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catallaxy in technical exile

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A couple of items from cyberspace that may be of interest.

A piece on a remarkable French thinker and writer, Frederic Bastiat, 1801-1850.

CLAUDE FREDERIC BASTIAT was a French economist, legislator, and writer who championed private property, free markets, and limited government. Perhaps the main underlying theme of Bastiat’s writings was that the free market was inherently a source of “economic harmony” among individuals, as long as government was restricted to the function of protecting the lives, liberties, and property of citizens from theft or aggression. To Bastiat, governmental coercion was only legitimate if it served “to guarantee security of person, liberty, and property rights, to cause justice to reign over all.”[1]

Bastiat emphasized the plan-coordination function of the free market, a major theme of the Austrian School, because his thinking was influenced by some of Adam Smith’s writings and by the great French free-market economists Jean-Baptiste Say, Francois Quesnay, Destutt de Tracy, Charles Comte, Richard Cantillon (who was born in Ireland and emigrated to France), and Anne Robert Jacques Turgot. These French economists were among the precursors to the modern Austrian School, having first developed such concepts as the market as a dynamic, rivalrous process, the free-market evolution of money, subjective value theory, the laws of diminishing marginal utility and marginal returns, the marginal productivity theory of resource pricing, and the futility of price controls in particular and of the government’s economic interventionism in general.

And a piece on “burning the mathematics” inspired by Marshall.

Marshall has this great advise about burning the mathematics. (1) Use mathematics as a shorthand language rather than as an engine of inquiry; (2) Keep to them till you have done; (3) Translate into English; (4) Then illustrate by examples that are important in real life; (5) Burn the mathematics; (6) If you cannot succeed in (4) then burn (3).


Written by Admin

February 25, 2006 at 6:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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