzanne Folsom, directrice de l’unité anti-fraude de la Banque Mondiale, le monde entier avait déjà pu s’apercevoir que l'organisation ne prenait pas le phénomène de la corruption au sérieux et que nombreux étaient les collaborateurs “allergiques” à tout effort visant à poursuivre les cas de fraude:

(...) many in the bank remained “allergic” to efforts to prosecute cases of fraud. Another official said that ties between Ms. Folsom and the bank had been on a “downward spiral” in recent months.

Associates of Ms. Folsom said she had decided to leave her job because she had accomplished the goal of making the battle against corruption a major priority, but realized that opposition to her work by others had made it difficult for her to go on.

Comme si cela ne suffisait pas, la Banque Mondiale reçoit aujourd'hui un zéro pointé officiel concernant ses procédures de détection des fraudes dans ses programmes d’aide aux pays pauvres:

The World Bank's fraud-detection procedures in its main aid program to poor countries were labeled a "material weakness" in an internal report, adding to the bank's woes in handling corruption issues.

The bank's Independent Evaluation Group gave it the lowest possible rating for fraud-detection procedures in the $40 billion aid program, called the International Development Association. That could hurt contributions to the effort, which gives grants and interest-free loans to the world's 78 poorest countries. (...)

The World Bank has been pilloried by critics for years for not taking corruption seriously enough, and some staffers worried that the report's publication was being delayed for political reasons. The U.S., in particular, pushed for its publication, said bank staffers.

samedi 18 avril 2009

Espagne écolo

(...) Spain's renewable-energy business is a bubble waiting to burst. The study, released last month by researchers at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, uses data from the Spanish government and European Union to demonstrate that each job created in Spain's renewables industry costs as much as 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy.

(...) Some commentators have reported that Spain has lost 2.2 jobs for each job created by solar, wind or hydroelectric power producers. But the study instead is talking about opportunity cost -- the jobs that weren't created because resources were used inefficiently, or what the French economist Frédéric Bastiat meant by "what is seen and what is not seen."

(...) Spanish policy shows that green dreams like renewable energy are achievable only through massive transfers of money from productive sectors to those seeking to get rich quick thanks to government mandates. And that the few jobs created greatly depend on maintaining impossible levels of growth.

vendredi 17 avril 2009

GM: l'incompétence récompensée

Le constructeur automobile General Motors, au bord de la faillite et déjà porté à bout de bras par le contribuable américain, va rappeler 1,5 million de véhicules potentiellement dangereux. 

jeudi 16 avril 2009

Tea parties

Le Monde, toujours porté sur le manichéisme primaire titre “Les conservateurs organisent des tea-parties” anti-Obama”. Et oublie les libertariens dans le tas.

Femmes maltraitées

Au Pakistan et en Afghanistan, le sort des femmes ne s’arrange décidément pas.
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai signed a law that effectively sanctions marital rape. In Pakistan, a video surfaced of the Taliban in the Swat Valley publicly flogging a young woman screaming for mercy. Pakistan’s government compounded the indignity on Monday by giving in to Taliban demands and formally imposing Shariah law on the region.


La Chine s’installe en Amérique Latine et devient son second partenaire commercial après les Etats-Unis:
In recent weeks, China has been negotiating deals to double a development fund in Venezuela to $12 billion, lend Ecuador at least $1 billion to build a hydroelectric plant, provide Argentina with access to more than $10 billion in Chinese currency and lend Brazil’s national oil company $10 billion. The deals largely focus on China locking in natural resources like oil for years to come.

Pub télé

En France, un gouvernement de droite avait supprimé la publicité sur les télévisions publiques. Un gouvernement de gauche fait maintenant la même chose en Espagne.

mercredi 15 avril 2009

La hausse des prix pétroliers de 2008 à la source de la crise financière? L'auteur d'un "paper" publié par le Brookings Institute en parait convaincu:

mardi 14 avril 2009

TARP: remboursements?

En toute logique, les banques qui bénéficient de l'aide de l'Etat ne peuvent plus prendre seules certaines décisions importantes. C'est le cas de la politique de rémunération des cadres (dont les fameux bonus) sur laquelle les gouvernements "bailleurs de fonds" veulent influer.

Goldman Sachs l'a bien compris (les bonus permettent d'attirer et de conserver les meilleurs éléments) et souhaite au plus vite rembourser les aides reçues (10 milliards de $) en procédant à une augmentation de capital:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., buoyed by profit that exceeded the most optimistic Wall Street estimates and a 54 percent jump in its stock price, plans to raise $5 billion to repay federal rescue funds and shed government limits on executive pay.

Il semble que Washington acceptera le remboursement des fonds dans ce cas précis bien qu'il n'en ira pas toujours de même avec d'autres institutions financières:

(...) I really thought the administration would welcome the return of bank bailout money. Some $340 million in TARP cash flowed back this week from four small banks in Louisiana, New York, Indiana and California. This isn't much when we routinely talk in trillions, but clearly that money has not been wasted or otherwise sunk down Wall Street's black hole. So why no cheering as the cash comes back?

My answer: The government wants to control the banks, just as it now controls GM and Chrysler, and will surely control the health industry in the not-too-distant future. (...)

The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest. He's been sitting on the cash for months and has felt the dead hand of government threatening to run his business and dictate pay scales. He sees the writing on the wall and he wants out. But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with "adverse" consequences if its chairman persists. That's politics talking, not economics. (...)

D'autres banquiers regrettent amèrement d'avoir accepté l'argent du contribuable et se disent que, peut-être, on aurait mieux fait de laisser le libre marché effectuer son travail naturel de réallocation des ressources:

Richard M. Kovacevich, chairman of Wells Fargo, expressed outrage at the TARP money he accepted and the strings that might be attached to it after the bonus bill passed last week.

“Is this America, when you can do what your government asks you to do and then retroactively you also have additional conditions put on?” he asked after a speech at Stanford University, according to Reuters. He went on to say that he wished he had never accepted the TARP money.

We would have been able to raise private capital at that time, and with that private capital, given what is going on today, it is very unlikely that we would have had to reduce the dividend.”

Il fallait peut-être y penser avant, non ?...

G20 et régulation

Un papier de Xavier Méra sur les résultats du sommet du G20. Les projets de régulation supplémentaires, sur lesquels les grands de ce monde semblent s'être accordés, y sont gentiment démontés:
(..) A force d'entendre et de répéter qu'on vit aujourd'hui la crise des marchés dérégulés, la faillite du « capitalisme néolibéral », etc., on finit par oublier qu'évidemment, il n'y a rien de tel dans le monde contemporain. En particulier, il y a déjà des régulateurs « systémiques » aux pouvoirs tout à fait extraordinaires, les banques centrales. (...)
En tant que membre d'un cartel obligatoire coordonné par la banque centrale, [les banques commerciales] doivent avoir un compte à cette “banque des banques” pour obtenir les billets indispensables aux retraits en liquide de leurs clients. Mais elles n'ont aucune obligation de voir les dépôts de leurs clients couverts par une réserve équivalente sur leur compte courant à la banque centrale. A la place, un ratio minimum légal de réserves (au montant ridicule de 2% dans la zone euro) leur permet de créer de la monnaie en masse tant que les dépôts ainsi créés par leurs crédits ne dépassent pas le multiple requis. (...)
La réalité est que dans le système actuel de collusion entre le secteur financier et l'Etat via un système monétaire monopolistique et centralisé -à des années lumières du tout-marché dérégulé- les pertes sont largement socialisées alors que les gains demeurent privés. (...)

Top 100 des blogs libertariens

Une liste bien précieuse.
On regrettera cependant qu'elle ne recense que les blogs américains.

lundi 13 avril 2009

Greenspan et les slips

Les errements de Alan Greenspan sont à la base de la crise financière actuelle. Et comment ce monsieur déterminait-il les taux de la Fed? En observant, entre autres choses, le marché des sous-vêtements masculins:

As chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan was known for using quirky, proletariat metrics to judge the temperature of the economy. The most famous of these, as recounted by NPR's Robert Krulwich in January 2008, were the sales of men's underwear. If the economic scales dipped even the slightest, Greenspan reasoned, it was as sure a sign as any that people were truly feeling the pinch. (...)

En parallèle de la déconfiture du projet de loi Hadopi en France et du débat sur le "piratage internet" et la propriété intellectuelle, voici une réflexion intéressante sur les pirates du 18ème siècle et leur contribution au bien commun (par Peter Leeson, professeur à la George Mason University):
(...) Historical pirates were harbingers of some of contemporary civilization's most cherished values, such as liberty, democracy and social safety. At a time when the legitimate world's favored system of government was unconstrained monarchy, Caribbean pirates were practicing constitutional democracy. Before setting sail each would-be pirate crew drew up and agreed to a set of written rules that governed them. (...)
Pirates also embraced racial tolerance well before their legitimate counterparts. Centuries before the civil rights movement, the ACLU, or the Equal Opportunity Act, some pirates already had adopted a policy of hiring black sailors in their crews. (...)
Modern pirates can't lay claim to helping pioneer liberty, democracy and equality. But early 18th-century pirates can. In this way, historical sea scoundrels contributed something to the world worth as much as, and possibly even more than, what they took out. (...)