Glenn Greenwald and civil libertarians’ ‘double paradigm’ syndrome

GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI, 30.6.2015 Publication in English: Mises Canada:

Lecture at Liberi Comuni d’Italia


(English translation of the lecture which took place at Liberi Comuni d’Italia – Siena, Italy, 4.5.2014)


Decadence manifests itself in an extremely real, concrete, tangible way: an entrepreneur committing suicide, a company closing down, a person losing a job, a family not managing to make ends meet, an olive grove being abandoned to itself. Therefore, it is instinctive and even reassuring to try to counter decadence in an equally real, concrete, action-oriented manner while, at the same time, avoiding and even making fun of philosophical chatter. However, even though the decadence we are seeing manifests itself in a very real and concrete way, its ultimate cause is purely philosophical: it consists of the abstract idea of law which, in the Italian case, has been imposed by the Constitution. Continue reading

Huerta de Soto: how to clear the public debt


(Original publication: Mises Italia, Mises Canada)

A recent editorial by Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has spurred me to illustrate a proposal to reduce the public debt put forward by Professor Huerta de Soto. Since Alesina and Giavazzi’s article is the same old statist story, discussing it would be a waste of time and space were it not for the fact that it so perfectly represents the non-thought of those statists who consider themselves and inexplicably are considered to be ‘liberals’ because they are in favour of ‘privatization’. Huerta de Soto’s proposal is not immune from criticism, but it offers an opportunity to see what it means to think in economic terms outside the intellectual boundaries imposed by political power (in other words, what it means not to be a megaphone for the regime); what it means to reason about problems in terms of their structural causes rather than their effects; and finally what it means, in this intellectual desert of the so-called “élites”, to have ideas. For these reasons, and because overall I consider it to be a good proposal (though improvable), I think it worthwhile to call attention to it and discuss it. Continue reading

Prof. Pascal Salin on the economic and financial crisis (full video interview)

Interview by GIOVANNI BIRINDELLI, 4 July 2012

(Original publication: Movimento Libertario)

Full video interview in English

The luxury tax (English translation)


(original publication: Catallaxy Institute –  L’Indipendenza)

The City of Milan yesterday approved the new Italian property tax and varied the rate according to whether a real estate unit is considered to be a ‘luxury’ property or not.
In a totalitarian democracy, that is, in a political system such as our own in which there are no limits of principle to what the political majority can decide and therefore no limits on political power, this measure has provoked no outrage, just as progressive taxation does not.
But let us reflect for a moment, as though, merely for the sake of argument, Italy were governed by the rule of law, which – being an abstract principle, the result of a spontaneous process of cultural selection of uses and conventions (as the Italian language is, for example) – is a limit to arbitrary power, rather than an instrument of it.
Let us imagine two individuals: Claire and Paul. Continue reading