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What Gives Rise to Society Mises Daily discussion

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Wheylous Posted: Thu, Nov 10 2011 10:24 AM

I read this article today:

http://mises.org/daily/5790/What-Gives-Rise-to-Society

Although it is nice and simple, it fails when extended to larger contexts when expanded due to assumptions it makes.

For example, if the productivity of Crusoe is 1000x that of Friday, then Friday stealing from Crusoe would not be enough of an incentive for Crusoe to stop producing, especially if Crusoe doesn't use all of the wood he produces.

Furthermore, imagining that Friday is starving and Crusoe doesn't want to trade anything, Friday would die and thus productivity would be lost.

Am I missing something? How can you extend this simple island idea to a larger real-world situation?

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Nope, division of labor = the corner stone of civilization and human co-operation.  I don't think anyone really disputes this.  This should always be at least in the back of one's mind as an anchor when thinking about anthing sociological at all.  This and the STV really are the two most important concepts in the social sciences.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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Wheylous,

I think you are misreading what Danny is saying.  Its not that exchange happens because it is more beneficial always and everywhere, but that:

In a world in which either (A) there were no greater productivity in the division of labor, or (B) there were, but man did not recognize it, there would be no impetus for the development of stable, lasting social bonds.

So yeah, of course there are cases where theft, murder, or slavery might be the chosen course of action, but we know that these things make society as a whole worse off, and are not the norms because we live in civilization which holds voluntary exchange as a precondition. 

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

"enough about human rights. what about whale rights?" -moondog
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Furthermore, imagining that Friday is starving and Crusoe doesn't want to trade anything, Friday would die and thus productivity would be lost.

 Productivity can neither be won nor lost - however when trade occurs it than becomes intersubjective and social by definition.

If beating the ever loving crap out of each other, or living isolated lives was the prevelant way or species lived - we would not be living in a state of "human action" .  It would be out of or scope to percieve it as a species.  Our existence and actions confirm our facts.  They not only confirm our facts, they are our facts.  My guess is we would probably be more like gorillas than men if a non division of  labor life  happened, assuming we would be anything at all.  It is all we can percieve, because it is all what is relevant is.

STV is merely a correction a grammatical error of OTV. 

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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 Productivity can neither be won nor lost - however when trade occurs it than becomes intersubjective and social by definition.

To rephrase and help:

Human Action = force = that which manifests = material= obvious = atomic fact

Trade occurs as the necessary consequence of intersubective action in the social sciences.

 

The division of labor is no more or less "aggressive" or "peaceful" than how one may imagine a solitary "war of all against all" approach (as  both those words are nonsense); it is no more egoistic, communistic, self sacrificing, good, evil, or whatever other word you wish to use - it only leads to a necessarily different course of action. 

I may be able to say (not so sure on this though) - those who understand this best, and most important - act in such a way will tend to lead a more relevant existance.  The more this happens as a whole (as seems to be the trend) the more the flaws and irrelevancy of other asocial  lifestyles becomes more manifest and leads to the higher probability of the asocial actions being bred out.

"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann

"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence"  - GLS Shackle

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