Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2014

AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS VS THE MAINSTREAM

I reserve the right to be wrong, but Walter Block doesn't have to!



Ceteris paribus, both parties to a trade are better off afterwards than they were before. Walter Block neatly explains what's up with praxeoloy and how things like a theory of value are arrived at praxeologically.

Praxeology is the deductive, logical method taking in a starting point of unlimited human desire versus limited resources.

The trade example above is the subjective theory of value at work, that each party subjectively feels like they have made a profit from the exchange. Maybe that's why both parties say 'thank you' afterwards!

And so, to progress!

BASTIAT

I reserve the right to be wrong.



One of the best things ever is What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen by Frederic Bastiat. It's this work which addresses the fallacy of the broken window, something subsequently taken up by Henry Hazlitt in Economics In One Lesson.

Bastiat is probably one of the greatest economists you've never heard of. Why haven't you heard of him? Well, he is a Frenchman who favours freedom over statism. That's pretty much enought to get him whitewashed out of history along with the Austrian School.

So, read him! Read him and be more complete!

THE CHILDREN ARE OK

I reserve the right to be wrong, but...



seriously. The kids are OK! It's hit the news that Bolivia, one of the bastions of Latin American leftism, recently changed its labour laws to permit 10-year-olds to work if self-employed, and 12-year-olds if working as employees of someone else.

Is this wise? Is this not the very height of immorality? Are children not so precious that they must be shielded from the ravages of the labour market? You'd think that would be exactly Evo Morales' line. Perhaps that why the Bolivian President wasn't around when this legislation became law.

The Morales government has always been far less interesting to outsiders than that of the late Hugo Chavez, principally because Morales has tended toward a gentler socialism than his Venezuelan amigo.

Nevertheless, permitting child labour does seem somewhat in keeping with the admissions even of other Socialists, notably David Harvey in A Brief History of Neolibralism - an  insipid book, scarcely wor…

PERSONIFYING THE UNREAL

I reserve the right to be wrong.



We tend to personify things with no will of their own. I grant you a lot of fish, swimming together for protection, may seem possessed of a shared will. But it just seems that way. The group does not have a mind of its own. For all the group-think in the world, there are no known group-minds.

And so to some examples;



THE CORPORATION

A voluntarily sustained legal fiction. PepsiCo can sue and be sued in turn despite not being a living being. There are a load of buildings and equipment owned by this fiction, and the decisions of the fiction are made by a bunch of appointed individuals.

The bank account may have the company name on it, but that account is handled by a person, ironically someone paid from that same corporate bank account.



THE GOVERNMENT

Another legal fiction, this time maintained by force of arms and threats. In more recent years the government has introduced some tasty carrots along with its sticks, in particular taxpayer-funded welfare sy…