Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New book on Property Rights and Free Society

This is the book, authored by Paul How. Paul blogs at http://colorfulrag.blogspot.com. He introduced the book in his article, Government and Peace and wrote,

Contrary to common thinking, social order is not brought about by government. Even the justness of government’s acts, is determined by the degree by which property rights are upheld. No Constitution, no legislation can be considered just without recognizing property rights, of which the basic principle is that rules are dictated by respective property owners.

From this comes liability of property rights violators, who are sanctioned not for vengeance but for prevention of future violations, the terms of which can be agreed upon by the parties involved. This is what ‘rule of law,’ the invoking of which is done even by those who may support limited government, is ultimately about.

Such a system may not eliminate coercion altogether, but at least, the most significant entity by which coercion is institutionalized, the government, will have been done for. It is only in the absence of institutionalized coercion that peace can prevail.

For a copy of the book in the picture above, which I wrote in 2009, go to Google Books. Warning: some far out stuff! Far out!

Paul is seated in the middle, beside me. He and Francis, seated left, are the key leaders of a new but informal group, "Filipino Libertarians". Picture taken last December 19. I was given the privilege of being seated in the front perhaps because I'm the most senior of them all. :-) The guys at the back are the other young libertarians in this country.

I will write about this group in another blog entry.

Meanwhile, hats off to Paul for this new project.

Global warming hits Asia

Man-made global warming causes prolonged drought, less rains, less snow, short and mild winter. But man-made warming also causes prolonged rains and cold snap, more and frequent snow, bitter winter. Whichever the climate goes, it is caused by man-made warming. Yeah, right.

The severe winter and cold snap hitting Northern Hemisphere since last month also has its counterpart in Asia. Below are some news reports that I gathered this month. The sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in Nino region 4, the region of equatorial Pacific Ocean closest to East Asia, remains in the -1.0 C colder than normal for several months now as shown in this graph, as of December 26, 2010. Source is http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/indices.shtml


Cold snap drops Beijing’s temperature to 10-year low
December 16, 2010

Beijing’s temperature slumped to below minus 10 degrees Celsius Wednesday morning, the lowest in a decade reported at the same period of the year, amid a cold snap hitting half of China.

An observatory in the southern suburbs of Beijing indicated the temperature was minus 10.9 degrees Celsius at 5 a.m., a record low in 10 years, the city’s weather bureau said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the temperature in the mountainous Yanqing District on the city’s northern outskirts was minus 16.1 degrees Celsius.


Temperatures plunge across Japan
December 16, 2010

Severe cold gripped the Japanese archipelago Thursday, with temperatures in some locations dropping to the lowest recorded this winter, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The mercury fell to as low as 21.7 C below zero in Kitami, Hokkaido, the record low in the city for the month of December, the agency said. The first snow of the season was observed in some cities, including Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, as well as Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Oita.

S. Korea

Cold snap grips country ahead of Christmas
December 24, 2010

A cold spell gripped the nation a day before Christmas on Friday, the December temperature falling to the lowest level in three decades.

As of Friday morning, the mercury dropped to minus 14.4 degrees Celsius in Seoul, falling by more than 10 degrees from the previous day, the weather agency here said.

The temperature will remain below zero the whole day and through Christmas in most regions, with snow expected near the country’s west coast, the Korea Meteorological Administration said....


First snow of the year falls in central Taiwan
December 16, 2010

Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) Taiwan saw its first snowfall of the year Thursday at Siyuan Yakou in the central region, where the Chungyang Mountain Range joins the Xueshan Range.

Snow began falling around 2 a.m. Thursday and by 4 p.m. three to six centimeters had accumulated in the 1,948-meter mountain pass, said Jungle Chen, Dulishan branch chief of the Directorate General of Highways (DGH)....

Hong Kong

Cold snap brings out woollies and hotpots
December 8, 2010

It's winter woollies weather, with the mercury expected to drop to 14 degrees Celsius this morning, weathermen say. A winter monsoon will be bringing lower temperatures to Hong Kong over the next few days, the observatory said.

The minimum temperature is also forecast to be 14 degrees tomorrow, before rising slightly to 16 degrees on Friday and Saturday. It will be a couple of degrees lower in the New Territories - Ta Kwu Ling is expected to experience a chilly 11 degrees,,,.


Fresh cold snap to blanket north Vietnam
December 20, 2010

The weather will turn slightly warmer in the next two days as a cold snap weakens in the northern region, before another cold wave turns the weather chilly again from December 23 to 26. More frost is forecast in both mountainous and lowland areas.

Places like the tourist town of Sa Pa, Sin Ho Commune in Lai Chau Province, and Mau Son Mountain in Lang Son Province are likely to get snow again, according to the Central Hydrometeorology Forecasting Center....


Chiang Mai declared cold snap disaster zone
December 27, 2010

CHIANG MAI, Dec 27 - Thailand's northern province of Chiang Mai has declared all its 25 districts as a disaster zone due to the cold snap affecting the region, according to to provincial disaster response services director Prajon Pratsakul.

The Chiang Mai Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office head said temperatures dropped below 15 degrees Celcius for over three days, which he said is an indicator that the whole province will become colder. The provincial seat is the warmest spot where the temperature has been 14 degrees Celcius....

Meanwhile, here is one study on sea level in Thailand. The trend is declining, not increasing, by 0.26 to 0.48 mm per year. Or 48 mm (4.8 cm) per century, which is negligible. Click on the graph to see a bigger image. Graph source is http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/co2-creates-salt-water/


Harsh winter in north India leaves 6 people dead
December 27, 2010

New Delhi: Six people died as freezing temperatures and chilly winds swept through north India on Sunday...

Even as north India shudders under harsh winter conditions, heavy fog delayed 31 flights in Delhi on Monday morning. Sunday was also Delhi's coldest day of this season - the minimum temp was 7 degrees....


We have cloudy sky here in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces everyday, except yesterday. Some rains too, a slightly wet Christmas last December 25-26. Baguio, the highest and coldest city in the Philippines, is experiencing colder than normal temperature.

Baguio temperature drops anew
December 25, 2010

...Last week, the average temperature that prevailed in the city was 12.7 degrees Celsius during the mornings while the warmest temperature ranges from 21 to 23 degrees Celsius which is much lower than the usual 15 to 25 degrees...

If there is prolonged drought and bad El Nino, it's due to man-made warming, so governments should impose more environmental regulations, more energy taxation, and create more climate bureaucracies.

If there is prolonged rains and cold snap, bad La Nina, it's due to man-made warming, so governments should impose more environmental regulations, more energy taxation, and create more climate bureaucracies.

Yeah, right.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cooling kills 300 people a day in UK

I cannot allow this news report to pass without making a comment:

Britain's big freeze death toll hits 300 every day

Nearly 300 more people a day died when freezing temperatures hit at the start of this month, new figures show.

A total of 11,193 deaths were registered in England and Wales bet­ween December 3 and 10, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.

This is a 21 per cent rise on the previous week, which works out at 282 extra deaths every day.

It has also emerged flu rates have more than doubled in the past week with children the worst-hit.

Flu cases in England and Wales rose from 33 per 100,000 people to 87, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners. Infection rates are highest among those aged five to 14, followed by those under four, then people aged 15 to 44.

The warming fanatics keep scaring the public of the dangers of "man-made warming" when severe winter and cooling kills several thousand people per week, in UK alone. Government and private resources are focused on a warming world -- shorter winter, little or no snow, more drought -- when the opposite is happening.

The airline, tourism and various establishments in Europe are also reeling from huge losses everyday, running to several tens of millions of dollars per day.

Continued lies by the warming establishment is causing more unpreparedness, more deaths, to humanity. Do they realize the crime they are causing?

Tips in blood donation

A dear friend to us, one of our wedding "ninang" (godmothers), is sick, and she badly needed blood donors. Yesterday, I donated blood for the first time in my life. I attempted to donate blood in the past, but on those occassions, either I just got back from illness myself, or was taking medications, so I did not qualify to donate blood.

Just two days from now, it will be Christmas. I feel very sad to see our ninang in the hospital, sick and weak. She has been there since last week. Like when my kid is sick, I wish that her pain can be transferred to me if only to alleviate her condition. The same feeling I had yesterday as I walked out of her room, going to the hospital blood bank to donate my blood.

Here are some tips for potential blood donors, whether donating a blod to a beloved friend or family member, or giving blood on a regular basis to anonymous beneficiary.

The following can NOT donate blood, despite deep desire to help:

1. Been sick lately, and taking medications
2. Lighter or thinner than 110 lbs
3. Below 18, above 60 years old
4. Had tooth extraction, major operation/surgery, tattoo, ear/body piercing the past year
5. Donated blood within the past 3 months
6. Taking maintenance medication except vitamins, hypertensive/high blood people on regular drugs
7. With history of illegal drug use in the past
8. Pregnant women, of course.
9. Have HIV/AIDS, or had unprotected sex with a commercial sex worker recently
10. Currently has a high blood or low blood, or had heavy high octane drinks in the body the past 24 hours.

There are other prohibitions, depending perhaps on the hospital that is taking the donated blood.

Donors go to the hospital blood bank, fill out a form, indicate the name of patient whom the donor wants to give his/her blood, sign the form.

Then a physician will interview the potential donor to verbally ask some questions that have been answered in the form, like "have you really not used a commercial sex worker recently, you really are not taking any maintenance medications, etc." The physician then takes your blood pressure, your pulse rate, then signals a staff whether you are indeed eligible to donate blood or not.

If you are, a staff will get your blood sample. To determine your blood type, to see if you have HIV or other communicable diseases, or whatever indicator. You go back to your chair and wait to be called if indeed you can donate blood.

When you're called, then you lie down on a bed to have the actual blood donation. In my experience yesterday, actual blood letting was only about 10 minutes or less, and 450 ml of blood was removed from my system. It was not painful for me, except the initial injection of the needle to penetrate a blood vessel in my arm. There is a tv in the room on a sports channel, so donors can watch a basketball game or other sports on the screen.

The staff comes back when the plastic bag is already full -- 450 ml of blood was taken out from my body within 10 minutes or less. Lie down for 5 to 10 minutes more to rest, applying some pressure on the part where the needle exited.

This was how my arms looked like yesterday, minutes after the blood donation. The right arm was for the blood test. The left arm was for the actual blood letting.

I did not feel any dizziness after, nor felt weak. I just felt dehydrated though. After blood donation, the staff gave me a tetrapack juice to rehydrate immediately. After consuming it while walking, within about 15 minutes, I got thirsty again. So if you donate blood, bring extra drinking water.

Lesson one: Be in good health always. For yourself and your loved ones. Because even if you are not sick but on maintenance drugs or have high blood/low blood, etc., and one person very dear to you will need your blood someday, even if you wish to help, you simply cannot.

Lesson two. Health is mainly personal (and parental) responsibility, not government responsibility. People should not over-smoke, over-drink, over-eat, ovet-sit (sedentary lifestyle), over-fight (and have stab wounds from time to time), then they run to the government to demand that "health is a right".

There are many cases of course, that people will get sick even if they do not abuse their body -- like our ninang in this case. Biology and human genetics also determine our health, aside from our lifestyle. But assuming more personal responsibility about our personal health is very important.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Counterfeit Drugs 5: Mongolia Case

My friend from UlanBaatar, Jargal Dambadarjaa, who is also the head of the Mongolians for Fair Taxes and Wise Spending wrote two months ago in his blog, Counterfeit Medications. Jargal wrote,

... We, the citizens, already know that we use counterfeit drugs poisonous for our health. Those who lost their loved ones because of using poisonous counterfeit drugs, knows even better.

Citizens of Mongolia want to know only about why your drugstores are not stopping to sell counterfeit drugs and what you, Mr. Minister, are doing to stop this kind of crime as the highest competent one in charge of population health. You said “Drug control is carried by the State Professional Inspection Agency, but originally the Health Ministry must take control of drugs”. Can Mongolian Government and state-run agencies control themselves? State controlling agencies are all already in entrenchment....

Even innocent young kids die on hospital beds because hospitals inject counterfeit injections. Wondering if You are in power to stop your subordinate who force patients to buy counterfeit drugs or not?

As Minister for Health, can you publicly announce how many companies are licensed to import medications in Mongolia, when did they get such licenses, on what grounds the licenses are suspended and how many of these licensed companies are linked to current and previous ministers, deputies and to those authorized to issue licenses? The citizens doubt that You can announce all these publicly....

Jargal did not cite figures of how what percentage of local drugs are estimated to be counterfeit. I think he also referred substandard drugs (those with correct ingredients but at insufficient amount or ratio) as counterfeit (those with zero or very little useful ingredients). But this is a minor point. The important one is that government health authorities, like Mongolia's Ministry of Health, should be made to explain, if not made to account, for the proliferation of counterfeit drugs.

I am happy that true to his being a free market crusader, Jargal pointed out this lackluster performance by an office of the Mongolian government, especially in protecting citizens' health via respecting property rights of important commodities like medicines. It is those violators of property rights like the manufacturers and traders of counterfeit drugs that endanger public health.

In the Philippines, the DOH and local players estimate that about 10 percent of drugs in the local market are counterfeit and/or substandard. Such drugs are more likely to be sold by ambulant drug vendors who carry drugs in their bags and walk from house to house selling their wares. Or drugs sold in some rural or small town pharmacies which have no clear sign that they are a drugstore, like in this photo.

In such situation, ordinary folks would easily be lured to buy counterfeit or substandard drugs because they are sold very cheaply.

See also:
Counterfeit Drugs 1: On the Growing Fake Drugs Worldwide, December 21, 2007
Counterfeit Drugs 2: IPN Report on Fake Drugs in Poor Countries, May 29, 2009
Counterfeit Drugs 3: The SCLD, RA 8203, June 04, 2009
Counterfeit Drugs 4: Drugs Can Kill, December 17, 2010

Global warming can lead to deep freeze *

(* Guest posting by a friend, Al Protacio, a Filipino geologist now working in UK. My brief comments, in italics, after his paper. Then Al made a follow up posting -- Nonoy)

There was a NASA report,
A Chilling Possibility: By disturbing a massive ocean current, melting Arctic sea ice might trigger colder weather in Europe and North America.

"Global warming could plunge North America and Western Europe into a deep freeze, possibly within only a few decades. That's the paradoxical scenario gaining credibility among many climate scientists."

They must really love the taste of athlete's foot because they just keep on putting their feet (and everyone else's feet) in their mouths. Just when you think they can't get any lower in their reputations, they start digging. These supposed scientists sound more and more like religious fanatics everytime they open their mouths. PARADOXICAL, really!!! I'm a Catholic and there's only one paradox I believe in. And it has nothing to do with the AGW religion.

"It's difficult to predict what will happen," cautions Donald Cavalieri, a senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, "because the Arctic and North Atlantic are very complex systems with many interactions between the land, the sea, and the atmosphere.

Now they say "it's difficult to predict what will happen" but they (maybe not him personally) have no problems DEFINITELY predicting our doom because of man's CO2 emissions.

"The sea ice thawing is consistent with the warming we've seen in the last century," notes Spencer, but "we don't know how much of that warming is a natural climate fluctuation and what portion is due to manmade greenhouse gases."

Now they admit that the debate on AGW isn't settled!!! Or maybe it's just Gore and his ilk who arrogantly proclaim that the science is settled but the so called scientists who should know better keep silent because it is to their advantage if Gore got his way.

Having read the article, it suggests plausible explanations to what's happening now and actually supports the natural cycle of warming-cooling-warming-cooling instaed of AGW. However, the title and the subtle comments in the article still push the AGW agenda. Sad to say, the uninformed, the gullible, the brainwashed, the fanatics, and those benefiting from AGW will believe more the later than what is actually suggested by the article.

What's happening now is all part of the natural cycle of warming-cooling-warming-cooling which is mainly controlled by the sun and not man's CO2 emissions. The whole AGW debate started when they claimed that man's CO2 emmisons was the main cause of global warming and not the sun. Their arguments have now morphed into plausible explanations to what is actually happening (effect - which is not man-made) instead of justifying the man-made CO2 debate (cause). Nothing in the article even comes close to supporting AGW but that is what the title is deviously suggesting.

Yes, what the climate alarmists are saying is this:

"When there is prolonged drought, bad El Nino, it's because of man-made warming, governments should regulate more and tax more. When there is prolonged rains and winter, bad La Nina, it's also because of man-made warming, governments should regulate more and tax more."

So whichever way the climate will go, cooling-warming-cooling-warming, governments should impose more environmental regulations, more carbon and energy taxation, create more climate bureaucracies, organize more frequent global climate meetings and junkets. And taxpayers and energy consumers will pay for ALL of those costs and regulations, who else. They just want our money, they just want more political control of our lives, and they are dangerous.

That's why I call those guys as plain climate liars and carbon robbers. No apologies for the strong words, just statement of facts. Climate liars and environmental thieves.

On another note, I told my friend who owns a small travel agency here in Manila -- the world is plunging in a global cooling state which will last for 2 or more decades. Expect more tourists and even migrants from winter-battered countries in the northern hemisphere into the tropics like the Philippines.


Al's follow up posting:

The scientific word that were at tips of these geniouses' fungus infested tongues but seem to have escaped them is feedback. There is no paradox in what was being explained in the article. It's all feedback. If any of these geniouses don't know what feedback is, it is defined in Wikipedia as:

Feedback describes the situation when output from (or information about the result of) an event or phenomenon in the past will influence an occurrence or occurrences of the same (i.e. same defined) event / phenomenon (or the continuation / development of the original phenomenon) in the present or future. When an event is part of a chain of cause-and-effect that forms a circuit or loop, then the event is said to "feed back" into itself.

What's happening now is just part of the natural cycle of warming-cooling-warming-cooling. Nature is very good at restoring balance even without man's help. This happened in the past, is happening now, and will definitely happen in the future until the end of the world. The earth get's too hot because of the sun, nature will react to cool itself down. The earth get's too cold because of the sun again, nature will react to heat itself up. On and on and on and on. There is no paradox, just feedback.

I know what these AGW fanatics will say now after learning the word feedback. Nature is just reacting to balance itself out because of man's abuse of nature. This wouldn't surprise me because they also said the current cooling is just part of the natural cycle (duh, we've been saying that all along in connection with the warming but they wouldn't accept it because it wouldn't support their argument of AGW at that time) but the long term trend is still warming. They're saying this while people are freezing to death in the northern hemisphere. They even have the gall to lie through their teeth and say that based on data, 2010 is one of the hotest years ever. They would analyze and say cooling is only confined in the northern hemisphere and then conject that global data still suggests warming (I wonder where they get their data from, probably from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia). Duh, about a fourth of the world is frozen now and we also had severe winters these past few years. What hottest year and warming trend are they talking about?

I recently attended a conference wherein the plenary session topic was the "The Impact of the Carbon Agenda on Industry". One speaker who is connected with government revealed that part of the EU's master plan to combat climate change (AGW) is to tax people in order to force behavioural change. This "tax the people to alter their behaviour" is Phase 3 of their master plan. What is very very disturbing is that they are about to implement Phase 3. They'll make it prohibitively expensive for people to drive their cars, heat their homes and just basically live their daily lives to abruptly reduce CO2 emissions. They'd rather have people freeze to death than emit CO2 to heat their homes. For those who survive the CO2 tax plague, it will be a very very meager existence. This is all done in the guise of saving the planet. Of course, the people in power will be living it up in big houses heated up to tropical temperatures, driving luxury cars/SUVs, flying first class to climate conferences, staying in five star hotels, etc. Come to think of it, dead people will have absolute zero CO2 emission. They wouldn't even be exhaling any CO2 at all. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

China Watch 10: Is China Still a Communist Country?

There are two guest posts from two friends, with a discussion in between. Enjoy this long post, about 7 pages long.

(1) Guest post from FMG: Is China Still a Communist Country?  (written a year ago)

China's growth during the past thirty years is nothing short of phenomenal. Between the period of 1980 and 2001, poverty levels came down from 53% to just 8%(1). More and more Chinese can now afford to buy refrigerators, A/Cs and other appliances. Such growth and development is rightly admired the world over. And anyone trying to emulate China's economic success ought to find out its causes. This essay attempts to clearly and precisely answer the question whether communism played a positive and significant role in China's development.

How do we define communism?

There are currently many different forms of communism. And they don't necessarily agree with one another thus making it almost impossible to create a definition that would satisfy everyone. However I propose this: that communism is nothing if not anti-capitalistic. So we begin with the definition of capitalism by Miriam-Webster to define communism:

"an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.(2)"

And how does communism seek to replace capitalism? The Communist Manifesto says:

"...the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."

Or more specifically, the private ownership of capital goods. Capital goods being defined as goods used to produce other goods or commodities. Examples are land used to grow food, machines used to manufacture cars, buildings to house factories, etc. For the sake of argument, set aside the practical difficulty enforcing such a rule when the same good (e.g. land) can be used both as a capital good (to grow food) and consumer good (to build a house to live in). Also set aside the inconsistent communist position that tradesmen can privately own tools (e.g. hammers) even if such goods are arguably capital goods since you don't buy tools for it's own sake but to build something with it(3).

What is ownership of property?

Macliing Dulag, a tribal leader, once quipped:“Paano mo aangkinin ang isang bagay na hihigtan pa ang buhay mo?” or "How can you own that which will outlive you?" Catchy but irrelevant and besides the point. Economic development doesn't really give a damn about who legally "owns" or under whose name a piece of property is. What is important is property rights.

To illustrate, suppose I gave you a car and register it under your name. However, I do not give you the right to drive, touch, or use the car in anyway. While I retain the rights to do so from driving it to using it for my business and thus enjoying the fruits of using the property (a form of usufruct). All your "ownership" gives you is a piece of paper that says you own it. Does your ownership mean anything? If it does, it still means nothing to economic development. For it would not determine whether the car will be put to more productive, and hence efficient, use or not. What does determine how the car will be used is whether I, who posses the rights to use it, find it profitable or costly to use it one way over another and whether the opportunities open to me is of benefit to anyone else. In short, what are the incentives and disincentives my property rights give me?

Private vs. Public ownership of property rights

Private ownership of property rights mean that one can exclude others from using said property (e.g. the toilet in your house). Public ownership means one cannot exclude others (e.g public toilets). Which do you think is cleaner? --->needs work

Communism Defined

We have now defined what we mean by ownership of property, namely the allocation of property rights. Capitalism seeks to allocate property rights to private individuals or groups of private individuals. Communism seeks to abolish private property of capital goods and give property rights to the whole of society. In practical reality it is given to the state(4). And so we define communism as an economic system that allocates property rights of capital goods to the public (or its representative the state). Thus the more a society communally(5) or publicly shares property rights the more it is communist in nature. And the more property rights are given to private individuals, to the exclusion of others, the more capitalistic it is.

(1) http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/0,,contentMDK:20634060~pagePK:64165401~piPK:64165026~theSitePK:469382,00.html

(2) It is interesting to note there is nothing explicit in Capitalism's definition about establishing a new world hegemony or to support any sort of "imperialist" motives of any particular nation. In fact, it is open to collective ownership of goods (corporate ownership) for as long as such individuals agree to share ownership voluntarily. Communism's fundamental criticism of capitalism is that it would collapse under its own contradictions inevitably ushering an era of socialism then communism. History, however, shows communism collapsing instead.

(3) This is due largely to Communism's loose use of language and terms.

(4) Whether or not communists actually intend to use the state to look after their interests or that people should be more directly involved and bypass the state is besides the point. What is important whether the means they wish to employ are themselves practical and/or lead to their intended outcomes. One cannot escape responsibility of one's acts with mere noble intentions.

(5) Hence "Commune"-ism

I posted FMG's article on the subject in our Asian Liberty Forum yahoogroups, a friend from Hong Kong, Simon Lee, made this comment below. Posting this with his permission, of course.
Hold on. State machinery in China still command a very substantial portion of the economy. So, what do you call that?

Don't fool ourselves. People's Republic of China is a Nationalist Socialist State - by definition, it is a fascism. If you look at history, fascists have track record defeating communists - by replacing them in the command of economy and everything else.

I suggest you guys to read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. It was written in early 50s, even before the Cultural Revolution by Mao. But this piece of prophetic literary gem was so precise in describing (1) how fanaticism eventually unfolded into total chaos; and more importantly, (2) how the radicals settle down and institutionalize their powers etc.

Again, don't fool ourselves. PRC is no where close to capitalism as we understand it.

I think there are certain properties of the capitalist system that are present in China now:

1. Respect of private property rights, both personal property and "means of production" like machineries, factories, trucks, computers, etc.

2. Profit motive is alive and respected.

3. Price system by private sellers and buyers generally works. Meaning there is little price control by the State. I don't know what sectors there have price control in China -- transpo fares? minimum wage? house rental? medicines?

It's the state ownership of all lands, political party monopoly of the China Communist Party, and government harrassment of political dissenters, that makes it a communist in the classic definition of the concept.

So it's a mixture of business capitalism and political communism. A hybrid, which creates its own internal contradiction. Capitalism thrives on individual freedom while communism or socialism thrives on repression of individual freedom.

FMG made additional comments:

When Deng Xiaopeng allowed farmers to own a part of their harvest to do what they see fit (eat it or sell it), then it was movement away from communism or public control of property and to capitalism. That is, some property rights were taken away from public hand and given to private hands.

There are still other examples of public property rights being given to private hands, whether or not it tipped the balance in favor of capitalism is highly subjective. For example, we can argue that China's State industries still own a large chunk of the economy but does this really offset the relative freedom businessmen have in other parts of the economy? So far all of the Filipino Chinese businessmen I've talked to say doing business in China is freer than the Philippines. There is less mention of socialist or collectivist considerations.

I was going to say how we can say if the Philippines is more communist than China and that Communism rewarded selfishness and punished virtue more than capitalism.

For Simon Lee's comment: "Again, don't fool ourselves. PRC is no where close to capitalism as we understand it."

It really is subjective. There is no objective way of measuring whether one or two laws has X points of communism or capitalism.

Yes, it is impossible for China to grow its economy rapidly that it surpassed Japan's GDP size this year, if it did not liberalize many sectors of the economy to capitalism, the profit motive and the free pricing system.

We should consider, however, that many of China's biggest corporations are not private but state-owned and controlled, and possibly monopolies in particular sectors or sub-sectors. It is the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and a few big private corporations, that are most dynamic and are really capitalistic -- privately-owned and are subject to fierce competition from other private players and businessmen.

The contradiction between a largely capitalist business sector and a communist political/state sector will remain for the next couple of years. The Communist Party of China, the state monopoly political power, is not giving any indication that it will democratize the party system to allow competing political parties.

(2) Guest Post by Simon Lee, a friend from the Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong.

Let me point you guys to this brilliant work, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State, by Prof Yasheng Huang.

Basically what Prof Huang argue can be summed up in a few points:

1. It is true that the early reform in the 1980s was mostly about opening up the economy and allow bottom up innovation.

2. But from 1990s onwards, it is more about managing an economy via the state-owned sector. It might have change somewhat the financing of these zombies but they are still under the state directives, to a certain extent.

3. China wasn't where real private enterprises flourished. It was HK where these enterprises, say Lenovo, domicile and obtained funding. Legally speakings, these Chinese companies are HK companies.

4. Reform in the State-owned enterprises in China stalled in the 90s.

The comment by FMG: "It really is subjective. There is no objective way of measuring whether one or two laws has X points of communism or capitalism." is absolutely misguided.


I am not saying there is a spectrum of capitalism. Indeed I abhor such relativistic perspective.

Capitalism is an ideal. It is a form. Even Hong Kong does not conform to the ideal. Using China as an example exhibits one's ignorance on the ideal as well as the reality.

Nowadays, the catch phrase in China is: the State advances, Civil Society on the retreat. 國進民退 For someone who has been following the reform in China, I would not say China is the model for reformers. Gradualism has its own deficiency. It allows special interests groups to take root, hence became a resistance to further reform.

Also, I personally urge everybody to take Deng's role in the reform with a bit more skepticism. It was the Hu Yaobang, later disposed by the Communist Party for pushing forward the reform too hard. Deng certainly provided political support to Hu during the early phase of the reform. But as it was unfolded in 1989, Deng obviously cared more about having the Chinese Communist Party remain in control of its absolute powers, rather then reforming the economy and nation.

More on Hu Yaobang here,

If you are interested about the history and Deng's attitude, I suggest this highly:

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang (secretly written by Zhao himself).

So much about China. Again, if there is only one message you can pick up today, this is it: "Even if you are desperate to reform, China is not the role model."

Indeed, there is no short cut to freedom and prosperity.

I'd rather look at the history of the last 300 years, i.e. (1) strong establishment of property rights before the industrial revolution, (2) free movement of goods, labor and capital in the 19th century, and (3) the first constitutionally established republic, i.e. the United States of America, for inspiration.

By calling China the model of economic reform, we will all look like clowns if one day, it retreats and rolls back the progress made since 1979.

Thirty years is comparative insignificant if you look at what really matters. At the end of the day, no communist regime survived for more than 80 years.

A country moving away from being a nominally communistic regime doesn't necessarily make it capitalistic. Putting capitalism vs communism is binary.

Also, I doubt if Milton Friedman say economic freedom is "better" than political freedom. His conjecture was that once a nation becomes economically free to a certain extend its people would demand the later.

The problem is whether the later will be granted in a peaceful manner. Don't forget who has gotten the nobel peace prize this year and where he is now.

Even when we look deeper into the detail the way Chinese economy is running, you will be surprised to realize the extralegal part of it as well as the dissipation of value due to rent seeking. It is simply heart breaking.

If we all do agree corruption is a symptom of an unfree economy, the Philippines and China share the same ailment.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A little bit more from our personal experience in Hong Kong.

The government in HK has this motto: big market, small government. In principle, it implies we always allow the market forces to play it's role first then if everything else fails, the government steps in.

The problem is: how do we know when the market fail permanently? My answer is never.

Here is the lesson: whenever there is a justification for more government, someone is going to use it as an excuse. There is almost no exception.

Therefore, we can only choose if we are true to our belief: necessary evil is still an evil.

While the man on the street care about economic growth, jobs and income, i.e. The Big Market. They do not really care if it comes at a cost of bigger government. So, to them, it is possible to have Big Market and Big Government. I do not need to elaborate anymore here: that is exactly the promise of Fascism.

So, whenever we were asked for our stance on the motto, this is my standard answer:

"We don't know if the big market is an inevitable outcome, small government is always right."

The perspective that China has done economic miracle in the past thirty years so it is the role model is simply flawed. Don't forget Japan, which was the miracle in 1980s. MITI screwed up and the financial institution were tied up by cronies financing, hence entire decade lost. We do not know yet if some far more disastrous is going to happen in China along the same line.

At the end of the day, there is no guarantee anything in the market will work, including the market itself. The surest we know is when government play market, it will fail. That is why I say China isn't even close to anything we know as Capitalism.

Those owho are yet to be convinced, please consider this: will you call it a capitalist economy when you do not really have a choice on how and where to save you hard earned money? The capital control in China was instituted so its citizens cannot send money overseas. By keeping this money domestically, saved in State owned banks, which in turn lend the money back to cronies. On the other hand, the government keeps printing money to finance its deficit budget thus ripping off ordinary people's saving. This is the vicious cycle that keeps China from inflating one bubble after another. Do you call this Capitalism with a big C?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Agri Econ 7: Bt Eggplants vs Environmentalism

Mainstream environmentalism is often marked with romanticism and organicism. They romanticize the "native, non-bio-tech and organic" crops. Thus, their rabid opposition to the use of biotechnology, microbiology and other modern biological sciences in modernizing agriculture.

A few years back, many environmentalists attacked the use of Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) corn, using scary imagery and illusions about the dangers of using natural and soil-dwelling bacteria like Bt on humans if they eat Bt corn. Aside from fear of the "unknown" like using biotechnology in corn farming, the environmentalists also feared a multinational agri-business firm, Monsanto, as the pioneering company for Bt corn. SEARCA in UP Los Banos has a good scientific but simple explanation about Bt corn and why it is not harmful as pictured by the rabid environmentalists,

Just what is Bt? Is it really a "stranger" to crops and soil, imported only by profit-hungry multinational capitalists to exploit farmers and consumers and make huge profit in the process? Picture of Bt from wikipedia.

Here is a brief description of Bt, from http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/what_is_bt.html

What is Bt?
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a spore forming (flash animation) bacterium that produces crystals protein (cry proteins), which are toxic to many species of insects.

Where is Bt found?
Bt can be found almost everywhere in the world. Surveys have indicated that Bt is distributed in the soil sparsely but frequently worldwide. Bt has been found in all types of terrain, including beaches, desert, and tundra habitats.

How many kinds of Bt are there?
There are thousands of different Bt strains, producing over 200 cry proteins that are active against an extensive range of insects and some other invertebrates.

How does Bt work?
Bt has to be eaten to cause mortality. The Bt toxin dissolve in the high pH insect gut and become active. The toxins then attack the gut cells of the insect, punching holes in the lining. The Bt spores spills out of the gut and germinate in the insect causing death within a couple days.

Now these environmentalists have attacked the field trial and experiment of Bt eggplants in UP Mindanao, Davao City campus. The City government of Davao itself ordered and implemented the destruction of Bt eggplants inside the UP Mindanao campus -- they uprooted the plants! See news today, Davao exec orders uprooting of Bt eggplants

The use of science like Bt in various crops like corn and eggplants is supposed to help farmers raise their income via (a) higher yield and lower crop damage, and (b) little or no need for expensive pesticides, insecticides, contributing even to organic farming. Consumers also benefit via larger crop output and hence, lower and stable prices. But ugly environmentalism and their hatred of capitalism and profit-motive under the system makes the activists become irrational. Is it wrong if farmers will make bigger profit through higher yield and lower farming cost?
Is it wrong if agri traders will make bigger profit?
Is it wrong if pesticide sellers will suffer lower profit as farmers will need less or none at all of their chemical products?

This type of petty environmentalism leading to irrationality contributes to underdevelopment and more poverty of many people in the developing world.

I wrote this last SEPTEMBER 24, 2010

Developing Agriculture with Little or Zero Government Support

A friend noted in his facebook status that "‎66 percent of the country's workforce is directly or indirectly employed in the agriculture sector. Unless we... provide the needed support to the agriculture and fisheries sector, we cannot address poverty head on."

I informed him that his data is wrong. Latest labor force data by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the July 2010 labor force surve, only 34 percent of employed Filipinos are working in the agri, forestry and fishery sector,http://census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/2010/lf1003tab1.pdf.

For the agri sector to develop, we just allow the real agri businessmen, both large and small, to develop commercial farming. A 200 sq.m. hydroponics farm by an urbanite agri-businessman can possibly equal the output of a 2-hectares farm if the latter wil not use modern tech, modern seeds farming.

The term "indirectly employed" is fuzzy. A fish and pork trader in a public market is officially under the services sector, retail trade, and should not be counted as "indirectly agri and fishery" worker. To remove any confusion, better use the NSO categorization of who are in agri, industry and services sector.

Again, "how to develop agriculture", just allow real agribusinessmen to develop agri, minus huge government subsidies. An urbanite hydroponics agri-entrepreneur for instance, can produce fresh and organic veggies for a nearby restaurant or supermarket with just 1,000 sq.m. of land (or only 1/10 of an hectare), all year round, whether there is bad El Nino or bad La Nina.

When there are lots of government interventions -- like endless agrarian reform and forced land redistribution for successful agribusiness ventures, like good fruit orchards -- agri-businesses will be discouraged. Treat agri like those in the services sector or industry sector, give minimum subsidies, allow the profit system to guide businessmen and small farmers.

I have a good friend. Her father bought an ugly place full of grasses in a small town in Nueva Ecija, planted mangos. After several years, the land became very productive as the mango trees were producing good fruits. Then local DAR bureaucrats came to him saying that the land is now subject to forced land redistribution under (zero timetable, endless) CARP. Pure parasitism, right? Good that my friend knows some higher govt officials just to scare those local bureaucrats, And they stopped harassing him, perhaps temporarily.

Goiod agri-businessmen need zero govt subsidy in production. Maybe they only need government protection from extortionists like the NPA rebels and local govt bureaucrats. Or support through good rural roads. And that's it.

See also:
Agri Econ 1: Food Prices and Government, April 13, 2008
Agri Econ 2: Rice Laissez Faire vs. Subsidies, May 06, 2008
Agri Econ 3: Dr. Samran Sombatpanit and WASWC, July 03, 2008
Agri Econ 4: Government Agricultural Interventions, October 21, 2008 (long paper)
Agri Econ 5: Land Reform Without Timetable is Wrong, July 01, 2010
Agri Econ 6: My Treehouse, August 16, 2010

Oil subsidy cut: Is Iran turning free market?

Recent international news say that gas prices in Iran have rose from $0.38 a gallon to to $1.44 after the Iranian government drastically cut oil subsidy. That's a 3.78 x increase or almost quadrupling of oil prices. And that's only for the monthly ration level of 16 gallons per week per car. Beyond that level, the price further rises to $2.64 a gallon. These moves will drastically cut the $114 billion a year annual oil subsidies by the government. See the report, Gas Prices Soar in Iran as Subsidy Is Reduced.

Not only oil subsidy, but also subsidies for water, electricity, and bread will be cut piecemeal. Are these signs that the Iranian government is turning free market and moving away from a big nanny state?

Nope. The Iranian government is doing it because of heavy strains caused by global economic sanctions. So Iran cannot export as much oil as it wants to. Which shrinks potential global oil supply.

Statism often attracts statist counter-measures from other countries. So Iran government's nuclear ambition -- what for, erase Israel and other "infidels" from the face of the Earth? -- is attracting counter-measures from other governments.

I wonder if without the militant posturing by the big Iranian government, if the ordinary Iranians would share its view that Israel should be oblitated from the face of the Earth. Most likely not.

UN bureaucracies -- too many!

The United Nations (UN) is one HUGE global bureaucracy. Its original mandate was to promote world peace and resolution of conflict between and among nations, that is why it was formed at the end of World War 2 in 1945.

Since then, the UN has grown into a web or dozens of tentacles of different bureaucracies with concerns on almost all sectors. Which confirms one important fact -- once a bureaucracy is created, it only wants to perpetuate itself. Bureaucrats help and expand fellow bureaucrats, in another department or office. Then some of them will say, "Ahh, that's another concern/issue. Let us create a separate office for that."

Below is a list of the various offices, funds, other bureaucracies within the UN. I think this is not complete yet as I cannot find at least two UN intergovernmental panel -- the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN InterGovernmental Working Group on IPR, Innovation and Health (IGWG-IPR).

There could be double-mention of some offices in the second list. That list is arranged alphabetically, taken from another UN website. It's mind-boggling to see a huge number of offices and bureaucracies. How do such taxpayers-funded international bureaucracies and bureaucrats promote peace?

UN Departments

Reporting to the Secretary-General
- Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS)
- Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)
- Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
- Office of the United Nations Ombudsman
- United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP)

Offices Away From Headquarters
- United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
- United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV)
- United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON)

Regional Commissions
- Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
- Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
- Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
- Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
- Regional Commissions New York Office

Bodies established by the Security Council
- Counter-Terrorism Committee
- International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
- International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
- United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC)
- United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC)

Subsidiary and Expert bodies of the General Assembly
- Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)
- International Civil Service Commission (ICSC)
- Joint Inspection Unit (JIU)
- United Nations Board of Auditors and Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency
- United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF)

Programmes and Funds *
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
--International Trade Centre (ITC)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- UNDP Field Offices
- United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
- United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
- United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP-UN-Habitat)
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) **
- World Food Programme (WFP)

Other UN Entities *
- Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Office (NGLS)
- United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
- United Nations System Chief Executives Board (CEB) for Coordination
- United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)
- United Nations University (UNU)

Research and Training Institutes
- United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) **
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
- United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
- United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI)
- United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

Inter-Agency Programmes
- International Computing Centre (ICC)
- Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

source: http://www.un.org/Depts/otherprgs.htm

Other UN Offices:

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) - Rome, Italy
Global Programme on Globalization, Liberalization and Sustainable Human Development - Geneva, Switzerland [UNCTAD-UNDP]

Former Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) - New York, USA
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) (former IACWGE) - New York, USA
Inter-Agency Procurement Services Office (IAPSO) - Copenhagen, Denmark
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - Vienna, Austria
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) - Washington, USA [World Bank Group]
International Bureau of Education (IBE) - Geneva, Switzerland [UNESCO]
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) - Trieste, Italy
International Centre for Science and High Technology (ICS) - Trieste, Italy
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) - Trieste, Italy [UNESCO/IAEA]
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) - Montreal, Canada
International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) - New York, USA
International Computing Centre (ICC) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Court of Justice (ICJ) - The Hague, The Netherlands
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) - The Hague, The Netherlands
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) - Arusha, Tanzania
International Development Association (IDA) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
International Finance Corporation (IFC) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - Rome, Italy
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) - Paris, France [UNESCO]
International Institute on Ageing (INIA) - Valetta, Malta
International Labour Organization (ILO) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Maritime Organization (IMO) - London, UK
International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Washington, USA
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
International Seabed Authority (ISA) - Kingston, Jamaica
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) - Geneva, Switzerland
International Trade Centre (ITC) - Geneva, Switzerland [UNCTAD/WTO]
International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC/ILO) - Turin, Italy

Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) - Geneva, Switzerland
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) - Geneva, Switzerland

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) - Washington, USA [WB Group]
United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) - Geneva, Switzerland and New York, USA

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - Geneva, Switzerland and New York, USA
Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) - Vienna, Austria
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - The Hague, The Netherlands

Panel of External Auditors of the United Nations, the Specialized Agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency - New York, USA
ReliefWeb - Geneva, Switzerland [OCHA]

UN Atlas of the Oceans - Washington, USA
UN Board of Auditors - New York, USA
UN Capital Development Fund - New York, USA
UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) - New York, USA
UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) - Vienna, Austria
UN Common Supplier Database (UNCSD) - Oslo, Norway
UN Communications Group (former JUNIC) - New York, USA
UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) - Geneva, Switzerland
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) - Geneva, Switzerland
UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) - Bonn, Germany
UN International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) (now UNODC)- Vienna, Austria
UN Development Group (UNDG) - New York, USA
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Paris, France
UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) - New York, USA
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - Bonn, Germany
UN Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) - New York, USA
UN Geographic Information Working Group (UNGIWG) - New York, USA
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the (OHCHR) - Geneva, Switzerland
UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)- Nairobi, Kenya
UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) - Vienna, Austria
UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (UNICT TF) - New York, USA
UN International School (UNIS) - New York, USA
UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) - New York, USA
UN Mine Action Service - New York, USA
UN Postal Administration (UNPA) - Vienna, Austria
UN Resident Coordinators Network (RCNet) - New York, USA
UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) - Vienna, Austria
UN System Network on Rural Development and Food Security - Rome, Italy [FAO/IFAD]
UN Volunteers (UNV) - Bonn, Germany
UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) - Madrid, Spain
Universal Postal Union (UPU) - Bern, Switzerland

WomenWatch - New York, USA
World Bank Group - Washington, USA
World Health Organization (WHO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Trade Organization (WTO) - Geneva, Switzerland
World Volunteer Web - Bonn, Germany [UNV]

source: http://www.unsystem.org/

Part 2

What prompted me to search just how big and how bureaucratic the UN system is, was a report that some country representatives to the UN and a UN committee proposed that they will create an intergovernment panel to regulate the internet as a result of wikileaks and other political scandals. 

UN mulls internet regulation options
By John Hilvert on Dec 17, 2010 9:51 AM

The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.

Establishment of such a group has the backing of several countries, spearheaded by Brazil.

At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would attempt to create global standards for policing the internet - specifically in reaction to challenges such as WikiLeaks....

And from another source, 
New UN committee could hand governments internet control
By Jane Fae Ozimek, 20th December 2010 13:24 GMT 

The endgame in the long-running battle over who is to control the internet may be upon us, with the appointment of a little-reported but highly significant new UN committee to look into initiatives for policing the internet.

This follows the decision at the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) 2010-2011 Inter-sessional Panel, reported in RawStory last week for a recently-formed United Nations task force to look at the possibility of creating a new inter-governmental working group to help further international cooperation on policies to police the internet.

At stake was the future of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a UN-sponsored body that puts forward recommendations on how governments should respond to internet developments....

The UN and its member-governments to regulate the internet? They would look like a bunch of morons with a NYC headquarter feeding on the blood and sweat of taxpayers and attempting to regulate -- and control certain contents -- of the freest medium to the people, the web and various online sites, from facebook to youtube, from google to blogger, from yahoo and yahoogroups, from wiki to wordpress, etc.

The beauty of the web is that it is too free, it is controlled by no one in particular. Even site owners of facebook and blogger cannot control what individual members and subscribers can post or remove, the sie owners only have privacy policies which subscribers can agree, or not agree with and get out of their system. 

Many if not all governments including their biggest club, the UN, are hurt by people castigating their wastefulness and inefficiencies, or are hurt when many of their "secret" communications that are supposed to be publicly available anyway if they are indeed transparent, are made public like what happened with the wikileaks.

Those proposals by UN and government bureaucrats might be put on hold temporarily, but bureaucrats and central planners are notoriouos in inventing new regulations and control. So I think they will revive such proposal in the near future.

On another note, a Filipino friend working at UNICEF briefly reacted to my posting yesterday on "UN bureaucracies -- too many". In fairness to the UNICEF, I think it is the ONLY body in the UN that moves beyond depending on tax money to finance many of its operations. 

UNICEF hires professional marketing guys and volunteers as well, to solicit donation from private citizens and corporations -- in the streets, in the malls and shops. And I notice that many people are smilingly giving some donations. Who will not have a soft heart for children, especially children from poor families and those with chronic diseases? 

So I applaud UNICEF for such initiative. Their approach is like the International Red Cross which solicits donation from private individuals and corporations.

One UN body that I heard is notorious for wastes is the UN Development Program or UNDP. Some guys who have partly worked with some UNDP projects would laughingly call it as "UN Developing Paper" because of the huge number of studies that it commissions at expensive rates. 

Another friend commented that the UN is indeed a HUGE bureaucracy, but which multilateral institution isn't? 

True, and that leads us to another fact -- ALL multilateral institutions are huge bureaucracies. Government by nature is a monopoly. From local to national to international or global governments, they are all monopolies, no exception. And a monopoly is not concerned with cost minimization, there is no competition to contend with, there is zero threat of bankruptcy or failure. So why bother with cost minimization, like reducing the number of bureaucracies and offices within the mother organization?