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Author Topic: Correcting Economics
Catus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4656

posted 16 November 2003 10:56 PM      Profile for Catus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What is the correct economic status of private property?

Property is at the heart of most serious inequalities and oppressions in modern civilization. Only by regulation, transfer payments, redistribution of property, and common ownership can society arrive at fairness, justice, and human dignity for all.

What is the proper method to conduct research in economic science?

To be scientific, we need to modify the traditional economistic approach of viewing society as nothing but a collection of atomistic, egoistic individuals. In reality, human beings consider themselves to be part of a greater social whole. A more fruitful avenue of research would be to study the complex groups with which people identify, whether class, race, or sex. Such an analysis would reveal the undeniable power of relationships in society, and give a much better understanding of economic events than typical, simplistic economic models.

What is the reason for the interest rate, and should it be regulated?

"Interest" is just a codeword for profit; a capitalist earns interest when he spends less on wages and raw materials than he earns from selling the final product. This surplus value arises from the exploited workers hired by the capitalist. Under the wage system, workers are paid the bare minimum they need to survive, even though the full product of their labor far exceeds their compensation from the employer. In this respect, the wage system is no different from traditional slavery, where the slave owner keeps the product yielded by his slavesí toil, and from this fund only "pays" them enough to maintain their bare survival. Obviously interest is a barbaric feature of capitalist societies, and will disappear once the system of wage slavery is overturned.

What is the economic impact of saving?

The vast accumulation of wealth within select classes and families creates an economic oligarchy that shuts out those who cannot gain a foothold within the economic system. Inheritance taxes, and taxes on dividends, are essential to a society that values equality. After all, the yield from vast bank accounts really amounts to unearned income. No society can tolerate some people living off interest while others live paycheck-to-paycheck off the meager sums offered by minimum wages.

What is the source of economic value?

The value of a commodity is equal to the amount of total labor used in its construction. If one bicycle has the same market value as, say, 500 eggs, then we can write 1 bicycle = 500 eggs. In what does this equality consist? Obviously the bicycle is not "equal" to the eggs because of any of its physical properties. If we examine the matter carefully, we will conclude that the one thing that the two have in common is the amount of labor used in their construction.

More to come...


From: Between 234 and 149 BCE | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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Babbler # 2440

posted 16 November 2003 11:03 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Flag on the play. 15 yards for plagiarism.
From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Catus
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4656

posted 16 November 2003 11:38 PM      Profile for Catus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry I had to double post, seems our cat likes to journey out of doors, even if the beast is scared to death of rain, grass, and anything that moves.

What is money and how does it originate?

Money is a vehicle for exploitation that distorts real values. Money is neither necessary nor desirable, but is an arbitrary artifact of history. Social progress will lead to revolutionary social changes, including the elimination of money. This will end exploitation and result in a society that aims at satisfying real values, instead of aiming at private financial profit.

What causes the business cycle?

Competition in the face of declining profits and increasing monopolization generates increasingly large crises under capitalism. Capitalists invest in labor saving devices to keep unemployment high and wages down. Competition leads to falling profit rates and crashes. Some capitalists will then get good deals on capital from bankrupt capitalists, raising their profitability for the moment. However, the tendency of capitalism to reduce profit rates will lead to further unemployment and another crash.

What causes economic growth?

The capitalist process causes economic growth, but this is a non sequitur. While capitalism is the most productive system, the distribution of wealth under capitalism is wrong. Whole classes of citizens are left out. Capitalists take advantage of workers by paying them the lowest possible wage instead of the value of their labor. So capitalism delivers the goods, but to the wrong addresses. What we need are workers' democracies where productivity can go hand-in-hand with a more just distribution of wealth.

Do markets create and sustain monopolies and what should be done about it?

If the history of capitalism shows us anything, it is that it leads to business concentration. With fewer and fewer firms dictating the terms, the result is ever higher prices combined with ever lower wages. Unions and antitrust enforcement have had some measure of success in curbing this, but neither institution goes far enough to counter the trend toward monopoly within market settings. We must also question the idea that competition itself should be a policy goal. Most often, it is socially wasteful and a slogan repeated by monopolists to justify exploitative behavior. The ideal of cooperation between all, a truly democratic economy, should be the ideal.

What is the role of equality and inequality?

Inequality is an intrinsic feature of a social structure that is mired in a prejudicial overhang from the long and shameful history of the manner in which Western society has treated women and other minorities. The prejudicial impulse, rooted in the spirit of conquest that gave birth to Western capitalism in the first place, is a form of violence and yet part of the corrupt infrastructure of the market economy itself. If the owners of capital were left to their own devices, excluded groups would remain so in perpetuity, so society had to act to restrain them. Full equality will continue to elude us, so long as we have a society that treats people as goods to be bought and sold, and so long as we make a god out of private property.

The rest of the quiz can be found at http://www.mises.org/quiz.asp?QuizID=5


From: Between 234 and 149 BCE | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
robbie_dee
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Babbler # 195

posted 16 November 2003 11:54 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm moving this to ideas.
From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
rasmus
malcontent
Babbler # 621

posted 17 November 2003 12:45 AM      Profile for rasmus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Luckily, von Mises was a great probability theorist and statistician, so his life wasn't a complete waste.

[ 17 November 2003: Message edited by: rasmus raven ]


From: Fortune favours the bold | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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Babbler # 3980

posted 17 November 2003 05:40 AM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've always been interested in the rather selective use of Mises by right-wing groups in the U.S.. While they prattle on about 'socialism' they are often amongst the most jingoistic nationalists and support the use of force in international relations as the proper and most 'realistic' course - e.g. the current war in Iraq, the bombing of Afghanistan, and so on.

Interestingly, Von Mises once said the following of fascism: "[It has a] complete faith in the decisive power of violence. In order to assure success, one must be imbued with the will to victory and always proceed violently. This is its highest principle...its foreign policy, based as it is on the avowed principle of force in international relations, cannot fail to give rise to an endless series of wars..."

It is interesting to see these values so highly praised on the right in this country and in the U.S.. It is the most ardent rightwing portions of the Republican party, and our own Canadian Alliance who were the most vociferous war-mongers in the build up to the war and still.

On colonialism and the role of Western states in Asia and Africa, Von Mises said: "No chapter of history is steeped further in blood than the history of colonialism. Blood was shed uselessly and senselessly. Flourishing lands were laid waste; whole peoples destroyed and exterminated. All this can in no way be extenuated or justified. The dominion of Europeans in Africa and in important parts of Asia is absolute. It stands in the sharpest contrast to all the principles of liberalism and democracy, and there can be no doubt that we must strive for its abolition...The most simple and radical solution would be for the European governments to withdraw their officials, soldiers, and police from these areas and to leave the inhabitants to themselves."

Something to reflect on as we watch the U.S. aggressively attack Iraq and occupy that country and head into a long series of conflicts under the guise of 'the War on Terrorism' - not to mention the endless wars that it has fomented or directly participated in over the past few decades.

[ 17 November 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 17 November 2003 01:45 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not too different from the tendency to selectively read such demigods as Adam Smith.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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Babbler # 1425

posted 17 November 2003 01:56 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Obviously the bicycle is not "equal" to the eggs because of any of its physical properties. If we examine the matter carefully, we will conclude that the one thing that the two have in common is the amount of labor used in their construction.

How many chickens does it take to build a bicycle?


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Doug
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 44

posted 17 November 2003 04:35 PM      Profile for Doug   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sisyphus:

How many chickens does it take to build a bicycle?


I don't know, but I think the humane society would get involved before I could find out.


From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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Babbler # 888

posted 17 November 2003 04:55 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More importantly, how many fish need them?
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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Babbler # 1425

posted 17 November 2003 05:02 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mandos:
From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3980

posted 21 November 2003 04:13 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"If the history of capitalism shows us anything, it is that it leads to business concentration. With fewer and fewer firms dictating the terms, the result is ever higher prices combined with ever lower wages. Unions and antitrust enforcement have had some measure of success in curbing this, but neither institution goes far enough to counter the trend toward monopoly within market settings. We must also question the idea that competition itself should be a policy goal. Most often, it is socially wasteful and a slogan repeated by monopolists to justify exploitative behavior. The ideal of cooperation between all, a truly democratic economy, should be the ideal."


Sounds like ClearChannel...


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged

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