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To: Architect
"Mises’ theory was actually quite simple, almost a tautology. People want what they want and they make choices based on their wants ... It is a self-evident truth, an axiom of the behaviour of the reasoning man. "

I strongly disagree, as I believe so does Fleming.

People smoke cigarettes even though they know they are increasing their chances of getting cancer. People don't take the time to put on their seatbelts even though they know they are slightly increasing their chances of worse bodily injury in a crash.

People basically do not reason well. People drink too much, smoke too much, watch too much TV, and spend too much time on FreeRepublic.

More to the point of Fleming's article, where do children fit into the scheme of rational decisions in the marketplace? Do we let kids buy all the candy their parents can afford, because thats what the kids "reasoned" this out?

Also, as transactions occur in the marketplace, relationships (sorry to have to bring up that nasty word again) develop among the rugged and rational individuals. People fall in love. People develop irrational hatreds based on feelings of having been had, e.g. buying a lemon from a used car dealer. And sometimes people decide to continue buying from a certain individual because they value the relationship they are developing more than the savings they could achieve through shopping around.

The problem with the special case of libertarian economic thought, which is a direct result of the problem with the general case of libertarian social thought, is the deemphasis on relationships and overemphasis on individuals.

We are not brought forth into this world as individuals, and none of us are capable of fully isolating ourselves from others once we achieve adulthood. We are not capable of making completely "reasonable" choices because we don't have all of the information, and we don't have the brain processing power to assimilate all of the information and process it to make that absolutely most effective decision. We just do the best we can.

And those that lean on their parents, siblings, friends, history, traditions, and community for help in making these decisions will tend to be a lot more successful and happy, than those who try to go it all alone.

Trying to create a world based on the fiction that people are independent agents is only going to lead to nonsensical results, i.e. the current state of things.

35 posted on 02/09/2002 2:22:22 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
People smoke cigarettes even though they know they are increasing their chances of getting cancer. People don't take the time to put on their seatbelts even though they know they are slightly increasing their chances of worse bodily injury in a crash.

Of course, they do. People have wants and they act in accordance with their wants. If someone smokes despite the danger, this obviously is because he has decided that whatever benefits he gets from smoking exceed the risk he takes. This decision may not fit what you call "rational", but the smoker has made this choice based on his own priorities. Similarly, the driver who refuses to belt up has made the decision to do so for his own reasons. This is why it's called the "Subjective Theory of Value".

We are creatures of free will. When a tiger kills its prey, it does so out of instinct. It has no more choice in this matter than does the victim. But when you decide to kill that calf because you like veal, that is a decision made by a being with free will - the capability to decide not to kill the calf.

This is Mises' point. Everything people do is freely chosen by the individual actor. If you decide to give into your instincts, that is a choice like any other. Personally I like veal. Which is why I eat it. I also happen to think that my likes supercede the rights of a dumb animal. Selfish, maybe. But that's my viewpoint.

37 posted on 02/10/2002 1:14:01 PM PST by Architect
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
"Mises’ theory was actually quite simple, almost a tautology. People want what they want and they make choices based on their wants ... It is a self-evident truth, an axiom of the behaviour of the reasoning man. "

I strongly disagree, as I believe so does Fleming.

People smoke cigarettes even though they know they are increasing their chances of getting cancer. People don't take the time to put on their seatbelts even though they know they are slightly increasing their chances of worse bodily injury in a crash.

People basically do not reason well. People drink too much, smoke too much, watch too much TV, and spend too much time on FreeRepublic.

He mentioned "reasoning man", but I don't he ever said the wants on which choices are made had to be rational. And if he did, he was wrong. In fact, the existence of irrational, subjective wants is further proof of the subjective theory of value. You haven't refuted it, not can you, because it happens to be true.

If something is objectively worth $1,000, it's still worth $1,000 if the average household has 20 of them laying around unused. That's absurd, of course. People will subjectively value it less if there's more of it, and so the price will fall. They'll value it more if, say, it's the hot toy this Christmas; not strictly rational, but it's confirmation of the subjective theory of value.

More to the point of Fleming's article, where do children fit into the scheme of rational decisions in the marketplace? Do we let kids buy all the candy their parents can afford, because thats what the kids "reasoned" this out?

You let them buy all the candy their parents let them buy.

Also, as transactions occur in the marketplace, relationships (sorry to have to bring up that nasty word again) develop among the rugged and rational individuals. People fall in love. People develop irrational hatreds based on feelings of having been had, e.g. buying a lemon from a used car dealer. And sometimes people decide to continue buying from a certain individual because they value the relationship they are developing more than the savings they could achieve through shopping around.

...

We are not brought forth into this world as individuals, and none of us are capable of fully isolating ourselves from others once we achieve adulthood. We are not capable of making completely "reasonable" choices because we don't have all of the information, and we don't have the brain processing power to assimilate all of the information and process it to make that absolutely most effective decision. We just do the best we can. And those that lean on their parents, siblings, friends, history, traditions, and community for help in making these decisions will tend to be a lot more successful and happy, than those who try to go it all alone.

You mean that people might let subjective factors influence how they value something?

Let me note that people fall in love, have kids, develope loyalties, ect, without the need for a government program to get them to do it. If you were wrong, if people weren't naturally social, and if you could prove that going against nature on that point would be necessary, that might form a case against libertarianism, but the facts as you have correctly stated them do not form such a case.

And avoiding a lemon-selling car dealer is rational.

Trying to create a world based on the fiction that people are independent agents is only going to lead to nonsensical results, i.e. the current state of things.

Good thing libertarians don't want to do that then. We merely want people to be independent of the government, which is, of course, not the same as society.

41 posted on 02/11/2002 7:14:27 PM PST by A.J.Armitage
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