Wednesday, July 13, 2011


QE3 is coming in some form or another. No matter, because they are all euphemisms for money-printing. 

Remember a few years back, when the Fed started QE1, and said that they have an exit strategy? Well guess what, we've gone through QE2, and looking at the prospect of QE3. 

Like Peter Schiff said, the US economy is on drugs -- in this case cheap money. For decades, they have been borrowing and printing and consuming, without paying much in return. If this drug of cheap money is taken away, the US will undergo a painful withdrawal period, something which the politicians are trying to avoid. Of course, taking the pain as early as possible would be best. But that's not a politically-expedient thing to do. The politicians are trying to cure drug addicts by shoving more drugs down their throats.

This will ultimately end in a US currency crisis. American standards of living will fall drastically. There will be Greek-like protests on the streets.

I hope that the crisis which is coming will educate the public more about monetary issues, and particularly about Austrian Economics and its teachings of sound money and civil liberty. The world is being robbed blind and stripped of their freedom by the politicians and bankers, and they don't even know it. Even when riots occur, it is more because of desperation on the people's part rather than a true understanding of the principles of sound money and liberty. Although this may send signals to the politicians and bankers that they cannot do anything they want all the time, the underlying problem is still there. The same problems will surface again in the future, just like they have in the past history.

I am hopeful that one day, schools will teach Austrian principles instead of Keynesian ones, which has failed the world in the past few decades. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Private Roads and Transport System

Tired of road congestions and accidents? I have a suggestion: Privatise the road system. I do not know how this will unfold. The private sector can surprise you in many different ways.

Here are the possible benefits:
- Lower costs (road tax) due to competition
- Lower road casualties (you don't want deaths on your properties, do you?)
- More creative road designs (multiple layers of roads?)
- Better traffic lights co-ordinations (there are absurdly too many unnecessary ones in Singapore)
- Less congestions!

Of course, it comes with problems as well, (such as non-standardized road signs). But I believe these problems can be iron-ed out. If needed, the private sector will create a self-regulatory system to reduce potential problems/conflicts.

We have to admit that govts around the world have failed to solve the road problems. Why not give the private sector a try?

If the govt does not want to give up on the roads, how about a privatised public transport system (as in, really privatised, not majority- or semi-owned by govt)? From my conversation with taxi drivers, I found that there exists such things in the past. It is more efficient, the buses come on scheduled times, and ferry people from one point to one point.

While the Singapore public transport system is efficient compared to other countries, I feel that there is too much wastage, and a lot can be improved. It takes me a painful 1.5 hours to make a 25km journey across the island in a bus.

The bus stop in front of my house services 7 buses. Sometimes they come all at once, sometimes you wait 15 mins before one even appears. Doing some simple calculation, by right I can expect about 25-30 buses per hour at my bus stop. This sounds good, but it's inefficient.  Bus arrival times are irregular and many buses are often empty. And one wonders why transport prices keep increasing. The incumbents are inefficient! There is lack of competition. Many people are against monopolies, but why let the govt monopolize businesses here??

Competition will improve quality and reduce costs. This is very evident in markets where there are very little govt intervention, regulations, and involvement. One prime example is the computer and phone business. In places where govts are involved - such as education, medicine, and public transport - prices keep rising (for sure), and quality keeps dropping/remains stagnant/rises slowly at best.

I hope that more politicians will address this issue and place more faith in the free market. One should not be too quick to blame the private sector for problems (such as the sub-prime crisis). If examined deeper, one will find that the root causes of the problems are the rules and policies set by the govt/central banks.
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