Gun Control? No, Drone Control

The terrible massacre committed by a mentally-disturbed man in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday has prompted lots and lots of calls for gun control in the United States, as well as some calls for more help for the mentally ill.

There are some problems with both suggestions. First of all, the evidence shows that certain “treatments” for the mentally ill — specifically, SSRI antidepressants — are associated with shooting sprees. A 2006 study in the UK showed that antidepressants can cause severe violence in a small number of individuals. It is possible that increasing the screening and “treatment” for mental illness may result in more incidences of severe violence due to adverse reactions to antidepressants. (On the other hand some therapies like psychotherapy, music therapy, and art therapy might help certain individuals, but these are almost certainly less profitable for big pharma…)

But what about gun control? There is little doubt that in the coming years the gun-show loophole will be closed and Canadian-style longer waiting periods will be introduced. Semi-automatic weapons may well be banned. Buyback programs may be attempted. The Supreme Court might well even be stacked to achieve a majority that interprets away individual gun rights.

But America already has huge quantities of guns, far more than anywhere in the world:


The vast majority of America’s 285 million guns are in Republican states, which are unlikely to be disarmed easily, even with an overwhelming Federal consensus. Some might even try to secede from the Union.

And as the experience of many other countries including Britain and Australia shows, criminals and those with violent intent will still be able to get guns (the only people who will be disarmed are the law-abiding majority).

This trend is only likely to grow in coming years as technologies such as 3D printing make it possible for anyone with a 3D printer and an internet connection to potentially print a gun (and eventually, bullets):

Imagine an America in which anyone can download and print a gun in their own home. They wouldn’t need a license, a background check, or much technical knowledge, just a 3D printer. That’s the vision a cadre of industrious libertarians are determined to turn into reality.

Last week, Wiki Weapon, a project to create the first fully printable plastic gun received the $20,000 in funding it needed to get off the ground. The project’s goal is not to develop and sell a working gun, but rather to create an open-source schematic (or blueprint) that individuals could download and use to print their own weapons at home.

The technology that makes this possible is 3D printing, a process during which plastic resin is deposited layer by layer to create a three dimensional object. In the past few years 3D printers have become increasingly affordable, and just last week the first two retail stores selling 3D printers opened in the United States with models ranging from $600 to $2,199.

How is it possible to regulate that away? Ban 3D printing? Ban the distribution of gun schematics? Costly, damaging to liberty, and ineffective. The failed war on drugs makes this very clear — prohibition doesn’t work. Guns — like drugs — are a reality that society cannot just eradicate by passing laws. The mood has changed — America will try gun control. It won’t work — and may just make things worse. I wish we lived in a world without guns, but we don’t.

But there is a way forward. Very many of the mass shooters in the last two decades have a history of antidepressant use. If we want to stop mass shootings, maybe we should look at that.

And if we value life and are opposed to violence against innocents, why do we demand action when 27 innocent Americans die, but not when larger numbers of innocent Pakistanis, or Afghanis or Yemenis die?  One drone strike in Pakistan killed 69 children, dwarfing the impact of the Newtown massacre. With predator drones now in American skies, how long until the “collateral damage” (remember — the NDAA declared the entirety of America as a battlefield) eclipses the Newtown massacre? Or how long until a foreign power or terrorist group hacks into a predator drone (technically feasible) over America and uses it as a flying bomb?  And how many more terrorist attacks against America will be fuelled by anger derived from the civilian casualties of the drone wars?

Obama might cry for Americans in Newtown, but where are his tears for the Pakistani and Yemeni children he has slaughtered? And what about for the many victims who died as a result of thousands guns shipped by the US government to the Mexican drug cartels via Fast and Furious?

America might be ready to implement gun control. I wish America was ready to implement drone control.

84 thoughts on “Gun Control? No, Drone Control

    • In Britain and Australia gun crime has risen since guns were more severely controlled. School shootings are an entirely different creature. I propose that the reason for higher prevalence in America is mostly to do with higher antidepressant use in America. Antidepressants are clinically associated in a minority of individuals with severe violent outbursts as well as suicidal ideation.

      In any case, the logistics of gun control in America are impractical, especially due to new technologies like 3d printing.

      I linked this with the drone strikes because I don’t like the hypocrisy of Obama crying about school shooting victims while at exactly the same time slaughtering civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. I don’t like how the major media ignores the killing in the middle east while focusing on the events in America. Are white kids’ lives worth more than Muslim kids’ lives?

    • I find your linked article too incomplete and unpersuasive to make the case for “gun control = fewer gun deaths” in general or mass shootings in particular.

      • America definitely has more school shootings but that could be any number of factors aside from lax gun laws. Starting with overprescription of antidepressants which are fairly well-known to be linked to extreme acts of violence in a small percentage of users.

    • The point is, people are upset because children were killed, but nobody is upset that American drones have killed almost 200 children in Pakistan and Yemen.

    • I think the connection makes sense. If you want gun control, you have to start at the top. The U.S. government is currently the world’s primary purveyor of violence and death. The use of deadly weapons as an instrument of political and economic advantage runs through the whole society. It’s no surprise that at the bottom, many of the people also desire to imitate what they see and are taught to believe in.

    • As to Iain’s December 17, 2012 comment “Gun control and drone use are not remotely linked, why try to link the two?” In principle I agree, unless we are talking about hypocritical politicians advocating gun control while promoting the reckless use of violence against innocents as in the collateral damage drone attacks tend to cause. This is precisely the point of the article.

      Ian’s further comment that “Evidence from every other country on earth suggests gun control results in lower gun deaths.” I’d be very interested to see any links to such evidence. I’d be very happy to post similar refuting the same.

      As to advocating gun control, I personally believe gun control is being able to hit your target. A free person’s right to bear arms does not create a society without risks of violent crime, and neither do gun control laws. Guns and violence are a fact of life. The question is whether it is preferable to be defenceless while waiting for the police, or to have the option to arm yourself. We certainly know criminals prefer the former.

    • It’s really negligible, I was thinking the other day, I thought, ppl die is the MOST horrific ways in automiles, but we don’t care??? Why? Oohhhh. Yeah. Bc the “Aussault Rifle,” if you say fully auto ill jump through my phone..most of you have NO IDEA? The reality, it has nothing to do with functionality, yeah, a car is to get from a to b. Add drugs and booze, doesn’t change its purpose. And hundreds of thousands more die. Guns, Assault Rifles weren’t made to kill, ESPECIALLY 5.56 UN (us) ammo, it was meant to maime. Take out suicides, it’s their right, I think, accidents, bc some idiot in New York didn’t understand RESPONSIBILITY… etc. Then you’re left with a statistically insignificant amount, MOSTLY SOME 20/3 SELF-Defense(includinding cops, but they account for somewhere between 10-11%)/offensive(criminal).

      So. If you loons think you’re going to take the ONE THING THAT CAN SAVE US ONCE THE FED BLOWS US UP, you are nuts. The Russian Rvolutiom, you DOOOO know most Russians weren’t fond of dying and starving and having personal property stolen then Being shot by Commissars right? Well, what is family court but slavery? Indentured servitude, wait till it happens to you. They already got you to pay an income tax there is NO FOR just to pay the debt of the private fed, so they will do anything for control.

      Including trying a different tactic, shoot gun owners with machine guns and they’ll say we need to do something. But the govt messed that up? So, BACK TO KIDS! BUT NOW. THE DEEP STATE WITH THR NUNEZ MEMO WE KNOW CONTROLS CNN, TELLS THEM, DO NOT MESS THIS ONE UP. And they came out, no shame! Hiding any kids with a different pov, and hero worshipping the … well… LGTB community, two birds, one Zionist power grab. Can’t have guns for fed to work as intended, ppl will get angry, step a) try and take guns, step b) revolution. Who will be left in your gun free utopia? Victims.

  1. Gun control and drone may not be linked but the result is the same: children and family are killed. In that sense they are linked.

  2. An opportune time in the US to look at mass murders — causes and (possible) cures.

    1. Leaving the issue of state-local vs. federal law aside, what is the record of gun control vs. non-gun control nations, states, cities and before/after a change in laws.

    2. What is the violence record on suspect medications?

    3. What is the record, if any, on the influence on children of violent video games, TV, and movies, and of working mothers, use of drugs and alcohol, etc.

    I believe that the first step should be to absolutely secure schools and other potential “target” gatherings. We know how to do it, and the cost is minimal.

      • May I add:

        1. Amen to WhiskeyJim — teaching and empowering some teachers to shoot is a good start.

        2. I do not see that automatic or semiautomatic weapons are needed for civilian protection. If the justification is ability resist government force, such resistance would be useless.

        3. The Second Amendment, among several Constitutional provisions, needs updating and clarification. The amendment process is ignored by the elites because it involves state legislatures which are closer to the citizenry.

  3. I believe that the first step should be to absolutely secure schools and other potential “target” gatherings. We know how to do it, and the cost is minimal.

    While the sheeple long for a world without guns, the simplest answer has not once occurred to them; have some teachers learn to shoot.

  4. Andy Xie, as good an iconoclast as anyone I know – calling Singapore a hub for global corruption long before short seller Muddy Waters started to investigate (and question) the financial holdings of Singapore’s Ministry of Finance – agrees with Dr Faber about Australia, expecting the island to undergo a “hard landing”

    While also noting that, for Japan… “200% of GDP in fiscal stimulus hasn’t turned the economy around”

  5. “Such interventions only give speculators opportunities to profit from the yen’s rise, as their speculative positions are subsidized by the interventions”

  6. “The first lesson is that the political process needs to change to offer more weight to the youth. Otherwise, the society won’t invest in the future, which is a recipe for decline”

    You cannot tax young people to finance their parents’ retirements when already they are living with their parents because they cannot afford to buy or even just rent their own places. Young people require 0 taxation to finance their own parents’ retirements.

  7. The United States is amidst a profound transition towards a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. In its first two centuries, the country absorbed mostly Europeans. Hispanics and Asians are now the fastest growing groups in the country. The Roman Empire first gave citizenship to other Italians and eventually to the people within the empire. What’s going on in the United States is similar to the second stage of Roman integration. The future of the United States depends on whether the existing majority accepts this change and whether the newcomers are additive to the system, not subtractive. The answer to both remains uncertain.

  8. Is it possible that if everyone carried guns that were visible to everyone else there would be less killiings?

    Would this mentally disturbed shooter be prepared to enter a school where all the adults are armed?

    How about getting rid of state schools all together. John Taylor Gatto has written many books about how schooling is designed to dumb people down and his evidence is convincing.

  9. I actually just finished reading:

    The Beautiful Tree by James Tooley – it sort of demonstrates how, to actually not allow education to evolve into the private sphere – to forcibly prevent this from happening – would be for the natural elites of the West to put themselves at a competitive disadvantage vis a vis the “3rd wold”, or developing areas, as I rather them referred.

    ** Everyone from Bono to the United Nations is looking for a miracle to bring schooling within reach of the poorest children on Earth. James Tooley found one hiding in plain sight. While researching private schools in India for the World Bank, and worried he was doing little to help the poor, Tooley wandered into the slums of Hyderabad’s Old City. Shocked to find it overflowing with tiny, parentfunded schools filled with energized students, he set out to discover if schools like these could help achieve universal education. Named after Mahatma Gandhi’s phrase for the schools of pre-colonial India, The Beautiful Tree recounts Tooley’s journey from the largest shanty town in Africa to the hinterlands of Gansu, China. It introduces readers to the families and teachers who taught him that the poor are not waiting for educational handouts. They are building their own schools and educating themselves.** Published by Cato

  10. If you think about it, often people say, do not stop (government) spending on education (and research) because that is how we improve. But take education, for example. One presumes that a civilized society need not imprison or threaten people with monetary fines to finance the paying of money to teachers, considering that it’s quite obvios that without eduction you do not get very far. In other words, State funding for education has within it the implicit assumption that people, once again, just do not know what is good for them! Unless the State paid, nobody would ever want to be educated!!!!

    • Alister, you have a helluva good point — a fresh one in my experience: government provided education implies that few value it enough to pay for it. Furthermore, do people appreciate/value what’s given and not worked for? Maybe this is one of the necessary fundamental reforms, along with Buddy Rojek’s requirement for mental and emotional maturity, on the road to utopia.


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  13. Maybe this kid had enough of life. he may have been bullied his whole life by the “Cool Kids”. He may have felt he could not live up to the social norms of Kim Kardashian, Snookie, Geordie Shore, and other vapid celebrities. Being a teenager in the uSA is tough. I feel sorry for teens. I recall the Nike brands being touted at school when I was only 8. It was tough not being able to afford to fit in. Brands and “coolness” is causing all types of angst and anger in kids today.

    Maybe his mother pissed him off and he snapped. Who knows what went on in hos mind. The point is he could have easily drove a truck into kids crossing the street, set of gas, or other flamable fuel.

    Growing up with violent video games and violent movies and internet does not help. Sometimes the borderline between fantasy and reality blurs. SSRI medications don’t help. What happens if they forget to take their medication and they get withdrawal symptoms?

    Banker theft of the middle class. Wars, School shooting, the world is flaming nuts!

    • Lets hope all this information on the internet, eBooks, and computers does not go pfff one day due to global catastrophe etc! All gone and vanished. Hard tangible well researched and validated PHYSICAL books are worth more than gold.

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  15. Information? Worth more than gold? The businessmen financing the Greek State appear to think so, at least:

    The international lenders keeping Greece afloat want real reform in exchange for their billions. They are, for example, demanding that trustees appointed by the troika sit on bank boards and have the final say in approving major loans, including those to media organizations.

  16. George Papandreou, then prime minister said: “Let’s all lose something so that we don’t lose everything” – this is the amazingly type of stupid thinking that was so accurately described by Evan Sayat in

    “How Modern Liberals Think”

    Differences should be outlawed! Discrimination made redundant! Everyone should always want the same level of taxation, in other words. To go so far as to suggest a world without taxation is blasphemy!

  17. The gun culture in America is the result of decades of corporate (and countless paid media moles) propaganda. Your data are disengenuous at best… the increase in the UK figures you reference amounts to perhaps 10 more deaths a year (and is simply an increase in general violence over the years). With all guns banned, the UK has < 50 gun murders a year (similar for Japan, Australia, and all civilized gun ban countries)… In the US, with close to 300 million guns, it's 10,000 murders (plus 20,000 suicides).

    While I don't blame the millions that have been conditioned by the corporations, or have been exposed to generations of gun advocates (the vast majority without negative consequence), it's long past time to understand the price to society in order to feed corporate profit. These corporations, and the politicians that play the fear (the other side will take your guns) card for political gain (the Karl Rove type of unelected advisors who develop the strategies of hate and fear for personal profit are the real monsters).

    It's time for the millions of good people in the gun culture to see the light and do the right thing. It may take decdades, but at what cost do you continue to support a culture of guns and death.

  18. Breaking; was this a false flag?

    Mass Shootings Connected To Libor Scandal

    12/1712 by jischinger

    you just can’t make this stuff up…

    The father of Connecticut school shooter Adam Lanza, Peter Lanza, was the tax director for General Electric, a corporation that paid -0- taxes on 14.2 billion dollars in profits last year. According to Fabian4Liberty, Peter Lanza was scheduled to testify in the ongoing global LIBOR scandal…>

    ….> In what could only be described an amazing coincidence, the father of Colorado Batman shooter James Holmes, Robert Holmes, was also a LIBOR witness in his position with FICO. According to the link at FICO, Robert Holmes was a ‘Fraud Scientist’.

  19. I believe that people need to take a step back and look at these events in a continuum. Human history is replete with murder, rape and pillage, mostly for the, “causa popular,” but often, just because.

    It’s not about guns, or laws, or anything else besides humans being human. When institutional violence [as a method to get something for nothing] became widely accepted thousands of years ago, people internalized the strategy of mass slaughter as a necessary tactic in advancing their agenda, both individually and collectively.

    Until people are willing to take responsibility for themselves, essentially nothing will change. The insanity will go through its cycles of greater and lesser, but insanity it will remain.

    People need to cast off the fear of every damn thing and live life as if it really mattered.

    • Video games are used by the millitary to recruite new soldiers, this is well researched and conclusive.

      The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives
      By Nick Turse

      People need to learn the value of all life especially human life. If people hate themselves and they lack self esteem they will hate others. State schools are designed to breakdown individuals and to make them obey authority. Throw drugs into the mix and the breakdown of family (disfunction) and you get a potential event like this.

      The following is similar to the peice by Azziz:
      George Monbiot The Guardian, Monday 17 December 2012 20.30 GMT

      “In the US, mass child killings are tragedies. In Pakistan, mere bug splatsBarack Obama’s tears for the children of Newtown are in stark contrast to his silence over the children murdered by his drones”

      I am slightly pleased that someone in the British ‘mainstream’ media is speaking in this way, it shows at least there is some critical thinking allowed.

      • Further on different roles/scripts played by talented actor Barack Obama: terrorist killings are given a pass if they are by Muslims, Mexican drug dealers, or other anti-Americans, especially if victims are loyal Americans. BTW, when will the Ft. Hood Muslim army officer mass-murderer be tried (for murder under the Military Code, even though the party line is combat fatigue)?

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  21. Iain wrote, “Gun control = fewer gun deaths”

    Wow, are there Really people who can access the internet and still think this way?
    Or are they all getting paid?

    Otherwise; I don’t want to use the word, stupid,… maybe – ignorant as all get-out – is a better way to put it? Or, ‘played for a chump’, comes to mind.

    Have you read Anything about the history of gun control and the results?
    Does Genocide ring any bells?

    Btw, this is one of the clearest thinking articles I’ve read all day.

    I Do hope Mrs. Soccer Mom and Mr. Baseball get this…. I have my doubts though, they’ve been pretty weak so far. Paying attention to the big picture has Not been their strong point,… yet.
    I hope that changes.

    Also, Buddy Rojek wrote, “Police do regular audits of your gun safe.”

    That seems awfully close to housing troops in your quarters, and it’s as creepy as Sargent Shultz rousting out a rental apartment in Davenport, Iowa while claiming to be from the city looking for landlord violations – for your benefit – so be sure and clean up your house, you don’t want any stains on your records. And don’t worry, just because they won’t take off their shoes when they enter your house because they say they walk where there are exposed drug needles, is-no-reason-not-to-welcome-them. Anyway, I digress…

    I think mass-man has gone bonkers in the quest for empire and has forgotten what it means to be human.

    x2 on this:
    2. Don Guier wrote: “What is the violence record on suspect medications?”

    … Then Don slides downhill… Ah-hem, Absolutely secure schools = a co-ed prison.
    That’s not really much of a change from now, but you get the drift? Er, you should.

    And that last bit of Don’s, “If the justification is ability resist government force, such resistance would be useless.”

    Oh boy, so you’re saying the tyranny is so complete resistance is futile?
    What’s that say about the empire and who you are,… and what we all are?

    Hmm, and the MidEast wars were supposed to be a cake walk which would be done in 100 days, too.

    And,…have you read much history? How about the history of gun control, for starters?

    Oh, I liked robc’s idea, “How about getting rid of state schools all together. John Taylor Gatto has written many books about how schooling is designed to dumb people down and his evidence is convincing.”

    Why, in this day and age, what with schools giving out ‘free’ computers and all, why do the students even have to go to school? It seems like a disadvantage! Businesses use teleconferences, why not schools too? It would be training for the business world. Yeesh, why do things move so slow? Just think of the how the money spent on buildings could be spent on education…. and maybe then all schools could be privatized and the best ones could be available at an affordable price for everyone, making the nation much better off…. and more secure.

    It seems pretty obvious why ‘certain’ groups and individuals would stand in opposition to this, they love the way things are, and they benefit from the status quo. It’s a common theme.

    AS I read on, I see that the Person of SRV is about the same as Iain, have you guys ever heard of John Lott?
    Maybe you should read up on that guy’s stuff?

    One last thing, impermanence wrote, “Until people are willing to take responsibility for themselves, essentially nothing will change.”

    Oh, I like that one. ‘Cept, how about I make it like this:

    Until people are willing to take responsibility for themselves And What Others Do With The Tax Money Which They Pay In, essentially nothing will change.

    I had this article about a drone pilot in mind when I wrote that:

    If you pay taxes, you’re a part of that.
    The fewer the taxes you pay, the less you’re a part of it?

    I feel like, if The Wall doesn’t come down soon, I’m going to jail for writing this and ‘retroactively’ will be a word I’ll despise? But, I’ll sleep ok. How about you? … No, I’m not talking to the sociopath,… I’m talking to you. Do you see your part in this?

    Opt Out of the state.

    – IndividualAudienceMember

    • You make a lot of sense. I will tell you another story about Australian Police Gun Safe Audits. A mate of mine, a farmers son, moved from the country to the city to pursue an accounting career. They knocked on his city apartment door late at night after he had been out drinking at a bar. His guns were still at his parents house, but he changed his address to the city. He had to explain that the guns were in the parents house, a local Police officer had to visit his family to verify.

      Oh and you have to have a family member give a reference that you are responsible to have a gun licence, and you must be of sound mind. But I tell you, there are a lot of kooky people with guns, what makes them snap is the critical question.

      Not many people have guns, and if they do they usually are a member of a sporting shooter association. Drunken outbursts and and access to guns are a reduced factor in Australian life.

      This system probably separates the sporting people from the people who think they can go buy a gun like they buy a beer. There is a cooling off factor.

      From my understanding of the US Constitution the only reason people could bear arms was as part of an organised Militia. To protect the country from outside or inside enemies.

      I visited the USA, and I was shocked to see you could buy guns and ammo at the KMart store. That’s lunacy!

    • IAM: I didn’t, and don’t, advocate giving in to “the tyranny” of the present US government, but if we wait to resist until the firearms/jack boot/kristall nacht stage, it will be too late!

      State (public) schools are often ineffective and corrupt, and -growing worse. Why? They are government — increasingly funded and controlled by FEDERAL government! But local parent/public lobbying can upgrade security as well as education. A safe school is NOT a “co-ed prison”, anymore than a Mexican border fence, to keep intruders OUT, is a Berlin Wall keeping citizens IN.

      This is important. Let’s keep arguments rational.

      • I think parents, local school boards, should have the right to employ security, or at least give the Janitor/Maintenance Man the right to bear arms. He could be a first responder, or at least greet/screen visitors.

        When I was at High School, an Asian Gang ran through the school looking for a kid they were after. ,They had shot guns. When they could not find him they ran off and escaped Police via the aquaduct system nearby.

        A first reponder could have nailed them.

    • That is why I use my real name. I don’t care what people think, nor the Government. Freedom of speech is a right like breathing the air.

      When we become real people with real opinions, the Politicians will listen. Until then we are just screams in cyberspace. Ineffectual.

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    • I don’t wish to “Bah Humbug” erudite (or even crude) thinking on better angels, ethics, morality, conflict resolution, violence, etc., but I suggest that the essentials for “good” individual behavior are found in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount*, and for group organization in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution (including the Bill of Rights). These brief documents do not require explanatory scholarly reviews.

      • DG, you are so right when you suggest that the most profound [anything] needs no interpretation what-so-ever, as it is this quality, in and of itself, that defines it as profound.

        Absolute Simplicity = Absolute Truth

        Even in the relative sphere, the more simple it is, the closer it is to the truth. Increasing complexity is increasing misrepresentation.

        This is how you always know the truth.

  23. Look people, it’s their bat and it’s their ball, so if you don’t wish to play their game, then you must accept less, or, perhaps, nothing at all.

    This is why people must take complete responsibility for their own lives. But, that’s not what you hear out there, or even in this discussion, instead, people want their cake and eat it too, and lie to themselves 24/7 to that end.

  24. Print a gun? Too hard. A gun is two holes in a piece of metal. Barrel (the big hole) touch hole (the little one). A drill and piece of metal, 17 seconds later is a gun. Re: “Drones in Americas Skies” Montgomery County TX was the first police force in America to get a drone. A $300,000 drone. They wrecked it into their own SWAT team during the flight at the public relations event to unveil the damned thing.

  25. The spread of concealed carry laws since 1986 in those states that tend to be in support of gun rights has led to the widespread, legally permitted, carrying of concealed handguns by civilians in many parts of the United States. Opinions on gun control can vary within a jurisdiction. In general, large urban jurisdictions tend to favor gun control to reduce crime, while rural populations and small towns oppose it for much the same reason.

  26. Chuck Hagel:

    “You guys have it upside down, our defence department budget is not a jobs program, it’s not an economic development programme”

    – the Paul Krugman antidote?

  27. RE your question for posts, Aziz! Legal tender laws! Are they enforceable? Sustainable? Whose interests do they serve? Are those interests perceived to be more served than what they really are by maintaining legal tender laws? Does de-anchoring States from legal tender laws hinder or aid competition and economic prosperity? Examples?

    On a sunlit summer’s day in the Chiltern Hills, five men are seen
    running towards the same spot in the middle of a field. The object of
    their attention is a hot-air balloon containing a small boy. The boy’s
    uncle (the balloon’s pilot) is holding onto the balloon’s ropes in an
    increasingly frantic attempt to prevent the balloon and boy from being
    swept into the sky. The (now) six men then engage in a collective effort
    to bring the balloon under control but this becomes difficult as the wind
    picks up and the problems of collective action emerge. With each new
    gust of wind the dilemma becomes more acute. The balloon is lifted
    higher and higher off the ground, and, yet, it does seem as if the six men
    might just command the weight and strength to hold down the balloon.
    But no one is entirely sure. Who is the first to let go [of legal tender laws] ?

  28. Professor Keen:

    “banks are effectively debt pushers, and trying to control bank lending at the source is like trying to control the spread of illegal drugs by directly controlling the drug pushers. While ever there are drug users who want the drugs, then there’ll be a profit to be made by selling drugs, and drug pushers will always find ways around direct controls”

    Steve feels that the primary issue is:

    “not how money is created, but how it is used. If it’s used to finance productive investment, then generally speaking all will be well; but if it’s used to finance speculation on asset prices, then it will lead to financial crises”

    The professor therefore feels that reforms (involving the application of applying unwanted force) need to be focused on modifying borrower behaviour rather than trying to regulate lenders.

    Steve, ultimately though notwithstanding his sophisticated models, falls back on an ideology that favours opposing people through government sanctioned force more than looking for peaceful co-operation without need for bossy behaviour. He is, in other words, against voluntarism. Compare his thinking to:

    The superiority of “spontaneous conventions” over “legal frameworks”

    • I agree with this:

      not how money is created, but how it is used. If it’s used to finance productive investment, then generally speaking all will be well; but if it’s used to finance speculation on asset prices, then it will lead to financial crises

      The place where I seem to disagree with Steve Keen is on theory of value. He sees value as fundamentally objective, and I feel it’s fundamentally subjective. But that is probably actually a minor disagreement.

      • In final years of High School, I won Student Representative Council leader by promising lots of goodies. Dedicated Canteen line, common “hang out” room.

        It cost nothing because it was rearranging assets that were not being used, and making the younger “weaker” kids wait for final year students to get their food.

        I learnt early on that the common vote needs fun free things.

        Like my Australian Nationalist Party meetings. Nothing like free beer at random pubs to get them in! Once I get critical mass, I will formalise membership. Political Parties won’t see it coming 🙂

    • Make it “uncool” to borrow for personal goods. I see so many TV stars bragging about their credit card binge. I guess Mastercard paid Hollywood to put that line in there. Just like the Tobacco Industry with smoking starlets.

      I guess there is more money in usury than nicotine.

  29. Amusingly, were it not for the tragic misuse of such unique intelligence, Keen has recently recieved finance for a pet project to “model” trade between millions of people form the Institute for New Economic Thinking – whose primary financiers are, in turn, the very speculators he accuses of causing instability….

    • There is already a well-tested model of “trade” among millions: one glorious leader and millions of subjects. One recent example was the USSR, described as follows by an outside observer shortly before it collapsed: “Everybody has a job. Nobody works. Nobody has any money. If anybody had any money, there is nothing to buy.”

  30. The sorry farce of Keen is thrown into full view by his below comment:

    “an attempt by the Australian government to increase competition in education via deregulation is the direct cause of the proposal to terminate the economics program at my university”

    Totally oblivious to the potential for “systems” of education to change, for the better, by allowing for competition and more direct transactions between teachers and students with less interference by (relatively) useless middle men, Keen forgets to mention the whole edifice of “higher” education in Australia is built on a huge mound of (public!) debt. Typically, the constant agitator for more government regulation only begins to question himself after becoming a victim. Little does he know that, in fact, economists are largely useless in practical terms, other than for their unique (and highly important) ability to successfully speculate in markets (to reduce volatility by alerting market participants to future or even current problems). Nobody requires obscure, or to be more accurate, very few would voluntarily pay for obscure model makers who’s econometrics cannot usually turn a profit.

    Keen called the housing bubble in Aus. But even a broken clock is right once a day.

  31. Back to the subject — gun control. A Chas. Krauthammer column in today’s Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) covers it best. “Let’s be serious (about all three elements of every mass shooting) — 1. the weapon, 2. the killer and 3. the cultural climate.”

    1. “Unless you are prepared to confiscate all existing firearms, disarm the citizenry and repeal the Second amendment, it’s almost impossible to craft a law that will be effective.” “Congress enacted (and I supported) an assault weapons ban in 1994. It didn’t work.” Latest proposal, from Sen. Feinstein, “would exempt 900 weapons; even the guns that are banned can be made legal by simple, minor modifications; existing weapons and magazines are grandfathered.” “(In 1994) there were 1.5 million assault weapons in circulation and 25 million large-capacity magazines. A reservoir that immense can take 100 years to draw

    2. “Monsters shall always be with us, but in earlier days they did not roam free. As a psychiatrist in the 1970s I committed people — often right out of the emergency room.” “Tucson shooter Loughner (was known to be) mentally ill and dangerous, but he had to kill before he could be put away.”

    3. “We live in an entertainment culture soaked in graphic, often sadistic, violence.” “Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings without pain or consequence.”

    “We’re living through a historic decline in gun murders.. except for these unfathomable mass murders.” “While law deters the rational, it has less effect on the psychotic.”

    Yesterday, in IBD’s daily ON THE LEFT column, a gun control advocate cited statistics comparing US gun deaths to those of other nations, concluding that gun control works. The same issue’s ON THE RIGHT column, after exposing flaws in anti-gun studies, extolled the conclusion from one confined to multiple-victim shootings: “Only one public policy has ever been shown to reduce the death rate from such crimes: concealed-carry laws.”

    As an immediate first step, I favor uniformed armed guards at every school. As policy background, I ask: We’ve found that we can’t UNinvent nuclear weapons. Can we UNinvent guns?

      • That’s quite a lot of armed guards, some of whom may also be crazy. Furthermore, it may be that schools are only temporarily venues for mass violence. Only a few years ago it was businesses and post offices (hence the expression ‘going postal’). Another suggestion has been to arm one or more of the administrators or teachers at every school, but again we run into the problem that some of the people we arm may themselves be crazy, or simply not suited mentally for armed combat with lunatics. People do not go into teaching in order to do police work.

        I doubt if there is a real solution to the problem. However, a lot of people will probably be satisfied if, after a great deal of wrangling, they pass some practically useless gun control laws.

  32. Pingback: Gun Control in Britain « azizonomics

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