Thursday, August 23, 2012

Leaping, Liberty and Libertarians: A Thought Experiment

From 1989 to 1993 NBC aired the scifi show Quantum Leap starring Scott Bakula, who played time traveler Dr. Sam Beckett. Beckett was, as seems pretty par for time travelers, lost in time. In each episode Beckett would “leap” into a new period. But, he also became someone else in each episode, though to others he would still sound and look like the character whose persona he was occupying.
With this premise in mind try a Quatum Leap thought experiment for libertarians. You are about to “leap.” The dynamics of the leap are such that there are certain parameters. You know that you cannot leap to a date earlier than 1760 and no later than 2010—a period of 350 years.

The “leap” has certain geographical boundaries that are determined by the year in which you find yourself. You will only leap into American states, territories, or the original colonies and only during years when they were under American sovereignty. You would not end up in Alaska before the Seward Purchase for instance.

You have no control over the year or place. That is chosen quite randomly. Neither can you control your occupation, level of education, social position, wealth, etc. You will, in essence, leap into the life of an already existing person in that specific place, at that specific time. Unlike Quantum Leap, however, you may only leap once. You can’t move on. If you become a 1950s’ housewife that is what you remain. If you are a male hunter in rural Vermont in 1770, that is who you will remain.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Adam Smith Benevolent Fund Newest Microloans

The Adam Smith Benevolent Fund is a division of the Moorfield Storey Institute.  A portion of the Institute's income is channeled into benevolent projects either as loans or donations. Income includes sales of books via our discount libertarian bookservice,

We prefer to use microlending in most cases to encourage economic development in poor nations. Economic development is the key to solving most problems in poor nations.

As opportunities and businesses expand poverty is reduced, educational levels increase, social toleranace is fostered, health improves, etc. Helping poorer people become wealthier, through their own efforts, address a large portion of problems in developing countries.

We are making three loans this month.

Bianca is 30 years old. She is friendly and very hardworking. She is a single mother to her three-year-old daughter whom she says is her pride and joy. She runs her own Mobile money transfers shop in a small town called Kapiri Mposhi located in Central Zambia.

Her business is Mobile money transfers: people go to her shop to send and receive money to and from their families and friends throughout the country. Bianca's days are spent serving customers and running up and down to the bank so that she can satisfy her customers. She has employed one person to help her at her shop and so when she is at the bank, her teller remains at the shop, serving customers.

Bianca started running this shop six months ago. Business is good and she says the one thing holding her back is that she does not have enough working capital to serve her customers at the desired time. She says this makes her panic sometimes because she constantly has to run up and down trying to find some money. This situation becomes worse when the bank closes because she cannot send the little working capitol that she has to the bank to convert it to cash.

Bianca is taking out this loan so that she can increase her working capital and serve more customers. Serving more customers will mean she will be able to earn more profits. She is very excited about the future.

Jaime Alejandro is a 19 year old bachelor in Peru. He sells cosmetics, offering products to all kinds of people. Among his customers are students and administrative personnel at the university. He also sells to institutions in the public sector, where he sells the majority of his merchandise and at better prices. In addition, he sells his products on weekends at surrounding local markets, such as La Huisutes, and on July 16 in El Alto. He tells us that the major merchants try to prevent him from selling his products and he is a victim of abuse on some occasions. Consequently at the large markets he manages to sell behind their backs.

Jaime started his business a year ago in order to pay for the studies he is starting this year at the State University. He carries out his sales, dreaming of the day when he will finish his studies and become a good professional. He tells us that he gets up early in order to arrive at the university, which is far from his house. He is motivated by his desire to overcome his current situation and improve his and his family’s quality of life.


Daler was born in 1990 in Isfara, Tajikistan. He is a pleasant and kind young person. Daler has been working as a specialist in assembling furniture at a furniture salon. Today, he wants to open his own furniture salon. Daler leased a space on the first floor of a shopping complex, where he works. He is requesting this loan to purchase bedroom and kitchen sets and living room furniture in order to open the furniture salon.

Donations you make to the Moorfield Storey Institute, or purchases from helps support our charitable activities to encourage self-sufficiency and economic development leading to a more peaceful and prosperous world.Donations may be made to the institute online here, or by calling us at 866-254-3701.

Robert Mugabe vs. Ayn Rand

There is one fact in today’s world that many people find unsettling: We all prosper because of the greatness of the few. Each new step forward in humanity's journey is the result of a few great minds. This is the nature of achievement and that is why any great achievement also brings with it hatred and envy. By definition, the great will always be the few. And it doesn’t matter what field we are discussing. The scientist who innovates a new cure for disease will be outnumbered by the millions who will need the cure. The great musician will be outnumbered by the fans who adore him or her. There will always be more readers than authors; more students than teachers; more workers than employers, more hungry than farmers.  
In her novel The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand wrote of the nature of achievement. Her main character, Howard Roark, stands in a courtroom and tells the jury:

“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted darkness off the earth....
“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods.  Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that one paid for his courage.”