Jordan Peterson Does A Devastating Critique Of The Communist Manifesto

In his usual meticulous way, Jordan Peterson does a devastating critique of The Communist Manifesto.

I note that he also has recognized a point I’ve made before. That there’s a communication and control bottleneck in centralized government decision making.

A few times now I’ve described this issue of “data flow limits”, often with the example of a Hotdog Cart. In classical economics there’s the concept of Minimum Economic Scale (how big must an enterprise be to function efficiently enough to survive) AND MAXIMUM Economic Scale. At what size do the DIS-economies of scale cause the enterprise to faultier.

This is usually called “Economies of Scale” and folks think that means that you only get ever more efficient as you get larger. But it doesn’t. It means that you can be more efficient above some minimum size and that you can become less efficient beyond some maximum size. 2 “economies of scale”. Not one economy of scale.

Steel Mills, for example, require so much physical capital, and melts become so much more efficient as they become bigger, that an efficient steel mill only really starts to limit when you simply can not physically make it any bigger. Biggest steel mill wins.

At the other end, the Hotdog Cart is perfectly fine at a scale of 1. It is highly labor intensive, has a huge need for customer communication and understanding with “every order is different” preferences on display. The communication and management load to do that in a centralized command economy would be horrible. That’s why you don’t see Amalgamated Consolidated Hotdog Carts International taking over the hotdog cart world.

Well, in a very real sense, Central Command Economies, of which Communism is the major form, run head long into the problem of Maximum Economy Of Scale in that everything is done at the scale of “National sized”.

So I’m very glad to see that he, too, has recognized that issue. Even if it is only stated as being to complex to do centralized and not illustrated as to why. 30 minutes to destroy the founding document of a cult.

I especially like his lead in / introduction where he explains what it means to THINK about an article while you read it, not just suck it into your brain un-evaluated and installed as a “Rule Of Thumb” truth.

I’ve pondered the thinking pattern of “Leftists” and I believe I’ve detected a pattern in it. LACK of testing their beliefs for veracity. I’ve chosen to call this “Rule Of Thumb” thinking. So you get a “Checklist” of things to believe, untested, and then just apply the checklist to any situation. There is no requirement for the beliefs to be mutually compatible. Couple that with a quest for validation from others (“virtue signalling”) and I think you get most of the package.

You see this in the mindless chanting of mantra and in the “Woke Culture Norms”. Did a person ever use a racial slur? If yes, vilify to collect V.S. Points. No asking things like “Was the use to illustrate why NOT to use it?” (That case happened, BTW). Or “Was the use in a TIME when it was not seen as a slur?” (That one happens often.) But those require some active thought, decision making, and evaluation of a logic paradigm. Things not in evidence in Leftist quasi-Cogitation.

In that mode, you can see the Communist Manifesto as a “Load up these Rules Of Thumb, without evaluation” command. Then send the mob of Useful Idiots out to bring death and destruction to their country and economy. Unthinking idiots (who believe they are thinking and enlightened) following a set of Rules Of Thumb written by someone who didn’t test their Utopian Theories against reality, nor even do a basic logic check.

Unfortunately, that pits the rest of us against the incredible power of stupidity.

“Intelligence is limited, but stupidity knows no bounds. -E.M.Smith”

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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20 Responses to Jordan Peterson Does A Devastating Critique Of The Communist Manifesto

  1. cdquarles says:

    Hmm, I want to say Hayek and/or Ludwig von Mises mentioned this some 100 years ago. Still true! My analogy is think of a supertanker ship sailing with the pilot house looking behind the ship. That’s any big bureaucracy in any corporation, whether governmental or not. It knows where it has been but doesn’t know where it is going. It can guess and within some limits, that will seem to work. Yet, when the conditions change, particularly fast changes, they can’t adapt adequately.

  2. Simon Derricutt says:

    I suppose a good example is Zimbabwe, where the hated white farmers were dispossessed and their farms given to the people instead. Trouble is that those white farmers had spent quite a while learning how to make their farms productive, and were good at it. The people who took over, not as competent at the job. Thus from being the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe needed to import food and got really poor.

    Yep, I was also brought up to think that farming was an easy job. Just plant the seeds in the ground, wait while Nature takes its course, then gather up the results. After I’d left college I got to know some farmers and found that they’d also been to college, and that it really wasn’t that simple a job if you wanted to actually break even let alone make a profit (and also retain the fertility of the land for your descendants). Of course, the farm _workers_ job was easy to understand, though it was hard physical work.

    The Peter Principle tends to apply – people get promoted to their level of incompetence. They were competent at the previous job, but they are promoted one level beyond that so they are no longer fully competent, and there they stick. I’ve seen this in all the places I’ve worked. If you’re lucky (and it happened in a few of them) the boss and a core of people are due another few advancements and are good at the job they’re in. The way this relates to the Communist Manifesto is that, as current bosses, they’d be chucked out and some incompetent person brought in to replace them, and the productivity (and morale) of the group would plummet.

    I was brought up as Christian. I retain the ideals of helping others where possible, and charity where needed. Problem there is that though you can afford to help a few people who’ve fallen on hard times, and help them get back on their feet and earning their way again, you can’t afford to do that for a large number of people or when the need is permanent with no hope of improving. The whole ethos of socialism really depends on not too many people reliant upon charity at one time and that, as soon as they are able, they’ll be back on their feet and putting back into the pot. Once that money is seen as a right, and that it doesn’t need to be worked for but just magically exists, then they won’t see it as insurance they’ve got to pay for at some time but as free money they don’t need to earn. Simple human nature. They’ll even complain if they don’t receive enough to afford an iPad or other entertainment.

    Still, it’s pretty obvious that there is a limited supply of people who are competent to lead a company or produce new ideas. If they don’t get enough of a reward for that extra effort, they are unlikely to put it in. That’s really why the capitalist system works better, since excellence gets rewarded. I think it still helps to have a degree of socialism in the system, so that people who have an accident but who could be productive again with a bit of help get that help, and the question morphs a bit to where the best balance lies between extreme capitalism and extreme socialism. If the ethos of the people allows it – that is, they don’t need money so much as rewards but are happy with kudos, then a more-socialist system could work. If not, then you need the carrot and stick of capitalism, but some of your productive people will be knocked out of the system by illness or accident and won’t be able to recover from the loss of income and maybe house and bank-balance from needing to pay hospital bills. Much the same sort of thing with central control of production, and the regulatory burden. Without regulations, the scams and frauds will expand until someone shoots the perpetrators, and with central control the processing bandwidth just isn’t there to provide the fine control required, so we try to choose just enough regulation to stop the bandits most of the time, but not requiring a form in triplicate to be allowed to get a loaf of bread. Again, we can argue about where the optimum range lies, and people do.

    The other big subject here, about people not re-examining and re-thinking their beliefs when new evidence arrives, is somewhat of a hobby-horse for me. That’s of course mostly in physics, where people reject experimental evidence that goes against theory, but I’ve seen it also in politics and electronics. Yep, surprisingly it took a couple of years to convince some designers that the protection circuit they’d put in was the cause of transistors releasing the magic smoke – after all, it was _called_ a protection circuit…. For politics, in the UK the Labour party keep telling their electorate they make the wrong choices and aren’t woke enough, then wonder why their vote has evaporated.

    Maybe the main thing these days is that few people are taught to question axioms, but that if they go against the consensus they won’t pass their exams and won’t be able to get a good job, and maybe more importantly they’ll be shunned on social media if somehow they manage to post any unwanted truths. I’m a bit surprised Jordan Peterson is still watchable, and hasn’t been cancelled.

  3. John Hultquist says:

    Jordan Peterson was the person of the “Weekend Interview” in the Wall Street Journal, April 30th.
    By Barton Swaim
    Title: The Man They Couldn’t Cancel
    Mobs have targeted Jordan Peterson, but he hasn’t lost his university job and his publishers have stuck by him. What’s his secret?
    – – last 2 paragraphs – –
    “In the end, Mr. Peterson hasn’t been successfully canceled. He retains his academic post; his YouTube lectures and podcasts have not been scrubbed from the internet; and his publishers stuck with his books, which are available for purchase. This is true for basically two reasons. The first is that he has tried to understand his would-be cancelers and thinks of them almost as outpatients. He speaks in gentle, clinical terms about a reporter for the New York Times who in 2018 wrote a scathing piece about him headlined “Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy” and later posted online what sounded like a confession (“The roar of Twitter on my side meant the kill was justified and good”). He has, as best I can tell, genuine pity for this writer.

    The second reason follows from the first. The cancelers’ strange fixations mean that apologizing to them is folly. Mr. Peterson hasn’t apologized or disavowed any previous statement. Now there’s a rule for his next book: Don’t apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong.”

    John

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Hultquist:

    “Never Give Up” (apologize), “Never surrender”. (Galaxy Quest)

    When attacked (and it seems it WILL be a “when” not an “if”) counter attack with all you have.

    I learned this in Karate class. If you surrender, you die. If you attack with all you have, one of two things will happen:

    1) You will be lucky enough to prevail and everyone will be surprised. You will be lauded.

    2) You will fail (as my opponent was a Black Belt outranking me by about 4 ranks..) and you will “die” in the process. But your ferocity will be remembered, and the fact that you died in a “mutual slaying” (i.e. I scored a point while he delivered the symbolic “kill shot”) will cause folks to talk of you in quiet tones for some time to come.

    In all cases, anyone else thinking of coming at you will know absolutely know that they will die in the process of the attack as you will NOT back down.

    Yes, Texas Vodka (it really is a thing. Trader Joe’s house brand) was involved in the making of this comment… So what.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    Having a bit of a Teutonic Moment…

  6. DonM says:

    OT, but with respect to economics and govt actions….

    I (and everyone else) have been seeing higher prices. Its scooting up pretty fast now, but I would have expected it by now to have manifested in a way that all could have agreed it was inflation.

    My questions; Has all of the money that is being transferred into ‘make believe’ (crypto) currency helped with curtailing inflation? Today, what percentage currency is crypto that is essentially just sitting there in a shoe box under the bed?

    Will it really be different this time … will too much printing of paper money create a redo & mirror of past failures, or have we inadvertently created a way for a slow roll over into something else (before it all eventually collapses back to real assets?)

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Don M:

    We are in a liquidity trap:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidity_trap

    A liquidity trap is a situation, described in Keynesian economics, in which, “after the rate of interest has fallen to a certain level, liquidity preference may become virtually absolute in the sense that almost everyone prefers holding cash rather than holding a debt (financial instrument) which yields so low a rate of interest.”

    A liquidity trap is caused when people hoard cash because they expect an adverse event such as deflation, insufficient aggregate demand, or war. Among the characteristics of a liquidity trap are interest rates that are close to zero and changes in the money supply that fail to translate into changes in the price level.

    It is the thing ALL Politicians either do not understand, or ignore. It is the thing that Real Keynesian Economics says to avoid by NEVER having “economic stimulus” run for more than a couple of years and ALWAYS cream off the extra money “surplus” during periods of high growth (the other thing all politicians ignore that Keynes said…) and use it to redeem the debt.

    So in a liquidity trap ANY currency will do. To that extent, Bitcoin and other “digital currency” is as good as any other.

    The flood of money being churned out can just pile up in M1 to M3 (and was doing so) and is also what is propping up the stock market. Some undoubtedly going to other currencies, metals, etc. too. What is (slightly) curbing inflation is the “couple of years” time lag from money creation to impact, and the reduced demand from forcing people to not do anything and sit at home. What is presently inflating are the things that we can continue to buy. Food, drink, gasoline, houses, stocks.

  8. another ian says:
  9. The True Nolan says:

    @DonM: “My questions; Has all of the money that is being transferred into ‘make believe’ (crypto) currency helped with curtailing inflation? Today, what percentage currency is crypto that is essentially just sitting there in a shoe box under the bed?”

    As things currently stand, cryptos are NOT monetary substitutes. They certainly have the potential to be, but at present most cryptos are being held as investments. Rather than “make believe” currency, they are probably better compared to stocks, precious metals, or capital goods. To the extent that dollars spent on cryptos lower the immediate demand for consumer goods (just like money invested in the stock market) they would tend to hold down CPI. As long as the total crypto market cap is increasing, there will be a delay in demands for consumer goods. That hold is only temporary though; for every crypto buyer there is a crypto seller, and what do they do with the dollars they get? Sooner or later one assumes that they wanted the money so that they could get something with it, so while the inflation is delayed it is not vanished.

    As for what percentage of cryptos are sitting in a shoebox, that is a hard question. The bulk of buying, selling and trading is done as a sort of “virtual” crypto (yep, one more level of abstraction!) trading at various exchanges. In other words, most exchanges do NOT create a blockchain transaction for every buy, sell or trade, but hold their own books and only create a transaction when cryptos enter or leave the exchange or when needed to balance out some immediate bookkeeping requirement. Consequently, if you look at trade figures you might see 20% or 50% of total volume traded in a single day, but the corresponding blockchain percentages might only be a few percent. My guess is that the great bulk (90%?) of most cryptos are sitting in long term storage.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Per Money:

    What folks are dancing around is THE basic equation of economics. It comes in several rearrangements, but my favorite for clarity is:

    M x V = P x Q

    This are quasi averages, so P is “average price” and Q is “average quantity”. More formally it is the summation of all Price x Quantity transactions in the economy. Doesn’t matter what the things are being bought and sold. Stocks, grain, bonds, dope, movie tickets, traffic tickets, whatever. Take all the Prices paid for all the stuff bought and sum it up. That was the total economic activity.

    The other side has M as the “Money supply”. Then V is how fast it changes hands. More formally you can get several kinds of M (M1 cash, M2 checking, M3… time deposits, M4…) each with somewhat different Vs but for most purposes that can just be ignored.
    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/m2.asp

    So, say you have $1 Billion cash and it changes hands once per month. That’s a total of $12 Billion of transactions and that’s the amount of PV you had change hands. (Yes, this ignores things like loans, credit cards, fiat money creation by banks via fractional reserves, etc. All that shows up in the fixing of the size of M).

    If you think about it, it is at its core a tautology.

    What happens does NOT depend on the buyer choosing milk over bitcoin over € over stocks.

    IF I spend $10,000 to buy € (or a used Tesla) that money does not go out of existence. Neither does it cease to exist if I buy Bitcoin. It just changes hands. It has some V.

    In a liquidity trap, V drops to very low. You print up an added $Billion and distribute it, but instead of getting more P (inflation) or more Q (the desired ‘economic growth’) what you get is LESS V.

    Now it does not matter if I”m just letting that $Billion sit in MY account, or it sits in the account of a Bitcoin Miner after I swapped with him. Or if it sits in a Chinese Bank after I spent it to buy a load of crap from China.

    ALL that matters is that V has become slower.

    WHY does it become slower? Because folks who are worried SAVE more, and during economic downturns folks tend to BUY LESS. Then, major investors, not seeing much to invest in with a decent return will accept “just let it sit” instead of taking a 4% risk for a 1% return. Finally, bonds paying 1% (or less…) tie up money for a long period of time for little return. WHY would I buy a 20 year 2% bond if I expect some time in that 20 years inflation will exceed 2%? Might as well sit on the cash to I can move fast once it is clear where to put the money.

    Essentially, in “doldrums & disasters” folks sit on cash. ANY kind of cash, and it doesn’t really matter what kind or what you exchange it for when everybody is facing the same economic situation.

    So yes, Bitcoin IS soaking up some of the $USD supply but only to the extent the Bitcoin Miners are sitting on the $US they got in exchange.

    Ditto people buying stocks vs their broker (or the stock seller) sitting on the cash.

    So you need not worry AT ALL about where the $US is going. That is irrelevant to the liquidity trap. What matters is how fast it gets there and how long before it leaves….

    Sidebar on current prices:

    Today I saw my first $5 / gallon gasoline. 76 Station in Sunnyvale (silly con valley). Posted price for Premium was $4.999 so yeah, it’s $5 as the round up to actual pennies I can pay is that.

    Note that I did NOT fill up. My V today was zero… as was my Q. My M went up a few $Hundred, but it’s just sitting in my checking account. Any “Stimulus money” I get will also just sit in the account until there is something I actually need. Why? Because with Usurper Biden as potuSINO there’s a large risk profile looming and I need flexibility as to what I do when the AwShit hits.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/

    The current CoinMarketCap ranking is #1, with a live market cap of $1,030,614,783,503 USD. It has a circulating supply of 18,700,256 BTC coins and a max. supply of 21,000,000 BTC coins.

    Interesting… so only 2,299,744 to go and then bitcoin mining comes to an end… Yet I thought it was the mining that was also used to maintain the blockchain? There’s a LOT of back room data flow and computation to keep all those blockchain copies in sync. What happens when the miners stop mining?

    Note that the present total market cap is about $1 Trillion. Biden et. al. have printed up about $25 Trillion of new debt (including under Trump ) just since the start of the pandemic. There’s about another $30 Trillion in U.S. Real Estate alone last time I looked.

    Note, too, that Bitcoin is MULTINATIONAL so you really have to measure it against the sum of all currencies… including € £ ¥ etc.

    Bitcoin is not the answer to anything macroeconomic. It’s a micro…

  12. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M.: “There’s a LOT of back room data flow and computation to keep all those blockchain copies in sync. What happens when the miners stop mining?”

    It is part of it — but not all of it. There are several factors at play. Yes, mining produces BC, but there is also a transaction fee which goes to the successful miner, so even if there were NO new coins, the payout for mining would not go to zero. In the past, every restriction on BC issuance has resulted in a rise in price, so the miners continue to make a profit. Also, the cost of computing continues to drop as chips gain speed and efficiency, and as miners continue to find ways to utilize underpriced power such as wind generators which produce excess power (periodically, certainly not continually!). And lastly, the difficulty of the mining procedure is self adjusting. If, for whatever reason, the amount of computational power involved in mining were to drop, the time for solving each block would increase. The BC algorithm automatically checks the time between blocks, and if it becomes too long, the difficulty of solving the blocks is set to an easier level allowing the process to regain speed.

  13. philjourdan says:

    Better example of the dis-economies of scale. A mom and Pop plumber shop can do great work at a very reasonable ;price. Their overhead is very low as probably Grandma does the scheduling, and Aunt Ida does the books and billing.

    A large Plumbing company does the same work, but they have to factor in the cost of their big building (Mom and pop have a store front), Personnel director, Accounting Department, Parts Department, etc. SO their prices are often 20-25% higher, with the same quality of work.

    But yes, there is too big – even for a Steel company. ONe steel mill is one thing. A large Steel corporation with mills all over the place is not as efficient as the one steel Mill. They do get bigger discounts, but they also have much larger over head.

  14. Simon Derricutt says:

    Jason – “The BC algorithm automatically checks the time between blocks, and if it becomes too long, the difficulty of solving the blocks is set to an easier level allowing the process to regain speed.”

    That’s the big reason why I think Bitcoin is daft. It is obviously quite possible to run the blockchain with far less computing power needed, but it seems they have this idea that it’s the amount of used computing power that provides the “value” of a Bitcoin. Once you’ve got the result, the amount of computing power used has the same value as a used bus ticket, since you can’t re-use the computing power that went into producing that number in the same way as you can’t get another ride on the bus with a used ticket. A long time ago I spent some time in Bombay (since re-named as Mumbai) and bus-tickets were indeed used as currency, since the scrap value of the small change was larger than the value of the coin, so there was a fair amount of (black market) business involved in melting down the coinage. Bus tickets came into use to replace the missing small change, with the problem that they were only valid for a certain time and a time-expired bus ticket had no value because you couldn’t get a ride on the bus with it. Velocity of that money increased a lot in the last few days of the bus-ticket validity, as people tried to get rid of it before it either had to be used to get a bus-ride or lost its value.

    I’ve been told by proponents of Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) that the coin has value because of the computing power that went into producing the specific number associated with each coin. I think that any number assigned from a list would have the same value – it’s the blockchain that gives any actual value and that’s only because it has copies in many places that must agree with each other, meaning that an error in one copy will be noticed because the hash of that copy won’t be the same. Meantime, there’s a design error in the system since the blockchain can only be added to, and will continue to grow, so at the moment it’s around 10GB IIRC and that’s a big file to transmit. Another design problem is the hard limit on the number of Bitcoins that can exist, and we’re close to that limit already, whereas with Gold (though there must be a hard limit somewhere) we’re nowhere near the limit for what’s in the Earth, and we haven’t got around to mining asteroids yet. Gold is also a rather useful metal in electronics, so has an intrinsic value where its properties are needed for protecting from oxidation.

    Bitcoin is thus inherently flawed and wasteful. Somewhat of a con, too, in that it’s placing a value on used computing power and also increases the amount of computing needed to run it as computers get bigger and faster. In Africa, people use minutes of telephone-time as a currency. Similar in a way to the use of bus-tickets in Bombay, in that there is a specific service backing the currency. In Bombay, it was a bus-ride, and in Africa it’s the ability to talk on the phone, and even if you don’t currently need those services someone else will and so it’s a valid currency. Also, for people who have a phone, it’s convenient and easy to transfer phone minutes from one person to another. Maybe bit of a problem if the phone company goes bust and your fortune evaporates, but hey….

    I’m not seeing any real value in Bitcoin. As such, I expect it to crash at some point (South-Sea Bubble-like) and lose all acceptance. I’ve read that around half of the Bitcoin miners are in China, because the electricity is generally cheaper so the economics work out better. A sudden loss of confidence in Bitcoin could have a pretty large real-world effect, too, and the people not quick enough to convert their fortunes into other currencies could have a bad day.

    A few years ago here there was a discussion on alternative currencies, with EM suggesting the pork-belly dollar, corn dollar, petro-dollar, etc., as reasonable currencies. Real stuff we can use and know the value of. Makes a lot more sense than today’s cryptocurrencies that have absolutely nothing backing the value.

  15. H.R. says:

    Well, we could always switch to tulip bulbs.’

    Oh, wait…. that has already been tried and didn’t work out so well.

  16. Simon Derricutt says:

    H.R. – might be better with Dahlia bulbs. At least you can eat those. They were first introduced as a vegetable, before people decided they were pretty flowers.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    There is a long history of folks making all sorts of things into both “Money” and “Currency”. The difference is that “Money” is “a medium of exchange AND a store of value” while “Currency” is only a “medium of exchange”. Paper currency is not long term money as inflation removes the store of value function… Gold IS Money as it does have a store of value function, though the use as currency is limited today. (Though some many years back I did buy a car with Gold Rand…) It is reported that the early Sailors stopping at Pacific Islands discovered that iron nails were valuable and one could be exchanged for a bit of “affection”…

    In prisons, it is cigarettes that are commonly used as both money and currency. The Chicago School of Econ ( via Mises I think) holds that “the most tradeable commodity” will become money. It helps if it is rapidly authenticated, and easily divisible.

    That’s what makes it so stupid for Governments to think they can eliminated currencies. While I’d rather not carry around a carton of cigarettes or bag of nails, or bus tickets, when government currency is unavailable, folks find alternatives.

    In Italy about 1981 there was a shortage of small coins (for the same inflation making them melt-able reason) and when buying some larger lunch item from a street vendor, he had not the coinage for change… my “change” arrived as a small pastry of some sort. Which I was happy to take.

    Per Bitcoin:

    Yeah, the “embodied work” argument is a bit specious. It is true to the extent that it takes some effort to create a “coin” and so that has embodied the work, but it is false to the extent that mined gold also has embodied work AND is inherently useful, while a mined bitcoin is just a useless number. Essentially it is the same as “Paper Money with Serial Number” but without the paper and created by a much more wasteful process.

    I saw the same flaws in it early on, and never did get very interested in it. I’d rather have a bag of silver coins. You can always make something out of them… Hmmm…. Wonder if Silver Solder would make useful units of money… Checking Amazon, it comes in nice sizes from about $15 to around $60. Nice. OK, make that a crate of Silver Solder in rods & coils with brand and %silver on the label. Easily divided with snippers if you need dimes and quarters. Use copper or brass wire for the pennies…

  18. The True Nolan says:

    @philjourdan: Low overhead? There are ways… :)

  19. cdquarles says:

    Not quite the Chicago School, referencing Ludwig von Mises. The psychological school, aka Austrian School had that statement as a deduction from given premises. Close enough though, given the overlap of premises held.

    This school holds that it is the individual economic actor (so can be a commercial corporation) who holds the store of value and applies it to every good/service as a risk/reward opinion. So, neither money nor money substitutes hold value as if that was a property, like mass, of a given material. The use value, likewise, varies. Times of high uncertainty make holding money or money substitutes have more personal value compared to future expectations (ie, the IRR or real interest rate is high). Times of low uncertainty have the opposite. “Money” that people don’t want to hold because they perceive its future value dropping, will “buy” something else that they think will hold it, and yet still will be accepted in trade later.

  20. The True Nolan says:

    Pardon the double posting, but I just realized that most of my comment at W.O.O.D should more properly be here:

    As for some abstract value of BC or any other crypto, (or for gold, silver, petro-dollars, etc.), the only source of “value” is human psychology. Even food might have no value to someone who is not hungry. As for the people who say, “BC is valuable because it took a lot of effort to get it!” — well, that is not just wrong, it is crazy. How crazy? As crazy as the idea was when Marx proclaimed the labor theory of value. He was wrong then, and the “computing effort makes BC valuable” crowd are wrong now.

    So, why make the computations hard? What follows is just my guess, so take it for what it is worth.
    The blockchain solutions propagate through the network quickly but there is definitely a lag between when the first successful solution is broadcast and it’s final incorporation into the chain. If the solution is too easy and there are many miners working, it becomes more likely that two or more miners may simultaneously solve the problem and create conflicting claimants for new BC and fees.

    In my opinion BC does in fact have multiple advantages, especially as some sort of international settling mechanism, but the biggest value is that the GEBs cannot arbitrarily create “fiat” BC. There is only so much BC and that is that! No computer can arbitrarily create an extra million BC — and then proceed to give them to the politically or financially well connected while the peons struggle. BC is hard money — or at least might be so if it becomes more commonly used.

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