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Author Topic: That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen  (Read 4184 times)
frisco2
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April 09, 2012, 05:39:45 PM
 #1

I lucid article on economics coming from 1850s

"That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen"
http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

I wonder what new conclusions can we draw about the bitcoin economy after appreciating the point made by this article.

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April 09, 2012, 05:48:18 PM
 #2

Bastiat is the greatest. I have a man-crush on him.

The concept of the unseen is one of the most important economic concepts for people to grasp. Consider the government-built sports stadium. Hundreds of millions of dollars in cost. When it's built, the people see it and marvel at the wondrous building, and thank the government for creating something so great. They do this because they SEE it.

What is unseen, however, is all the goods and services that did not come into existence, because the resources which would've been used to purchase those things was taxed away to build the stadium. But, because it's unseen and distributed over many people and over much time, the population doesn't realize the cost, and instead they stand in naive admiration of the sports stadium, and lavish praise upon the government which has likely made them all poorer.

It is a phenomenon present in almost every government program, and it deceives the public in perpetuity. If only people would read Bastiat in school  Cry

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April 09, 2012, 07:59:44 PM
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I bought the 2 volume Hardcover copy of his collected works.  One of the few books I read over and over.

I usually keep about 10-20 copies of The Law at home to pass out to any potential lovers of liberty that are ready to have their eyes opened.

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April 09, 2012, 08:01:44 PM
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I bought the 2 volume Hardcover copy of his collected works.  One of the few books I read over and over.


Huh

Why?  I have them all on Kindle, and it didn't cost me a dime.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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Democracy is the original 51% attack


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April 09, 2012, 08:30:55 PM
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I bought the 2 volume Hardcover copy of his collected works.  One of the few books I read over and over.


Huh

Why?  I have them all on Kindle, and it didn't cost me a dime.

I have those books in hardcover also. They sit prominently on my mantle, and bring me joy every time I see them. That's why Wink
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April 10, 2012, 02:36:27 AM
 #6

I have plenty of stuff in digital format, but collect hard copies of many types of classics that I think are the best.  Easily over a thousand books in our house.

Hoping to finish Human Action before the end of the year...and a few other books from Mises, but got involved in bitcoin and now ...I hang out on the forum too much...and don't read books anymore Undecided

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April 10, 2012, 09:58:57 AM
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Henry Hazlitt wrote a book, Economics in one lesson, which applies the principle of seen vs. unseen to various economic phenomena. If you only plan to read one book about economics in your life, read this one.
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April 10, 2012, 10:04:21 AM
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Well, since everyone is reading antiquated economics... you might try Alfred Marshall, principles of economics (1890). Most modern economists say that it is only useful for the several page mathematical appendix at the end, but I would disagree. The main text provides a nice language-based introduction to microeconomics.

It doesn't really contain much ideology, though. This might make it less interesting to you folks.

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April 10, 2012, 02:58:33 PM
 #9

Well, since everyone is reading antiquated economics... you might try Alfred Marshall, principles of economics (1890). Most modern economists say that it is only useful for the several page mathematical appendix at the end, but I would disagree. The main text provides a nice language-based introduction to microeconomics.

It doesn't really contain much ideology, though. This might make it less interesting to you folks.

There are plenty of modern economics books as well, this is mostly a discussion on the classics.  For a more modern text, I suggest Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?.  It's targeted for teens and younger, so you should be able to follow it okay, even as a Krugman fan.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 10, 2012, 03:15:18 PM
 #10

For a more modern text, I suggest Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?.

I have heard from others also that that is a really great book.  Is that available digitally?  I need to track it down.


Currently I am trying to get through Keynes' General Theory...the most boring book I think I have ever read.  At the same time reading Hazlitt's "Failure of the New Economics" which is much more logical and actually rather funny as he tears Keynes apart page by page.

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April 10, 2012, 10:54:51 PM
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For a more modern text, I suggest Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?.

I have heard from others also that that is a really great book.  Is that available digitally? 

I just checked Amazon for a kindle version, and the answer appears to be no.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2012, 04:49:12 AM
 #12

I lucid article on economics coming from 1850s

"That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen"
http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

I wonder what new conclusions can we draw about the bitcoin economy after appreciating the point made by this article.


That certainly isnt light reading... I read 1/2 and skimmed the rest. Something for the academics on the forum to pour over.

For bitcoin? That's an interesting concept talking in terms of the article. Bitcoin, for all of its ledger information is very publicly seen. However, because of the anonymity, it is a protocol which naturally leads to a heavy bias towards the unseen.

That's why there are so many disputes in the economy subforum here, when someone tries to quantify the value of bitcoin or its economy (or anything else for that matter such as reasons for price actions) they realize that because there are so many unknown variables, nobody can accurately paint a picture of what's actually happening.

I normally love reading about economics although that was a little heavy, any recommendations for lighter reading?

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April 11, 2012, 06:24:28 AM
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I normally love reading about economics although that was a little heavy, any recommendations for lighter reading?

lonelyminer mentioned Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, but that is about the same level as Bastiat.

The Penny Candy that was mentioned might be the best choice, but haven't obtained a copy of that yet.

"I Pencil" from Leonard Read is a simple essay that is free on the internet somewhere.

"The Mainspring of Human Progress" by Henry Weaver was pretty good.

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April 11, 2012, 06:37:15 AM
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I normally love reading about economics although that was a little heavy, any recommendations for lighter reading?

lonelyminer mentioned Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, but that is about the same level as Bastiat.


No way.  Hazlitt's work is way more readable than Bastiat.  If, for no other reason, than Bastiat was translated from French.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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April 11, 2012, 07:02:20 AM
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No way.  Hazlitt's work is way more readable than Bastiat.  If, for no other reason, than Bastiat was translated from French.

When my kids are 10 and 11 they start reading Bastiat.  He is so logical and tells such wonderful stories (like the broken window (Hazlitt too)).  Hazlitt's books, also are very clear, simple and logical. But a 10 year old understanding labor unions, minimum wage laws, and public works requires and extra 15 minutes per chapter to explain the background.

So I thought they were kinda similar as far as complexity.

Looking forward next year to using Rothbard's Conceived in Liberty to teach American History.  The kids are going to hate me.

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April 11, 2012, 07:40:14 AM
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No way.  Hazlitt's work is way more readable than Bastiat.  If, for no other reason, than Bastiat was translated from French.

When my kids are 10 and 11 they start reading Bastiat.  He is so logical and tells such wonderful stories (like the broken window (Hazlitt too)).  Hazlitt's books, also are very clear, simple and logical. But a 10 year old understanding labor unions, minimum wage laws, and public works requires and extra 15 minutes per chapter to explain the background.

So I thought they were kinda similar as far as complexity.

Looking forward next year to using Rothbard's Conceived in Liberty to teach American History.  The kids are going to hate me.

Poor kids, I'm a lot older than 10 but I struggled.

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April 11, 2012, 08:06:00 AM
 #17

Off-topic: Why am I seeing this?


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April 11, 2012, 11:34:13 AM
 #18

Off-topic: Why am I seeing this?



THAT WHICH IS SEEN BY ME TOO!!!

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April 11, 2012, 11:59:28 AM
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Off-topic: Why am I seeing this?

I just assumed it was some sort of automated recommendation. Grin

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April 11, 2012, 12:08:29 PM
 #20

Off-topic: Why am I seeing this?

I just assumed it was some sort of automated recommendation. Grin

It's so distracting and tempting... For some reason it reminds me of: http://youtu.be/Mvxe04wGmTw
 Cheesy
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