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The Hackley Endowment for the Study of Capitalism and Free Enterprise at Fayetteville State University is pleased to announce the supply and demand music video contest open to all students across the nation!

Topic: A Music Video that explains supply & demand in a creative and entertaining fashion.

“You can focus on whatever aspect of supply and demand that you wish, but things to consider are what would happen if prices were too high or too low, and how the free market price system helps coordinate buyers and sellers. Many good videos have story lines behind them, so you might think about giving it that extra personal dimension.

Don’t be overly technical and just put the main lessons of supply and demand to any kind of music. The most important requirement is to have fun!”

The grand prize winner receives a plaque and $2,500! Second and third prize entries receive $300 and $200 respectively. Professors of the students receive a plaque, along with a check for $500 if the student wins.  Honorable mentions receive free copies of Atlas Shrugged.

The judges of the video contest are Edward Stringham of Fayetteville State University, Mike Munger of Duke University, and the famous “Fear the Boom and Bust” producer John Papola.

Deadline: December 15, 2011

For more details and requirements, visit: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=188291854569928.

Perhaps I put too much faith in the wisdom of the super rich, but it seems like they might know a bit more than the rest of us. I think like most people, I can’t help but be a little mystified by the sheer magnitude of their wealth. While following their every move is not yet a project I’ve taken on, I do read the articles about them when I get the chance. Something I’ve noticed is that recently more and more CEOs and Silicon Valley superstars are expanding their support of markets from implicit to explicit. Or at least they’re making moves in that direction. Looks to me like the billionaires are starting to get it, a little ahead of the curve.

Big shots from PayPal creator and Facebook funder Peter Thiel to quasi-socialist Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz are expressing frustration with Washington.  Well, to be fair Mr. Thiel has been expressing his frustration for a long time. You can see his keynote speech at a 2009 Seasteading  Institute conference here. Seasteading, Patri Friedman’s ambitious self-governance project, seeks to develop autonomous communities in the ocean. The focus is on innovation in political systems and community-driven social organization. As a major funder of Seasteading, Thiel is most frustrated with the ways in which our current system hamstrings and restrains technological advancement, which is noted in a recent Details.com article about him. This article is now bringing his frustrations, finally, to the mainstream with mentions in Forbes, the Washington Post and Yahoo! News (alas, with unfortunate BioShock references).  The article mentions his “delphic status” in the Valley which is based on his uncanny ability to find the next big thing. Hopefully some other valley dwellers really will follow him to the ends of the Earth– literally perhaps– and get on the Seasteading bandwagon.

On a less-extreme note, Howard Shultz has cut off Washington politicians indefinitely. Angry over the failure of congress to pass a “fiscally, disciplined long term debt and deficit plan” Shultz not only pulled his funding ($183,650 worth), he urged other major contributors to do the same! With such big, not-quite-fiscally-conservative guns pulling for a tighter debt reduction plan, perhaps spending can be reigned in a bit at last! In fact, it’s been recently noted that a certain other billionaire now has more in cash reserves than the US government.  But Bill Gates hasn’t made a huge defense of markets recently (at least not yet?), so let’s go back to Howard Shultz. This isn’t the first time he’s pulled a move like this. In 2008, Starbucks teamed up with several other major corporations to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made it much easier to unionize and was widely opposed by the business world.

Among the other corporations standing in opposition to this legislation was Whole Foods, whose co-founder and co-CEO, John Mackey has been a long time friend to free markets. Another CEO who has gained a lot of star power, this particular free marketeer is of special interest to those involved with Students For Liberty, as he is a contributor to The Morality of Capitalism, the book behind our joint project with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. So if you want to learn something from a very rich man, and some other important people too, make sure to get a hold of a copy of The Morality of Capitalism!

In conclusion, it’s no big surprise that those who gain wealth from markets see the value in them, it’s just nice that they’re starting to talk about it more and be willing to affirm that capitalism is moral. Hopefully with all this press coverage they’re getting, these billionaires will lead others to follow their footsteps and lean toward liberty. So, lean hard, fellow liberty lovers, and know that some big dogs are leaning with you!

After the recent Virginia earthquake, an instantaneously infamous status update popped up on a fake Paul Krugman Google+ account that said, “People on Twitter might be joking, but in all seriousness, we would see a bigger boost in spending and hence economic growth if the earthquake had done more damage.” A frustrated Krugman quickly revealed that the account was fake, asking that “if you see me quoted as saying something really stupid or outrageous, and it didn’t come from the Times or some other verifiable site, you should probably assume it was a fake.” It is quite fair for the economist to be angry over such outrageous misquotes. After all, there are plenty of real Kurgman quotes that are equally ridiculous!

I therefore encourage my fellow liberty lovers to only lampoon Krugman for the laughable lines he has actually said or written. For example:

“And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.” -The New York Times; August 02, 2002

“Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack — like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression — could even do some economic good.” -The New York Times; September 14, 2001

“Consumer goods were rationed; people were urged to restrain their spending to make resources available for the war effort.
Oh, and the economy was at full employment — and then some. Rosie the Riveter, anyone?” -The New York Times; January 22, 2009 (Rebuttal)

“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better.” -CNN’s Global Public Square; August 12, 2011

Feel free to post more examples in the comment section, just make sure they are “stupid and outrageous” things he said in “the Times or some other verifiable site.”

The rebellion in Libya seems to have been successful, or as successful as any rebellion can be. The Gaddafi-controlled capital of Tripoli fell Sunday to rebel forces, several of the tyrant’s sons have been captured, and Gaddafi himself is on the run. The streets of Benghazi and Tripoli were filled with Libyans elated by the news that the old regime was finally crumbling. But the joy that comes with the toppling of a dictator is always mixed with the apprehension that tomorrow might not be any better. This is the unfortunate reality of revolution.

Already the rebel fighters realize that their victory Sunday night was not as complete as it seemed at the time. Instead of being filled with jubilation, the streets of Tripoli are silent today, except when the crack of a sniper’s rifle resounds. Pockets of soldiers loyal to the state remain in the city. Gaddafi’s own compound is still well-fortified and manned by dedicated loyalists. When and if the rebels secure the entire country, dissatisfaction, fear, and hate will still exist. And with the fear and hate will come a new regime; a regime which will impose its laws and prejudices upon the people, disregarding any inconvenient protestations, especially if the minority dissents. Hopefully, and there is good reason to hope, these new impositions will be less burdensome than the old, but any hope must be measured against the real possibility of a regime fresh yet indistinguishable from the last.

Robert A. Heinlein’s novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress explores the very same problem. In the novel, Luna (the moon) is a prison colony run completely by the “prisoners.” They provide their own utilities, courts, police, and roads— all in very libertarian ways. A small group of prisoners plot to free Luna from the government of Earth. They begin building a resistance movement, which comprises the bulk of the novel. The rebellion grows, and Earth eventually attempts to land troops on the moon. The troops are repelled and Luna is free, but by the end of the novel the politicians on Luna are already undoing what the revolution accomplished. In a later Heinlein novel, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, it is revealed that Luna became even more oppressive than Earth had been.

As Heinlein proposes though, the outcomes of revolutions are not the most important or the longest lasting parts. It is the ideas which motivated the revolution and the revolutionary saga itself that endure. Heinlein’s novel is a transparent examination of the American Revolution’s legacy, but the theme of his book holds for other revolutions too.  In Egypt and Tunisia we have seen images of this theme, and it’s likely Libya will follow the pattern.

So, what will be the legacy of the Arab Spring? It seems to me that, regardless of the political outcomes, the demonstrations and rebellions in the Arab world affirm the dignity of the individual, and that this is what they will be remembered for. The war in Libya was a reaction to absolute despotism in one of its most flamboyant forms: it repudiated a system that demanded citizens be slaves. Wars are not fought or won by just money and power—ideas matter too; and the idea that has motivated the oppressed for thousands of years has been liberty. The desire for liberty is virtually universal, and that should be heartening to those fighting for liberty, whether they’re in Tripoli, Libya or Tripoli, Iowa.

Currently 100,000 copies of The Morality of Capitalism, What Your Professors Won’t Tell You are in route to student groups around the world for mass distribution on campus this fall.  The new book, a project of Students For Liberty and the Atlas Network, combines the writings of renowned economists, philosophers, historians, policy experts, and entrepreneurs from around the world to make the case that not only do free markets “deliver the goods”, but that true free market capitalism is a just and moral system.

Today, in preview of the book’s arrival on campus, we are releasing the Introduction to The Morality of Capitalism free to download in PDF format.  Written by the editor Dr. Tom G. Palmer, the Introduction explains why the term “capitalism” was chosen for the title, explores the history of the history of the term, illustrates the difference between free market capitalism and “crony capitalism”, confronts various challenges to the free market system, and invites the reader to explore the essays, read all the various viewpoints, and make up their minds for themselves.

The Click here to download the Introduction to The Morality of Capitalism (PDF)

We will be making the full text of the book available for download soon via PDF and also by Kindle.

These books will be an invaluable tool to the students in their fight for liberty.  As we say at Students For Liberty, if the professors will not teach these ideas in the classroom, then we will teach them in the dorm room.  These books are the intellectual ammunition that students need to win the war of ideas on campus.

Of course, printing and distributing these 100,000 books free to students is not a “free” endeavor.  We rely on our generous supporters to make it possible.  Click here to make a contribution today.  Every dollar donated will be put towards producing more resources like this and putting them into the hands of students who desperately need them.

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