Saturday, April 8, 2006

Socialism cannot calculate

Now available from the Ludwig Von Mises Institute:

What if business could not calculate profit or loss? What if there were no market prices available to permit such calculations? What if there were no private property in the means of production to form the basis of market exchanges from which such prices emerge?

That is the world that socialism creates, and it yields nothing but chaos. Planners grope in the dark for guidance and end up killing not only efficiency but human initiative and freedom. Socialism can't calculate, and, because it cannot, it destroys civilization.

In tribute to this truth, so magnificently demonstrated by Ludwig von Mises in 1920--to the shock and horror of the socialists of the world--we offer the Mises Institute calculator with the following words: Socialism Can't Calculate.

We promise you that there is nothing else like it in the world. We toyed with the idea of making the calculations turn out incorrect, but rejected this idea in the name of making something useful that also makes a hugely important point.

27 comments:

Pietr said...

You forgot to mention, socialism ends up killing people.

Honey Pot said...

How does it kill people?

No form of government is perfect. Need a wee bit of everything to make it work, is what I think.

Though our government is corrupt, it is preferable to any other. You are going to get corrupt people no matter what system you have.

Pietr said...

How does it kill people?
Well, Stalin's version starved them to death.
Hitler's version gassed, burned and shot them.
Pol Pot's sent them off to the Killing Fields.

All socialist economies have at one time or another depended on foreign aid to keep starvation away, including Britain's. Remember the IMF loans in 1978? Or the US gold shipments in 1968?

mark said...

I heard communism died 15 years ago. Move on.

Pietr said...

The communists told the world communism was finished back in 1925.
Fortunately enough people 'got over' that for you to be able to try again after 1990.

Honey Pot said...

Wouldn't drug dealer's be the ultimate capitalist? Their own code, own laws. No taxes, winner take all mentality. Kill what gets in your way, and the weak. I am not sure if that is what mankind should be aiming for.

Lisa said...

Honey;

Go read "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt. Available in pdf format here.

Perhaps afterwards we can have a more meaningful conversation that avoids the use of essentially meaningless terms like "mankind" and the goals he "should be aiming for."

Lisa said...

By the way HP, the Shedden masacres are not the result of libertarians exercising their "rights".

Honey Pot said...

Isn't a libertarian, a person who upholds the principles of absolute and unrestricted liberty, especially of thought and action? Sounds like biker gang mentality to me Lisa.

For example...I am going to sell drugs, coz I want to, and I can make lots of money. I am going to shoot people who get in my way, coz I can. That is absolute and unrestricted liberty. Do you suppose being a libertarian would be more suited for people void of conscious.

Pietr said...

The first point about liberty is that it requires guarantors.
If it is universally applied, it cannot distinguish between individuals who haven't violated each other.

Honey Pot said...

...but wouldn't guarantors imply law? Wouldn't law imply a lack of freedom?

Say for example if you had a penchant for scratching your fingernails down a chalkboard. To you that means freedom, to others it is just dam annoying. Should your idea of freedom be tolerated, or should the majority of other freedom lovers be able to kill you?

Lisa said...

HP;

Apparently you didn't read the book I recommended. Here are some more recommendations for you and something else for you to consider. Reproduced from a previous comment:

"As I have said before, "the presence of bad people in the world is all the more reason to get rid of governments, which tend to be made up of leeches and nannies, with the apparent sanction of voters. As I have asked before, if most people need 'guidance', then how can they be trusted to make sound decisions on election day? And even if the legislators have the best will in the world, how can they be said to be endowed with the godlike ability to choose for us all, including the ones who did not vote for the popular regime? How can my neighbour's needs or desires be said to justly trump mine? By what standard and by what right?"

I highly recommend "The Ethics of Liberty" by Murrary Rothbard, also "The Law", by Frederic Bastiat and "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt. The complete texts are available online and are all linked to on the sidebar of the London Fog.

Honey Pot said...

I shall do that Lisa, read those books, even if they are just another special interest groups idea of the way things should be done. I want you to read Jeffery Sachs, "The End of Poverty." I just go with what makes sense to me. I guess that is all we can do.

gm said...

"The Mystery of Capital" Hernando Desoto

"Imagine a country," de Soto says, "where nobody can identify who owns what, addresses cannot be verified and the rules that govern property vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, or even from street to street." This is what life is like, he says, for 80 percent of the people in the developing world and the former Communist countries. Through "extralegal" businesses and home building, de Soto reckons, the world's poor have accumulated assets worth $9 trillion -- 20 times the direct foreign investment in the third world since the Berlin Wall fell and more than 46 times as much as the World Bank has lent in the last three decades....


But because these assets are not "paperized" in the formal documents and legal structures common in the West, they can't function productively as capital. People can't use their homes as collateral for loans to expand businesses, for example. They can't trade things beyond the small circle where they're known and trusted. The poor live outside the law this way because living within the law is impossible: corrupt legal systems and warped rules force those at the bottom of the world economy to spend years leaping absurd hurdles to do things by the book. It's this "legal apartheid," de Soto insists -- not "cultural" factors like religion or the legacy of colonialism -- that explains why some peoples thrive and others don't.

What's more, de Soto adds impishly, the third world's pervasive denial of property rights resembles nothing so much as the United States in the 1800's. Remember the gold rush, when all those miners squatted and staked their claims with shotguns? Over the ensuing decades, Uncle Sam eventually ratified the ownership realities that had been recognized by communities on the ground. De Soto wants to do the same for the world's untitled masses, formalizing real-estate and business ownership in ways that turn "dead" capital into fuel for growth. This, in a nutshell, is de Soto's spiel.

Pietr said...

Law exists solely to protect freedom.
That is the only justification for laws.

Honey Pot said...

...yeah, but having any law restricts someone's freedom. One person's idea of freedom might not be anothers. If it is more than one, it is collective. If it is collective it cancels out a libertarians ideology.


Ok Lisa, I am reading "The Ethics of Liberty" by Murray Rothbard. I am on the natural law thingmajig. I take it he means to say that everything has a natural consequence. I agree with that part so far. He seems like he was an eccentric old fellow, a wee bit kooky.

You being a Rothbardian sort of makes me think you are a wee bit confused on his philosphy. His stance on children being put in daycares is very clear. Dr. Rothbard holds that parents have the right to abandon their children at any time, regardless of the consequences. Rothbard believes parents have the right to abandon children because we all have the right to abandon anything that requires our continued labor.

Lisa said...

HP;

but having any law restricts someone's freedom. One person's idea of freedom might not be anothers. If it is more than one, it is collective. If it is collective it cancels out a libertarians ideology.

Does the current law against murder restrict "the freedom" of the murderer? The point is that the murderer is actually "free" to murder whomever he pleases, but it is wrong, except in cases of self-defense, because he has initiated the use of force against another unjustly.

You are confusing government laws with natural laws. The right to non-inference requires no actions on the part of others except that they mind their own business. The use of force is never justified except in the act of self-defense.

Faith does not cancel out reality.

Reread Rothbard's text. He has no problem with daycares and adoptions, so long as they are voluntary exchanges.

No matter the society, we are going to have fucked up people abandoning their kids and stealing from their neighbour. The less incentive for such behaviour, the better.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe's introduction to Rothbard's book is a helpful:

in claiming ethical questions to be outside the realm of science and then predicting that property rights will be assigned in accordance with utilitarian benefit considerations or should be so assigned by government judges, one is likewise proposing an ethic. It is the ethic of statism, in one or both of two forms: either it amounts to a defense of the status quo, whatever it is, on the grounds that lastingly existing rules, norms, laws, institutions, etc., must be efficient as otherwise they would already have been abandoned; or it amounts to the proposal that conflicts be resolved and property rights be assigned by state judges according to such utilitarian calculations.

[..] If a person A were not the owner of his physical body and all goods originally appropriated, produced or voluntarily acquired by him, there would only exist two alternatives. Either another person, B, must then be regarded as the owner of A and the goods appropriated, produced, or contractually acquired by A, or both parties, A and B, must be regarded as equal co-owners of both bodies and goods.

In the first case, A would be B's slave and subject to exploitation. B would own A and the goods originally appropriated, produced, or acquired by A, but A would not own B and the goods homesteaded, produced, or acquired by B. With this rule, two distinct classes of people would be created—exploiters (B) and exploited (A)—to whom different "law" would apply. Hence, this rule fails the "universalization test" and is from the outset disqualified as even a potential human ethic, for in order to be able to claim a rule to be a "law" (just), it is necessary that such a rule be universally—equally—valid for everyone.
In the second case of universal co-ownership, the requirement of equal rights for everyone is obviously fulfilled. Yet this alternative suffers from another fatal flaw, for each activity of a person requires the employment of scarce goods (at least his body and its standing room). Yet if all goods were the collective property of everyone, then no one, at any time and in any place, could ever do anything with anything unless he had every other co-owner's prior permission to do what he wanted to do. And how can one give such a permission if one is not even the sole owner of one's very own body (and vocal chords)? If one were to follow the rule of total collective ownership, mankind would die out instantly. Whatever this is, it is not a human either.

Thus, one is left with the initial principles of self-ownership and original appropriation, homesteading. They pass the universalization test—they hold for everyone equally—and they can at the same time assure the survival of mankind. They and only they are therefore non-hypothetically or absolutely true ethical rules and human rights.

Honey Pot said...

You are confusing government laws with natural laws. The right to non-inference requires no actions on the part of others except that they mind their own business.-Lisa

...but wouldn't that make us sub-human if we didn't care, if we didn't take action? No one minds their own business, Rothbard surely didn'tt. He is espousing his point of view en masse. That makes him at least a busy body if not a wannabe gatekeeper, doesn't it? I take it he went to a University that surely was subsidized by government grants in one way or another. He would have qualified for government grants. Does that not make him a high falutin' welfare recipient?

Pietr said...

Good law cannot restrict someone's freedom.
It only restricts their criminality.

Honey Pot said...

Who gets to say what is criminal? Is that an individual choice, or a collective choice? I think it is all about evolution, thinking and collective consensus myself.

Pietr said...

It's very simple.
Equality(you've heard of that right?)means that no person is able legally to impose arbitrarily on another.
That would be criminal.
Geddit?

Honey Pot said...

We have that now, don't we? What is the problem?

Pietr said...

No.
We don't have that now.
What we have now is the exact opposite.
When I can lay legal claim to your property or time(say, if I need Caps on my teeth), then we have the opposite.
The same goes for every sort of government sponsored expenditure.

Honey Pot said...

For example if you needed a heart transplant, and you didn't have the money to pay for one, we should let you die? I am not sure too many would go for that, unless you were rich.... and didn't give a fuck about anyone else. That every man, woman and child for themselves isn't going to work. Most animals will protect their young. It is a bitch, but we're human, and when it comes right down to the crunch, we tend to look after each other. I think humans think quid pro quo. We all have to pay into things, but we all benefit from them in one way or another.

Pietr said...

I am quite happy to let you and any number of people look after each other; you can even put some of your money into a common pool.
But I don't see where tearing down all of our legal protection and placing our fates at the disposal of some sort ofpolitician achieves a better outcome for any sick person.
Murder doesn't solve world hunger.
Neither does suicide.

Honey Pot said...

It is our fault, it is called apathy. We do get the government we deserve. How many people even vote in Canada? How many people in Canada have a clue what is going on around them? I would say not many. I too, am sick when I see how government corruption is accepted, and considered the norm. We are just going to have to wait until the gatekeepers do something real wicked to wake the common people. I think the the shit will hit the fan when the tory government tries to opt out of universal health care. Canadians are too dumb to get riled about much, but they aren't ready to put grannie on an iceberg, and float her out on the Atlantic ocean yet.

Pietr said...

Speak for yourself.
Granny can go to Iceland for all I care.
Mine died thirty years ago.