Tag Archives: Capital

The parts of Böhm-Bawerk’s “Capital and Interest” that resonate most with me (updated as I read).

1. “Literally to ascribe to capital a power of producing value is thoroughly to misunderstand the essential nature of value, and thoroughly to misunderstand the essential nature of production. Value is not produced, and cannot be produced. What is produced is never anything but forms, shapes of material, combinations of material; therefore things, goods. These goods can of course be goods of value, but they do not bring value with them ready made, as something inherent that accompanies production. They always receive it first from outside—from the wants and satisfactions of the economic world. Value grows, not out of the past of goods, but out of their future. It comes, not out of the workshop where goods come into existence, but out of the wants which those goods will satisfy. Value cannot be forged like a hammer, nor woven like a sheet. If it could, our industries would be spared those frightful convulsions we call crises, which have no other cause than that quantities of products, in the manufacture of which no rule of art was omitted, cannot find the value expected. What production can do is never anything more than to create goods, in the hope that, according to the anticipated relations of demand and supply, they will obtain value.”

2. “There is no power in any element of production to infuse value immediately or necessarily into its products. A factor of production can never be an adequate source of value. Wherever value makes its appearance it has its ultimate cause in the relations of human needs and satisfactions. Any tenable explanation of interest must go back to this ultimate source.”

PDF here.

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Public Service Announcement

Here is my response to the blog post below (I have a sneaking suspicion that the author of this post will delete my response. As someone who has done this myself, I think I am justified in this belief. The response is as follows).

“They are mere shells of life eaten out by years of existence in a mechanized society where their energies, from their youth, have been subjected to the wills of bosses, to the deadening prod of identical external stimuli, and been used up in serving ends quite outside themselves. Now they are tired. There is nothing that they want to do — nothing that reflects any thought, or will, or quest, or direction of their own. They seek only relief from their boredom. They want only to be entertained.” I can understand that argument from one point. Yes, work is monotonous, and it sucks the soul out of individuals. But, to put it bluntly, “that’s just how it is”. There is no other alternative because there are no other effective ways to get the needs and desires of humans met. Whether you use your hands, a shovel, or a tractor, food must still come out of the ground, and it will take a certain amount of time, and specific weather, to grow. Whining and complaining about it is a crucial tool to get through the grueling monotony of what is necessary to keep life alive. But I get the sense (perhaps unfairly) that you are a communist. Once again, that could be completely unfair of me to make that judgment. If you are suggesting that life sucks, and are complaining about it, I’m right there with you. But the reason I sense communist sympathy is talk of the “mechanized society”, “subjected to the wills of bosses”, etc. I’d be interested to hear what your alternative to this situation would be. I’m not trying to be rude, but I would guess communism.

Also, sure, maybe we, as hunter-gatherers, weren’t “bored”, as we had to constantly be vigilant of the predator that would kill us. But is that somehow more “noble” than sitting, being bored, and watching television? Why does digging with a shovel make one more “noble” than using a tractor? Why does having an “easier” life make one a worse person? I don’t agree with that argument whatsoever. I certainly agree that television is garbage, and I lament at the brainlessness of it all. Is there something to be said about the average television watcher? Absolutely. They are condemnable on many fronts. But using that to attack “mechanization” or “bosses” is quite silly. Blaming “mechanization” and “bosses” on taking away ambition from an individual is ridiculous. The individual is not “forced” by “mechanization” or “bosses” to be unambitious. It is the “fault” of the individual. Maybe the caveman that hunted for food with a spear was more “ambitious” than the average television watcher today, but that is of little importance to me. To make a comparison equating “labor exerted” to “nobility” is ludicrous. Today, we may seek only relief from our boredom, but our ancient ancestors only sought relief from a constant, imminent death that was around them in more forms than we will ever experience in our entire lifetimes.

“And everywhere it drives men’s own thoughts and judgments out of their heads, deprives them of the condition for getting any thoughts or judgments of their own”. There’s certainly some truth to that. However, many people are limited intellectually. It is a tragic reality. How to “educate” them? Are they “educable”? Perhaps not. If not, we must lament, with our “live and let live” philosophy. We can critique all we want, but what else can we do? We should not be allowed to capture them, against their wills, and read them the greatest philosophical works ever written. “Live and let live” seems to be the only solution, accompanied by a fierce critique to anyone who will listen, if the parties so desire.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

On Laziness.

Television.

News.

Excerpts from “Breaking News: story 2 of the Apocalyptic series”.

It’s a great day to be alive.

It is so weird how, in the course of 10 years, you can go from wondering how this elusive, distant news media works with no real way to go behind the scenes and really figure it out to actually having the ability to be news media yourself, and learning it all on the fly. So not only did you not know how they were doing it, but now you do: but you also have the ability now to do the same thing. Because of modern technology. Fucking incredible. Even, say, in the past 20 years, it is unbelievable how much easier it has gotten to be news. 20 years is such a small period of time in the scope of human history. For so long, humans never had the opportunities we have today of delivering information on such a widespread scale. Of course, some religious conservatives may argue that life was better when we were only concerned with scrapping by on bare sustenance while we toiled away in the fields, slaves to the land we were born onto, only caring about our next meal, fighting against religious governments every so often. Those were “the good ol’ days“. “Back when ‘God-fearin” wutn’t just a phrase.” But, for some reason, it is always so easy for many people to overlook the good that is right in front of their face. Even pointing out this relative goodness, as compared to the past, isn’t enough to convince them that it is, in fact, good. Capitalism is aware of this fact more so than anything else.

Setting aside all of the previous technological advances of the past that completely changed humanity, I’m just going to focus on the internet here (and only for a little bit).

The fucking internet has changed everything.

It’s pulled back all of the curtains. It is basically like reading in a newspaper that something called “cars” have been invented in another country, and then, suddenly, you’re learning how to drive on roads yourself. Everyone knows how crazy the internet is, and how revolutionary it is, but damn. I don’t have any words to express just how unique the internet is in human history. Just thinking about papyrus, and parchment, and feathers, and ink (however it was made centuries ago (see? I can even look that up (if I wasn’t so lazy))), to the printing press, and how revolutionary that was in the scheme of human history. The mass printing of paper completely changed the world forever, for the better. I cannot imagine the extent of literature that exists in the world. It’s all because of that fucking Gutenberg Press. That one event just literally changed the world forever. Why in the fuck did it take as long as it did for it to show up?

And now, we have the internet. The new Gutenberg Press. The cat of electronic communication is out of the bag. It feels so surreal to be living through such a significant part of human history. To be one of the first. To be one of the relatively young, and to have, basically, my entire life with this medium. So many are catching it on the tail-end of their lives. I’ll have my whole life with it. There could, of course, be another dark age (something I should really do more research on now that (I can because of the internet) I don’t have my fingers in my ears chanting “God is in control, God is in control”). But it is hard for me to imagine that something as revolutionary as electronic social media could just disappear. One can’t help but be in awe of what we are all experiencing. Sure, the internet may be known for “cat videos“. “How can something so dumb and trivial be so important in the context of human history?” Of course, the internet is much more than cat videos. Much, much more. It is communication on a scale never before available on this planet. Ever. For as long as this planet has been here, there has never been communication as simple to access and as wide-reaching as the communication that exists today. Think of that. Think of all of the ancient texts that didn’t have this. How they were written, distributed. Think of the ones that have been around for centuries, if not a millennium at this point. Hell, even longer than that. How remarkable is it that written ideas could last that long? Now, we have electronic storage. Previously, it was paper. And even then, the words lasted for centuriesif not longer. Think of how hard it would’ve been to make the paper, and then distribute it. By a miracle, they made it to today. Of course, maybe we don’t have an original copy. But the words keep being printed, generation after generation. It truly makes you wonder about the work that editors do, but I digress.

The words keep getting older, but now they’re more easily available than ever before. Reminds me of evolution: survival of the fittest. Perhaps if the words have survived this long, they’re worth a read. Not only is it remarkable in the sense of how old the texts are, but it is easier than ever before to read them. That is truly incredible. We have something here that no one else has ever had. Human history is misery after misery after misery. One has to compare “the old days” to today, because the old days were just horrific. Medicine has changed the world. Production has changed the world. It truly is weird that I am here, on this planet, at this time, and not some time in the past. I could’ve been living with a dirt floor, in a dirt hut, eating and growing potatoes my entire life, using a rock to dig the dirt. No books to read, no meat to eat. Just eat potatoes and then die at 30 (if I’m lucky) from some disease. And that just happens again, and again, and again. But the fact that we are where we are today speaks to human ingenuity. It speaks to the humans of the past, who just wanted easier ways of doing things, or just happened upon them by means only God can understand. All of the stepping stones have led us to where we are today. They had it rough, and made it so much easier on us. We truly are blessed to have a life force, and to have it be alive today. We’re the luckiest people in history. In. History. That’s a pretty long damn time. How can that not instill awe?

The sad thing for me is that I have, so often in my life, not been able to appreciate the reality that was in front of me. I grew up thinking the world was this evil, sinful place to avoid. And it has caused me to avoid a good perspective on humanity; a good perspective on history, on the sciences, and everything else that religion always fucks up. A good perspective on relationships, sexuality: it has tainted my vision for so long that I still cling to it. Even while learning, it still clings to me. I suppose that at least being aware of it is a good thing. But I can only imagine what my perspective of the world would’ve been if I would’ve never been introduced to religious conservatism. I can only imagine it would’ve been a whole lot holier and more fulfilling than the way it has been almost my entire life. When my perspective is not being tainted by a history of religious conservatism, I can only imagine what my perspectives are going to be regarding the life I am living at the time. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to play out for me. Incredible.

The internet shows what men can accomplish through freedom. That, perhaps, is the biggest lesson of all of this. This truly speaks to the geniuses who created these things, regardless of how much of the future they could envision.

Sometimes, the most beautiful thing is the right perspective.

An Uneducated Perspective of Art (Specifically, Comedy) on the Internet

It is fascinating to think of all of the different artistic things created throughout human history. The number of writings, songs, etc. The fact that music almost 40 years old is still listened to; that writing 60, 100, 180 years old is still read.

I have this weird fear of things like the internet disappearing. When something is good, surely something bad is going to happen, and wipe it out, right? I fear that the internet is a fad: that things are eventually going to disappear as time goes along. All the good stuff just gone, and we’re left with destitution and misery. Much like the Dark Ages. (Don’t tell me that the world wouldn’t end just because the internet disappears. Please tell me you aren’t so stupid as to not understand my point).

But I desire to develop a new perspective about art and history. I hope that things put on the internet last forever. That the internet lasts forever. That it becomes a medium as resilient as the book. Radio. Television. That the songs put on it remain in people’s ears for 30, 50 years. That the comedy put on it leaves an impression like “Da Bears”. I think that with any new medium (don’t split hairs: the internet’s popularity is relatively “new” regardless of how long it has been around), there’s reservations. I’m sure that, throughout history, when a new technology came along, people thought it was a fad. That it would disappear. Even if they didn’t want it to. But the fact that they didn’t want it to helped keep it alive. Producers kept producing what the consumers wanted. That’s how capitalism works.

This gives me hope for the internet. A lot of the common thoughts about the internet that exist today will be gone tomorrow. Because it is still so relatively new, people are experiencing it differently than they will once it is established, in my opinion. Being able to read and write joke after joke, and share it with people, is a very interesting thing. Before the internet, how did you tell your jokes? Did you even have any? Did you even invest the time to think about them due to the fact that it was much harder to share them with anyone? How did you tell them if you did? Joke with friends? Stand-up if you were really serious about it? Being fortunate enough to enter television as a writer, actor, etc.? But the internet has completely changed the entertainment game. Much like the transition from live theatre performances to television. The internet is going to change all forms of media. Other forms of media, like terrestrial radio, and, especially, television, are having to compete with the internet. (And they are going to lose, unless they successfully lobby to censor the internet). There are new celebrities being created, new talents discovered and honed, and a wealth of comedy unlike the world has ever seen.

There’s one thing that I’m quite fearful of regarding censorship on the internet. I have never talked about it because I have feared that I’d give “the elites” nefarious ideas, but the truth is that they already have them, so speaking out only informs the public that stands the best chance of combating that nefariability. Let’s use Youtube as an example. Let’s compare it to television and terrestrial radio. In television and radio, the FCC limits certain words from being transmitted over the airwaves. I’m no expert in this field, but, apparently, if you broadcast certain words over the radio, or television at certain times of day, you can lose your license. Am I wrong about this? If I’m not, what is the license for, exactly? I think it is to broadcast at a certain wavelength without interference. I’m not too sure. I have often thought the government was somehow trying to impose its own moralistic sensibilities upon free speech with regards to the FCC. But maybe there’s more to the story than that. Regardless, the internet is different. It’s quite weird to me. Certain cusswords are always censored over the radio. On television, they are censored most of the time, but it depends on the channel, and, sometimes, even on the time of day. But the internet is completely different. People cuss constantly on the internet. And it’s great. People are free to produce and consume what they want. There will never be a time more free in the internet’s history than right now. As time goes along, more and more government restrictions will be placed on it. That’s simply how “progress” works, even if it’s horrible. The libertarianism on the internet is fantastic. It should be cherished. Want to watch Youtube videos where there is no cussing? Just type in “no cussing” with whatever else it is you are looking for. There’s always a supply to meet the demand. There will never be a time of greater free expression on the internet than today. This makes me very sad, but I appreciate today. I hope we keep forced censorship off of the internet forever. Its impact cannot be measured enough.

I am very interested to see how it all goes, and I hope to contribute a little bit to this “internet world”.

I hope it never goes away.

I feel like the internet is very easily dismissed by people, say, 40 and older. At least, it just feels that way. Of course, there are elderly people that understand the power of the internet. Maybe they were some of the ones that contributed to the infrastructure. But, as is always the case, the elderly are the slowest to adopt to the new technologies.

It is interesting to think that people in their 40s today will, if they live to be 80, have spent 40 years on the internet. What changes will be made to the internet by then? It’s also interesting to think of the 50 year olds that will be on the internet then. What will the children who have spent their entire lives on the internet be like? For some reason, old people like to condemn kids that spend too much time in front of “screens”. It doesn’t matter that television has been around since the 40s, movies before that, and that children ever since then have been glued to “screens”. “Oh, but the screen wasn’t that close to their face,” you may say. You’re overreacting. It always is the case that older generations worry about the “younger generations”. That’s just how it is. I do, and will do, the same thing. It’s part of the natural flow.

But it is interesting to think about. I have often heard about how technology has changed people’s lives, but I’ve never really sat and thought about it. Not just “technology” by today’s common vernacular, but things like cars, sewing machines, etc. Technology is here to stay, and it always will be. Barring a complete one world government takeover that lasts for generations or natural disaster where all prior knowledge is completely destroyed, and we must start human development from scratch, like Adam and Eve, technology is here to stay. And that gives me immense comfort.

There’s also always an envy of the younger generations by the older generations. “Back in my day, we had to walk uphill both ways.” That isn’t completely untrue. Older generations always have had it harder. And it is understandable why they would be resentful of younger generations that really do have it easier in many ways. It really does make you feel pity for those that were raised during times when “modern” conveniences didn’t even exist. At least some of them are content anyway. That’s all we can ever really ask for, isn’t it? Contentment. It’s also sad to think of all of those who are missing out not only on the internet, but a warm meal. There just always has to be someone getting fucked over by life. It has always been that way, and it always will be. There is no perfect solution to make everyone happy all of the time. But there certainly remains something to be said for those that lend a helping hand in the moment.

I can’t wait to continue to be moulded by “modern technology” (currently, the internet, in particular) and see how it affects me as the years go on. I can’t wait to see the advancements, and the forms of art created through various technological means.

This is a much healthier perspective to have about technology than condemning it because of “kids these days” (this is a very good video, by the way). I’m going to continue contributing various things to servers, and I hope that everyone else continues to do the same.

I can’t wait to see where all of this goes, and how it affects me.

Also, I’m not going to go into detail about it here, but I’m interested to see how copyright and the internet play out over time. What happens to “fair use”, torrenting, etc. Very interested in seeing how all of this plays out.

What a time to be alive.

Halle-fucking-lujah.

(I have also failed to mention the political implications of advancements in technology, such as the NSA. I’ll have to go into detail about that at a future time, however).

There’s one more thing I want to mention about the internet, and that is advertising. Along with copyright issues, and the ever-present threat of government tyranny, advertising (or, specifically, adblocking) present the greatest possibility for changes to the internet. Older people do not know about adblocking like the younger generations do. Tech-savvy people know more about it than “the average person”. But as time goes along, more and more people will be using adblockers. Of course, the coders who get paid through advertisements are going to develop new ways around the adblockers. But, the adblockers will continue developing new ways around the adblocker blockers. Will it some day be illegal to install an adblocker? Is it already illegal in some countries? How will they ultimately affect the internet? Youtube is already attempting to respond. That’s why they are offering “Youtube Red”. They’re missing out on a lot of money. What are they going to do when, inevitably, no one uses Youtube Red? All they can do, it seems, is code around the adblockers. Find out how they work, and get around them. And, of course, the adblockers will do the same thing. Back and forth, back and forth. It has been reported that Youtube is unprofitable, and it’s understandable why. It’s because of the adblockers, and because of the operating costs of the number of servers that they must have to keep Youtube what it is, etc. There are costs involved in creating a free platform where anyone can upload pretty much anything. Google bought Youtube, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they sell it. To Yahoo, maybe? Wouldn’t that be a shit video platform. How are they ultimately going to recoup money lost by adblockers? No doubt, they will attempt to keep coding around the coders attempting to code around them.

Clearly, the advertisers are paying for the “free and open” internet.

Once again, the fate of the internet is a very interesting thing indeed.

And the market will figure it out, as it always does, as long as we don’t give governments too much power.

“‘Money’ is just a figment of our imagination……………………………………………………….but gold can’t be money. And neither can anything except for government-issued paper currency.”

I find it odd that many people that say that money is just a “figment of our imagination” (which is kind of true, but it’s still necessary for practical purposes that many of these people don’t realize), don’t seem to understand that anything can be money, and it doesn’t have to be the almighty American dollar…

This is important because they recognize that money only has value because we say it does, but suggest to them that gold (or anything else, for that matter, including seashells (as historically has been the case), etc.) can be money, and they don’t seem to apply their previous logic that money is just a “figment of our imagination.”

Why can’t they piece 2 and 2 together?

Cognitive dissonance from the Left…

And from the Right, too.

Liberal.

Fem.

Economics.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

Capital, and the never-ending series of philosophical questions

The amazing thing about capital is that production increases and becomes easier.

That is what people condemn when they condemn capitalism, whether they recognize it or not.

More of something is produced, which means that more of something is available to more people, and the production becomes easier, meaning that you have more free time available to you to do other things and you don’t have to work as hard nor as long as you would have had you not had that capital (like digging by hand instead of using a bulldozer).

Anti-capitalists may have good intentions about making things easier, but they make things harder by destroying capital, and capital is simply making things easier and cheaper to do, and when something is easier to do and cheaper to do, you do more of it.

That is why anti-capitalists kill economies and increase poverty.

That isn’t even considering all of the violence that comes from killing capitalism.

At some point, I am going to write a detailed analysis of why it is that people hate capitalism as well as why it is that people don’t understand certain things, but the thing that scares me is that if I ever solved these things, I feel like I would be so close to a sense of ultimate reality  of truth that I feel like I wouldn’t have much time left on the Earth.

I’ve always had this fear (as do most people) that when things are good, things are going to be bad really soon.

I think a part of that is religious conditioning that taught me to avoid good things to do “holy” things, but I think that this fear will disappear over time and that I can fully be at peace with the ultimate truths of subjects and just not worry about anything anymore.

I am confident that this will be the case, and I hope that it occurs sooner rather than later.

(This was originally going to be a Facebook status, but it is a “last-worthy” blog post: Facebook statuses disappear more easily than blog posts; this post also inspired this status).

January 21, 2014.

A Short Message to People That Are Afraid of Machinery Taking Away Jobs

To the people that are afraid of machinery taking away jobs: would you not like machines to do everything for you and not have to work? Would you rather “be working” by washing clothes in a wash bin instead of being “unemployed” while your washing machine does the work?

Do you not see how you have more time freed up to do other things? Do you not see how productivity was increased with less effort? The same applies to a free-market capitalist system: when you are replaced, products become cheaper (which means easier for you to buy as well), and your time is freed up to find a new job which will be more beneficial for the economy, which means that it will be beneficial to you as well. Because everyone is looking for profit, inevitably, there will be markets created to replace old ones (whichever markets produce the most money will win out), which means that these new markets will employ people, replacing the old jobs. Things inevitably become easier in a free-market, capitalist system and that is exactly its purpose: to make things cheaper and easier.

Is that not what you want? To have things cheaper and easier? What happened when cell phones replaced rotary phones? Rotary phone employees lost their jobs, but they were replaced by cell phone employees. Why do you not hire a stenographer if you want more people employed instead of using a computer? If we discount the number of people required to initially build the computer, would you rather hire a stenographer for all of your writings or use a computer? Are you not better off by using the computer? Why? Did you increase productivity with less effort? Is this not what wealth is?

What if the stenographer now makes computers? What about all of the jobs that would have never been created without the invention of computers? What about all of the lost wealth and time that would have gone to wages and work for yourself? Why is increased profits and increased free time good for you, and a whole economy?

Because when you consume with your profits, you are employing your producer, and the more money you have to consume, the more money the producers you are buying from have to consume, and the more that they are buying for consumption. This is why everybody wins with free-market capitalism.

Learn more here: Henry Hazlitt – Economics in One Lesson.

August 18, 2013.

Things that I have for sale on Kindle.

Where you can financially support me if you so desire.