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Comparative Advantage for Economy and Career

haitian garment workers

This post originally appeared at e3ne.org.

All wealth comes from production and exchange: making and trading goods and services. The two are closely related: the more you trade, the more you’re able to produce. How does that work? Through the magic of specialization.

When you trade, you’re able to specialize in your comparative advantage, that is, what you can do relatively cheaply compared to everyone else. If you didn’t trade, you’d have to make everything yourself: clothes, food, shelter, transportation, health care, etc. You’d be very, very poor. By trading with other people, you can focus on doing one narrow thing really, really well, earning money, and trading that money away for other goods and services that other people focus on doing really, really well.

Love Shack? Nah, Sugar Shack, Baby

If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says '15 Miles' to the... Sugar shack... stop, and enjoy! This weekend heralds the 20th Annual Maple Weekend. Join the fun at a local New Hampshire sugar house. Visit sugar makers to learn more about the centuries-old craft of maple sugaring. Meet your neighbors, and get some sweet tree gold while you are there. Insider tip: For the best maple syrup, go for dark... it's more flavorful and sticky-finger-licking good!

Photo credit: NH Maple Producers

Mover Story: Sarah Chamberlain

Community. The word always left a bad taste in my mouth. In my life, “community” has meant something awful, something dreadful. And by age 23, I knew that becoming part of a community was something I would fight to avoid at all costs.

I think it was just after September 11th 2001 when my confusion began. I was a theater major at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. When the towers fell, and the flags began to wave, I took solace in the sense of community I felt on campus. There, I was among people who seemed to understand the reality of what was actually happening. This was no War on Terror, but a war for profit; and the masses rallying behind it were getting swindled. It was tremendously comforting to know I was not alone, to know there were many others who had not fallen victim to this great hoax. These people called themselves liberals. So, I supposed I was a liberal too. Then, things began to change.

Early Movers on Education

Early mover Jody Underwood chats to Brett Veinotte, another early mover and founder of School Sucks Project.

Jody Underwood, Ph.D., is a founder and owner of Bardo Project and is one of the faces of Bardo Farm. She lives off the grid on a large property in New Hampshire with a varying number of people, depending on the season and the year, all learning back-to-basics skills. She moved to NH for the FSP in 2007 and is currently on the FSP board of directors. She focuses on K-12 education both professionally and as the chair of her local school board, which recently instituted school choice and included private schools as part of the choice (which is causing a stir in the state department of education). Her goal is to figure out ways to revolutionize education.

Shire Co-op: Building a Freer Community

MANCHESTER - Over the last year, Community Market Days (CMDs) have sprung up in Manchester. I attended one in January and left with a ridiculous quantity of food: several pounds of humanely-raised ham, bacon, two varieties of sausage, and pork chops from Bardo Farm; two dozen eggs; baked goods; and grassfed ground beef ordered wholesale.

I spoke with five members of the Shire Co-op to learn more about this unique organization. I spoke with Jessica Love, who moved to Manchester from Florida three years ago as part of the Free State Project; Constance Spencer, another Free Stater who moved from Alaska with her family less than a year ago, now also in Manchester; Jack Shimek, a 30-year New Hampshire resident who signed the FSP Statement of Intent prior to the selection of New Hampshire as the “Free State”, now based in Milford; Kate Ager, a Keene native now living in Henniker; and Daniel Cuevas, also in Manchester.

SLN: Thank you all for agreeing to be interviewed! Could each of you tell me what your role is in the Shire Co-op?

March 6, 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

FSP Board Meeting
Time/Date: Friday, March 6 @ 12:00pm EST
Location: Day 1 of Liberty Forum @ JD’s Tavern (Radisson)
Attending: Seamas, Carla, Jason, Jody, Matt, Aaron, Rich (by phone)

Meeting called to order at 12:10pm

Agenda

  1. Approval of previous minutes

  2. Carla status as contractor vs. employee

  3. President’s Report
    a. Liberty Forum
    b. Outreach at other events
    c. Free Stater Magazine

  4. Treasurer’s Report
    a. Balance sheet update
    b. Preliminary Liberty Forum results
    c. 2015 Budget

  5. Fundraising/Donor Packet

  6. PorcFest Report

  7. New Business
    a. Ian Freeman / FTL
    b. The future of Liberty Forum
    c. Dealing with inactive participants

Minutes

  1. Minutes from last meeting were approved.

  2. Carla’s status as an employee. Jason is taking the lead on setting it up.

Patrick Byrne Keynote at Liberty Forum 2015

Patrick M. Byrne gives his keynote address at the 8th Annual Liberty Forum conference hosted by the Free State Project.

Bio: Patrick M. Byrne, CEO, launched Overstock.com in 1999 with revenues of $1.8 million. In 2013 Overstock.com had revenues of $1.3 billion and net income of $88.5 million. Forbes magazine named Overstock.com the No. 9 Best Company to Work for in the Country for 2010, and Byrne the CEO with the highest employee approval rating (92%). Byrne received the 2011 Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In 2001, Byrne began Worldstock Fair Trade, an Overstock.com division selling handcrafted products from artisans in developing nations. The department distinguishes itself by returning 60-70% of the sale price to artisans (over $100 million has been paid to Worldstock’s artisan suppliers). In addition, all Worldstock net profits are donated to fund philanthropic projects in several countries. Worldstock and Byrne have funded the building of 26 self-sustaining schools internationally that currently educate thousands of students.

At Under 4%, New Hampshire has the Lowest Unemployment Rate in the East

https://nhfreedom.wordpress.com

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate is now 3.9%. That’s well below the 5.5% national rate! For the second month in a row, New Hampshire has the lowest unemployment rate in the Eastern United States. Neighbor state Vermont has the second lowest unemployment rate in the East. Employment is up and unemployment is down in the Granite State. In fact, employees are complaining that there aren’t enough people in New Hampshire looking for work. Are you a liberty activist looking for work? Help New Hampshire employers by helping yourself.

Here is an excerpt from a recent New Hampshire Union Leader article.

Cato's David Boaz on NHPR

Last week, Laura Knoy of NHPR's The Exchange chatted to David Boaz of the CATO Institute about "A Look At Libertarianism." David was recently in New Hampshire to speak at the FSP's 8th annual Liberty Forum conference. For more information, and to listen.

No Raised Eyebrows Here, Only Liberty Forum 2015

Freelancer Livia Gershon writes a piece for VICE about the FSP's recent Liberty Forum 2015 conference.

"It's an early spring weekend in Manchester, and Emily Smith is sitting in the Radisson Hotel with her baby, selling goods from her northern New Hampshire farm. There are jugs of maple syrup in various sizes laid out on the table, and also guns, .308 caliber rifles, lovingly hand-assembled for improved accuracy. The combination would raise eyebrows in most company, but not here, at the annual gathering of the Free State Project, a libertarian movement to create a limited government utopia in the Granite State."

Why Paternalism Is Undesirable

John Stuart Mill

Paternalism means forcing someone to do something, or not to do something, for that person's own good. For instance, a vigilante paternalist might go around slapping cigarettes out of people's hands. The government often engages in paternalism to deny adults the right to possess substances in their own home, to forbid "immoral" exchanges, or to prevent people from making their own decisions about health care, education, or other services.

The famous essay by John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, argues that paternalism is wrong. A person’s own good is not a good enough justification for using force to restrain or punish that person – at least, so long as we’re talking about sane adults. Instead, Mill proposes the “Harm Principle” to regulate the use of coercion, even by the government. The government should get involved in regulating people’s behavior only when that behavior causes “harm to others.”

State of the FSP

At the Free State Project's 8th annual Liberty Forum, founder Jason Sorens, treasurer Seamas O'Scalaidhe and president Carla Gericke gave a presentation about the "State of the Free State Project."

Here are the slides from that talk:

New Hempshire?

The Tenth Amendment Center does a write-up of the 16-0 committee vote in the New Hampshire state house to approve a bill to remove the ban on industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same. Read more here.

"Moved by Liberty": President's Wrap Up

Liberty Forum 2015 has come and gone. Were YOU "Moved By Liberty"? I certainly was! The event drew more than 500 attendees--thank you for coming! We garnered 44 signers, and inspired at least 7 movers (that I know of). We built liaisons and forged new relationships with other liberty organizations, locals, the media, and more.

So many highlights, from the new venue at the Radisson in downtown Manchester, to the impressive amount of local media coverage, to the surprise visit from Vermin Supreme.

Is Doing Good for Others an Enforceable Moral Duty?

Theory of Moral Sentiments

Let's assume that we have a moral duty to help others from time to time, at least when it is not too costly for us to do so. That's what I really believe. Now, is such a moral duty enforceable? Is it OK to use coercion to make someone do good for others? Not usually, I believe. And Adam Smith's moral theory tells us why.

According to Smith, you know an act is right when an impartial spectator would sympathize (or empathize) with the emotions motivating your act. Smith says that an impartial spectator will always empathize with both the kindness of someone who acts to benefit others and with the gratitude of the recipients of that kindness. So, as Smith sees it, acts of beneficence are always right.

A simple example is that of a friend who usually brings you coffee in the morning. If he fails to bring you coffee one morning, are you justified in resenting him? Has he acted immorally?

There is a clear answer here using Smith’s logic. An impartial spectator wouldn’t empathize with your resentment against someone who merely failed to be generous one morning. And an impartial spectator would never want to force someone to be kind.

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