Monday, February 11, 2008

Ron Paul

I said a long time ago that I'd do a post about Ron Paul "soon" and it never showed up. I tend to do that a lot actually; the best way to ensure I don't post about a particular topic is to declare that I intend to post about it.

My Chinese New Year's resolution is to follow through on my blog-promises (blomises) though, so here's a symbolic gesture:

I used to like Ron Paul, but the gold standard is silly and I think he's racist so now I don't care for him, although I still find his ideas interesting intellectually.


Dave Foree said...

Here are my eight cents on the matter:

Having read a lot of Ron Paul writings and also the racist newsletters, I can not possibly conceive how the two things could possibly be related - I've been Ron Paul basher for a while (only because I'm not a devotee of the Austrian School of Economics to which he is way, way too devoted, in my opinion), but I'm convinced he had nothing to do with the newsletters. Worst case scenario, I'd guess, would be that his name was used by some unscrupulous acquaintance.

Now for the gold standard:

As I said, I'm not exactly a fan of Austrian Economics (whose theories usually advocate the gold standard), but there are compelling arguments for it. In fact, if I weren't so convinced that the Federal Reserve system is minimally flawed, I'd probably be a gold standard fan myself. Chris Jeffords (who's writing a paper for his PhD program on this very subject) and I were just talking about it on his blog, if you're curious.

...And while I'm linking on your blog, I found this the other day and figured the Bloger would find it at least mildly entertaining.

Jolly Bloger said...

I've been following Ron Paul for a while, mostly through Reason magazine. They had an article about his newsletters a while back, and basically came to the conclusion that while he almost certainly didn't write them himself, he was fully aware of the content going out with his name on it, and then didn't make much effort to apologize when it came to light. Frankly that's enough for me to give up.

As for the gold standard, when I was taking first year economics and learned for the first time what money really is and how far removed it is from anything concrete I had to grab my chair to keep from falling over. Tying the economy to SOMETHING is an attractive idea (and in the interest of full disclosure, I never really got much further than that first year course) but gold seems so arbitrary and unstable (why not the Aluminum Standard? the Pumpernickle Standard?)... The Fed seems to work well enough.

Oh, also, Paul denies evolution. Most of the time you can go "sure but he is committed to keeping that separate from his politics," but for me that's just too far.

I have seen that God FAQ before, but it's always a good'un. Simple and right to the point.

Dave Foree said...

I forgot about the creationist thing. I also just remembered that he's against freer immigration, which blows my mind...

I really don't like defending Ron Paul (and didn't like it even before I saw the clip where he denies evolution and before the newsletters), but I figured I'd offer that useful [hopefully] defense of the gold standard (in the link). Again, though, I'm no real fan of a commodity standard, but that's only because it is not as important as people think - it has many benefits, but not enough benefits to be justified over central banking, in my opinion. There's a long and boring argument behind this, of course...

Also, people prefer gold because it's relatively hard to extract/rare, so it provides acceptable levels of inflation. You're right though: We could have a standard based on anything that isn't too easy to dig up.