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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thomas Sowell - Basic Economics

Thomas Sowell is quite possibly the most prolific, most intelligent and least known economist in the country.  He writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, usually disemboweling some sacred cows along the way.  This has earned him the scorn of the establishment.  He has become one of my literary heroes, along with Gary North.  They make intelligently written and interesting to read prose look easy.

Here Prof. Sowell is talking about the latest release of his most famous book Basic Economics.  There are no charts, no graphs, and no jargon.  It qualifies as "heavy reading" coming in at 600 or so pages.  For a sampling of his work, try the best essay you'll read on education.

Note:  When Mr. Robinson asks Prof. Sowell about eliminating the FED - Sowell catches Robinson by surprise by saying that it should be eliminated.  Make a note of this.  Until very recently, the FED wasn't a topic, let alone having its removal advocated by one of the intellectuals of the 'right'.  Sowell, addicted to the truth, and armed with airtight logic and study, befuddles the interviewer, who has to regroup.  Interesting viewing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Free Education!!

I joke often with my students that if I yell "fight" within seconds a stampede of humanity will arrive looking for the fight - wonderful entertainment.  Were I to yell "free books" I will have.....not much of a reaction at all, if anything.  Perhaps a soul who heard the word 'free' would stumble in the class to see what it was, but upon hearing that the 'free' material was books, well....

Would you like a degree from MIT?  You can go through some of the courses - only about 2000 are available.  That ought to keep you busy for about 4 years.

There is a paradigm shift afoot when it comes to education.  With the MIT doings, and the advent of KhanAcademy, the cost of delivery is now whatever it costs to access the www.  KhanAcademy has about 1800 videos available - from addition up to high end math, along with some eclectic things as well.

Are you looking for a good education?  Some self discipline, the www, paper for notes are about the only things you need.  Once the accreditation wall falls - we'll all be better off, more educated and be able to keep more of our money.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

They're Baaaaack!

This is part 3 in a series. Keeping things short, the silver market is about to blow. These two, through their witty dialogue and tips from zerohedge.com will instruct you on what the silver market is doing, and how the banking commissars are destroying the world economy.  The delivery is silly, but informative and oddly prescient.  (beware, some light profanity)

Why should you care and what does this have to do with education?  Economic knowledge is sorely lacking, and this is a good start.  As the bear tells you, don't be a sheep and get slaughtered.  LEARN about what money is, what sound money is, and how you can be ahead of the economic crater in which we will soon live.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2 Essays

The two most impressive essays that I've read in my life are Albert Jay Nock's "Isaiah's Job" and C. S. Lewis' "The Inner Ring".  I find myself thinking of those two essays quite a bit.  An event today made me remember Nock's essay in particular.

I was in one of my school's smaller offices and a colleague came in.  She is looking for a secondary income stream and I told her she was smart for doing so.  I explained to her that I do some trading in the stock market, and by not following the herd, and with much research, I've done relatively well.  She mentioned that she was afraid of investing, and was prepared to lose some money.  I tried to assuage her fear by telling her that she should then decide to buy gold - there can't be much more of a risk free investment than that.  6000 years of history says gold will be valuable, and it is safer and easier than tinkering with stocks.

To make a long story short, this woman - a 20 plus year veteran teacher with multiple degrees, told me 'what if it goes down, these things always go in cycles'?  "What factors are in play that make you think that gold will go DOWN in value?" I calmly asked.  "Well these things always go in cycles, and I remember when gold was $200 an ounce" was the reply.  I tried to explain that the way things are going, gold and silver will explode in value and there is simply no reason that points to a lessening in value.

I actually tried.  I figured that I could get this rational person, entrusted with the education of the American youth, to see how a conservative gold investment could be in her best interest.  No luck, and it will be the last time.  I remembered 2 things afterward that I should have remembered in the first place.  One was Gary North's advice to never try to change the mind of the person sitting next to you at the lunch counter.  It is a colossal waste of time.  The second thing was Nock's essay, which is a magisterial work explaining that the group to try to reach is the 'Remnant'.

Don't waste your time with the majority, or the masses.  It is the Remnant that is worth your while - they will be society's saving grace.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Charles Goyette - Economics 101

I came across Goyette's work, but I didn't learn too much about him until recently on a Lew Rockwell podcast.  I knew he'd been fired from his job as a successful talk show host because he refused to push the war in the Middle East, but I didn't know that his main focus is economics.  Most of the immutable economic truths are kept from us.  Goyette talks about the 'government class' and if you pay attention, you'll notice that much of the policy that comes out of DC benefits this class exclusively.  I think it's time that the American people stop being so naive as to think that their every need will be taken care of, without cost, by their Economic Mandarins.  Notice the mention of David Walker - former Comptroller General under several presidents - and his message about debt.  I suggest you learn more about economics, begin with someone like Goyette, and then do some heavy lifting over at mises.org

Recommended reading:  The Dollar Meltdown,  Charles Goyette
Required Viewing:  IOUSA