Thursday, 19 July 2018

Another Disagreement With Brodersen

In Poul Anderson's The Avatar, Dan Brodersen's first wife was politically assassinated. Brodersen rightly condemns the assassination, then discusses the politics:

"'...terrorists...issued an anonymous announcement that they were protesting the Ruedas' hogging the benefits of space development from the masses...The Ruedas...'re rich, because their ancestors had the wit to invite private space enterprise to Peru. But hogging the wealth? Why, suppose the money was divided equally among the oprimidos. What sum would each person get? And where'd the capital come from for the next investment? ...when will these world savior types learn some elementary economics?'" (V, p. 53)

Observations And Questions
Should wealth be inherited?

Although " savior types..." is probably a valid description of people who think that they can solve problems by planting bombs, there are many others who want to help to transform society but who do not think that they can change the world by their own unaided efforts, still less by acts of individual violence.

There are ways to redistribute the wealth created by labor - and also to plan for the future - other than handing every member of the population a small amount of money.

Revolutionaries include students of economics. Indeed, one famous theoretician analyzed "Capital" and explained the inevitability of the decline in the rate of profit!

The phrase, "elementary economics," should not be used to mean the workings of one particular economic system.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I agree with Dan Brodersen on both the politics and the economics!

Yes, wealth should be inherited, whether in small or large sums. WHY should any man bother to work well or hard if he can't hope to leave something for his children?

And I have absolutely NO use for the pie in the sky types who advocate "transforming" human societies, what ever that means. It's hard enough for a society to slowly and gradually IMPROVE over generations and centuries without impossible nonsense about somehow magically making human beings perfect bollixing up things!

I also absolutely oppose using the coercive powers of the state, any state, to "redistribute" wealth or property. By what RIGHT can the state seize wealth or property a man lawfully holds, merely on the grounds he has "too much"? By what arbitrary standard is that going to be determined?

I have no use for Marxist economics. ALL of Marx's distinctive ideas were long ago exploded, esp. by the economists of the Austrian school. I refer to the works of Bohm-Bawerk and Ludwig von Mises in particular.

I also agree with Brodersen's use of "elementary economics." I found far more wisdom in Adam Smith's THE WEALTH OF NATIONS than in anything written by Marxists. Because Smith took as the basis of his analysis what people actually DO, not what theorists think people should do.


Nicholas D. Rosen said...

Kaor, Paul!

Another famous theoretician* analyzed progress and poverty and noted that the interest on capital fell, just as the wages of labor could be observed to fall as frontier conditions gave way to a higher level of development. He did not find it inevitable that “profit” would fall, however; some people and businesses were making large profits from owning land, or from other special advantages.

*Yes, Henry George was a famous theoretician; a friend of mine sent me a graph recently, indicating that prior to the Russian Revolution, there more references in English-language literature to Henry George than to Karl Marx, although this was not the case in German.

Best Regards,