[extropy-chat] Can the Future Do Without Economic Logic?

Technotranscendence neptune at superlink.net
Sat Dec 9 23:04:38 UTC 2006

On Saturday, December 09, 2006 3:20 PM Damien Broderick
thespike at satx.rr.com wrote:
>> http://www.mises.org/story/2402
> "Goods that are in superabundance are
> not subject to the study of praxeology, and
> certainly not within the scope of catallactics."
> An interesting observation/admission.

Not so much an admission.  This is part of the basics of the subject -- 
in the difference between economic and non-economic goods.  Moreover,
this difference is relative.  E.g., the classic example of a
non-economic good is air.  However, there are case where air becomes an
economic good -- as in space, underwater, or, given the allowed
violation of property rights in lungs, in heavily polluted areas or what
have you.  The question to ask is always:  Is this good so plentiful
that it no longer needs to be economized -- or that it can be thought of
as part of the context of action?  If you have all the chocolate you
could ever want, then chocolate ceases to be a concern -- as far as
economizing goes.  (Well, to be sure, it might be a concern of finding
time to consume it all.:)

> It suggests that if true nano-abundance arrives
> on schedule, the future *must* do without
> Misean (Misetian?)

The preferred term is "Misesean" (meez-ess-ee-ahn).

> economic logic, no?

Not the whole future.  Superabundance will never apply to everything,
no?  There will just be other areas where praxeological methods would in
those areas.*  Given that wants will likely always exceed current
capabilities and present stockpiles, so it's likely that nanotech will
just shift economizing to other things.  Granted, this will likely be
something that should be pursued, but that nanotech (or any other
technology) delivers lots of goodies doesn't nullify economics -- any
more than more efficient means of extracting and using energy nullifies
thermodynamics.  In other words, having all the chocolate you can ever
want does not mean you've eliminate all other current or future wants
you might have.  (And let's not limit this to purely material, sensual
wants.  You might want world peace or everyone to agree with you on how
utterly useless praxeology will be in the future you envision.)

I'm only responding to your remarks.  I haven't read the novel they
critique, so I can't say if their criticisms are relevant or correct.



*  It's also open to question that Mises' or their view of praxeology or
of its relation to economics is correct.

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