Monthly Archives: March 2010

Myths About Markets

There are approximately twenty million myths about markets and market capitalism, one of the most common being this: Markets don't work well (or are inefficient) when there are negative or positive "externalities." Here's how Tom Palmer, philosopher and economist, bunks that canard: The mere existence of an externality is no argument for having the state…

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The Truckdriver

The trucker who lives next door is seldom home. He's a long-haul trucker, he's over-the-road. He earns good money and does not spend. Something of the ascetical about him. He's forty. His hair is long. He wears jeans and combat boots. Sallow and haggard, his face is handsome nevertheless. His willowy wife does not ride…

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How Capitalism Enriches The Poor And The Working Class

When portable radios first appeared in American stores, the average American worker had to labor 13 hours to buy one; today he or she toils for about 1 hour. In the 1920s it took 79 hours of work to buy a nice men's suit; today it takes less than half that. At the beginning of…

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Seven Simple Rules for Health Care Reform

The 2000-plus-page ObamaCare legislation would of course obliterate any remnants of free-market medicine that still exists in this country, and in so doing it would not lower the cost of medicine, nor would it improve medical quality, nor would it ultimately insure more people, as the democrats themselves admit. The reason American medicine is so…

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Political Theory: Theory of Government

Political theory is the theory of government. It is a sub-branch of ethics, and economics, in turn, is a sub-branch of politics. Ethics -- the science of human action -- precedes politics because politics is the science of human action in societies, and societies are composed only of individuals. For this reason, the individual has…

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Rack and Pinion Steering

A reader writes: Dear Ray: What exactly is rack and pinion steering? Thanks, -- Claude Bawls Dear Claude Bawls: The steering rack, as it's known in the parlance of the trade, is a long iron bar, flat on one side, with thin serrations, known as "teeth," which run the entire length of the steering rack.…

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Are The Fish Really Being Mercury Poisoned?

If you smell something fishy in this latest wave of methyl mercury talk, the reason is that there is something fishy in it -- very fishy -- and it stinks to high heaven. Don’t be lured in. The relevant facts are these: In this country, there hasn't been a single scientifically documented case of fish-related…

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Vasily Grossman

The following is from Chapter 30 of my book Leave Us Alone -- A Capitalist Credo: The Russian writer Vasily Grossman was born in 1905 in what is now the Ukrainian town of Berdichev. At that time, Berdichev was still part of the Russian Empire. Vasily Grossman attended high school in Kiev and then the…

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Rose Wilder Lane And The Discovery Of Freedom

In 1943, a lady by the name of Rose Wilder Lane published a book called The Discovery of Freedom. It's an absolutely original work of non-fiction, a salvo to human energy and the creative mind unshackled, and it influenced classic liberals and libertarians beyond number -- and yet it has largely gone unacknowledged. From a…

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McDonald's And The Clam Shell

Speaking of clams without shells, it was in the late 1980's that McDonald's was bullied by burgeoning environmental groups (who were concerned about "how many trees it takes to make paper" ) into switching from paper packaging to Styrofoam containers. These containers are what McDonald's soon came to call (apparently without irony) "clam shells." Clam…

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Interview

The following interview, which was brief but I think penetrating, was conducted January 27, in Aspen, Colorado, and appeared in the February issue of Cunning Stunts. The questions were put forth by the interviewer, Ms. Eileen Appleton, who has graciously allowed me to reprint it here: If he's anything -- and there does seem to…

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I, Pencil -- By Leonard Read

In December of 1958, an American thinker named Leonard Read wrote a remarkable essay entitled "I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read." In this essay, Mr. Read walks us step-by-step through the entire process of how a single pencil is produced; I recapitulate it here because it is the only argument…

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A Clam Without A Shell

A reader writes: Dear RayHarvey: I have heard that a clam without a shell grows into a huge phallic-looking creature that would horrify and intimidate people who are not usually horrified or intimidated. Can you verify? If true, is this reaction indicative of an underlying psycho-sexual issue and is it in any way related to…

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Are Organic Foods Worth The Price?

In February of 2007, the Los Angeles Times ran an article that said, among other things, the following: Since 1989, when organic-food activists raised a [bunked] nationwide scare over the pesticide alar in apples, many scientists have seethed quietly at what they perceive as a campaign of scare tactics, innuendo and shoddy science perpetrated by…

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Small Penis, Big Belly

A reader writes: Dear Ray Harvey: I'm one of these guys with a big belly and an extremely small penis. I'm heterosexual, and I drive a truck for a living. I do not get a lot of exercise. For as long as I can remember, I've been pained by the size of my penis. I'm…

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