The Ultimate Question of Economic Science: Eugenia or Dysgenia

Peter Boettke posted an article by Paul Krugman yesterday which referred to the divisions in economics – with derision.

And it’s been bothering me all night:

Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives demonstrate an inter-temporal division of reproductive labor in their moral biases and cognitive biases.

So why wouldn’t economists follow the same moral, inter-temporal division of labor?

Well, they do. All humans do.

Austrians represent the conservative long term: accumulation and competitiveness, and new Keynesian progressives the short term: consumption and reproduction.

The question is whether consumption/dysgenia or accumulation/eugenia is preferable.

This is the central proposition. And we avoid answering it just as much as our ancestors avoided the question of the existence of gods.

Until we answer that question all economic debate is just obscurant deception as a means of avoiding the central question of economics: what is it that we are solving for?

I can answer that question because western history answered it for us.



The only moral society is one in which property, morality and law are synonyms.

(i) PROPERTY : that which we demonstrate. 
(ii) MORALITY: that which we require. 
(iii) LAW: that which we promise.


Sketch on Obverse/Inverse and Positive/Negative as Context/Rule

I have been working on this idea, and I finally gotten close to expressing it tangibly as measurement.  The examples I give are the golden(positive) vs the silver rule(negative),  property(positive) vs property rights(negative).  And I want to construct a general rule for requiring both positive(contextual precision) and negative(general rule).  Because I feel its necessary to unify the sciences, philosophy morality and law in order to eliminate ‘escape routes’ by various forms of verbalism, that man will try to employ as a means of circumventing the moral constraint of truth-speaking.

IDENTICAL: indistinguishable from one another.
FUNGIBLE: each unit of a commodity is replaceable other units of the same commodity.
SUBSTITUTABLE: performs the same utility in the context of a given purpose.

MARGINALLY INDIFFERENT: insufficiently different to cause a change in state.
MARGINALLY DIFFERENT: sufficiently different to cause a change in state.
COMMENSURABLE: measurable by the same standard.
INCOMMENSURABLE: having no common standard of measurement.

DECIDABLE: A decision can be made without the addition of external information.
CALCULABLE: An operation can be performed without the addition of external information.
DEDUCIBLE: A prediction can be made without the need for external information.
OPERATIONAL: a conclusion can be reached by a series of existentially possible operations.
STRICTLY OPERATIONAL : the theory is constructible (i)using existentially possible operations, (ii)does not include use of analogy, (iii)does not require inference (deduction), and (iv) survives all argumentative falsification. 
ORIGINAL INTENTION (CONTEXT / ARBITRARY PRECISION) : in interpreting a text, a court should determine what the authors of the text were trying to achieve, and to give effect to what they intended the statute to accomplish, the actual text of the legislation notwithstanding.

TEXTUAL / NARROW/ TRUE (Conservative – normative and legislative) vs ALLEGORICAL / WIDE / MEANING(judicial) interpretation.
In textual/Narrow/True (conservative) legal interpretation, a law is analogous to an operational recipe and changes to the recipe must be enacted by the legislature. In Allegorical / Wide / Meaning (Progressive) interpretation, the judges can invent law if they can justify the extension of the principle of the law into new areas of application not considered by it’s authors. In practice conservative TRUTH and progressive MEANING place the construction of law into the hands of the judiciary rather than the hands of the legislature and people.

The life of the law may have been experience but that is not license for judges to write law at will – it is an admission of the failure of legal theorists to develop propertarianism, and to separate the resolution of disputes according to the law, from the development of contracts (legislative law) on behalf of the citizenry. The separation of functions of government is necessary for the defense of the people against tyranny. Holmes justified tyranny with his deceptive use of rationalism.

See Wiki (or legal dictionary) Textualism (the law is only what is written in the text), Originalism(the text must be interpreted as the authors intended it) and Strict Constructionism ( which is weak textualism and is not practiced ).

In Propertarianism, have attempted to prevent deceptions by requiring law be written to include its precision – original intention – as a preamble for any prohibition, thus requiring both the obverse and inverse propositions, such that when conditions fail (precision is exceeded) then we must revert to strict operationalism to construct new law.

In history, judges ‘discovered’ law, and asked the people (the legislature) to approve it. This constraint – the request for legislative approval – extends the period of resolution of disputes. (Which I address elsewhere.) But under Propertarian Property rights, it should be possible to construct new precision from first principles – or not. If not, then it is not a matter of law, but a matter of contract. If it is a matter of contractual exchange, then it is a legislative matter, not one for the courts to decide.

The American constitution was an innovative experiment that nearly achieved law in logical form. However, the problem of contextual precision that we came to understand in the twentieth century was not known at the time.

The purpose of the law is to (negative or inverse) identify and prohibit involuntary operations, and to (positive or obverse) identify and codify voluntary operations.

Obverse statements determine precision (conditions), that operational analysis can later demonstrate conditions to have exceeded. Such extensions then require new law (new conditions) constructed as Obverse (positive) statements.

(Much more … but too much of a headache)


Property is Settled Science

We Don’t Need To Further Research Property – it’s Settled Science.

1) Property that we consider ours, is that which we bear costs to obtain or bear costs if we lose.

2) Property that is necessary within a cooperative kinship group is determined by that which is necessary to prevent free-riding.

3) Property that we demonstrate to others that we consider ours, is determined by what one is willing to defend.

4) Property rights demonstrated by others are limited to the property that others are willing to defend on our behalf.

The question then, is not what is property, but how willing are we to defend the property that we demonstrate.

We don’t need to invent property – or a limit to it.

We need to adjudicate disputes over what we demonstrate to be property ourselves, among our cooperatives and kin, from those who we must defend it from, and those who we ask to help us in that defense.

Every other argument is merely an attempt to gain a discount through verbal deception.

(Punish The Wicked)


Property Rights are Cheaper than Slavery


Property exists prior to codification in a constitution. So does promise, prior to the institution of contract. A constitution is merely an agreement for reciprocal insurance of the terms of property and contract.

It so happens that allocation of property rights determines the incentives possible, and the incentives determine the degree of market participation – how many hands make the work light – and therefore the cost of providing individuals with incentives.

It’s just cheaper for the strong to give everyone property rights – so long as none of the weak band together to extract from the strong under platonic justification via those self-same rules.

This is the same reason that Slavery is illogical as well as immoral: assuming the prior slaves respect property rights and do not form a government of extraction, then it is merely cheaper and easier to have one’s slaves as vendors and customers.


We Discovered Truth Telling

While Propertarianism does provide the missing logic of cooperation that Mises promised us, and that the prohibition of free riding is the single cooperative problem to be overcome, that the central proposition of Propertarianism is the western struggle to testify truthfully to one’s jury, and that trust is the result of that struggle, and economic velocity the result of that trust. And that economic velocity is the reason for both phases of the west’s rapid advancement: the classical and modern worlds that both times have dragged man out of ignorance, and in our most recent case, dragged him out of poverty.

So if I want something to be learned, it is that: we discovered truth telling.


The Transaction Cost Theory of Government

(second draft) (closer)

History says only that the development of a state – a monopoly bureaucracy – transfers high local transaction costs without central rents, to state rents and low transaction cost. Libertarians nearly universally ignore the evidence of universal transaction costs and free riding at the local level.

And they further ignore the demonstrated necessity using organized violence by a monopoly organization to suppress those transaction costs and free ridings (“local rents”), and to convert them into central rents in order to pay for such suppression.

The counter-argument is that states are in fact a neutral cost, and that we don’t spend enough on them in the suppression of transaction costs, because states provide multiples of return on that suppression. This is also demonstrable.

The question isn’t how we can do without the state (a corporation articulated as a monopoly definition of property rights ), but now that we have suppressed local transaction costs, and replaced them with centralized rents in order to produce the commons we call property rights – how do we suppress centralized rents while maintaining the suppression of transaction costs, and the ability to construct commons that such suppression of transaction costs and rents allows us to construct?

To argue that a monopoly definition of property rights is somehow “bad”, is irrational since property, obtained by homesteading and by voluntarily exchange, under the requirements for productivity, warranty and symmetry, is as far as I know, as logically consistent and exception-less as are mathematical operations on natural numbers. So the imposition of property rights cannot be illogical, immoral, unethical no matter how they are imposed since they define that which is logical, ethical and moral.

There is nothing wrong whatsoever with violence – in fact, it is violence with which we pay for property rights and liberty – it is our first, most important resource in the construction of liberty. Instead, the question is purely institutional: having used violence to centralize transaction costs into rents, how do we now use violence to eliminate rents from the central organization?

This is pretty easy: Universal standing, Universal Property rights, and Organically constructed, Common Law, predicated upon the one law of property rights as positive articulation of the prohibition on and the suppression of involuntary transfers: the demand for fully informed, productive, warrantied, voluntary exchanges free of externality. Because it is only under fully informed, productive, voluntary transfer, warrantied and free of externality that cooperation is rational, rather than parasitic. And only under rational cooperation is forgoing one’s opportunity to use violence equally rational.

The question becomes then, who prohibits the formation of authority and this falls to the citizenry: the militia – those who possess violence.

As far as I know this is the correct analysis of political evolution, and the correct theory for future political action.

Curt Doolittle 
The Propertarian Institute 
Kiev, Ukraine.


The Price of Property Rights

–“You don’t have a right to rights. Pay full price, like everyone else.”–  Eli Harman

–“The entrance fee to the land of Liberty is your contractual obligation to risk life, limb and property to obtain and defend it. Free riders have permission only – not Liberty. Only fee paying members have existential rights.”– Curt Doolittle

(Punish the wicked.)


Liberty: A Distributed Dictatorship of Free Men

Guest Post By Eli Harman

Liberty can triumph because liberty is the most robust sort of authoritarianism. You can kill a king. You can corrupt a democracy. But a distributed dictatorship of free men is practically irresistible and unassailable in comparison. Its power derives from a degree of all-seeing omnipresence that exceeds even the wildest fantasies of an autocrat; yet does not detract from its adaptability, resilience or ability to react rapidly to nearly any contingency.

( Damn.  Very smart. -Curt.)


(Sigh. You Can’t Fix Stupid)


I get a lot of criticism from my friends for trying to ‘help’ idiots. And yes, it is often a waste of time in the sense that you can’t change their thinking (much). On the other hand, I learn a lot about how to debate when I do argue with simple folk.

I saved today’s conversation with (well meaning person) Wes Lysander, and some other twits or two. I can’t post a pdf here so I’ll put it on my site.

But when I criticize ‘meaning’ rather than ‘truth’, and require definitions, that’s because meaning is dependent upon the imbecile’s abilities and knowledge, whereas truth is not.

Now, truth is yet another problematic word whose ‘meaning’ is degraded into analogy after analogy. Because the truth content of a term is that which survives testing, not that from which we derive meaning.

This is why I ask people in propertarianism to use terms only when they understand the entire spectrum in which that terminological point addresses a limited context. This is to ensure that we are not making argument by loose imprecise analogy.

Often arguments require multiple axis of causality and therefore multiple spectra.

So meaning is an exceptional device for deception, self deception, and error. (Yes I think I have settled that matter now – self deception is possible by intuitive desire.)

And the reduction of any term to that which survives the process of elimination by the use of multiple axis of constraint, defines the necessary properties of the term (true), and not the abuses of that term (meaning).

Just because I can use a shoe to hammer a nail does not mean it is honest to refer to a shoe as a hammer.

That is what appeals to ‘meaning’ attempt to do.


(1) Wes Lysander – Meritocracies_ China and India Democracies_..