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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3659/june-special-70-off-rothbards-treatise/

June Special: 70% off Rothbard’s treatise

June 2, 2005 by

Closeout pricing on the Mises Institute’s older paperback edition of Rothbard’s full treatise Man, Economy, and State (does not include Power and Market) is available while supplies last.

This 987-page book is already priced low at $35. We are making it available for $10 to assure the widest possible distribution of our remaining copies.

This book is a pillar of the Austrian School Library and the last full-blown, systematic treatise on economic theory. If Mises’s Human Action was the culmination of the School from Menger’s time, Rothbard’s treatise takes Austrian thought even further in the areas of utility and welfare economics, antitrust, labor, taxation, public goods, and social insurance schemes. Inconsistencies are ironed out and the system of thought, in all its logical rigor, is unbroken.

More than any book, Man, Economy, and State taught economics to the post-Mises generation. It refutes still-common errors among the mainstream and grapples with the post-war Keynesian literature point by point. The impact of this work was also enhanced by its breathtaking logic and clarity, even in the most difficult subject areas.

Special insights along the way include a full critique of government statistics and the Fed’s definitions of the money supply. This book remains the standard bearer for the Austrian School, a book that should be studied and understood by every person who aspires to think like an economist.

{ 76 comments }

Michael A. Clem June 8, 2005 at 1:40 pm

Who said that mutually agreeable price is unjust?

Given your indeterminate use of language, it is difficult to assert exactly what you’ve said. But as I understand it, equitable commerce requires that prices be determined by cost. Market prices are determined by supply and demand. The market price is always, by nature, a mutually agreeable price, whereas the equitable price may sometimes be, but is often not, a mutually agreeable price.
While it may be “mutually agreeable” for some consumers to not pay a price they deem too high, I doubt that it is mutually agreeable that consumers can never find an acceptable price, or that sellers can never sell a product priced at cost.
The market price changes as supply and demand changes, indicating where scarce resources are most needed and desired. If the price goes below cost, that’s a sign that fewer resources are needed in that particular product or service, either because demand has decreased or supply has increased. If the price goes above cost, that’s a signal that more resources are needed for that product or service, either because demand has increased or supply has decreased. Thus, the market provides valuable information by using pricing to indicate how to allocate resources, mediating shortages and overages.
As far as I can tell, equitable commerce would provide similar information not through changing prices, but through shortages and overages, making resource allocation inefficient and less cost-effective. Thus, while the equitable price might be considered “fair”, the consequences would be less productivity and higher overall costs for goods and services.
In his book, Warren overlooks the value of market price information in allocating resources, and fails to take the full market price equation into consideration. Demand AND supply, buyers AND sellers. “The value of a loaf of bread to a starving man is equal to the value of his life…”, as Warren notes, but ANY loaf of bread will suffice, and it takes either coercion or extreme conditions to say that only one seller exists to sell loaves of bread.

Curt Howland June 8, 2005 at 5:20 pm

Mr. Kelley,

I really like Murray Rothbard’s approach to go step by step.

Rothbard has been called many things, but usually “meticulous” and “humorous” are among the most repeated terms used. His work is very readable.

I am very pleased that you are enjoying Rothbards work. I look forward to your critique and insights into what he presents.

My hope is that he is persuasive in how only through real freedom are the positive aspects of human nature allowed to flourish to their fullest, that condition being both your and my ultimate goals after all.

Yours in liberty, Curt-

Joe Kelley June 9, 2005 at 11:32 am

Rolf,

An increasing education, not to be confused with an increase in the storage of information, affords a simple laborer like me a greater appreciation for poetry.

I confess however that I remain stupid by the measure.

The beauty in Solzhenitsyn’s poems continue to elude my appreciation save for the beauty I find in truth alone.

The Gulag, I suspect, is the world’s most effective economic university to date. The supreme headmaster, the greatest economics professor of all time, teaches not theory, nor ideology, but instead with the skill of a surgeon his students are made to learn exactly that which destroy life and liberty by practical example in the concrete or frozen ground.

The survivors receive their passing grade.

I have a bookmark in my abridged copy of the Gulag Archipelago where Solzhenitsyn has documented his notes on the subject of price calculation. I can pass it along if that is your wish.

As to what I find very true in “Freedom To Breath” is that value in not a function of necessity.

Koba, the great educator, teaches this fact by removing all value. Necessity remains as the only surviving commodity. No choice remains but to survive by any means or die. Value, being a concept of civilization, is destroyed. In that supreme economic university the students are reduced to animals or so goes the interpretation of this animal posing as a civilized human being. Do we all have to stand the ultimate test in order to learn?

I woke up this morning with a phrase stuck in my memory loop. Having gone to bed working on this present chore of learning; the effect of “sleeping on it” generated some measure of clarity from my particular perspective. You can value the words for yourself if that is your choice.

“For want of something better we lose an appreciation for what we have.”

Do we imagine ourselves into necessity by allowing greed to posses us?

Having a full plate, a welcome one at that, this particular line of thinking, this angle of view, demands from me a few more expressions. Then I choose to move my investment in time toward similar communications. In this present endeavor the communication is supporting agreement, I think, while the future chore involves answering a perceived contention in perspective. Rolf’s choice in contributing to the discussion appears to coincide with my own. Michael’s contends.

When I first heard that my father was going to die of cancer, soon, I paced around the room talking to myself alone. “This is going to be very bad” I said to myself while trying to conceive of future events. If my Dad knew anything, if he valued anything at all, he valued life. He managed to “describe the sweet fragrance that pervades the air” to me.

I had to travel from California to Texas, at the cost of my job, to see my Dad. In the motel room he asked for my help to change his pajama pants. I hurried in this act. He looked up at me and told me that there was no need to rush.

It struck me solidly then, in that hotel room; I am a fool.

Economy does not exist within the sphere of necessity. Economy resides in liberty.

The option to choose between the lesser necessity is not an economic choice; it is barbarity. Does it matter, in fact, in the concrete, if the choice of the lesser necessity is dictated by nature or by man?

If the “plan” is to calculate value upon necessity than do we not construct the very means by which we suffer?

How much time do I have to elaborate on this line of thought? How much room exists on this web page for my efforts? Who demands my prudence? How many steps must I pass over and set aside as being possibly less relevant? By what measure can I choose the very most valuable words to convey the meaning that my judgment suggests as being necessary to fulfill the task desired?

My car had a license plate holder stating: “I’d rather be Hang Gliding”.

I have one more expression that cries within me to convey if possible.

Hank Dyer was my friend. He survived the Battan Death March and other necessities of life. He stuck his two palms out face up and said: “If you wish in one hand and crap in the other; which one fills up first?”

Am I wrong to interpret the meaning to be; greed is crap?

Michael A. Clem June 9, 2005 at 1:00 pm

Okay, so let’s take a step backwards. Value is subjective; that is, what and how much an individual values depends only on the individual. Objectivists may argue otherwise, but I suspect that what they’re really arguing for is a normative concept of value, or rather, what people *ought* to value, and not what they actually value.
When talking about needs and desires of the consumer or individual, I make no attempt to separate needs (necessities) from desires because frankly, it’s too difficult to do. I think it’s reasonable, and it supports individual liberty, to expect the individual to value what they absolutely need to survive. However, many things that people value is not based on necessity, but on wants and desires.
Economics may make judgements concerning economic systems, but makes no such judgement about individual values. Some people have said that greed is good, but I think it may be more accurate to simply say that value is good, that because people value things, they act to obtain those values, and that action takes the form of voluntary exchange in a free market system. To get what you want, you have to give someone else what they want.
People who use force or fraud are trying to get value without giving value in return, and a gift is a case of giving value without getting (or expecting) value in return.
Finally, as I said before, not all value is economic value–economic value refers only to scarce resources and their allocation. One may, and does, place value on many things, but the value of friendship or love has no price because it is not an economic value.

Joe Kelley June 9, 2005 at 3:35 pm

Michael wrote:

“In his book, Warren overlooks the value of market price information in allocating resources, and fails to take the full market price equation into consideration. Demand AND supply, buyers AND sellers. “The value of a loaf of bread to a starving man is equal to the value of his life…”, as Warren notes, but ANY loaf of bread will suffice, and it takes either coercion or extreme conditions to say that only one seller exists to sell loaves of bread.”

Here are the words from the source:

“The value of a loaf of bread to a starving man is equal to the value of his life…”

A contention specified:

“…fails to take the full market price equation into consideration”

The full market price equations defined:

“Demand AND supply, buyers AND sellers.”

Demand = starving man = eating is desired

AND

Supply = a loaf of bread = food that is desired

Buyers = starving man desiring food wishing to purchase food

AND

Sellers = ?

According to the information presented it appears as if Warren fails to take the full market price equation into consideration.

How Warren “overlooks the value of market price information in allocating resources” remains a mystery to me. How Warren’s experiments in “Equitable Commerce” managed to find the value of market price information in allocating resources is not a mystery to me as I pretend to understand the concept of Equitable Commerce.

People were encouraged by general practice to post their wants publicly. The demand information inspired potential producers to begin calculating costs. The producer arriving at the lowest cost soonest then set about producing the object of demand in direct competition with every other producer. The one with the lowest cost sold to his productive capacity. The higher cost producer either went out of business or met the demand left over from the lower cost producer’s limit of production, or found investment capital toward a perceived ability to lower costs, or people just decided to go ahead and buy the products even though they didn’t need them.

The loaf of bread to the starving man is an example of the concept of price being calculated by the factor of necessity. If necessity is not a factor in calculating price than by what means can anyone raise price above cost? To say that “ANY” loaf will suffice assumes an abundant supply. To say that it takes coercion or extreme conditions for only one seller to exist in order for only one producer to be selling bread then does this not describe actual social conditions?

The seller of the loaf of bread may not be the only producer however; this fact does not necessarily affect the limit of price. One producer could move his bread cart closer to the starving man as the starving man could be immobile due to his present condition. What then limits the price charged? In Equitable Commerce the seller adds the cost of moving the cart to the price while Capitalism appears to be in a position to charge whatever the starving man is willing to pay.

Michael wrote:

“But as I understand it, equitable commerce requires that prices be determined by cost. Market prices are determined by supply and demand. The market price is always, by nature, a mutually agreeable price, whereas the equitable price may sometimes be, but is often not, a mutually agreeable price.”

Equitable commerce suggests that prices be determined by cost. The difference between a requirement and a suggestion is an important distinction.

The market price is not always by nature a mutually agreeable price unless the market price is unhampered. In an unhampered market the price is more often a mutually agreeable price. Nature tends to hamper the market price creating the necessity of choosing the lesser disagreeable price. An agreement to suffer less cost due to naturally imposed necessity can be viewed separate from an agreement to suffer less cost due to a willful enforcement of advantage.

Equitable price is a calculation based upon cost. The agreement to purchase is never enforced by any individual; such behavior is beyond the suggestions offered by Equitable Commerce. Nature tends to hamper commerce regardless of how we choose to perceive it. Nature creates necessity. Nature has made us imperfect.

Michael wrote:

“While it may be “mutually agreeable” for some consumers to not pay a price they deem too high, I doubt that it is mutually agreeable that consumers can never find an acceptable price, or that sellers can never sell a product priced at cost.”

Consumers decide for themselves if the price is too high unless forced otherwise into a not so mutual agreement. I too doubt that it is mutually agreeable that consumers can never find an acceptable price since never is an absolute term that removes all other possibilities. I too doubt that it is mutually agreeable that sellers can never sell a product priced at cost but perhaps my understanding of the sentence is inadequate.

In Equitable Commerce, as I understand it to have existed and as it continues to exist even if only in isolated cases, individuals decide to determine price at cost for 3 reasons.

They understand the necessity of limiting the exchange of wealth to the calculation whereby each person earns only that which they produce. To do otherwise is to steal.

The competition will not price over cost, offer a less expensive product, and gain market share.

It becomes fashionable.

Joe Kelley June 9, 2005 at 3:38 pm

Michael,

I jumped your last post as it took me all morning to write my last post.

I am sorry about this condition and am not yet in a position to continue.

Duty calls.

Rolf June 9, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Mr. Joe kelley

My condolences to you in regards to your father, Joe.

Some of the truth you are searching for may be found with reflection in the 4 verses of William Blake.

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Best Regards to you Mr. Kelly

Rolf

Joe Kelley June 10, 2005 at 10:50 am

Thanks.

I see an opportunity to take that step further backwards as it appears to me that a misstep has occurred. The old saying goes that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If a contradiction exists then there is little reason or logic in proceeded as one interpretation of the contradiction “eat the cake” leads in one direction and the other interpretation of the contradiction “have your cake” leads in another direction. If the idea is to be logical, scientific, and reasonable then a need exists to know that the foundations by which conclusions are drawn are sound, irrefutable, and without contradiction.

If for example we are trying to arrive at finding a way to have a cake for tomorrow’s birthday party then we cannot reasonably conclude that it is OK to eat the cake now.

Michael wrote:

“Value is subjective” / “not all value is economic value”

“I make no attempt to separate needs (necessities) from desires” / “economic value refers only to scarce resources”

The above contradictions may requires some investigation and elaboration from as many different angles as possible since, in my opinion, this apparent contradiction explains the differences between the Austrian theory and Equitable Commerce.

Value is subjective and therefore all value is economic value or not depending upon the individual. Value cannot be both subjective and absolutely limited, segregated, compartmentalized, or otherwise objectively determined by one person or many people into existence for everyone else.
A possible conclusion originating from this step: “Not all value is economic value” could be this: “the value of friendship or love has no price because it is not an economic value.”

Either value is subjective and therefore not determined by anyone else or it is not subjective and can be determined by someone else.

I happen to know that friendship and love has a price for me and as far as my interpretation of Carl Menger and Michael A. Clem goes they contend otherwise.

Here is an example of Carl Menger’s opinion on the matter:

“every individual will attempt to secure his own requirements as completely as possible to the exclusion of others.”

As this thread proceeds or not based upon many different individual value calculations interacting toward or against a common perceived goal it will become clear, to me, just where the Austrian school and Equitable Commerce promote despotism.

The question of ethics is raised in Man, Economy, and the State. Equitable Commerce also speaks on that topic. These are related issues.

I found a particularly interesting notation concerning the U.S. Constitution is Man, Economy, and the State raising much curiosity since I have recently concluded or set aside as nearly concluded a study of free market development in colonial America.

The future is much brighter with just a little sympathy.

Joe Kelley June 10, 2005 at 1:40 pm

Paul Edwards wrote:

“To my way of thinking, profits allow the consumer to indicate to the entrepreneur how well he is satisfying consumer needs. The successful entrepreneur may become very wealthy, but the side-effect is that the standard of living of the masses increases through this process far beyond what any other economic system would allow.”

Firstly it may be useful to communicate the observation that both the Austrian theory and the Equitable Commerce perspective appear to define the term “economic system” by the same measure i.e. Social exchange absent coercion of any kind. In other words the idea is not to construct a system but rather to clearly identify it. The system can then be adjusted voluntarily toward improvement by avoiding the clearly identified causes by which the ‘economic system’ is hampered.

In an effort to support the above argument I offer the following quotes taken from the introduction to “Man, Economy, and the State with Power and Management” and the editor’s preface for “Equitable Commerce”

“World War II and the subsequent cold war created a climate in which state prestige was at a high watermark. In these circumstances, most economists saw their role as one of advising governments on how best to organize, regulate, and plan “national” economies, whether to win wars or to provide social justice. The minority of economists who resisted the spirit of the age undermined themselves with compromising arguments resting on theoretical premises that they shared with their opponents. From both a free-market and an Austrian standpoint, such defenses of the free society and market economy were very unsatisfactory.” (xix, xx, Joseph R. Stromberg, Man, Economy, and the State)

“They have veered either to the right or the left of the exact truth upon nearly every question of practical procedure. They have attacked the legitimate idea of individual property, or they have erroneously attributed to property the human right to participate in the results of human toil. They have begun by attempting to regulate men by legislation, instead of trusting to men to regulate themselves and their relations to each other by a knowledge of principles. They have resorted to contrivances, instead of discovering laws. They have overlaid and smothered the Individual in the multiplicity or complexity of Institutions.” (vii, Stephen Pearl Andrews, Equitable Commerce)

Regulation appears to be commonly identified as a cause of rather than a remedy for liberty.

“…profits allow the consumer to indicate to the entrepreneur how well he is satisfying consumer needs.”

May I offer some empirical evidence to illustrate my viewpoint on the above postulation?

I hope that the relevance to the present argument manages to communicate.

During my campaign for election to the 40th district seat of the U.S. Congress my intention was to supply a perceived demand. In effect I became an entrepreneur. According to my best calculation there existed at the time a pressing consumer need for liberty.

A person of advanced age (a consumer) questioned me (the entrepreneur conducting a market study) asking if her needs could be satisfied by my proposed supply.

We exchanged information concerning profit.

As far as I could tell her wish was to move her available investment capital and gain the profit of security.

My response was that liberty is security and that if her desire was to profit then she should not vote for me.

Paul Edwards June 10, 2005 at 2:22 pm

Hi Joe:

I have understood some of your comments in the past to be consistent with this one: “…both the Austrian theory and the Equitable Commerce perspective appear to define the term “economic system” by the same measure i.e. Social exchange absent coercion of any kind… The system can then be adjusted voluntarily toward improvement by avoiding the clearly identified causes by which the ‘economic system’ is hampered.”

And this statement is cool with me.

and did you mean to say this:
“Regulation appears to be commonly identified as a cause of rather than a remedy for liberty”
or rather this:
“Government regulation appears to be commonly identified as a hindrance to, rather than a way to achieve liberty”
Because i’d be glad to know it was the latter.

What i think i’m gathering from you is that you are against coercion of any kind, including government coercion such as taxation, conscription, and any regulation of commerce outside, perhaps, of the protection of property. If i’m right, we cannot be far apart.

Joe Kelley June 10, 2005 at 7:14 pm

Paul,

My sentence was so poorly constructed that your help is greatly appreciated.

If it is at all possible for me to reconstruct the sentence to convey the intended meaning then please allow me to offer the following sentence as a replacement:

Both the Austrian theory according to my interpretation of Joseph R. Stromberg’s quoted words and the Equitable Commerce perspective reported by Stephen Pearl Andrews appear to agree that it is a mistake to try to fix a problem with the cause of the problem.

“What i think i’m gathering from you is that you are against coercion of any kind, including government coercion such as taxation, conscription, and any regulation of commerce outside, perhaps, of the protection of property.” (Paul Edwards)

We are arriving closer to agreement however; the terms regulation and property need to be more accurately defined.

Daniel Shays was called a regulator. He tried to regulate. I do not think that the regulation conceived of and conducted by Daniel Shays is the same type of regulation referred to by either Joseph R. Stromberg or Stephen Pearl Andrews in the text quoted in my last post.

Regulation as a synonym for defense against encroachment is one interpretation while the same word could be synonymous with encroachment.

Misunderstanding in the perception and communication of the concept of property can lead to what Andrew’s described as: “erroneously attributed to property the human right to participate in the results of human toil”.

The definition of property is a very serious consideration requiring great care in applying reason and wisdom.

I have no trouble defining property as ownership of life.

Rothbard and Warren may help define property. Your help is very welcome.

Paul Edwards June 10, 2005 at 8:09 pm

Property may even be intuitive. I think of it as your person and your material possessions. The term regulation seems to be the one we need to converge on and agree to a consistent meaning. I think of regulation as the coercive kind. That is, violence/aggression/encroachment/fraud against person or property. For defense against that, i would call law or protection or security.

One of the outcomes of this that has bearing on our discussion is that if you want to sell something you own, and someone wants to buy it, then you should both be free to carry out the transaction without the threat of force against either of you for doing so. A result from that is that if the buyer thinks the price is too high, he has the right to abstain from buying, if the seller thinks the price too low, it is his right to abstain from selling, but no one should be able to force the other by threat of violence to accept terms he finds unacceptable. I allow for no provisos or extensions to this. So even if we all agree the price is exorbitant, and yet the buyer really needs the product, there can be no coercion to force the seller to sell at a lower price (for instance). Of course, that means complete freedom of entry to be a producer and competitor in any market. Also, I have no objection to third parties getting together and voluntarily agreeing to subsidize the buyer so he can buy the needed and expensive good. It just has to be completely voluntary.

I think it boils down to every one’s freedom from coercion and aggression.

Joe Kelley June 11, 2005 at 10:42 am

Paul,

“I think it boils down to every one’s freedom from coercion and aggression.”

We share an ideal.

“That is, violence/aggression/encroachment/fraud against person or property. For defense against that, i would call law or protection or security.”

We may not share the same perception of “fraud” and “Law”.

I think it boils down to “how to” arrive at liberty. To not find out is to suffer without it.

We are approaching the limits of this discussion. The page is moving ever closer to the bottom.

The length is going beyond economic limits perhaps.

I remain inspired to read Man, Economy, and the State with Power and Markets.

It continues to be my observation that having read Equitable Commerce and The Science of Society (far from scientism) my outlook toward the possible inevitability of increased liberty (simply because human beings can arrive closer to the ideal) is now encouraged like an open door that was previously closed tight. More than that, more than simple optimism, reading sources of information absent contradiction inspires curiosity. If they could know how then why can’t I?

http://praxeology.net/HJ-HG-SPA-LMD.htm

Joe Kelley June 11, 2005 at 1:31 pm

As I stand upon my own soap box and speak to my real or imagined audience so well defined by Nock in his version that he calls the “remnant” I propose to offer a concise estimate of my present argument; perhaps in closing.

A general socially accepted or fashionable demand for profit is a natural law that cannot be wished away. This need is, in fact, essential for our survival. It is the object, the objective. Call it prosperity.

Greed, on the other hand, is an individual’s personal demand for profit and as such this essential personal commodity conflicts with every other individual’s personal objective.

If we fancy profit we cannot bypass the means by which such a commodity must be had. We must instead fancy liberty first. Natural law dictates the matter. Nature punishes greed.

The faster of two men needs not to worry about the bear in the short term. A greedy man will care less about the fate of the slower man. A generous fast man combined with a desperate slow man can see past individual profit and find cause to cooperate. If they do not, if greed prevails, the temporary solution to the bear problem having been solved by the faster man’s natural advantage over the slow man is later punished by nature in the form of the bear, having now a taste for human flesh, hungry in time, and able to run faster than the fast man.

Now suppose that greed coupled with an astute ability to see well into the future, but not quite well enough, inspires both the fast and slow to cooperate against nature. Having cooperated temporarily in an effort to dig a pit lined with spikes, lure, trap, kill, and eat the bear the greediest one armed with the greatest advantage then begins to construct a method by which he can profit from the other, in effect, becoming not better, a possibly quite worse, than the bear.

If life without liberty is nature’s way of arriving at prosperity then it is our fate, our human races fate, for some of us to feed upon the others.

This condition need not be so and, in fact, in concrete contemporary life, liberty exists despite our essential necessary and fashionable demand for profit.

I see this clearly every day. People are learning the evils of personal greed and the value of liberty. The astute modern human being, I know many, understand that the demand for profit is social in nature, requiring cooperation, and destructive personally. They intuitively understand the necessity of constructing liberty as the only means by which profit can be earned. They know that no short cut exists; only liberty will suffice to arrive at prosperity. Individual profit, the gaining at someone else’s expense, creates unwanted conflict.

I can offer many examples. I communicate this often in my own life. Anyone who knows me, really knows me, understands my appreciation for liberty.

Joe Kelley June 13, 2005 at 12:31 pm

No one is challenged? Have the Austrian theorists concluding that their price system is superior in understanding, superior in scientific evaluation, superior in practice, and superior in results than the cost principle? Have such conclusions been proven in practice? By what possible measure can anyone be satisfied in confirming this possible understanding?

Have the Austrian Theorists simply given up? Have they lost interest in solving contention? Is the effort not worth the time? Do they assume that no contention exits?

Moving backwards in chronological order on this thread may shed some light.

“Property may even be intuitive.” (Paul Edwards)

I have a challenge for you, anyone reading, to construct a simple, easy to understand, easy even for children, explanation of property.

I already have the outline for my initial volley.

I can wait to find the definition of property in books. Books do nothing at all. They sit and collect dust. Why wait when direct competition is possible?

Joe Kelley June 13, 2005 at 1:36 pm

Liberty for Kids

Joe: What is property?

11 year old girl: A piece of land that someone owns and they can do anything the want with it.

Joe: I don’t mean something I mean property as an Idea. What is ownership?

11 year old girl: I have this sock see. I own it. I can do anything I want with it, see, I can smell it.

She throws the sock at me.

Joe: What happens if two people think they own the same thing?

11 year old girl: That depends. If it is Autumn then you don’t want to know.

Joe: What is Autumn?

11 year old girl: The most brattiest girl in the world. The most selfish, rude, annoying, girl that anyone has ever seen.

Joe: What if it is someone else?

11 year old girl: If it were my best friend I would try and specify with her and see if she knows what it does and stuff. You know…make sure it’s hers.

Joe: What about Autumn?

11 year old girl: She would throw a tantrum without hearing the other person’s side; she would do anything and I mean anything to win the argument and that is why you don’t want to know.

Joe: If only friends were in school then would there be any such thing as property?

11 year old girl: Yes

Joe: Why?

11 Year old girl: Because everything would be fair…I don’t know…

Joe: Let me tell you something.

11 year old girl: OK

11 year old girl: Well?

Joe: If there were no bullies at school then property would be finding out what is fair – right?

11 year old girl: Right!

Joe Kelley June 13, 2005 at 3:24 pm

In closing this thread I need to make something as clear as possible.

I do not need to tell my daughter what everyone should already know. My daughter remains one of the world’s greatest champions of liberty. She already knows not to appreciate falsehood above convenience.

I do not need to tell my daughter to stand firmly in place in front of the bully. My daughter already knows this need. The bully needs to be thanked publicly for being such an obvious bully. Without the knowledge of the how and the why a bully conducts business the kids stumble around wondering why it is so very difficult to find any happiness.

My wife says: “If you don’t stand for something; you will fall for anything.”

Austrian theory is founded upon falsehood. It adopts prejudice as a means to end prejudice. It concludes that profit is better than generosity. I will find this out in greater detail. I will not return here if no demand is shown. Life need not be wasted.

Michael A. Clem June 14, 2005 at 12:25 am

I told you a blog like this is not the best way to discuss these things in detail. Do you realize how many blog items have since followed this one?

You’ve asserted many things, but not really addressed the points that have been raised with good arguments. I tackled the “greed” angle for example, and it flashed by without a comment, while you continue to assert the awesome evil of greed.
You presented a strange case of supply and demand by using the political example of running for office. I’ve run for office, and there’s very little about economics in it, despite your assertions to the contrary.
You continue to hold beliefs that have very deep assumptions built into them. No way a blog discussion is going to change that, but I will close with one more point.

Either value is subjective and therefore not determined by anyone else or it is not subjective and can be determined by someone else.

There is no contradiction in what I said. To say that value is subjective is to simply say that each individual determines the degree to which they value something–it does not say that they get to define the nature and categories of value. Economic value is a specific, objective category determined by the nature and availability of resources, and thus, not decided by subjective whim. The actual value of economic resources is thus determined by the subjectivity of the individual, the category of economic value is not.

Joe Kelley June 14, 2005 at 11:12 am

Michael,

If:

“I told you a blog like this is not the best way to discuss these things in detail.”

Then:

What is the best way to discuss these things in detail?

Here we have identified an important part of the relationship between the individual and everyone else but such investigations are branches away from the trunk. My personal preference is to get back to the trunk.

I think the trunk, the root cause of both social and personal trouble, is falsehood. The branches growing out of falsehood need to be cut off rather than trimming them so neatly.

“I tackled the “greed” angle for example, and it flashed by without a comment, while you continue to assert the awesome evil of greed.” (Michael A. Clem)

Your sentence communicates much confidence in your personal capacity to discriminate truth from falsehood. Instead of having offered a counter to my ‘angle’ on the subject of ‘greed’ you have ‘tackled’ it. Furthermore you contend with obvious certainty that this ‘tackle’ job flashes by me without a comment. Then you go on to report that I do comment or rather that I “assert” something defined by you.

Contradictions:

How can you ‘tackle’ the greed angle that you yourself define? Are you suggesting by using the world ‘tackle’ that your definition of the greed angle is my definition of the greed angle? Are you constructing a straw-man to tackle? Why not tackle my definition of the greed angle?

Here it is: Nature punishes greed. I can elaborate but why? You have already stated that this is your last post. You have already shown that you prefer to tackle straw men.

More contradiction:

If your tackle job flashed by me without a comment then what exactly is this thing that I assert if not a comment?

How can I comment and not comment on the same subject at the same time?

Seriously, and with all possible effort to be honest, I have no expectation of communicating with someone who refuses to communicate.

My hope is to identify specific contradictions that are vital in the process of discriminating truth from falsehood.

Economic value is subjective on the individual level. Economic value can be objective based upon a calculation. One possible measurable calculation of Economic value is to add up all the subjective individual values. Who then determines the value of this objective measurement compared to some other objective measurement?

If the Austrian theory can be expressed as:

“To say that value is subjective is to simply say that each individual determines the degree to which they value something–it does not say that they get to define the nature and categories of value. Economic value is a specific, objective category determined by the nature and availability of resources, and thus, not decided by subjective whim.” (Michael A. Clem, last post)

Then a serious contradiction in the Austrian theory exists if the following is also supposed to be true:

“Finally, as I said before, not all value is economic value–economic value refers only to scarce resources and their allocation. One may, and does, place value on many things, but the value of friendship or love has no price because it is not an economic value.”(Michael A. Clem, June 9, 2005 01:00 PM)

Subjective whim = the value of friendship or love has no price because it is not an economic value

Austrian economic theory does not say that they get to define the nature and categories of value. \ Austrian economic theory says and defines the nature and categories of value such that not all value is economic value—economic value refers only to scarce resources and their allocation.

Even a kid knows that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. I just checked.

The Austrian Economic Theory is nothing at all without people to perceive it with their “Crooked Eye”. Once people are gone who support the Austrian Economic Theory “it” vanishes. To say that “they” get to define the nature and categories of value is to have cake. To say that “they” define the value of love or anything else is eating the cake.

Does the ball pass into nothingness on the other end of the court?

NCA June 14, 2005 at 12:11 pm

Wow, look! Rothbard’s treatise 70% off!

Michael A. Clem June 14, 2005 at 12:25 pm

The category of economic value has been covered by economists of all types, not just Austrian economists.
I made a comment about greed, but you didn’t respond specifically to the comment, and have instead renewed your attack on greed, which, as far as I can tell, is a strawman argument, as far as Austrian economics is concerned. Austrian, free-market, and even most other economic schools consider men to be pursuing their self-interest, and that’s really as far as they take it. Austrians, taking their cue from Mises, generally say that man acts to remove some felt unease. “Greed” is an emotional or moral value-judgement and really doesn’t enter into the economics of it. To claim that some amount of material good or service is more than one needs is not an economic claim, but a moral claim. Within the morality of the economic system, economics strives for objective, moral-free statements and claims. If greed did enter into the pcture, most Austrians would take their cue from libertarianism and say that individual greed is not a problem as long as force or fraud has not been initiated. As I said before, in a free market, people serve themselves by serving others.
As for your complaint about subjective value, I still don’t see this contradiction you say exists. Economists have defined the category of economic value. They have not defined values like friendship and love, or even the category they belong to, but merely excluded them from the category of economic value, because they lie outside of economics proper.
You want to say that friendship has a price? Okay, what is it? $100? $1,000,000? A thousand man-hours of work? I think what you’re doing is using the more generic, mainstream usage of the term price, and not a specific economic definition of price. Economics, like any science, has to use specific, narrow definitions of its technical terms, otherwise precise communication is impossible. Here’s a link concerning the language of science that makes my point, although it’s not talking specifically about economics: http://instructor.physics.lsa.umich.edu/ip-labs/tutorials/style/sciwri.html

Wow, look! Rothbard’s treatise 70% off!

LOL. Joe, read the book, or check out the many online resources available at the Mises website. Informal discussion cannot go into the kind of depth you’re looking for.

Michael A. Clem June 14, 2005 at 12:35 pm

Joe, I hate to say “read first and then get back to me”, I know how time-consuming that can be, but really, at this point, I don’t know where to take this unless we start from scratch.

Joe Kelley June 14, 2005 at 8:08 pm

Michael,

Thanks for making the effort to be more specific concerning your interpretation of the Austrian theory on greed.

“every individual will attempt to secure his own requirements as completely as possible to the exclusion of others.” (Carl Menger http://mason.gmu.edu/~tlidderd/menger/)

Greed: excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness (http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary)

Once it has been assumed that ‘every individual will attempt to secure his own requirements as completely as possible to the exclusion of others’ then the nature of commerce becomes a function of greed. Every calculation from that point on is prejudiced toward that perception.

Example:

“Then, Johnson will not give up his horse for less than 102 barrels of fish. If the price offered for his horse is less than 102 barrels of fish, he will not make the exchange. Here, it is clear that no exchange will be made: for at Johnson’s minimum selling price of 102 barrels of fish, it is more beneficial for Smith to keep the fish than to acquire the horse.” (Man, Economy and State with Power and Markets, Murray N. Rothbard)

Removing from the scientific calculation a normal human emotion and an actual individual choice made by real living people who tend to appraise generosity over greed from the calculation of actual commerce is not scientific. It is a prejudiced view of reality.

If a socialist were to suggest that all commerce is conducted as a function of generosity the Austrians would cry foul.

Equitable commerce takes into account both generosity and greed as actual value judgments known to exist and suggests a balance of neither greed nor generosity but rather equity in commerce.

If you do not see the contradiction existing then you may not be looking.

Economy is a measurable reality. I can hypothesis and test with absolute certainty a measurable observation.
Hypothesis:
If no one works then everyone dies.

Economy so defined is factual, provable (not practical), measurable, and actual.

Hypothesis:
“They have not defined values like friendship and love, or even the category they belong to, but merely excluded them from the category of economic value, because they lie outside of economics proper.”

The contradiction that you fail to see is that economics, as a science, is only that which is measurable, provable, and beyond contradiction.

If one opinion is that love has no economic value then that opinion remains opinion since another opinion contradicts it.

If love actually does not have any economic value then this fact remains to be proven.

My suggestion is that it cannot be proven without a subjective interpretation.

The contradiction is that you state your opinion as fact. That is a contradiction if you wish to see it or not.

A child can understand science.

The first rule of science:

“Science cannot make a mistake”

The second rule of science:

“Scientists make mistakes”

The object of science is then to eliminate all subjective interpretation from the objective, factual evidence, and the scientist can never, every, forget his own fallibility.

What is the price of friendship? It is whatever I make it. I tend to appraise it at cost. If my friend costs me too much then I tend to depreciate friendship. Over time my friends prove to me the value of equity. They tend to give much more to me than I can ever repay and so my aim is to be more generous. If anyone aims to profit from me then I tend to categorize them as criminals. Someone who is liberally spewing falsehood in my direction signal to me an impending effort for them to profit at my expense. When more of those types enter my sphere of commerce then I tend to gain appreciation for friendship

If you have ever spent time on a working team you will know the value of friendship. It can be measured directly as an increase in productivity. Some people call such commodities intangible. I do not share that opinion either.

Joe Kelley June 15, 2005 at 9:58 am

Nature is an effective economist and dictator. She doles out valuable commodities to her favorite subjects and in that way nature becomes the ultimate fascist. A person of weak intelligence will fail at complicated matters and be forced by nature into finding a simple job. The physically weak fail at labor and are forced by nature into jobs requiring other abilities. Nature’s favorites get wisdom. A wise subject of nature can not only discern the true from the false but also discern what is useful from what is not so useful. A person weak in wisdom will fail in occupations that require planning for future events. They move to jobs that do not require accurate long term knowledge.

A wise person will not only recognize that something is true and that something is false; a wise person will recognize the value of the information in terms of economic efficiency. For example: An intelligent person may note that god does not exist or that god does exist. A wise person may note that knowing god exists is valuable information or that knowing god doesn’t exist is valuable information. The intelligent person can report the existence of god or the intelligent person can report that god doesn’t exist while the wise person knows that it is useful to have the knowledge that god exists or that it is useless to have the knowledge that god doesn’t exist.

Nature or god, I don’t know which, commands the allocation of another significant human commodity. Moral judgment gives people the ability to appreciate life.

A moral person can find work almost anywhere and at anytime because a moral person is valuable to everyone. An appreciation for life is almost universally appreciated.

True or False?

Wise or unwise?

Moral or amoral?

Prejudiced economic theory?

Austrian Economic protectionism?

“Is there anybody out there…?”

Rolf June 15, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Hello Mr. Kelly:

I have observed some of your posts and find your comments on nature uique.
You may be interested to observe and read material
about The Organism.

Joe Kelley June 15, 2005 at 3:09 pm

Mr. Rolf,

My comments are unique and this is unavoidable since I am unique as are you. Nature constructs individuality. Is one proton exactly the same as another proton? Are we human beings able to measure the difference?

Thanks for the link. I hope to find time to read through it.

In an effort to communicate the relevancy of your contribution to this topic it may help to point out that my comments are not so unique in principle. The Austrian theory, based upon a prejudice for profit, is unique when viewed from the common perspective of equity. Many people are principled in manner despite lacking the capacity to communicate the principles motivating their behavior.

I personally know people who listen to me and find much agreement. Some agree without reservation while others agree with a qualified response. They say but…

The qualifications are always unique however it is apparent to me that they tend to fall into two categories. One category can be summed up as:

I agree; but the ends justify the means so I find the need to join them as it appears impossible to beat them.

The other category can be summed us as:

I agree: but I am not quite sure how this Equitable Commerce stuff works in practice and I am too busy to learn anything more than what you have currently brought to my attention.

“There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” (Leonardo da Vinci) http://en.thinkexist.com/quotes/leonardo_da_vinci/

I would add that seeing and doing are not mutually exclusive. The people I know reject profit at the expense of others as a means to prosper. They try to do so in deed. Their actions speak louder than words.

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