I am currently in a reading group on the Leo Strauss book On Tyranny, which also features essays by Alexandre Kojève. We just wrapped our first online discussion of the book, and it inspired me to write this post.
One of my fondest memories as a student was attending more than a dozen invite-only seminars on economic and political theory, which ranged from an afternoon to a full week. These were times when I got to spend time with some of the smartest students and scholars from around the world, to spend hours and delving deep into specific books, articles, and other intricacies of thinking, writing, and debate.
Continue reading “The “Liberty Fund Rules” For Seminars and Discussions”
More economics in one-syllable words, this time Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth by Ludwig von Mises. Here is a two-paragraph summary:
Cash is the one thing that all of us in the world want. This trait of cash is what lets us use it with math: if the cash I pay to build a good is less than the cash I will get when I sell it, I can make the choice to build the good in a clear way. For cash to have this trait, though, it must trade among all goods in the world, and each trade must be a free choice. This way, each price lets us know how much a thing is worth to all the folks in the world.
But in a world where all a large chunk of the goods are owned by one group, then that group can’t trade what it owns with things that it also owns to get a cash price. It would be mad. Since these goods can’t be priced in cash, we can’t know how what they’re worth to the world! Thus, to use math to learn if our yield to build a thing is good or bad would be vain. This is bad!
And a longer, section-by-section summary of the whole essay:
Continue reading “The Impossibility of Economic Calculation, in One-Syllable Words”
Bureaucracy, by Ludwig von Mises, summarized in one-syllable words:
Folks on both the left and the right claim to hate the thing this book is named for. The word has rude tinge to it. The gripes are that they’re slow, with lots of fault in how they’re run, and who they’re run by: lots old guys — way more than there ought to be.
Yet they keep on their path of growth. Strange, right? Do they even know what it is that they’re mad at? I don’t think they know. But I know what’s got their goat. Read on to find out.
Continue reading “Mises’ Bureaucracy, in One-Syllable Words”
Human Action by Ludwig von Mises — in one-syllable words (inspired by the summaries of famous philosophical works by Jason Brennan). Here is a short summary, before launching into a part-by-part treatment:
You can choose. With this true face, we can use just our wits to learn some more true facts: like you act in time, you have doubt about fate, and that you give up your least liked piece of a thing to get more of what you want. If you live with a group that you trade with, you should each own the goods you use to make things with and trade them for cash. The cash math will help with your growth plans. If you don’t, your group will break and rot. If any bank makes fake cash and lends it out, it will cause a boom and bust. Folks are blind to these facts; you must help them see.
Continue reading “Human Action in One-Syllable Words”