Monthly Archives: November 2013

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Noble Aspirations, Op. 42 (2005) – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Music, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This 2005 composition by Mr. Stolyarov illustrates the virtue and reward of striving for truth, beauty, and accomplishment in all things.

This work was remastered using the SynthFont2 software, with the Evanescence 2 and GMR Basico 1.1 instrument packs.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal 53, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

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The Challenge, Op. 28 (2004) – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Music, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Both the rapid tempo and the minor passages of this composition are representative of tension and struggle, properly created, in Mr. Stolyarov’s view, through this method rather than by dissonance. The melody transitions frequently from minor to major to illustrate a rational man’s intense exertion in the face of a challenge, and the successful (and pleasant) consequent outcome.

This work was composed in 2004 and remastered using the SynthFont2 software, with the Evanescence 2 and GMR Basico 1.1 instrument packs.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal 50, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

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23andMe and the FDA’s Travesty of Justice – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Politics, Science, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Stolyarov explains that the US Food and Drug Administration has hit a new low in warning the genetic testing service 23andMe to halt sales of its $99 testing kits. The kits are not a drug or medical treatment; they merely provide information and violate no one’s rights. The irrationality of some people is used as an excuse to deny everyone else potentially life-saving information while establishing artificial barriers that would prevent declines in the cost of medical care.

References
– “FDA warns Google-backed 23andMe to halt sales of genetic tests” – Toni Clarke – Reuters – November 25, 2013
23andMe Website
Petition to “overrule the FDA’s decision to bar 23andMe from selling their potentially life-saving diagnostic kits”

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Life Expectancy is Growing at the Upper End, Too – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: History, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Stolyarov provides evidence that increasing life expectancy is occurring for the oldest individuals, and that rises in average longevity are not just due to reductions in mortality among infants and young adults.

References
– “Life Expectancy is Growing at the Upper End, Too” – Post by G. Stolyarov II
– “Centenarians are the fastest-growing age segment: Number of 100-year-olds to hit 6 million by 2050” – New York Daily News and The Associated Press – July 21, 2009
– “Living to 100: 80% are women, report shows” – USA Today – December 10, 2012
– “Number of centenarians hits new high in Japan” – Medical Xpress – September 13, 2011
– “Jeanne Calment” – Wikipedia
– “Jiroemon Kimura” – Wikipedia

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Individualism, Objective Reality, and Open-Ended Knowledge – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Philosophy, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Stolyarov explains how an objective reality governed by physical laws is compatible with individual self-determination and indeed is required for individuals to meaningfully expand their lives and develop their unique identities.

Reference

– “Individualism, Objective Reality, and Open-Ended Knowledge” – Post by G. Stolyarov II

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Can Karzai Save Us? – Article by Ron Paul

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Categories: Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
November 24, 2013
Recommend this page.
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After a year of talks over the post-2014 US military presence in Afghanistan, the US administration announced last week that a new agreement had finally been reached. Under the deal worked out with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the US would keep thousands of troops on nine military bases for at least the next ten years.It is clear that the Obama Administration badly wants this deal. Karzai, sensing this, even demanded that the US president send a personal letter promising that the US would respect the dignity of the Afghan people if it were allowed to remain in the country. It was strange to see the US president go to such lengths for a deal that would mean billions more US dollars to Karzai and his cronies, and a US military that would continue to prop up the regime in Kabul.

Just as the deal was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry and ready to sign, however, Karzai did an abrupt about-face. No signed deal until after the next presidential elections in the spring, he announced to a gathering of tribal elders, much to the further embarrassment and dismay of the US side. The US administration had demanded a signed deal by December. What may happen next is anybody’s guess. The US threatens to pull out completely if the deal is not signed by the end of this year.

Karzai should be wary of his actions. It may become unhealthy for him. The US has a bad reputation for not looking kindly on puppet dictators who demand independence from us.

Yet Karzai’s behavior may have the unintended benefit of saving the US government from its own worst interventionist instincts. The US desire to continue its military presence in Afghanistan – with up to 10,000 troops – is largely about keeping up the false impression that the Afghan war, the longest in US history, has not been a total, catastrophic failure. Maintaining a heavy US presence delays that realization, and with it the inevitable conclusion that so many lives have been lost and wasted in vain. It is a bitter pill that this president, who called Afghanistan “the good war,” would rather not have to swallow.

The administration has argued that US troops must remain in Afghanistan to continue the fight against al-Qaeda. But al-Qaeda has virtually disappeared from Afghanistan. What remains is the Taliban and the various tribes that have been involved in a power struggle ever since the Soviets left almost a quarter of a century ago. In other words, twelve years later we are back to the starting point in Afghanistan.

Where has al-Qaeda gone if not in Afghanistan? They have branched out to other areas where opportunity has been provided by US intervention. Iraq had no al-Qaeda presence before the 2003 US invasion. Now al-Qaeda and its affiliates have turned Iraq into a bloodbath, where thousands are killed and wounded every month. The latest fertile ground for al-Qaeda and its allies is Syria, where they have found that US support, weapons, and intelligence is going to their side in the ongoing war to overthrow the Syrian government.

In fact, much of the US government’s desire for an ongoing military presence in Afghanistan has to do with keeping money flowing to the military industrial complex. Maintaining nine US military bases in Afghanistan and providing military aid and training to Afghan forces will consume billions of dollars over the next decade. The military contractors are all too willing to continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the productive sectors of the US economy.

Addressing Afghan tribal elders last week, Karzai is reported to have expressed disappointment with US assistance thus far: “I demand tanks from them, and they give us pickup trucks, which I can get myself from Japan… I don’t trust the U.S., and the U.S. doesn’t trust me.”

Let us hope that Karzai sticks to his game with Washington. Let the Obama administration have no choice but to walk away from this twelve-year nightmare. Then we can finally just march out.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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Man’s Colonization of Space, Op. 35 (2004) – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Music, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mr. Stolyarov composed this work in 2004, after the first successful flight of SpaceShipOne inaugurated the era of private spacecraft. This composition celebrates the achievements of human technology and looks forward to a future of human expansion throughout the cosmos and colonization of hitherto uninhabited worlds.

This composition was remastered using the SynthFont2 software, with the Evanescence 2 and GMR Basico 1.1 instrument packs.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Elevated Fractal City II, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

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Elevated Fractal City II – Art by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Art, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Elevated Fractal City II - by G. Stolyarov II

Elevated Fractal City II – by G. Stolyarov II

Note: Left-click on this image to get a full view of this digital work of fractal art.

This fractal depicts a vision of man’s future colonization of space.

This vast, golden, illuminated city of the future towers over an otherwise inhospitable planet.

This digital artwork was created by Mr. Stolyarov in Apophysis, a free program that facilitates deliberate manipulation of randomly generated fractals into intelligible shapes.

This fractal is an extension of Mr. Stolyarov’s artistic style of Abstract Orderism, whose goal is the creation of abstract objects that are appealing by virtue of their geometric intricacy — a demonstration of the order that man can both discover in the universe and bring into existence through his own actions and applications of the laws of nature.

Fractal art is based on the idea of the spontaneous order – which is pivotal in economics, culture, and human civilization itself. Now, using computer technology, spontaneous orders can be harnessed in individual art works as well.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s art works.

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Dead Models vs. Living Economics – Article by Sanford Ikeda

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Categories: Economics, Education, Politics, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Sanford Ikeda
November 23, 2013
Recommend this page.
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Since 2008, straw-man versions of free-market economics have popped up whenever someone needs an easy villain. Keynes roared back to prominence, and it looks like this reaction might be gaining steam.

According to an article in The Guardian, students at a few British universities, prompted by “a leading academic,” are demanding that economics professors stop teaching what they refer to as “neoclassical free-market theories.”

Michael Joffe, an economics professor at Imperial College, said, “The aim should be to provide students with analysis based on the way the world works, not the way theories argue it ought to work.”

Joffe is right on that point. But his target is wrong: It’s not free-market economics that’s the problem, it’s the model of perfect competition that often gets conflated with free-market economics. A commenter on my recent columns addressing falsehoods about the free market (here and here) suggested I discuss this conflation.

I was thinking of putting it into a third “falsehoods” column. But the Guardian story makes me think the issue deserves more attention. Here’s the key passage:

The profession has been criticised for its adherence to models of a free market that claim to show demand and supply continually rebalancing over relatively short periods of time—in contrast to the decade-long mismatches that came ahead of the banking crash in key markets such as housing and exotic derivatives, where asset bubbles ballooned [emphasis added].

Why Do You Support the Free Market?

“Free-market economists,” on the other hand, typically have confidence in free markets owing to our understanding of economics, although we often (notoriously) disagree on exactly what the correct economics is. A number of free-market economists base their confidence on what is known as the model of “perfect competition.” Briefly, that model shows how in the long run the price of a good in a competitive market will equal the additional cost of producing a unit of that good (i.e., its marginal cost), and it shows that no one has the power to set prices on her own. How do you get those results? By making something like the following assumptions:

  1. Free entry: While buyers and sellers may incur costs to consume and to produce, there are no additional costs to enter or leave a market.
  2. Product homogeneity: From the point of view of any buyer in the market, the output of one seller is a perfect substitute for the output of any other seller.
  3. Many buyers and sellers: No single buyer or seller is large enough to independently raise or lower the market price.
  4. Perfect knowledge: All buyers and sellers have so much information that they will never regret any action they take.

From these assumptions you can derive not only marginal-cost pricing but also nice efficiency properties as well: There is no waste and costs are minimized. Which is why people like the model.

Moreover, for some important questions the analysis of supply and demand under perfect competition is quite useful. Push the legal minimum wage too high and you’ll generate unemployment; push the maximum rent-control rate too low and you’ll get housing shortages. Also, financial markets sometimes—though as we have seen, not always—conform to the predictions of perfect competition. It’s a robust theory in many ways, but if you base your support for the free market on the model of perfect competition, you’re on shaky ground. The evidence against it is pretty devastating.

Free Entry, Not Perfect Knowledge

In fact, it doesn’t even take the Panic of 2008 to shake up the model; any comparison of the model with everyday reality would do the job. Assumptions two and three about product homogeneity and many buyers and sellers are pretty unrealistic, but it’s the last assumption about perfect knowledge that’s the killer. (I’m aware of Milton Friedman’s “twist” (PDF), which argues that this is irrelevant and only predictions matter, but it’s a methodology I don’t agree with.) Markets are rarely if ever at or near equilibrium, and people with imperfect knowledge make disequilibrating mistakes, even without the kind of government intervention that caused the Panic of 2008.

When the institutions are right, however, people learn from the mistakes that they or others make, and there’s a theory of markets—certainly neither Keynesian nor Marxist—that fits the bill better than perfect competition.

It’s Austrian theory. Its practitioners argue competition is an entrepreneurial-competitive process (PDF). This theory not only says that competition exists in the presence of ignorance, error, and disequilibrium, it explains how profit-seeking entrepreneurs in a free market positively thrive in this environment. The principal assumption that the theory rests on, besides the existence of private property, is No. 1: free entry.

As long as there are no legal barriers to entry, if Jack wants to sell an apple for $1 and Jill is asking $2 for that same quality apple—that is, there is a disequilibrium here in which either Jack or Jill (or both) is making an error—you can profit by buying low from Jack and selling high to Jill’s customer, Lucy. If another entrepreneur, Linus, spots what you’re doing, he can bid up the price you’re giving Jack and bid down the price at which you’re selling to Lucy. Bottom line: A process of entrepreneurial competition tends to remove errors. There is no need to assume perfect knowledge to get a competitive outcome; instead, competition itself improves the level of knowledge.

So Joffe and the critics are wrong about the theory. You don’t knock out the theoretical legs from under the free market by “debunking” the model of perfect competition. He is also wrong about the history. As I’ve referenced many times, economists Steve Horwitz and Pete Boettke have documented how a government-led, interventionist dynamic, and not the free market, led to the Panic of 2008.

Joffe, the Imperial College professor, “called for economics courses to embrace the teachings of Marx and Keynes to undermine the dominance of neoclassical free-market theories.” He also complains that “there is a lot that is taught on [sic] economics courses that bears little relation to the way things work in the real world.” I agree. But that complaint would apply at least as much to the Keynesian and Marxian economics he hypes as to the static, equilibrium-based models of competition he slams.

Sanford Ikeda is an associate professor of economics at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of The Dynamics of the Mixed Economy: Toward a Theory of Interventionism.
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This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education.

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Minuet #1 (Freedom Minuet), Op. 22 (2003) – Video by G. Stolyarov II

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Categories: Music, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Minuet for piano in the late Classical style, composed in 2003 and expressing the concept of rational liberty, of civilized and self-structured freedom.

This composition was played in 2003 and remastered in 2013 using the SynthFont2 software, with the Evanescence 2 instrument pack.

Download the MP3 file of this composition here.

See the index of Mr. Stolyarov’s compositions, all available for free download, here.

The artwork is Mr. Stolyarov’s Abstract Orderism Fractal 49, available for download here and here.

Remember to LIKE, FAVORITE, and SHARE this video in order to spread rational high culture to others.

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