Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Capitalism is Inherently Long-Term

Capitalism depends upon the accumulation of capital in order to implement more indirect methods of production. Capital makes it possible to build a complex system of production, supporting those who build it and the entrepreneur in the gap between laying its foundation and bringing the product to market. As, over time, production processes become ever more complex the tendency is for the views of capitalists to stretch further into the future.

This view is in contradiction to the general view that capitalism is short term, but that view seems to be more oriented to the financial side of economic activity. Finance, especially in the world of fiat currency, is largely short term as it is not oriented to funding productive processes.
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Can We Expect From the Free Market?

All that the free market guarantees is that individuals may pursue their own values. To the extent that the market is not free, some individuals are able to pursue their values at the expense of others.

The free market is essentially an individualist utilitarian environment in which one maximizes utility. This environment is different from that of classical utilitarianism in that it is not political. Policies are not set and imposed on populations through some fantastic calculation or estimate of costs and benefits, but are lived by market participants with profit and loss being the sole arbiter of success and failure.

In such an environment, experiments are welcome and the failures affect only the participants - not society at large. It is unfortunate that Karl Popper, if Bryan Magee can be taken at his word, believed that the best society was one in which problems could be solved most rapidly through experimentation and falsification of wrong theories, but never fully embraced the free market as the appropriate avenue to do that.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Observational Evidence for a priori Knowledge

Karl Popper, the philosopher of science, quite clearly supports the concept of a priori knowledge. Not knowledge as in knowing the laws of gravitation, but knowledge as in knowing about and how to deal with gravitation.

In the essay "The Epistemological Position of Evolutionary Epistemolgy" in the essay collection All Life is Problem Solving, Popper suggests that life must know something about the universe in order to survive through even the first few minutes of its existence.
For the adaptation of life to its environment is a kind of knowledge. Without this minimal knowledge, life cannot survive.
The observable fact that life exists tells us that this knowledge, which Popper calls "genetically a priori," also exists.

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