Thinking Citizen Blog — The Whole Story in One Post — the Invisible Hand, the Historical Miracle, the Middle Way
Thinking Citizen Blog — Tuesday is Economics, Finance, and Business Day
Today’s Topic: The Whole Story in One Post — the Invisible Hand, the Historical Miracle, the Middle Way
Economics needs an Arthur Murray, a Dale Carnegie, a Julia Child — a great popularizer. I am not qualified but I’m going to lay out what I believe are the three big lessons that they will have to cover — the supply/demand curve, also known as the Invisible Hand, the Great Historical Miracle that enabled the human population to rise by a factor of seven, and the Middle Way practiced by most developed countries whether or not their spokesmen are of the Left or the Right. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE SUPPLY/DEMAND CURVE, THE INVISIBLE HAND, THE PARADOX AND UNIVERSALITY OF SELFISHNESS
1. The premise of the supply/demand curve is that there is no “them versus us.” There is only us. And we are all selfish.
2. And that selfishness is not a sin, it is a reality, with a benign consequence if left free to rule.
3. Because it is in the interest of each one of us to maximize our wealth and the best way to do so is to convince others that the product of our labor is something that will make their lives better — either by increasing their pleasure or by reducing their pain.
THE HISTORICAL MIRACLE MADE POSSIBLE BY WESTERN SCIENCE, MEDICINE TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND COMPANIES LIKE ROYAL DUTCH, EXXON, PFIZER AND MERCK
1. The West may have colonized the world and mistreated many, but let’s make sure we have done all the counting of all the positives and all the negatives before judging.
2. This is what Benjamin Franklin called the “moral algebra.”
3. The chart above speaks to the issue of “netting” and in the language of the law “speaks for itself.” (res ipsa)
NB: It is worth noting that the West led the world in the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, and the decriminalization of homosexuality.
THE MIDDLE WAY — FINDING THE “GOLDEN MEAN” — RECOGNIZING THE EXISTENCE OF EXTERNALITIES, PUBLIC GOODS, AND THE NECESSITY OF GOVERNMENT
1. Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the best mixed economy of them all?
2. Who is qualified to say?
3. Who is qualified to teach economics in elementary, middle school, and high school?
NB: How many of those with strong opinions anywhere on the political spectrum have done their homework? Is this even possible?
FINAL WORD — Kenneth Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem and the concept of “rational ignorance” (Anthony Downs)
1. The complexity of history and economics would seem to justify just ignoring it and focusing on fun stuff like music, art, sports, food, travel, and, perhaps, dancing.
2. Part of me says that this is indeed the rational choice.
3. But another part of me says that I am very fortunate to live in a democracy in 2022 rather in a darker time and place and that I am somehow duty bound to make the most of this opportunity to help shape the fate of mankind.
NB: So I take a little time every day to write about one civic issue or another. And Tuesday is economics day. Any suggestions?
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.”
- Horace (65–8 BC)
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
YOUR TURN — Please share:
a.) the coolest thing you learned this week related to business, economics, finance.
b.) the coolest thing you learned in your life related to business, economics, finance.
c.) anything at all related to business, economics, finance.
d.) anything at all