Libertarian Ethics, Lecture 4 with Danny Sanchez - Mises Academy


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Libertarian Ethics, Lecture 4 with Danny Sanchez - Mises Academy

  1. 1. Libertarian Ethics, Lecture 4 Daniel James Sanchez Mises Academy November 18, 2011
  2. 2. Review: Mises’ Theory of Society ●Law of Association ●Division of Labor ●Manifoldness of Nature ●Social Cooperation ●Social Bonds and Social Order ●“The Fundamental Social Phenomenon” ● “If and as far as labor under the division of labor is more productive than isolated labor, and if and as far as man is able to realize this fact, human action itself tends toward cooperation and association; man becomes a social being… in aiming at an improvement in his own welfare.” (HA 8.4) ●The Function of Social Bonds and Social Order
  3. 3. Codes of Conduct ●The Function of Moral Codes: “The notion of right and wrong is a human device, a utilitarian precept designed to make social cooperation under the division of labor possible.” (HA 27.3) ●Property ●Justice ●Law ● “Law and legality, the moral code and social institutions … are of human origin, and the only yardstick that must be applied to them is that of expediency with regard to human welfare.” (HA 8.2) ● “All moral rules and human laws are means for the realization of definite ends. There is no method available for the appreciation of their goodness or badness other than to scrutinize their usefulness for the attainment of the ends chosen and aimed at.” (HA 27.3)
  4. 4. The Power of Public Opinion ●Social Order and Ideology: “any concrete order of social affairs are an outcome of ideologies” (HA 9.3) ●The Public and Living Standards ●The Power of Praxeology ● “Because man is a social animal that can thrive only within society, all ideologies are forced to acknowledge the preeminent importance of social cooperation. They must aim at the most satisfactory organization of society and must approve of man's concern for an improvement of his material well-being. Thus they all place themselves upon a common ground. They are separated… by problems of means and ways. Such ideological antagonisms are open to a thorough scrutiny by the scientific methods of praxeology and economics.” (HA 9.2)
  5. 5. Additionally: The Malthusian Law of Population The Utilitarian Doctrine Restated: The essential teachings of utilitarian philosophy as applied to the problems of society can be restated as follows: Human effort exerted under the principle of the division of labor in social cooperation achieves, other things remaining equal, a greater output per unit of input than the isolated efforts of solitary individuals. Man's reason is capable of recognizing this fact and of adapting his conduct accordingly. Thus social cooperation becomes for almost every man the great means for the attainment of all ends. An eminently human common interest, the preservation and intensification of social bonds, is substituted for pitiless biological competition, the significant mark of animal and plant life. Man becomes a social being. He is no longer forced by the inevitable laws of nature to look upon all other specimens of his animal species as deadly foes. Other people become his fellows. For animals the generation of every new member of the species means the appearance of a new rival in the struggle for life. For man, until the optimum
  6. 6. Malthus, continued Those whom we may call the harmonists base their argument on Ricardo's law of association and on Malthus' principle of population. They do not, as some of their critics believe, assume that all men are biologically equal. They take fully into account the fact that there are innate biological differences among various groups of men as well as among individuals belonging to the same group. Ricardo's law has shown that cooperation under the principle of the division of labor is favorable to all participants. It is an advantage for every man to cooperate with other men, even if these others are in every respect-mental and bodily capacities and skills, diligence and moral worth-inferior. From Malthus' principle one can deduce that there is, in any given state of the supply of capital goods and knowledge of how to make the best use of natural resources, an optimum size of population. So long as population has not increased beyond this size, the addition of newcomers improves rather than impairs the conditions
  7. 7. ● “The singular tendency of capitalism is to provide for individuals the satisfaction of their wants according to the extent of their contribution to the satisfaction of the wants of others. Through the market process, the consumers tend to reward each producer according to his contribution to consumer satisfaction. Capitalism therefore encourages individuals to, in their own interest, ever adjust their choices of roles and actions so as to ever increase their contribution to the satisfaction of human wants. ● The relative importance of some consumers' wants are greater than that of others in this process. But the relative importance of any given consumer's wants, insofar as that relative importance has been determined on the market, is a function of how much he contributed to satisfying the wants of other consumers in his role as a producer. ● Thus, under capitalism, human choices, through their interplay, coordinate each other so as to provide for human welfare as bountifully as possible. ● Every state intervention into the market nexus — every tax, regulation, redistribution, or expansion of bureaucracy — only slackens the ties linking contribution and income, thereby hampering the instrumentality of the market by making producers less responsive to consumers, and thus The Utilitarian Superiority of Capitalism
  8. 8. Mises on Consumer Sovereignty ●Consumer welfare as public welfare ●“Producer’s Policy” ●The issue of homesteading
  9. 9. Thoughts Raised by Dr. Gordon’s Lecture ●Anarcho-capitalism and Minarchism ●Hazlitt and Mises ●Hoppe and Hume’s Law ●Rothbard and Hume’s Law ●Sport-Killing ●The Words “Arbitrary” and “Whim” ●Prichard and Mises
  10. 10. Happiness and Flourishing ● “Praxeology is indifferent to the ultimate goals of action. Its findings are valid for all kinds of action irrespective of the ends aimed at. It is a science of means, not of ends. It applies the term happiness in a purely formal sense. In the praxeological terminology the proposition: man's unique aim is to attain happiness, is tautological. It does not imply any statement about the state of affairs from which man expects happiness.” (HA 1.2) ● "While praxeology, and therefore economics too, uses the terms happiness and removal of uneasiness in a purely formal sense, liberalism attaches to them a concrete meaning. It presupposes that people prefer life to death, health to sickness, nourishment to starvation, abundance to poverty.” (HA 8.2) ● Rothbardian “Flourishing” Independent of Social Cooperation and the Greater Productivity of the Division of Labor
  11. 11. Hazlitt ●The “Instrumental Ought” ●Not Against Hume’s Law ●Falls for “Parachuting Ethicist” Fallacy ●Common Law vs. Social Rationalism ●Though the World Be Destroyed ●On General Rules ●On Property ●On Distribution Theory
  12. 12. Hoppe’s Intro ●“…integration of… economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified science of libertarianism”. Without utilitarianism, what does economics have to do with libertarianism? ●Why the universalization principle?
  13. 13. Rothbard’s Preface ●Economic “unfortunate consequences”. (MES) ●“Economics can supply much of the data for a libertarian position.” ●The book “does not try to prove or establish the ethics or ontology of natural law… Natural law has been ably expounded and defended elsewhere by ethical philosophers.”
  14. 14. Ethics, Chapter 1 ●“…all entities of the world, each with its own nature and its own ends.” Is Rothbard expanding teleology to the natural world, or using a different sense of “end” in his ethics? ●Leo Strauss: “…we ought to choose attainable ends”. If an end is sought, by definition, it is thought to be attainable.
  15. 15. Ethics, Chapter 5 & 6 ●“…as soon as anyone makes any policy suggestion… an ethical judgment… has willy-nilly been made.” ●“Proper ends” of isolated man, contra Hoppe’s ethics. ●“Affirming life” (proto-Hoppean argument): only for the present, not for the future.
  16. 16. Value-Free Rule Utilitarianism and “The Parchuting Ethicist” Fallacy ● “Utilitarian liberalism does not say, "You want B, but you should really want A." Rather, it says, "You think B will result in Y, which you want. But it will not. Instead it will result in X, which you do not want. However, if you adopt A, you will get Z, which you would like best, but did not even know was possible." ● And it says this, not with regard to particular choices considered in isolation, but with regard to the systemic consequences to be expected of general rules. Furthermore, it says this not in order to persuade each individual in every concrete choice in their daily lives, but so as to effect a revolution in public opinion concerning social expediency, which in turn will necessarily engender a revolution in the prevailing moral code.”