Even when Marxism has been challenged and largely discredited in the past thirty years of reform, the dogmatic teaching of Marxism has cultivated a certain habit of thought, which has survived Marxism itself: the mentality to take truth as final, complete, permanent, and authoritative. But all empirical knowledge is exactly the opposite; it is provisional, incomplete, and conjectural.
Ronald Coase and Ning Wang, How China Became Capitalist
This quote interested me because it attacks Marxism not on utilitarian or moral grounds but on epistemological ones in the vein of Karl Popper. This approach strikes me as the most powerful. Moral arguments are too subjective and normative to be ubiquitous and the inability to directly measure utility makes cold utilitarian calculus difficult to perform in any useful way. The epistemological approach cuts straight to the point. The problem with Marx’s theories about capitalism is not that they are wrong per se, rather, it is the fact that they are unfalsifiable, that is, not amenable to rigorous empirical testing. When Marx called his work “scientific” socialism, he seemed to have in mind an idea that scientific propositions constitute some final truth. What Popper’s critique of Marxism amounts to is a redefinition of what makes a theory scientific. The truth value of a theory cannot be what separates the “scientific” from the “unscientific” because it is the task of science itself to seperate what is likely to be true from what is likely to be false. I say “likely” because in Popper’s system, all knowledge is uncertain to some degree. Science is not the end goal of a body of true propositions. In a world characterized by uncertainty, this is impossible. Instead, science is the means by which propositions are tested. In testing these propositions, we move to states of more certain, although never perfect knowledge, a concept appropriately named the growth of knowledge. Popper calls scientific any set of propositions which can be in principle falsified, or in other words, any set of propositions which is subjected to rigorous testing for the purpose of attaining successively better knowledge about its truth value.
Given that Popper’s philosophy of science was to a large extent aimed at the Marxists, it is unsurprising that there is a Marxist critique of Popper. The critique is simply that Popper’s philosophy is applicable for a closed ended system such as in laboratory experiments, but that human society is an open ended system and therefore, the Popperian critique does not apply to Marxism (oddly enough, this bears resemblance to the quibbles that many libertarians have with mainstream economics). This to me seems like a huge non-seqitur. The only difference an open ended system implies is that cause and effect and their relative magnitudes are much harder to isolate and identify. In such a world, it would seem to me that the need for methodological rigor in testing propositions is even greater. The Marxian critique would imply that Popperian falsification is even more important in social fields of study than in the natural sciences, not that it is irrelevant. It would imply that a true social science must achieve an even higher degree of rigor than the natural sciences require. The weakness of the Marxian critique seems to demonstrate the robustness of the Popperian system, which is why I agree with Ronald Coase when he uses epistemology, not economics, to attack Marxism. (via suns-of-liberty)
finally updating the AU yess
so John and Rose like going exploring underwater places and stuff
and they get in trouble at times
and Jade met Dave in some sea cave and then they became friends so that sorta turned into their meeting place ((also Dave probably carries his sunglasses around and puts them on when he’s out of the water pftahah)
Why is centralization a bad thing?
"Banks create money by ‘monetizing’ the private debts of businesses and individuals." — Federal Reserve Bank of New York
"When you are I write a check there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover the check but when the Federal Reserve writes a check there is no bank deposit on which that check is drawn up. When the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money." — Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Putting It Simply (1984)
“An economy works right when the prices are telling the truth, and things go badly when the prices get distorted. When a central bank starts playing fast and loose with the money supply, price distortions are an inevitable result. These distortions in turn lead to the kinds of problems we call on central banks to fix—problems we wouldn’t have if central banks hadn’t created them in the first place.” — Art Carden, Anatomy of a Credit-Induced Boom-and-Bust Cycle
“The bank hath benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing.” — William Paterson, founder of the Bank of England in 1694
Centralized banking is directly responsible for the devaluation of the U.S. dollar since its U.S. inception in 1913.