A round up of the podcasts I listen to is something that used to be a feature of the this blog but had fallen by the wayside, along with pretty much everything, over the last year or so. I am resuming this regular post for a couple of reasons. First, I think it is worthwhile to promote these podcasts and the ideas they feature to people who have not heard of them or do not follow them regularly. Second, and more personally, this type of post provides a relatively easy way for me to get writing on the blog again. I have definitely found that blogging is one of those activities that the more you do of it the easier it is to do (not easy mind you, but easier) and conversely when you do it less and less, it gets much harder to do. With that bit of editorializing, on with the podcasts.
This is the podcast version of Yaron Brook’s weekly live radio program on Chicago’s AM560 (now available in Miami as well). You can also listen to this program live on the iHeartRadio app or via the AM560 website. The March 26th program largely deals with the claims by people such as President Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders that income and wealth inequality is the most pressing moral, political and economic issue we face today. This is an issue which Yaron addresses in his new book, written with Don Watkins, “Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.”
All the people I debate say “I don’t want perfect equality, but I want more.” How much more? “Just more. We’ll let you know when we get there.”
Yaron challenges the claim inequality is the central issue and denies that equality of outcome is an ideal to strive towards. The actual central moral, political and economic issue of our time is individual freedom and it is this freedom that is undercut in any attempt to achieve equality of outcomes. He makes the case that equality of outcome is an evil idea and it is precisely because it is evil that socialism and communism, systems that attempt to achieve equality of outcome, fail.
The bulk of the show was filled with listener calls with questions and comments about equality, capitalism, the nature of rights and more.
This week on Amy Peikoff’s podcast, she interviews Timothy Sandefur, Vice President of Litigation at the Goldwater Institute, about property rights in America today. I have written quite a bit about property rights on the blog in the past and one of my favorite sources of information is Timorthy Sandefur’s book “Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st-Century America.” In this interview Amy and Timothy cover a wide range of issues related to property rights, including, but certainly not limited to:
- Just compensation and how it is an extremely poor calculation
- Constitutional protections of property rights that elected officials and judges have increasingly failed to carry through on.
- Regulatory takings (i.e. when you lose use of your property due to regulations)
- Eminent domain, with an interesting segment on when eminent domain might be justifiable.
- Civil asset forfeiture
- Positive and negative developments in property rights since the Kelo decision. One interesting positive development is Arizona’s Private Property Rights Protection Act from 2006 which required the state to compensate property owners when regulations result in decreased property values and prohibits using eminent domain to transfer property to another private party. Mr. Sandefur comments that a lawyer who is opposed to the law has said that it has had a chilling effect on government regulation, which seems like a good thing to me.
The interview continues with a discussion of a case in California involving the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is another example of of government intervention leading to further intervention. This act is one of the few that explicitly rely on race to determine how someone should be treated under the law. In fact, laws that outlaw race being used to hold up adoption or foster care decisions explicitly exempts children who are covered under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The show concludes with the issue of encrypted phones, the FBI v Apple case and the possibility that California is going to pass a law that would outlaw the selling of a cell phone which the manufacturer could not access the data.
In this episode of Yaron Brook’s weekly podcast he brought us up to date on the release of “Equal is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.” He has been quite busy with release events around the country for the book and its sales have been going well, currently at #1 on various best seller lists on Amazon. He suggested ways to help the book be an even better success:
- If you haven’t bought the book yet, be sure to buy it this week as that will have the most impact. It will help the book get on more best seller lists, which would lead to more sales and book reviews, which leads to even more sales and so forth. Books are the one of the best ways to not only spread ideas but to get people to accept them.
- Buying from a local bookstore can have even more impact than buying online.
- If you’ve read the book, be sure to write a review, even just a sentence or two, on Amazon and Goodreads. These can be quite important in getting people to buy the book.
Before moving on to the main content of this week’s episode, listener questions, Yaron shared an inequality related headline from The Atlantic magazine, “100 CEOs Have More Saved Up for Retirement Than 41 Percent of U.S. Families Combined.” (I pointed out in the chat that my truck driver brother also has more in savings than a good percentage, at least 25%, of the population.)
The implication of the short article is that the 41 percent have so little because the CEOs have so much, i.e. that the rich take more than their fair share, which is one of the ideas that Yaron’s book dismantles. The real problem is that most people don’t save and Yaron takes a look at why most people don’t. We live in a country where government and cultural forces discourage saving and encourages consumption.
The bulk of the remainder of the show dealt with listener questions, which included:
- Where does Yaron get his news from?
- Sports – favorite sports, teams, NFL concussion scandal
- Investing – he referenced his old lecture on investing that is available on the Ayn Rand e-store.
- Objectivist Movement 2.0 – highlighting the need to create a community that emphasizes success and values.
- Fractional reserve banking
As is usual for his Radical Capitalist shows, Yaron finished off with some positive values.
- A Century in the Sky – An article on The Atlantic celebrating the history of the aerospace industry which has changed how we see the world. “The sky is no longer the limit.”
- 40th Anniversary of Apple – Anyone who has seen any of Yaron’s talks knows he is a big fan of Apple.
- Yaron gave another classical music suggestion, this time Antonin Dvorak. He especially recommended Dvorak’s Cello Concerto and New World Symphony.