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Name: The General
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Saturday, March 19, 2005
  Quote of the Day
Here is a great quote from Carl Menger's outstanding treatise, Principles of Economics, on the division of labor when men are rational.
In its most primitive form, a collecting economy is confined to gathering those goods of lowest order that happen to be offered by nature. Since economizing individuals exert no influence on the production of these goods, their origin is independent of the wishes and needs of men, and hence, so far as they are concerned, accidental. But if men abandon this most primitive form of economy, investigate the ways in which things may be combined in a causal process for the production of consumption goods, take possession of things capable of being so combined, and treat them as goods of higher order, they will obtain consumption goods that are as truly the results of natural processes as the consumption goods of a primitive collecting economy, but the available quantities of these goods will no longer be independent of the wishes and needs of men. Instead, the quantities of consumption goods will be determined by a process that is in the power of men and is regulated by human purposes within the limits set by natural laws. Consumption goods, which before were the product of an accidental concurrence of the circumstances of their origin, become products of human will, within the limits set by natural laws, as soon as men have recognized these circumstances and have achieved control of them. The quantities of consumption goods at human disposal are limited only by the extent of human knowledge of the causal connections between things, and by the extent of human control over these things. Increasing understanding of the causal connections between things and human welfare, and increasing control of the less proximate conditions responsible for human welfare, have led mankind, therefore, from a state of barbarism and the deepest misery to its present stage of civilization and well-being, and have changed vast regions inhabited by a few miserable, excessively poor, men into densely populated civilized countries. Nothing is more certain than that the degree of economic progress of mankind will still, in future epochs, be commensurate with the degree of progress of human knowledge.

Carl Menger, Principles of Economics, pg. 73-74
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 12:55 AM


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