Category Archives: Economics

Day 354 – Shopping as a Discovery Process

December 20, 2009

While I was out finishing my Christmas shopping on Saturday, I couldn’t help but think a little bit about economics. I know I am strange, but it is what I am majoring in and what I’ve been studying these past three semesters at Hillsdale, and I am not very successful at turning my mind off (not that I’d ever want to…) More specifically, the work of Israel Kirzner. I read quite a bit of Kirzner in Austrian Economics I with Dr. Steele this past semester, so I thought I’d look at the world immediately around me through the lens of his work. The result? Shopping as a learning and discovery process.

Day 282 – Economizing on Brain Power

October 9, 2009

I had an interesting concept brought up to me today while I was discussing the difference between rationality and reason with Professor Lea. To try to understand the difference, we did a thought experiment about making choices. When a person makes a choice, he or she weighs the expected utility (broadly defined) of each unit, ranks the units by preference, then chooses the one with the highest utility. This happens whether or not a person is conscious of it, and it is a systematic way of making choices and rationally fulfilling ends. Professor Lea and I both understood this.

Day 176 – Aesop’s Fables

June 25, 2009

I came across a PDF version of Aesop’s Fables today, and I spent a while reading them. While reading them, I was struck by the economic principles his fables contained! Though the principles were not named until long after his time, some of his fables definitely contained some ideas that modern economics uses. I suspect that this is because Aesop, much like economists, tried to understand human action. Obviously the two differ immensely, I think the same foundation is there for both. By the way, don’t fall into the trap of thinking economics is all about numbers and money; it is, at its core, trying to understand human action.

What is Value?

July 10, 2008

A friend of mine was reading New Ideas from Dead Economists, a book by Todd Buchholz that explains and critiques economic thought from Adam Smith to Keynes. In it, there is a section about Karl Marx and his theories. In explaining Marx’s labor exploitation theory, Buchholz points out that Marx rests his claims on the premise that the value of a product is determined by the amount of labor needed to produce it. (Classical economists like Smith and Ricardo also believed this.) Buchholz writes later on the page that critics of Marx argue that this premise is wrong, but he does not go on to explain any of these arguments. My friend asked me what these arguments were, so I did my best to explain them for him. 

Lessons from FEE

June 23, 2008

I am learning a lot from the seminars at FEE that I have been attending. I plan to overview some of the lessons from the seminars on here this week. They will be in no particular order.