Skip to main content

The Margin for Error

Obviously utility is ordinal, not cardinal. Of all those links below the WikiHow one is best at making that clear by avoiding utils and just using prices. After all utility is just one less word and one more syllable for use value, which was a concept that, even before the Marginal Revolution, was in circulation used by folks like Bastiat and Marx.

Marx, for example, thought that use value was a prerequisite for labour-produced stuff to become commodities, as mud pies are not valued prior to being offered by their producer for exchange. Even Menger employed the term use value in his formulation of radical subjectivism.

The use value that Marx talked about was objective. As for Menger? Well, it's actually debatable.

But anyway, onto the porn.

Economics Concepts offer a utils-heavy explication of marginal utility theory. [1] The Khan Academy has fantastic videos. The one linked is great at explicating total and marginal utility and substitution. But, yet again, it uses utils. Utility does not have units! Economics does not have units! That's precisely why econ is not a hard science. [2] Several others give short explanations summarising key points. [3][4][5][6]

WikiHow offers the one I like best. It manages to avoid utils until the third of its three parts. For its first and second parts it simply uses money prices. [7] We finish off with The Incidental Economist and Learnerator. [8][9]

Give them all a go!

~~~ ~~~ ~~~










Popular posts from this blog

Will Automation Make All of the Jobs Disappear?

... No.

There is no reason to suggest that automation will dramatically increase unemployment in the short term, or at all in the long term.

Seriously, it will not.

Do read the links in the order in which they appear please. Finding the right comments in the third link might be quite interesting. They are all by a user called BestTrousers and start with "RI" meaning R1.

The main argument used by HealthcareEconomist3 is to give a survey of several works, while BestTrousers goes for comparative advantage.

Why I Am Not a Historical Materialist

Hopefully you good folks can indulge me by forgiving this post. It is an unfinished mess because I wanted it out there as the anchor for a hyperlink from a Reddit thread.
At the momebt everything below is a jumble of notes, but I will be reworking it bit by bit starting today.
Hopefully this post will be sorted out and typed in full before the end of April 2017.


Historical materialism is the idea that history progresses in stages - slavery, then feudalism, then capitalism, then socialism, then communism - driven by changes in the technologies or techniques of production, and that any human civilisation will exemplify this process.

This makes historical materialism an exercise in both historicism and materialism.

Historicism is the idea that studying the past can reveal history's in-built course or narrative, and so show you the future.

Materialism is the idea that ideas ( and institutions) ultimately* don't matter in determining our destinies, and that therefore only material…

Capital & Labor in the Race to Exploit the Other

The idea that labor exploits capital is equally as plausible, sans assumptions*, as the idea that capital exploits labor. This is only intended as a response to the formal concept, descriptive or normative, of exploitation in Marx's schema from Capital Volume I.

* Assumptions include the power relation whereby capital is just assumed to be above labor hierarchically.

~ Capital exploits labor because... ... Capital earns income from production done by labor that capital didn't perform
~ Labor exploits Capital because... ... Labor earns income from capital that labor didn't buy
Basically in good old formal logic fashion both of those cases above, being factual descriptions, are true at once or are false at once.