Trade Creates Peace

Adam Smith stated in his 1776 treatise “On The Wealth of Nations” that trade creates wealth.  More specifically, voluntary trade between two parties MUST create value for both parties because, if it didn’t, they simply would not make a transaction.  This means that by engaging in trade, people generate more value in the world: they create a net gain.

This net gain is described by the economic law of comparative advantage which “explains how trade can create value for both parties even when one can produce all goods with fewer resources than the other.”  Comparative advantage ensures that everyone, from the most unskilled laborer to the most sophisticated engineer, can create value in the marketplace by voluntarily exchanging goods and services.

People often confine the principles of ‘trade creates wealth’ and ‘comparable advantage’ to economics, but they’re actually natural principles whose application is infinitely broader.

Trade ALWAYS creates wealth. People can ALWAYS engage in trade.  Everyone can ALWAYS create wealth.  Isn’t this the world’s most empowering concept?  Not only can EVERY individual naturally create wealth in the world, it’s fantastically easy.  There is only one rule: you must trade.

Trade is by definitely voluntary.  If someone is being coerced into trading something of lesser value for something of greater value, that is not trade: that is violence.  Violence has no place in trade.  In fact, violence makes voluntary exchange impossible.

Violence breaks the laws of trade because it erodes the individuals fundamental right to private property.  This allows violence to simulate the creation of wealth through theft.  People ‘make’ money during war, but they do not create wealth, they have only used violence to steal the wealth of others.  When people engage in violence, they prevent trade from taking place.  This increases the amount of poverty in the world, ultimately hurting everyone because poor people trade less.

If your mission is to become wealthy, logically you must oppose any practice that reduces the amount of value you could capture for yourself.  You must oppose the use of violent force and war.

If your mission is to live in a more peaceful world, logically you must oppose any restriction on the right of two people to engage in voluntary exchange. You must advocate the right of all individuals to engage in (truly) free trade.

Peace is a struggle, not on the battlefield but within ourselves and our communities.  We must wage people through trade.  We must encourage those who would engage in violence acts to engage in trade instead because it will make them more wealthy.  Trade creates peace and it’s absence creates war.   To build a more peaceful world, we must engage in trade.

Lost and Found #2


Here are the fruits of my labor a.k.a. the results of my procrastination at work. It’s a tough task, but someone has to shine a light on music that you hopefully have not heard yet. This weeks list is more folk-centric than the recommendations I gave last week. I’ll chalk it up to the weather… all I really want to do is listen to relaxing music while lounging in a hammock. So, for all you hammock lovers out there, these bands can supply a nice soundtrack for your gentle swaying.

  1. Tunng (
    A really nice mix of electronic and folk influences that definitely errs on the side of folk/acoustic (at least on their album “Good Arrows” which I have the most experience with so far). While Tunng prioduces some really chilled out melodic tracks, they also aren’t afraid to inject some extra zest pulling from their electronic influences, keeping you on your toes yet relaxed at the same time. I don’t know many bands that can pull this off as well as Tunng does. Recommended tracks: “Take”, “Soup”
  2. Melpo Mene ( or (
    Sweden is a pretty rad place… let’s recount just a short list of some reasons: Swedish Fish, Ikea (and the meatballs they serve in their food court), Blenda (trust me, the story of Blenda is one you will not regret reading), and now Melpo Mene. Melpo brings some interesting influences into his music, as I hear some subtle almost-latin-jazzy undertones that remind me of a Swedish version Seu Jorge singing in English. Awesome. Strong guitar riffs and electronic influences are offset by Melpo’s disarming voice, placing it firmly in the “folksy” category. He also does a cover of the Gorillaz “Dare”, which added at least 100 points to his imaginary score in my head. Recommended tracks: “Hello Benjamin”, “The Sun”
  3. M. Craft ( or (
    Heading to another land filled with blondes and funny accents, our next featured artist is M. Craft from Australia. Definitely the most traditionally “folsky” of my folk-centric selections this week, M. Craft constucts melodic and lazy vocals over soft percussion and tinny, low-treble guitar riffs. It’s hard to listen without coming to the conclusion that this guy definitely listened to a lot of Neil Young. Recommended tracks: “The Soldier”, “Dragonfly”, “Sweets”

A Platform for the Network

Networked information technologies (ex. the internet, mobiles phones, GPS) enable people to organize solutions to the collective action problems that, in the past, could only be solved by government.  The emergence of these technologies allow humanity to create a society that empowers communities to solve their own problems by expanding individual liberties.

The QS Platform combines the modern liberal’s mission of building an equitable society with the classical liberal’s mission of preserving individual liberty.  We advocate policies that nurture community organized solutions to local problems.  These policies include:

  1. Replace the Income Tax with the The Fair Tax universal sales tax.
  2. Place the Federal Reserve Bank under the authority of the Legislative Branch as advocated by Milton Friedman
  3. Provide vouchers to every American so they can select their own  education service provider, be it public, private or charter.
  4. Provide health care vouchers to every American and facilitating the creation of independent collective bargaining organizations.
  5. Enact a Carbon Tax deployed once at the point of carbon extraction.
  6. Dismantle the American Empire and construct a transparency-centric foreign policy.
  7. Eliminate subsidies, tariffs and other government interference in the international marketplace.

*Links go to organizations on the right path but we don’t necessarily advocate everything they describe.

Benefits of Civilization

Violence and war are still pervasive in our culture which makes it easy to disregard the amazing progress human civilization has made over the last 10,000 years.  Experts estimate half of all men in hunter gather societies were killed by another person.  In our post-industrial society, less than 1% of individuals die at the hands of another.  This makes civilization worth celebrating.

Civilization is most usefully understood as a singular absolute: the civilization is wealthy and peaceful.  To achieve absolute wealth and peace, it has unified passion and compassion to create a global cultural framework that  fosters personal self-actualization within a community of of autonomous individuals each of whom treat the other as he or she would like to be treated.  This is the benchmark that all prior human civilizations have failed to meet.

Civilization can also be viewed as a collaboration platform that enables individuals to engage in increasingly valuable trading relationships.  When the Roman Empire spread Latin technology – language, culture, standards – around the Mediterranean, they created a platform for collaboration that enabled individuals from disparate regions to interact and trade with each other in increasingly efficient and valuable ways.  Trade creates wealth, and wealth finances the development of civilization.

Musical Interlude #8

Album recommendation:

The Soft Pack “The Muslims”

Because some people actually still listen to rock, I present to you, The Soft Pack. The Soft Pack’s straight and simple garage rock is a breath of fresh air in our age of heavy-handed art rock and too-clever-for-its-own good synth pop. Is it possible that the classic formula of guys plus guitars still works? Can I really enjoy music that doesn’t involve impenetrable layers of unidentifiable found sounds (Was that a sousaphone or a squeaky door?), a synth line that sounds plucked from a vintage NES video game, or a clever mash-up of three or more music blog darlings? Channeling Velvet Underground, The Kinks and The Strokes, The Soft Pack proves that simple is good.


1) Kid Cudi ft. Ratatat and MGMT “Pursuit of Happiness”

Collaborating with Ratatat and MGMT is not only a surefire way to create a sick dance track, it’s also the quickest way to build buzz in the blogosphere for your sophomore album. As of September 15, you can buy “Man on the Moon: the End of Day” for $3.99 on Kid Cudi’s MySpace.

2) Crystal Castles “Vanished”

It’s only fitting that my new favorite frontwoman Alice Glass (sorry Karen O, there’s a new Crazy in town) record my new favorite dance song.

3) The XX “Basic Space”

If you like your music brimming with more ennui than a Calvin Klein perfume ad, then you may want to build a time machine and go back to the heyday of The Smiths. Or you can just start to listening to The XX. Either way…

Musical Interlude #7

Album recommendation: Jay-Z The Blueprint 3
Oh shit, as soon as the first millisecond of track one “What We Talkin About” hit my ear, I knew Jay-Z’s forthcoming Blueprint 3 was — to use a word that sounds just plain foolish when uttered by a white girl such as myself — ILL.  Hov’s eleventh studio album features throwback soul grooves (think the American Gangster soundtrack, only better) and appearances by Young Jeezy, Swizz Beatz and Kid Cudi. The album drops — again, I acknowledge that my use of ebonics (Is that still a p.c term?) sounds as clumsy as a drunk white girl trying to drop it like it’s hot looks (And let’s be honest, I’ve done my fair share of drunken dropping it like it’s hot, so I know.) — September 11, but you can listen to it now via

Songs recommendations: I’ve racked the interwebs and my mind and, having failed to come up with any material more eligible at the moment, I’ve decided to give my three favorite tracks (based on preliminary listenings) off The Blueprint 3.
1.  Jay-Z “Thank You”
This song makes me want to roll around town in some kind of luxury car, smoke cigars and do other gangster stuff.
2. Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beatz “On to the Next One”
I wish I had the initiative and lack of dignity to submit a video of me bobbing my head around to this song, because that would pretty eloquently sum up my feelings about it. But I don’t. Hopefully you get the idea anyways.
3. A toss-up between Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z feat. Young Jeezy “Real As It Gets” and Jay-Z feat. Kid Cudi “Already Home”
I mean, seriously, every track is good.

Lost and Found #3

I hope that my first two installments of Lost and Found have treated you well, providing a sufficient amount of inspiration/aural pleasure for your own personal summer soundtrack. This week’s Lost and Found stays on more of the analog side, as I’ve been listening to way too much electronica recently… and for those of you who have seen me inevitably dancing to electronic music (consists of moving my hips and sticking out my index fingers), you know that a change in genre isn’t exactly the worst thing. So, here are three bands that I enjoy immensely but allow me to keep my index fingers in their holsters (aka music that is helpful in avoiding embarrassment to myself).

  1. The Meeting Places ( Are you in the mood to gaze at your shoes? The Meeting Places can hook that up for you. You might think that there is some cognitive dissonance in lacing laid back soothing vocals over chaotic reverb soaked guitars… but you think wrong, my friend. The sweet and salty mix that these guys provide mesh with your brainwaves very effectively to put you in an introspective- yet not sleepy- mood. I guess shoegaze is a good genre to place them, but I’d venture to say it’s more of a amphetamine-like shoegaze as opposed to an opiate-like shoegaze. Recommended tracks:”Wide Awake”, “Now I Know You Can Never Be The One”
  2. The Whitest Boy Alive ( I know, great name, right? That’s what I thought too. And the lead singer is from Norway so you know he’s not pulling your chain. Erlend Øye, the pale lead singer we talk about, first caught my attention as half of the awesome yet maybe-a-bit-boring Kings of Convenience (2 for 2 in awesome names for bands… extra imaginary points). For The Whitest Boy Alive, Erlend transfers his quiet singing voice from slow folk music to more of a catchy uptempo vibe. Being that he has a laid back singing demeanor, the uptempo rhythms are tempered down just a bit… but in a pleasing manner. I think an apt way to describe it is that the instruments send signals to my index fingers that it’s time to come out and bust a move, but then the vocals remind me to chill out, sit back, and soak it all in. Embarassment avoided, thanks Erlend. Recommended tracks: “Burning”, “Done With You”
  3. School of Seven Bells ( Identical twin sisters, of the hot variety, from Argentina. I mean, is there really more that I have to sell you on? I first saw/heard this band when they were opening for Fujiya & Miyagi on tour last winter. Being in the Fujiya & Miyagi mindset going to the concert, I was definitely ready and willing to embarass myself by dancing like an idiot. But when I got to the venue, I first heard this awesome melodic yet intense music eminating from the stage before I could see them, and thought “hm, sounds intriguing.” Then I walked towards the stage and saw them, and that is when full crush mode took effect. It totally caught me off guard, and I shifted my “make an idiot out of myself” mindset to “act cool and maybe one of them will ask you to marry them” mindset. “But Rouge” you say, “they might be hot, but can they rock?” My answer to your query is yes, yes they can rock. Quite well. They produce a pulsing vibe that has a ton of energy to go along with the powerful vocals. Because they are identical, they have the same voice as far as I can tell, and some awesome harmonization ensues. Male of female, you will have a crush on them. Recommended tracks: “Iamundernodisguise”, “Connjur”

Musical Interlude #6


Album recommendation: Casiokids Fuck MIDI
My friend recently told me about Casiokids, and now I’m hooked. Leave it to a troop of freaky Norwegians to create some outlandishly funky electro beats. I’ve read reviews comparing them to Fela Kuti, Paul Simon and New Order, and it’s my personal belief that whoever drew these comparisons must have done a fair amount of huffing in his/her lifetime. Casiokids sound like nothing else.


  1. M. Ward “Rave On” A talented multi-instrumentalist songwriter, short in stature with dark squirrely eyes and a private nature (he forbids photography at his live performances), M. Ward reminds one of a young Bob Dylan. On the aptly named 2009 release Hold Time, Ward demonstrates his knack for timeless folk, country and rock music. This cover of Buddy Holly’s “Rave On” never fails to make me feel all happy and excited about life.
  2. Volcano Choir “Island Is” If like me, it is impossible for you to listen to Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago without a tidal wave of depression and loneliness crashing down up on you, then you may be excited to hear that Justin Vernon has partnered with instrumental rock act Collections of Colonies of Bees for a project called Volcano Choir, which (at least on the first track “Island Is”) won’t make you feel like a) closing the curtains, lighting candles and drinking a bottle of red wine/whiskey to your face b) breaking down and calling your ex in tears c) slitting your wrists d) all of the above. Yay!
  3. Them Crooked Vultures “Nobody Loves Me and Neither Do I” Totally stealing The Dead Weather’s thunder, Them Crooked Vultures has emerged as the Most Likely to Make You Wet Your Pants supergroup in recent years. The unbelievable trio of Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones performed its debut show at Metro in Chicago the Sunday of Lollapalooza. I don’t know whether to be overjoyed by the existence of this supergroup-on-steroids, or to cry bitterly that I missed the inaugural performance. If anyone out there can find a legit mp3 or video (aka that lasts longer than 33 seconds), please post it up on QS.

Musical Interlude #5


Album recommendation: Lake “Let’s Build a Roof”
Perhaps the most revealing fact about Lake is that they used to perform as a Fleetwood Mac cover band. The Olympia, Washington sixtet may have moved on to write and record its own original music, but that 70s AM gold sound lingers on. On sophomore album Let’s Build a Roof, Van Morrison horns boogie, Steely Dan keyboards groove and, yes, Fleetwood Mac lyrics tell stories laced with fear and heartbreak.

Music site recommendation:
Everyone knows Pitchfork. Only the truly savvy know Stereogum. Since 2002, the blog/web community has offered indie and alternative music news and downloads, won some awards and held court as the under-underground online music source.


  1. Radiohead (?) “These Are My Twisted Words” It hasn’t actually been confirmed that this song, posted without explanation on Radiohead’s fan site At Ease, is a new Radiohead song, but I’m all too happy to hastily jump on the unsubstantiated buzz train. In other news, Thom Yorke recently revealed in an interview with The Believer that it could be a while before a new Radiohead album…
  2. Santigold feat. Jay-Z “Brooklyn Go Hard” Walther disdains Santigold as “M.I.A. lite.” Maybe this Brooklyn banger with Hov will change his mind. If not, it’s his loss: Santigold was one of the more fun and pleasantly surprising sets I saw at Lollapalooza this weekend.
  3. Animal Collective “Fireworks” I attended Animal Collective’s Saturday set at Lollapalooza with my friend Shannon, who complained of not “getting” the noise pop trio. I advised her to just keep listening, eventually she’d have a breakthrough. Lo and behold, Animal Collective then broke into “Fireworks,” the song that initiated my love and appreciation for the band.

Lost and Found #1


Hello all questionable people, please allow me to introduce my humble addition to the QS community. Music in the past couple of years has been pretty outstanding, and with the full integration of music and the interwebs, more prolific than ever. Okay, I have no data to back that up or anything, but a little rhetorical flourish never hurt anyone. Either way, there is a crapload of great music out there, just waiting to be discovered. Usually, the stuff worth discovering is in fact discovered by colleagues such as Amanda, with their incredibly hip taste and finely tuned ear to the ground of the music scene. Or by reading Pitchfork… duh.

With the prolific nature of music these days, a lot of this discovered music gets its 15 minutes in the musical-snob (meant in the best way possible) scene. The problem is, there is such a large gap between the music that is discovered by those inclined to find it and the main stream. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… keeping a safe distance from the mainstream is a healthy virtue. However, a huge chunk of that “discovered” music simply gets swept under the rug after its 15 minutes are up. It’s still great music, but unfortunately it becomes lost to those of us who aren’t on the cutting-edge of the hip lifestyle. My mission here is to go fishing in the ether of cool-yet-lost music and dredge up some gems for your listening pleasure.

Without further ado, here are my first selections. Please enjoy.

  1. Home Video ( This Brooklyn (yea big surprise there) electrorock outfit pump out consistently solid tracks that involve tight electronic loops, biting percussions, guitar and keys that aren’t overdone, and a voice that will make you think it must be Thom Yorke moonlighting in a side project. Recommended tracks: “We”, “I Can Make You Feel It”
  2. Zoot Woman ( Caught up in the Pitchfork annointed “electroclash” genre circa 2003, Zoot Woman was promptly ejected into the void without much acknowledgement (that I know of anyway). The poppy synth-centric tracks are uptempo, yet not exactly rage-dance worthy. More like moderate foot-tapping and hip moving-worthy. Whatever worthy it is, it’s definitely worthy of your time. Recommended tracks: “Gem”, “Hope In The Mirror”
  3. Grand National ( There’s a lot of different terms out there attempting to describe Grand National, including my personal favorite, “80’s ethereal dream rock”. You can hear plenty of influences in the music, but it seems as if everyone hears something different, which I find cool. Something that everyone can hear is their ability to bridge instruments and electronics seamlessly to produce some great music. Recommended tracks: “Drink to Moving On”, “Talk Among Yourselves”