17.12.05

Está explicado

Ideas

Leitura recomendada

Although the mechanical philosophy is long dead and buried, our age is not without its own dogma regarding properly scientific explanations. Today, the prevailing belief is that any real science must be composed of mathematical models, models which yield quantitative predictions about some class of events based on particular, initial conditions, also specified numerically. Once again, the currently popular methodology has been imposed on diverse disciplines with little regard to whether it is suitable to their subject matter, but simply because it is thought to be the only respectable way to do science. The philosopher John Dupré calls this "scientific imperialism," meaning "the tendency for a successful scientific idea to be applied far beyond its original home, and generally with decreasing success the more its application is expanded" (2001, p. 16). Once again, we see a frantic effort to generate models fitting the accepted paradigm, with little regard for the realism of the assumptions and mechanisms from which they are constructed.###

At this point, the relevance of the history of the mechanical philosophy to the circumstances with which Austrian economists currently struggle should be apparent. It illustrates a number of points that can be used to defend their embrace of an unfashionable view of economics:

  • It is not the case that science always makes steady progress; it sometimes enters cul-de-sacs that it must eventually back out of in order to move forward again. That is especially the case when a methodology from one science is imposed on another without concern for its aptness in the new domain.

  • It is not the case that scientific truth can be decided by a "market test" ; science is not toothpaste, and markets cater to the preferences of participants, without regard to whether those preferences arise from scrupulous examination or ill-considered prejudice.

  • It is not the case that a real science must forget its founders ; often, the key needed to unlock some gate barring the way forward can be found in the ideas of a long-dead thinker.
    And it is not the case that scientists should placidly drift with the prevalent methodological tide like so many jellyfish bobbing in the waves; the greatest scientists have often been the ones who had the courage to swim against the current.
  • Impossível continuar a negar

    16.12.05

    The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (PIG)

    Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" had found its counterpart in the environmentalists' "I have a nightmare".

    Recomenda-se a brigadistas do PC (não é o Partido), candidatos a Presidente deste sitio mal frequentado ao Enginheiro,leitores compulsivos do jornal A Bola, drop-outs adolescentes, reformados e eleitores do diacono Anacleto.

    Incêndio na biblioteca da Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien

    Santiago de Compostela

    Traquejo

    Argumentos a favor de novos aeroportos

    IN THE 19th century cities and businesses grew up around the railways; in the 20th century the growth of motorways drove development. But these days the magnets for business are airports. With so much emphasis on just-in-time manufacturing and some professionals needing to jump on planes almost daily, airports are becoming the centres of cities of their own. Warehouses, malls, high-tech firms and even consultancies are setting up shop almost within sight of the runway. It is a phenomenon that John Kasarda, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina calls the “aerotropolis”. ###

    Example

    One such aerotropolis has grown up around Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Jeffrey Fegan, the airport's chief executive, illustrates the phenomenon with a large aerial photograph that has his airport at the centre. Dense clusters of buildings appear on all sides, just beyond the highways that ring the airport. DFW opened in 1974 and is set squarely in the middle of the two huge metropolitan areas that give it its name (see map). But much of the surrounding development has taken place over the past ten years. The immediate airport area has all the facilities travellers expect—rental-car agencies, hotels and cargo storage—as well as the headquarters of American Airlines. Warehouses are on all sides; the latest arrival is Amazon.com, which plans to open a giant plant later this year in the city of Irving, just a 15-minute drive from the airport. A new shopping mall is due to open south of the airport.

    Irving used to be known mostly as a home to Texas Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys. But Las Colinas, a planned business and residential community within Irving, now boasts offices belonging to household names such as Accenture and Bank of America. In May Fluor, a giant engineering company, decided to move its corporate headquarters from southern California to Las Colinas. It cited the proximity of DFW as a “major factor” in its decision.

    Dallas is far from an isolated example of airport-driven development. When Washington Dulles International Airport opened in 1962 in rural Virginia, it was considered a white elephant; but it has spawned a high-tech corridor and now sits in the fastest-growing county in the United States. Denver's ten-year-old international airport, about 40 miles out of town, is expected to be the centre of a community of 500,000 people by 2025—almost as many people as live in Denver itself. It recently branded its surrounding acreage as the “Aeropolitan”, a nod to Mr Kasarda, as well as a marketing pitch to businesses.

    Working in the shadow of an airport has its problems. There are height restrictions on buildings, and residents and office workers have to put up with the noise and traffic that airports generate. But, despite those drawbacks, more and more businesses feel the need to be near a runway.

    Espera-se uma frutuosa troca de experiências

    O Rei vai nú

    Inaceitável!

    Soares ao seu nível

    A coisa está preta...

    I walk the line

    Francisco Louçã: demagogia selvagem

    15.12.05

    Notícias que não interessam

    O “Estado Térmita”

    Mirandismo avança

    Choque tecno-social

    [O país e a Europa] têm de ser capazes de competir no espaço global através de inovação e não através do desmantelamento do Estado social.
    Pareciam premonitórias de que ainda iria coordenar as duas áreas. Agora que a tecnologia vai estar ao serviço do estado social, não há quem pare Portugal. Ou a Europa.

    O mercado concorda...

    A Portugal Telecom subiu mais de 4% levando a bolsa nacional a renovar o máximo de quatro anos e a destacar-se perante uma Europa que fechou na generalidade negativa. O PSI-20 subiu 0,83% impulsionado pelo novo alento que a possibilidade do governo vir a deixar de ter o «golden share» na PT concedeu às acções da maior operadora de telecomunicações portuguesa.
    [fonte: Jornal de Negócios]

    "IRC devia ser de 0% para estimular o investimento"

    O Governo devia reduzir a taxa de imposto sobre os lucros das empresas (IRC) para % e passar a tributar apenas a distribuição de dividendos aos accionistas, à semelhança do que acontece já hoje na Estónia. "Esta medida permitiria a Portugal ser o primeiro país da EU-15 a ter um factor de competitividade imbatível para atrair mais investimento nacional e internacional, ou seja, aumentar o emprego e a riqueza", disse ao DN Filipe Botton.

    (...)

    O empresário admite que no curto prazo seria complicado para o Estado perder 3,8 mil milhões de euros de receitas (11% do total), embora "a prazo ganhasse muito mais pela tributação de dividendos (taxa de 20%) e pela criação de postos de trabalho" [1].


    [1] É claro que, preferêncialmente, deveria aproveitar para diminuir também a despesa pública

    [fonte: DN]

    Leitura sugerida

    Povo fantástico

    Do meu voo KLM que viria a ser cancelado ao fim de uma hora de espera, vejo um avião da easyjet passar. Povo fantástico, estes holandeses. Venderam esta companhia de bandeira que perde dinheiro para que seja o contribuinte francês a pagar qualquer recuperação e têm uma das mais dinámicas companhias low-cost que dá lucro.

    Nós por cá, temos uma companhia cujo serviço é considerado, internacionalmente, dos melhores do mundo: a Portugália. No entanto, o Estado Português continua a prejudicá-la para favorecer outra companhia cuja imagem internacional se resume na expressão TAP: Take Another Plane.
    No Rabbit's blog!

    Espaço publicitário

    A $300 million Pentagon psychological warfare operation includes plans for placing pro-American messages in foreign media outlets without disclosing the U.S. government as the source(...).
    He [Mike Furlong, deputy director of the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element] declined to give examples of specific "products," which he said would include articles, advertisements and public-service announcements.
    [Fonte]
    Example

    À atenção do Sr. Furlong:
    Os contactos para envio dos pagamentos podem ser obtidos através dos e-mails, ali na coluna da direita.

    Forbidden colours

    “[T]he lowest estimate for the number of people who were killed on political grounds in the last seven years of Stalin's life is five million, and the camps of the gulag - which only a fraud or a fool would liken to American prisons today - kept on killing long after his death. In their new biography, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday reckon Mao was responsible for anything up to 70 million deaths in China. The number of people killed or starved by the North Korean regime may be in the region of 1.6 million. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia killed between 1.5 and 2 million people. For further details, I refer Pinter to The Black Book of Communism, published in 1997.”
    A segunda é uma incompreensível inconsistência lógica na repressão e censura generalizada do que se relaciona ou é evocativo do totalitarismo nazi e do autoritarismo fascista. É que, convenientemente ausente desta fúria censória, fica um “ismo” crucial: o islamismo.

    Será por ignorância que a influência directa que o nazismo e o fascismo tiveram na emergência do terrorismo islâmico é sistematicamente esquecida? Se é resolve-se facilmente. Basta ler “Terror, Islam and Democracy”, um artigo fundamental para se compreender o terrorismo islâmico, em particular este excerto:
    “The idea of a “pan-Islamic” movement appeared in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries concomitantly with the rapid transformation of traditional Muslim polities into nation-states. The man who did more than any other to lend an Islamic cast to totalitarian ideology was an Egyptian schoolteacher named Hassan al-Banna (1906–49). Banna was not a theologian by training. Deeply influenced by Egyptian nationalism, he founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 with the express goal of counteracting Western influences.

    By the late 1930s, Nazi Germany had established contacts with revolutionary junior officers in the Egyptian army, including many who were close to the Muslim Brothers. Before long the Brothers, who had begun by pursuing charitable, associational, and cultural activities, also had a youth wing, a creed of unconditional loyalty to the leader, and a paramilitary organization whose slogan “action, obedience, silence” echoed the “believe, obey, fight” motto of the Italian Fascists. Banna’s ideas were at odds with those of the traditional ulema (theologians), and he warned his followers as early as 1943 to expect “the severest opposition” from the traditional religious establishment.

    From the Fascists—and behind them, from the European tradition of putatively “transformative” or “purifying” revolutionary violence that began with the Jacobins—Banna also borrowed the idea of heroic death as a political art form. Although few in the West may remember it today, it is difficult to overstate the degree to which the aestheticization of death, the glorification of armed force, the worship of martyrdom, and faith in “the propaganda of the deed” shaped the antiliberal ethos of both the far right and elements of the far left earlier in the twentieth century.

    Following Banna, today’s Islamist militants embrace a terrorist cult of martyrdom that has more to do with Georges Sorel’s Réflexions sur la violence than with anything in either Sunni or Shi’ite Islam.”
    Em Outubro deste ano, a comemoração do bicentenário da morte do almirante Nelson e da batalha de Trafalgar teve como evento central uma “reencenação” da batalha histórica. As frotas “beligerantes”, onde se incluíam diversos navios cedidos pelas armadas espanhola e francesa, foram convenientemente rebaptizadas de “encarnada” e “azul” para não recordar aos convidados a tremenda derrota militar. Neste terreiro de fantasia demencial, pós-histórica e pós-religiosa, outrora conhecido por Europa, a maioria dos políticos tudo faz para apagar a identidade dos europeus, inventando um passado que nunca existiu para evitar desconfortos no presente, em nome de um futuro que julgam “conveniente”. A persistente mediocridade dos governantes europeus, com os seus exércitos de fingir em tons azuis e encarnados, fará com que cada vez mais europeus, tal como Paolo di Canio, renovem o seu interesse pelas políticas associadas ao “preto e ao castanho".

    Entretanto os governos europeus, confrontados com um inimigo —o Islão radical— que temem ao ponto de negar a sua existência, preferem canalizar a “indignação” para símbolos de tiranias pretéritas, não parecem ter mais a dizer sobre os neo-fascistas islâmicos do que Gertrude Stein sobre os nazis do seu tempo (homens maus, maus!...) e receiam, acima de tudo, que alguém ainda os leve a sério. Não precisam de se preocupar.

    Hayek believed in government support of certain cultural enterprises...

    Hayek strongly endorses the distinction between authoritative and non-authoritative activities of government made by JS Mill( who he disliked intensely). Mill's distinction turns on whether a government intervention invades the " protected sphere" by using coercion beyond the tax power( which includes establishing a monopoly). In Mill's view as in Hayek's the state can do anything in the non-authoritative sphere that can reasonably be regarded as useful or desirable, and in Hayek's view this could include a State Opera and similar cultural and informational amenities.
    A fonte é John Gray que actualmente faz uns biscates numa tal London School of Economics (alguém sabe onde é que isto fica?).

    Na minha modesta opinião, não se trata de um "apoio entusiático" a esta forma de intervencionismo. Trata-se antes de saber que tipo de intervenções (forma e objecto) são compatíveis com uma sociedade liberal, um pouco à semelhança do que Hayek faz no seu Liberalism quando fala de "The service functions of government" e de "Positive tasks of liberal legislation" (transcrição de seguida)###

    14. The service functions of government

    The strict limitation of governmental powers to the enforcement of general rules of just conduct required by liberal principles refers only to the coercive powers of government. Government may render in addition, by the use of the means placed at its disposal, many services which involve no coercion except for the raising of the means by taxation; and apart perhaps from some extreme wings of the liberal movement, the desirability of government undertaking such tasks has never been denied. They were, however, in the nineteenth century still of minor and mainly traditional importance and little discussed by liberal theory which merely stressed that such services had better be left in the hands of local rather than central government. The guiding consideration was a fear that central government would become too powerful, and a hope that competition between the different local authorities would effectively control and direct the development of these services on desirable lines.

    The general growth of wealth and the new aspirations whose satisfaction were made possible by it have since led to an enormous growth of those service activities, and have made necessary a much more clear‑cut attitude towards them than classical liberalism ever took. There can be no doubt that there are many such services, known to the economists as 'public goods', which are highly desirable but cannot be provided by the market mechanism, because if they arc provided they will benefit everybody and cannot be confined to those who are willing to pay for them. From the elementary tasks of the protection against crime or the prevention of the spreading of contagious diseases and other health services, to the great variety of problems which the large urban agglomerations [144] raise most acutely, the required services can only be provided if the means to defray their costs are raised by taxation. This means that, if these services are to be provided at all, at least their finance, if not necessarily also their operation must be placed in the hands of agencies which have the power of taxation. This need not mean that government is given the exclusive right to render these services, and the liberal will wish that the possibility be left open that when ways of providing such services by private enterprise are discovered, this can be done. He will also retain the traditional preference that those services should so far as possible be provided by local rather than central authorities and be paid for by local taxation, since in this manner at least some connection between those who benefit and those who pay for a particular service will be preserved. But beyond this liberalism has developed scarcely any definite principles to guide policy in this wide field of ever increasing importance.

    The failure to apply the general principles of liberalism to the new problems showed itself in the course of the development of the modern Welfare State. Though it should have been possible to achieve many of its aims within a liberal framework, this would have required a slow experimental process; yet the desire to achieve them by the most immediately effective path led everywhere to the abandonment of liberal principles. While it should have been possible, in particular, to provide most of the services of social insurance by the development of an institution for true competitive insurance, and while even a minimum income assured to all might have been created within a liberal framework, the decision to make the whole field of social insurance a government monopoly, and to turn the whole apparatus erected for that purpose into a great machinery for the redistribution of incomes, led to a progressive growth of the government controlled sector of the economy and to a steady dwindling of the part of the economy in which liberal principles still prevail.

    15. Positive tasks of liberal legislation

    Traditional liberal doctrine, however, not only failed to cope adequately with new problems, but also never developed a sufficiently clear programme for the development of a legal framework designed to preserve an effective market order. If the free enterprise system is to work beneficially, it is not sufficient that the laws satisfy the negative criteria sketched earlier. It is also necessary that their [145] positive content be such as to make the market mechanism operate satisfactorily. This requires in particular rules which favour the preservation of competition and restrain, so far as possible, the development of monopolistic positions. These problems were somewhat neglected by nineteenth‑century liberal doctrine and were examined systematically only more recently by some of the 'neoliberal' groups.

    It is probable, however, that in the field of enterprise monopoly would never have become a serious problem if government had not assisted its development by tariffs, certain features of the law of corporations and of the law of industrial patents. It is an open question whether, beyond giving the legal framework such a character that it will favour competition, specific measures to combat monopoly are necessary or desirable. If they are, the ancient common law prohibition of conspiracies in restraint of trade might have provided a foundation for such a development which, however, remained long unused. Only comparatively lately, beginning with the Sherman Act of 189o in the USA, and in Europe mostly only after the Second World War, were attempts made at a deliberate antitrust and anti‑cartel legislation which, because of the discretionary powers which they usually conferred on administrative agencies, were not wholly reconcilable with classical liberal ideals.

    The field, however, in which the failure to apply liberal principles led to developments which increasingly impeded the functioning of the market order, is that of the monopoly of organized labour or of the trade unions. Classical liberalism had supported the demands of the workers for 'freedom of association', and perhaps for this reason later failed effectively to oppose the development of labour unions into institutions privileged by law to use coercion in a manner not permitted to anybody else. It is this position of the labour unions which has made the market mechanism for the determination of wages largely inoperative, and it is more than doubtful whether a market economy can be preserved if the competitive determination of prices is not also applied to wages. The question whether the market order will continue to exist or whether it will be replaced by a centrally planned economic system may well depend on whether it will prove possible in some manner to restore a competitive labour market.

    The effects of these developments show themselves already in the manner in which they have influenced government action in the [146] second main field in which it is generally believed that a functioning market order requires positive government action: the provision of a stable monetary system. While classical liberalism assumed that the gold standard provided an automatic mechanism for the regulation of the supply of money and credit which would be adequate to secure a functioning market order, the historical developments have in fact produced a credit structure which has become to a high degree dependent on the deliberate regulation by a central authority. This control, which for some time had been placed in the hands of independent central banks, has in recent times been in effect transferred to governments, largely because budgetary policy has been made one of the chief instruments of monetary control. Governments have thus become responsible for determining one of the essential conditions on which the working of the market mechanism depends.

    In this position governments in all Western countries have been forced, in order to secure adequate employment at the wages driven up by trade union action, to pursue an inflationary policy which makes monetary demand rise faster than the supply of goods. They have been driven by this into an accelerating inflation which in turn they feel bound to counteract by direct controls of prices that threaten to make the market mechanism increasingly inoperative. This seems now to become the way in which, as already indicated in the historical section, the market order which is the foundation of a liberal system will be progressively destroyed.

    Sida, preservativos e externalidades

    A decisão sobre o uso do preservativo é uma decisão feita num ambiente de incerteza. A escolha depende basicamente da avaliação dos custos financeiro e hedonista face ao benefício duma menor probabilidade de adquirir o HIV. Sempre que alguém usa um preservativo diminui a probabilidade sua ou do seu parceiro de contágio. Mas não só. Diminui também a probabilidade de contágio de futuros parceiros de ambos. E dos parceiros desses parceiros.

    Este efeito “bola de neve” significa que existe uma “externalidade” positiva para futuros parceiros. A forma de corrigir esta “falha de mercado” é subsidiar a actividade que a gera. Tal como se justifica subsidiar os atletas que representam um país – pelos benefícios auferidos por terceiros – também se justifica o subsídio aos preservativos. Estes devem ter um preço quase simbólico, ainda que não nulo, de forma a evitar o desperdício.
    E as externalidades negativas de semelhante subsídio? Porque devem, por exemplo, os casais monógamos pagar pelas "orgias"(!) sexuais de outros?

    Aliás, considerando a elevada “assimetria informacional” referida no artigo, actuais parceiros sexuais podem assumir que, em passadas relações, a outra parte usou sempre o preservativo subsidiado.

    Adenda: Tiago Mendes faz um resumo dos comentários ao seu artigo.

    Tratar os efeitos em vez da causa

    Leitura recomendada

    Comecemos com uma resenha simplificada do estado da Nação em finais de 1985:
    - o Estado detinha o monopólio da televisão e da quase totalidade da rádio;
    - vigorava o sistema salarial da função pública de 1935, criado para um universo de 25 000 funcionários;
    - no Alentejo subsistia o colectivismo agrícola, com 330 UCP´s;
    - quase todos os bancos e seguros eram públicos;
    - eram praticamente inexistentes as instituições financeiras não monetárias e muito reduzido o leque de instrumentos e serviços financeiros;
    - as taxas de juro eram fixadas administrativamente;
    - Vigoravam apertados controlos cambiais (o escudo estava sujeito a um sitema de crawling peg)
    - inúmeros sectores de actividade estavam vedados à iniciativa privada;
    - co-existiam 7 impostos parcelares sobre o rendimento a que se sobrepunha um imposto complementar;
    - a taxa de inflação era de aproximadamente 20%;
    - o deficit público era, em %, do PIB superior a 10%.
    Parece impossível, mas era esta mesmo a realidade do país há vinte anos...
    Resumindo: os governos de Cavaco estabilizaram macroeconomicamente o país e liberalizam-no afastando boa parte do asfixiante peso estatal. Para além disso, com o auxílio dos fundos europeus dotaram o país de um conjunto de infra-estruturas essenciais. Foi pouco? Tenho absoluta convicção que, mesmo que Cavaco partilhasse das teses liberais, seria impossível tê-las posto em prática naquelas condições. E tenho também a certeza que, de entre os candidatos presidenciais, é aquele que, pelo passado enquanto PM e sobretudo pelas declarações que fez depois de deixar S. Bento mais entende a necessidade de diminuir o peso do Estado e promover a concorrência por forma a ganhar a batalha da competitividade. Por isso qualquer liberal não deveria hesitar a 22 de Janeiro. Mas quem aqui fala não é liberal, não é sequer um dogmático social-democrata. Quem aqui fala é um cavaquista. Sou portanto suspeito…
    Identifico-me quase na totalidade com o Pedro Martins, com duas diferenças: eu sou liberal e não tive o trabalho de pesquisa que ele aqui revela

    Recado

    Num tempo de populismos assumidos e disfarçados, de culto de mitos vivos, de feira de vaidades pessoais, de clientelismos de toda a sorte, a humildade no entrar, no cumprir e no sair é o timbre de um verdadeiro republicano e de um verdadeiro patriota.

    Se Sampaio é o exemplo a seguir, então quem não apresenta "a humildade no entrar, no cumprir e no sair"? Estaria o Prof. Marcelo a referir-se a alguns dos actuais candidatos a PR?

    Portugal (ainda) é viável?

    - Acabou o tempo dos grandes projectos
    - Estes projectos não são prioritários
    - Portugal tem que assumir que não é rico
    - Não me importava que fosse Espanha a financiar todo o TGV. Afinal, são os espanhóis que precisam de clientes
    - O número de passageiros expectável é ínfimo
    - O TGV para Vigo é uma brincadeira
    Adicionalmente, referiu ainda que em vez da OTA e do TGV, que têm efeitos negativos sobre a balança comercial, seria preferível que o País tivesse, por exemplo, 50 projectos de 40 ou 50 milhões de euros cada, investimentos úteis e criadores de emprego.

    Já José Sócrates defendia na terça-feira que "desistir do TGV é desistir do futuro".

    Fica ao vosso critério ponderar em que tipo de futuro acreditam mais: no de José Sócrates ou no de Belmiro de Avezedo. Eu, nesta questão, não tenho qualquer dúvida...

    Nós também, nós também...

    Grande Votação Insurgente 2005: resultados parciais (3)

    Subjectivismo, lógica e matemática

    Por uma boa Causa

    14.12.05

    Publicidade Enganosa (III)

    Dois formulários, um envelope e um selo

    Centros de decisão ou liberdade de escolha?

    "Qualquer nova privatização de uma empresa deve verificar se há potencial financeiro nacional para adquiri-la e se estão ou não em causa aspectos sociais", afirmou Cavaco Silva, no debate com o também candidato a Belém Jerónimo de Sousa, na SIC.

    (...)

    O candidato apoiado pelo PCP foi mais crítico da política de privatizações do Governo e lembrou a Cavaco Silva que não é possível garantir que as empresas privatizadas passem para mãos estrangeiras.

    Agência Financeira:
    Os consumidores domésticos e as microempresas, um universo de cerca de 5,7 milhões de clientes, poderão mudar de fornecedor de electricidade a partir de 4 de Setembro de 2006, anunciou hoje a Entidade Reguladora dos Serviços Energéticos (ERSE).

    Sondagens (Iraque)

    • Centralist state - 70%

    • Federalist state - 18% (Kurds - 31%)

    • Individual, independent states - 9%
    Nota: continuam a acreditar na benevolência de um Governo Central???

    Restante sondagem e artigo do Spiegel (via Elise):
    But despite all the fears of civil war and terrorism, it seems Iraqis have come to terms with the chaos. As in Germany in the years after World War II, where there was an overriding sense of "having got through it all", people in Iraq are looking beyond the destruction, suffering and crises to the future. Their motto: progress.

    At any rate, Iraqi incomes have more than doubled in the past two years, to an average of $236 a month, and the range of consumer durables on offer has improved markedly. Almost every household now possesses a television set, and 86 percent of TV viewers also have a satellite dish.

    (...)

    Reason enough for Iraqis to display an almost inexplicable confidence. Across the country, almost 70 percent of the population believe that within a year, the situation in Iraq will be either "somewhat better" or "a lot better".

    Observatório?

    O CDS-PP vai entregar no Parlamento um projecto para criar um observatório da violência escolar, justificando a iniciativa por no último ano lectivo 191 pessoas terem recebido tratamento médico devido a agressões físicas sofridas nas escolas.
    Qual é o pai que nada faz enquanto os seus filhos são espancados? Um pai não quer mais "observação" mas, sim, maior liberdade de escolha.

    Sondagens

    Silent Partner

    Se a orientação, a nível europeu, for a de que não faz sentido manter «golden shares», eu creio que o Estado português terá que reconsiderar os termos em que mantém a sua posição e a sua presença nalgumas empresas. Se o Estado entender que subsistem as razões que justificaram a existência de «golden shares», terá que arranjar outras formas de continuar a participar na vida societária dessas empresas de forma a acautelar os seus interesses.

    Não passa é pela cabeça de ninguém, que o estado deixe de estar presente no mercado, condicionando a gestão de algumas empresas e o funcionamento de certos mercados/sectores. É uma ideia prevalecente em Portugal, que colherá apoio em todos os candidatos a P.R., como se tem constatado. Vão ter, os defensores do intervencionismo económico, de puxar pela imaginação para encontrar maneira de serem um "silent partner" nas tais empresas/sectores estratégicos para o futuro do país (quiçá do Universo). Os quais, neste momento passam pela CP (a tal empresa hiper-falida) e deveriam passar também pelas Pousadas de Portugal (na opinião do Dr. Soares).
    Será que depois de introduzir a figura dos Controladores em cada ministério, o Sr. ministro se prepara para introduzir a figura do Testa de Ferro Público, nas participações estatais?

    A pergunta sem resposta

    [A]ntes de todos os impactos positivos que se podem projectar, é preciso garantir que ele seja financeiramente sustentável.

    O Governo já estava em falta na apresentação dessas garantias para um plano rodoviário que, toda a gente já percebeu, não se paga sem portagens. Agora fica duplamente devedor da demonstração de que este país pode pagar Ota, TGV e Scut sem novos aumentos de impostos.

    Se a opção for essa, anuncia-se catástrofe. O efeito-PIB evapora-se e o emprego será temporário. A alta velocidade será útil para quem fugir daqui. E o eng. Sócrates não recebeu esse mandato, no dia em que conquistou a maioria absoluta.

    Pois, pois...

    Notice by a busy Austrian

    URSS vive

    Responsabilidade ilimitada

    A verdadeira "prioridade nacional"

    Se os filmes de Hollywood fossem subsidiados não estavam dependentes dos preconceitos do público

    Niilismo e fanatismo religioso: todos diferentes, todos iguais

    ...a paz continua a ser comprometida e negada, de maneira dramática, pelo terrorismo ...tais desígnios estão inspirados por um niilismo trágico e desconcertante. E não é só o niilismo; também o fanatismo religioso, hoje frequentemente denominado fundamentalismo, pode inspirar e alimentar propósitos e gestos terroristas...

    ...o niilismo e o fundamentalismo relacionam-se de forma errada com a verdade: os niilistas negam a existência de qualquer verdade, os fundamentalistas avançam a pretensão de poder impô-la com a força. « Pretender impor aos outros com a violência aquela que se presume ser a verdade, significa violar a dignidade do ser humano e, em última instância, ultrajar a Deus, de quem ele é imagem ».

    ...o niilismo e o fundamentalismo têm em comum um perigoso desprezo pelo homem e sua vida e, em última análise, pelo próprio Deus. Com efeito, na base deste trágico recurso está, em definitivo, a falsificação da verdade plena de Deus: o niilismo nega a sua existência e providencial presença na história; o fundamentalismo fanático desfigura a sua face amorosa e misericordiosa, substituindo-O por ídolos feitos à própria imagem...
    [Mensagem do Papa para o Dia Mundial da Paz]

    I'm shocked, shocked

    A PT

    Leitura recomendada

    Esquizofrenia presidencial

    13.12.05

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (12)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (11)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (10)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (9)

    Crucifixos nas Escolas: Declarações do secretário do conselho permanente da Conferência Episcopal Portuguesa

    “esta é uma questão de respeito para com uma dimensão religiosa e cultural dos cidadãos”.

    “a Igreja Católica não vai exigir que os Crucifixos permaneçam nas escolas, porque não foi ela quem exigiu que eles lá fossem colocados”.

    “Aqui há uma questão de bom senso, em cada comunidade educativa, e não pode haver um grupo de pessoas que se dê à inquisição das escolas que têm ou não crucifixos para denunciar esse facto ao Ministério”

    “que se tenha em conta a realidade das comunidades educativas, os problemas que lá existem ou não, o que levará a que se respeitem, retirem ou acrescentem símbolos religiosos”.

    As pessoas devem habituar-se a viver na tolerância, num verdadeiro regime de laicidade, que é um regime de respeito para com os sistemas religiosos e não de apagamento dos seus símbolos, como parece ser o sistema laicista
    [Fonte]

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (8)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (7)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (6)

    PUBLICIDADE ENGANOSA (II)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (5)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (4)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (3)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo (2)

    Debate Cavaco vs Jerónimo

    Óbito

    EU concealed deal with US to allow 'rendition' flights (Telegraph)

    Dr. Louçã: Basta!

    Recomendado

    Por uma teoria não física e não matemática das ciências sociais

    What is the problem, then, of using math for economics, and why are Austrians opposed to such a methodology? In a word, math is not an appropriate tool to describe human action. As Mises and Rothbard often pointed out, one cannot quantify human action. This does not mean that people do not engage in activity in which mathematics is not important, but rather that we cannot accurately use math to describe how humans behave.###

    Take the simple "Lagrangian Multiplier" that we use in basic graduate-school economics to "explain" consumer behavior. Here, economists construct an equation in which one’s utility depends upon, say, goods "x" and "y." The ability to accumulate such goods is constrained by one’s income and the prices paid for the goods.

    In determining the "optimal" state that the consumer can enjoy, one uses tools of multivariable calculus to reach a point where "equilibrium" is reached. At that point, the marginal utility of good "x" divided by the price of good "x" is equal to the marginal utility of good "y" over the price of that good. (I have not done the mathematical work on this page for obvious reasons.)

    The problem here is that this "solution" is nonsense. Utility (or consumer satisfaction) cannot be measured in cardinal terms. There is no way to take a cardinal measure of someone’s satisfaction. I can say that I like chocolate more than vanilla, but I cannot put that preference in cardinal numbers. An attempt to do so is nothing short of an exercise in fraud.

    When asked why they engage in such activities, economists usually admit that they cannot take cardinal measures of individual utility, nor can they compare the utility of one individual to another in cardinal terms. However, they then do it anyway, saying that while their activities are technically wrong, they pass the "market test" in economic analysis. People, they add, will "act as though they are engaging in measurement of cardinal utility," even if they really are not. In other words, even if something is not true, we pretend that it is true and act accordingly.

    (...)

    In using mathematics as the main tool for advancing economic thought, economists must operate on the assumption that human action adheres to a constant mathematical formula. While, as Rothbard and Mises note, that might be appropriate for the physical sciences, it is not appropriate when describing how humans behave.

    This is not to say that the use of logic is inappropriate in economic science. Indeed, the Austrian methodology draws heavily upon logical inferences in deducing economic science from the initial observation that people act. Furthermore, mathematics is a branch of logic.

    Subjectivismo

    Ahh... então já não há problema!

    Mário Lino chamou ainda a atenção para o facto dos 17 mil milhões de euros contabilizados pelo Tribunal de Contas euros serem "a preços correntes", somando os pagamentos ao longo de 30 anos, "porque, aos preços de hoje, esse valor é cerca de metade".
    Ou seja, uns meros 8,5 mil milhões de euros... É quase como se os saldos este ano tivessem começado mais cedo!

    Radicalismo laicista e a guerra contra o Natal (3)

    The problem is not would-be theocrats. The problem is the growing number of citizens who know next to nothing about the contribution of faith to democratic government. Students hear about Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" between church and state, but never learn that during his presidency church services were held in the U.S. Treasury, the Congress, and inside the Supreme Court chambers. As James Hutson, chief of the manuscript division of the Library of Congress, summarizes it: "It's no exaggeration to say that, on Sundays in Washington during Thomas Jefferson's presidency, the state became the church."

    Although unorthodox in his own beliefs, Jefferson was typical of the Founders in this sense: He considered religion, especially Christianity, essential to democracy. The consensus of America's greatest political generation was that self-government required citizens of virtue, and virtue depended largely on religious belief. James Madison extolled Christianity as a "precious gift" to the young nation, while George Washington considered religion and morality "indispensable supports" to republican government. John Adams used his inaugural address to remind Americans that "a decent respect for Christianity [was] among the best recommendations for public service."

    Grande Votação Insurgente 2005: resultados parciais (2)

    Radicalismo laicista e a guerra contra o Natal (2)

    Christmas is being purged from our culture at an ever-accelerating pace.

    Christmas parades have been replaced by Winterfests. Schools frown on Christmas decorations. Cities and towns have rechristened the municipal Christmas tree a "community tree." You'd have an easier time setting up a nativity scene in Saudi Arabia than in most public parks. And sales clerks wish us a "Happy Holiday!" -- as if we all celebrated something called "holiday."

    (...)

    The secularist assault on Christmas (unwittingly aided by the perpetually aggrieved and sensitivity-whipped) is one front in the war on America's Judeo-Christian heritage.

    (...)

    The militantly secularist Anti-Defamation League was shocked by the results of a poll it recently commissioned, indicating that 64% of Americans believe "religion is under attack" in this nation. (Among evangelical and charismatic Christians, that figure is 80%.)

    12.12.05

    The Right to Be Wrong: Ending the Culture War Over Religion in America

    Fanatismo islâmico na Europa

    Ranking BlogPulse