Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. He is available for speaking and interviews via his email. Tw | FB | LinkedIn
Jeffrey A. Tucker
Articles from Jeffrey A. Tucker
A number one fallacy in the history of economics is the labor theory of value. The idea here is that things and actions are made valuable by how much work we put into making them. Sounds intuitively right. It’s completely wrong. Things have value because you and I value them, regardless of labor inputs.
Fans will be fans. Peanut galleries will always be with us. It’s entertainment, and a major reason why we actually like sports, music, and books. Everyone is a critic. That’s all fine. But let’s not forget the profound difference between those who do and those who pretend to do, nor the difference between those whose wealth rests on creativity and human volition and those who bully others to get their way.
It is not serious thought to go around simply demanding that everything be free. That demand solves no problem that has occupied the world of economics for a thousand years. Try to implement it and someone, everyone, is going to pay – long lines, impossible high taxes, hyperinflation, material deprivation – and not through choice.
The allegorical lesson here is that we are all captive of an elaborate game of Fantasy Citizen. In this game, the political parties pick their teams, foment conflict, reward points for infractions and altercations, and walk away with the spoils. What if instead we suddenly realized that sociology of conflict has all been orchestrated by our overlords?
The social-media world of the future will not be centralized. It will take many different forms, and the replacement for Facebook is not likely to be a copy. It will be something else entirely, and we can see this already happening. This realization will force us all to come to terms with a reality of the world that social media has heretofore led us to deny: it’s a huge world out there and the varieties of social experience are infinite. Not one of them is perfect. Not one of them is permanent.
It is incredibly reckless to double taxes on imports from a particular country with the stroke of a pen. As robust and well-capitalized as the US is today, such actions foment more conflict, feed resentment, fuel nationalism, and take unnecessary risks with the economic well being of people the world over.
When things don’t go our way, when institutions produce outcomes we find contrary to our conception of what should be, we seek out the culprit, the hidden hand making things as they are. Surely some powerful cabal manipulated the world to take the shape that it does. Nothing is random, spontaneous, truly decentralized, accidental, or the product of an emergent process that no one in particular controls. There is a power behind some curtain somewhere. The purpose of the conspiracy theory is to find it and bring it to justice.