Sharp Turns at 34

Tom Woods recently posted a question on his website regarding how you pursue, at a later age, a career in Austrian style economics and more generally the liberty movement.

It got me thinking because I had recently just done this exact thing…

I worked in finance for several years then opened an insurance agency with two friends.  After 8 yrs and a lot of personal study I felt called to do something supporting liberty leaning organizations and the cause of freedom.

So at 34, I sat down for a couple beers and a pizza with my wife and asked her a simple question, “If I wasn’t working at [RADIO EDIT], what would you see me doing?” then I just sat back and listened for 40 minutes as she told me many really interesting things… she said I’m a good speaker and writer, I’m great with clients, I teach well, she actually said she thought I’d be a great stay-at-home-dad 🙂 but curiously not once did she say she saw me selling insurance policies for the next 30 years.

So when I told her what I was thinking, she was definitely behind me, but when I said I wasn’t quite sure what to do she immediately responded that I needed to go back to school.  I mentioned it would take a few months to arrange things at work and she said no, I needed to get into classes right now.  This was August of 2012, so I had already missed the deadlines for our local university but she insisted that if I was going to do this I sign up for SOMETHING at our local community college.  To dip my toes in the water, re-stretch the intellectual muscles, awaken the student skills that had lain dormant for 15 yrs. Continue reading

Do Entrepreneurs Intentionally Harm Us?

Sitting in Micro and just had to turn on my “Shut Up” Mode while my teacher recites that we wouldn’t be able to enter a restaurant without the FDA because we would all almost certainly end up with food poisoning. That we wouldn’t possibly trust a restaurant without FDA and other regulatory certification.

First off, the FDA didn’t exist until 1930 and there have always been trusted and widely patronized eateries in this country.

Second, and FAR more importantly, for all of my friends who are restaurateurs or other restaurant professionals, does it offend you as it does me, that someone would say that a regulatory agency is what keeps you serving safe food? That your personal moral and monetary interests wouldn’t keep you from making people sick?

Is it true that it happens? Sure! Both by mistake and negligence. It happens TODAY, with all our regulation.

But I just had a professor say we couldn’t, as a GENERAL RULE, trust restaurants without a bureaucrat holding them accountable.

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Do Econ Professors Believe What They Teach?

Would this make sense? A math teacher spends a whole class proving that 2 + 2 = 4, but then turns around at the end of class and says, “But of course… it also equals 5 sometimes…”

Why do we hear Econ professors stand in front of classes and, after showing clearly and mathematically that…

… the minimum wage creates unemployment, “But of course… Fairness may justify some level of social

wage.”

… government imposed unions raise wages above the sustainable level and wield monopoly power, “But of course… workers would be exploited with them.”

… there’s no historic evidence of sustained monopolies, “But of course… Natural monopolies are still a real thing, and thus should be government authorized and then regulated.”

… rising prices incentivize business owners to stay open during disasters, most effectively ration the use of goods in times of potential shortages and signal to outside entrepreneurs to bring more goods and services into areas where hardship means they are needed the most, “But of course… laws against ‘price gouging’ are still just the right thing to do in these circumstances.”

Please feel free to add your own examples of Economists explaining how 2 + 2 = 5… 🙂