no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Marx’s Circularity

January 5th, 2010

Aside from what I’ve previously written about Marx, I keep examining his peculiar brand of “economics”. After all, it laid the groundwork for most of the past century’s public policy (and subsequent catastrophes), and  pretty much all of what we’ll be forced to bear for the foreseeable future, as well. So I just can’t let it go.

Per Marx, exploitation is the result of primitive accumulation (a topic I’ve already thoroughly discussed). And over-accumulation is what ultimately leads to the exploitation of the proletariat.  But so-called over-accumulation depends upon exploitation, right?

As it stands, it’s an insoluble problem. If it were one or the other, we could resolve the root problem.

It can’t be both. Exploitation can’t be the cause of accumulation, if accumulation is a necessary condition for exploitation.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t catch this before. I just noticed it. Until you see this as circular nonsense, Marxists will be able to use either one of those arguments or the other against you, depending on the situation.

c montgomery burnsFurthermore, Marx assumes, that the evil, cut-throat C. Montgomery Burns-style capitalists unwaveringly collude with one another, to the detriment of the proletariat, even though it is in their individual best interests to break these thieves’ pacts.

Circularity, again. How can the capitalists be so evil as to force less-than-subsistence upon the proletariat, but at the same time not evil enough to undermine, to wreck an economically precarious cartel (all cartels are economically precarious)?

By ignoring competition between capitalists and taking as a given collusion among capitalists, the “race to the bottom” maxim is a foregone conclusion setting the stage nicely for class warfare (where Marx is also wrong!).

When exercised, Marx’s ideas have resulted in super-states (cf. USSR, USA, etc.) and witch hunts, the likes of which put Salem to shame (Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. The Gulag Archipelago Vol. 1).

If I could choose one man, whose ideas would be forever erased from the minds of men, from their libraries and records, it would be Karl Marx.

55.7 Million Reasons to Reject Public Financing for Sports Arenas

November 19th, 2009

The next time someone tells you that the taxpayer residents of a city or urban area need to help some billionaire businessman finance the construction of a sports arena where he’ll sell you $5 hot dogs and $9 beers, remember the Pontiac Silverdome’s epic fail.

Vacant about 99% of the time since 2002, the ‘Dome has been maintained of late by the City of Pontiac, at an annual cost (to taxpayers) of about $1.5M.

As recently as 2005, the City refused a $20M purchase offer. This week, the City of Pontiac (MI) accepted a bid to purchase the Silverdome, nestled among 127 sprawling acres of crumbling concrete and lightpots, on the outskirts of 20.2 square miles of blight known as the “City of Pontiac”, for $583,000.

Five-hundred eighty-three thousand dollars. That’s about $8 per seat; the cost of a single domestic draft beer at most Stadiums today.

Home to the Detroit Lions of the NFL for 25 years before they built the sweet new Ford Field stadium in Downtown Detroit, the Silverdome cost $55.7 million to build, adjusted for inflation that’s something like $250-600 million, depending on how you calculate it.

Ford Field , which cost over $400M to build, like the Silverdome and most modern arenas, was financed largely by public (i.e., taxpayer) funds which were justified by spurious claims of “urban renewal”, “development”, “jobs”, “tax base” and other economic bullshit.

On Value, Subjective

November 2nd, 2009

One accusation I’ve seen raised against the subjective theory of value is that the Subjectivists are guilty of equivocation, substituting the perception of value (a subjective, self-local opinion) for “value” (defined as a property innate to an object or product).

Menger makes it abundantly clear, however, and takes pain to repeat himself on several occasions in Principles, Ch.3, that no such property or characteristic as “value” exists in the first place.

Value is therefore nothing inherent in goods, no property of them, but merely the importance that we first attribute to the satisfaction of our needs, that is, to our lives and well-being, and in consequence carry over to economic goods as the exclusive causes of the satisfaction of our needs…

The value of goods is therefore nothing arbitrary, but always the necessary consequence of human knowledge that the maintenance of life, of well-being, or of some ever so insignificant part of them, depends upon control of a good or a quantity of goods…

[Value] is a judgment economizing men make about the importance of the goods at their disposal for the maintenance of their lives and well-being. Hence value does not exist outside the consciousness of men.

At a glance then, it is not the Subjectivists who are guilty of equivocation. It is exactly the opposite.

no third solution

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