Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ethanol Efficency

In the ways in which we make the production from corn to ethanol we are using production methods that use fossil energy. The idea that it takes the a lot of pollution to make the process of the corn to ethanol so that it may be used as fuel. This is supposed to make our environment a safer and less polluted place. On the grounds of liberty the production of the corn to ethanol is that the production does harm people. The cost and benefit of what is produced compared to how much harm is actually emitted by the production. The recent pushes for the production of ethanol make it so that people may be mis-informed on how good the corn to ethanol transition really is. The efficiency of producing ethanol doesn't completely go along with the idea of liberty.

Gas Prices Rising Once Again

As I was driving home yesterday I drove by three gas stations and noticed that gas prices are continuing to rise. When I get gas a have to put premium in my gas tank and as of today that costs me $2.85 a gallon, which is ridiculous. When I got to my destination I asked some of my friends if anyone knew why gas prices were rising but no one could come up with an explanation. This is a very frustrating topic to me because as of right now I can not come up with a good reason why prices are always getting higher.
In 2003, we went to war and gasoline prices rose, but this was really not a surprise to anyone. However, when I look back it still does not make complete sense. People were always saying that the reason prices were going up was because we went to war with Iraq and we got oil from them. We do get oil from Iraq however; we only receive 5% of our oil from them. The country that we receive the most of our oil from is Alaska and we did not have problems with them at this time. Why then did oil prices rise? Gas prices have been pretty much stable since late 2004 and now all of a sudden gas is becoming way too expensive once again.
Another explanation I always hear from people is that we are running low on oil. I do not believe this because of two reasons. First of all, we have millions of barrels of oil in reserves and who honestly knows how long these reserves would last us. I have heard so many different numbers of years from many different people. Scientists make predictions about how long these reserves would last but there are so many different predictions that I really don’t listen, because no one really knows. The second problem I have is when people try to tell me that we have X number of years of oil left. Who really knows how much oil is left on our planet? Companies find new locations of oil all the time so I honestly couldn’t care less about these scientists’ guesses. People are always making predictions, but to me all they are doing is making an educated “guess.” A prediction is nothing but a guess because a prediction has to due with the future and no one knows what other variables could come into affect.
If I had to answer the question, “why are gas prices rising?” my answer would be, “I believe that our government needs more money to fund the war and the easiest way to do this is by raising the price of something that is a necessity to everyone in our country. No matter how high prices go people have to be able to get to work and school, so they will have no choice but to continue to pay whatever they have to in order to get gas.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crichton On Liberty

You might be interested in this post at Economics & Liberty.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Traffic laws

Today in New Delhi a series of new traffic laws were passed. The laws included normal things like running red lights etc. There is also a provision to prevent cell phone usage while driving which is a law that seems to be getting more and more attention and acceptance. Currently in the state of Colorado if you get in an accident one of the questions that you can expect to be asked is if you were on your cell phone. The new law that is getting particular attention is that people are not allowed to smoke while driving their cars. Justification for the law was given by new Delhi's traffic commissioner, he stated, 'Anything that distracts the attention of driver is dangerous. The human mind cannot do two things simultaneously'. the purpose of the laws is to make New Delhi's roads safer. Apparently all the people driving on the roads have little or no regard for the traffic laws. Larger fines are also being set.

Those caught smoking behind the wheel would pay $32, a heavy fine by local standards. Offenders caught more than five times would have their license revoked, the court said. The same fines apply to using a cell phone and the less well-defined offense of "dangerous driving." by comparison the fine for running a red light is $13. Maybe it's just me but it seems that running a red light is far more dangerous than smoking while driving. The government of New Delhi is claiming to have passed these laws to protect its citizens, but it would seem that it is more of a control issue. It would seem to me that danger is more prevalent when a vehicle is where it shouldn't be rather than if you choose to smoke while you drive or not. it would seem to me that in the interest of liberty action should not be taken on cell phone users or smokers unless it could be proven that they were in the middle of those activities when they got in the accident. I would also think that the governing bodies would have to be able to prove that the usage was the exact cause of the accident. If a person were to get rear ended while using their phone or smoking the punishment would be equal to that of the person that hit them. Smoking and talking on your cell phone cause no harm to others so in the interest of liberty the government should avoid regulating these practices.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

China's poperty laws

Last Friday I read an article in the New York Times that talked about China enacting its first law to protect private property explicitly. This law gives individuals the same legal protection of their property as the state. This law may sound good but it does not give everyone the protection they need. It does aim to better protect farmers in the countryside from seizures, but it does not privatize the land they farm. This law mainly helps the middle class in the cities.

The protection of private property is one of Mancur Olson's conditions for prosperity. If China would protect the property rights of the farmers they might see unprecedented growth and would definitely have lower unemployment in the rural areas. The inequality of income between the cities and the country would begin to lessen. This inequality poses a threat to the country's stability. Giving the poor farmers property rights would help stabilize the country. The farmers would be able to use their land as a security and borrow and invest off of it making it more productive not to mention more efficient. It would be in every one's best interest (except for the communists) to move toward more privatization and protection of property rights. I think that China will see the benefits from this law rather quickly because they will see more private investment in the economy. China is taking steps towards capitalism though they might be baby steps they are still in the right direction.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The real reason you're broke

I saw this article today and I just thought this might get you thinking about the share a car idea I mentioned today. While sharing a car seems very economical. I can tell you with certainty that I am definitely not ready to give up my big, gas guzzling, V8, Suburban just yet. I also know that there are a lot of entities (Chevy, Exxon, Goodyear, etc.) that are not ready for me to give it up either. :)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

World Poverty

Walter E Williams is saying, actually shouting, what everyone in this country, especially our government leaders, needs to hear, and most importantly, understand: economic prosperity begins with economic freedom. I am not sure how much more proof is needed for our leaders to understand that the more economic freedom we have the more prosperous we will become. I think this is the answer to the question; if we are losing our economic freedoms, then how can we, as a nation, be so economically prosperous? Yes we are prosperous, but we could be even better. By achieving more, then we can help more people.

To me, the most important part of this commentary is the ranking that we (the U.S.) are in- 4th behind Hong Kong (China) and Singapore. It strikes me as amazing that we were founded on economic freedoms and we do not have a score of at least in the 90's. This tells me that we should be shouting from the rooftops every day that our economic freedoms can NOT be allowed to disappear anymore. I feel it so important that I will make the commitment to e-mail news organizations on a weekly basis asking them to make this a headline issue every day. Do we really care if Brittney Spears shaved her head?

Our economic freedoms are, I believe, the single most important ideals we have as Americans. We must do whatever it takes to hold on to them.