Friday, April 2, 2010

The Greatness of Cafe Hayek

George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek has been in rare form lately. 

First he talks about a semi-debate he had with "An Unfair Trader".  I think Boudreaux had a (very) brief appearance on the Lou Dobbs Protectionist Parade Program, but was cut off before he could make this argument: 

Dobbs argued that trade is free only if both parties deal with each other on equal terms — so that, for example, America’s trade with China can never be free unless and until Beijing removes all trade restrictions and stops all subsidies (or, at least, restricts and subsidizes Chinese trade no more than Uncle Sam restricts and subsidizes American trade).

I (and June and Tom) argued that, as good as it would be for Americans and, especially, the Chinese for Beijing to remove such restrictions and to halt all such subsidies, free trade for Americans would be achieved if Uncle Sam abolished all of his trade restrictions and subsidies, regardless of what any other government does.
Dobbs thought that this argument was simply hilarious.
I wanted to ask him (but did not get the opportunity) the following question:

Don Boudreaux: “Mr. Dobbs. Will you buy my shoes – the ones now on my feet. I’ll sell them to you for $100 – a more-than-fair price.”

I imagine that the ensuing conversation would have gone something like this:

Lou Dobbs: “What? What are you talking about? Of course I won’t buy your shoes.”

DB: “Why not? I bought (and read) your book, Exporting America.”

LD: “So….??”

DB: “So you said that trade isn’t free unless both parties are equally willing to buy from the other – and that if party A isn’t willing to buy from party B, then party B harms himself by continuing nevertheless to buy from A.”

LD: “So…..??”

DB: “Stick with me, amigo. I bought something from you. You’ve bought nothing from me – even though I’m here making a sincere offer to sell my shoes to you. You refuse to buy them. Trade, therefore, isn’t free. So clearly I should not have purchased your book; clearly I made myself worse off; clearly you are behaving unfairly.”

LD: ?????

Here's an excerpt from another post where Boudreax tries to make a $5,000.00 bet with White House Budget Manipulater Peter Orszag and then with White House Sickness Socialst Nancy-Ann DeParle about the true cost of the Healthcare Abortion.  It's called Spend Your Own Money For A Change:

So I [Don Boudreaux] challenge you [Mr. Orszag and/or Ms. DeParle] to put your money where your words are. Let’s make a real bet.

Pick any year in the future between 2021 and 2046. Tell me your estimate today of how much Uncle Sam will spend on health care that year. I’ll bet each of you $5,000 that Uncle Sam’s actual expenditures on health care in that year — adjusted for inflation — will be at least 25 percent higher than your estimate.
If Uncle Sam’s health care expenditures in that year are less than 25 percent higher than you project them to be, I’ll congratulate you as I mail you your checks. If those expenditures are 25 percent higher than you project them to be — or more — I’ll contribute my winnings to a private health-care charity, as I predict that the need for philanthropic contributions along those lines will be great.
Do we have a bet?

Based on past performance, I'd say that the Boudreaux money is safe, since government bean-counters couldn't properly estimate the cost of Happy Meals while waiting in the McDonald's drive-through.  See: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Iraq, Afghanistan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, toilet seats, screwdrivers, etc. 

Next he links to this great quote from Megan McArdle:

And I’ve watched congressional hearings. There’s no chance that four CEO’s are going to explain the accounting code to the fine folks in Congress; explaining how to boil water would challenge the format.

And last, Dr. B. gives us a video on Frederic Bastiat's "Broken Windows"  In addition to being a short little intro to Broken Windows and Things Seen And Unseen, it also proves that Paul Krugman is a silly person.   

That's all for today. Skip me altogether, and READ CAFE HAYEK EVERY DAY ! ! ! 

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