- On Debate
This is not such a petty debate as you imply. To attack the calculation argument is, to most Austrians, at least Rothbardian-Misesian’s, effectively an attack on human freedom and the very means of life itself.
This is my specific area of work, and responding to what you’ve said above would require substantial effort. But, in short, the way that you are approaching the problem is so significantly different from both Mises and Hayek that it is not, fundamentally, the same discussion.
Mises says that when you take away man’s need to perform individual economic calculation, you destroy the very process by which men’s minds develop the ability to calculate increasingly detailed, timely, and precise uses of resources.
Hayek sees this same process happening on an inter-temporal scale in large populations – effectively manufacturing ignorance in populations, rather than, as both of these men would advocate, letting the network of human cooperation train each individual inside it to become a master of his portion of it, all in an effort to better manage resources, increase research and development, and, in turn, increase production making all goods cheaper for all men.
Stress is a reaction to learning, and learning and experimentation are necessary to increase production.
This concept is no more complicated than if you say that we were to ban money and accounting, and, in doing so, how would we approach the process of performing economic calculation at any position in a population? People would no longer know how to do so.
I think that Georg Simmel describes this best, as the very destruction of the human mind. Without this inter-temporal calculation, we are simply animals.
So, the debate is fundamentally one of freedom, economic production, and the continual improvement of man. They, and I, see the opposite view, in socialism, as the very destruction of man’s mind, and his concurrent enslavement and long-term destruction of his ability to do otherwise. Unless you are one to say that we are gifted by nature, fate, or some divine entity with infinite common sense and the ability to generate such ideas, even if we lose the traditions of them in our populations. Something that is quite counter to the evidence.
As for your argument to proof with empirical data, there are at least two problems. The first, which is logical and an error in categorization, I think I will leave for Hoppe. The second, which is methodological, is simply an error in what data CAN show, given a sufficiently complex network of cooperation. I am quite sure that any data to prove such a thing as you ask would require such a wealth of data as to represent nearly the entire activity of the economy in question, all measurements being an approximation or categorical convenience given a particular number of variables in a given period of time. But the outcome would be the same. The socialist economies fail. They fail in all dimensions. Whether you speak of the Russian mobilization of women and resulting population declines, or of the negative result of their iron production, or the decay in entrepreneurial innovation, or the destruction of social interactions in small communities.
Your approach is more the typical econometric endeavor for more short-term ends. This is common in the field. It is especially common for those without a tradition of economic coordination in large populations. But the time horizon and ambition of Austrians is a bit broader, and, frankly, a bit more substantive both in ambition and in outlook than mere skeptical analysis of temporary trends.
If you only mean to say that there is humor in the fact that the Rothbardian wing is so emotive as to keep you in good company, then that’s well enough on its own. But there is a long history back nearly to Zoroaster of poking fun at such ideas to discredit them. While it is an effective way to rally the peasantry which lacks the means of evaluating the idea by more critical thought, it is not necessarily indicative of the truth or falsity of such things, and is reliant on the physical restraint and character of the opposition whose dedication is to reason alone – if the subtlety of my meaning comes across.
Hopefully, this is another example of the attention that you would wish to garner.
Seattle, WA, United States
I am an independent theorist of Political Economy in the Conservative Libertarian tradition. And as a methodological Propertarian I attempt to complete the work of Rothbard and Hoppe by suggesting post-democratic political solutions for heterogeneous polities.
"De Philosophia Aristocratia"
Anglo Conservatism is the remnant of the European Aristocratic Manorial system and the Classical Liberal philosophy of the Enlightenment, combined with our ancient tribal instincts for group persistence and land-holding. It currently consists as a set of sentiments rather than as an articulated rational philosophy. And without that rational articulation, conservatives lack the ability to create and promote a plan that is a positive and rhetorically defensible alternative to the hazards of accidental bureaucracy and purposeful socialism.
This lack of an articulated philosophy leaves conservatives vulnerable in the public debate with Schumpeterian public intellectuals whose advantage in both volume of production, and simplicity of argument poses a nearly insurmountable challenge.
Libertarianism by contrast, is a rational philosophy of an articulate but permanent minority. It is based upon a solid, rational and critical methodology, even if it is flawed in its initial assumption: the principle of non-violence.
Unfortunately the Rothbardian Anarchist movement has appropriated the term "Libertarian", and left Classical Liberals and Conservatives alienated from the only system of thought with which they need to articulate their political sentiments in rational and empirical rather than moralistic and sentimental form.
By repairing the flaws in Libertarian philosophy we can use its methodology to provide a rhetorical solution for conservatives - a language which in turn may become an articulated philosophical body of argument and advocacy for the frustrated conservative majority.
Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.
72 days ago
Liberty Isn't Inherent. It's unnatural. We create it with Organized Violence.
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Propertarian Definition: REVOLUTION
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Giving Rorty Another Try
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An Skeleton Argument In Defense Of Rorty From Hoppe
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A Propertarian Definition of Ruthless
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The Self Deception Of The Enlightenment View Of Man
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On Rent Seeking
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- Kinsella’s Criticism of Locke, and My Explanation of Locke’s Reasonable Mistake, and What To Do About It.