Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Applying Economic Insights to other Social Processes

Allan Waldstad applies economic reasoning to understanding the process of science. The great thing about Austrian economics is that it treats the economy as a social science, meaning what it says about the economy is equally applicable to other social processes -- like science, or even literary production. Quite frankly, I think it can help one to see how silly certain ideas in economics are if we apply them to other processes. Consider wealth redistribution. The same processes that result in the patterns of wealth distribution also result in the emergence of identical patterns of reputation in science and in the arts. Is it fair that Don DeLillo has a better literary reputation than I do? Shouldn't we redistribute some of his reputation my way, since I am reputationally impoverished compared to him? Or would that just destroy reputation? Now, if what I said about reputation sounds downright stupid, you now know how you sound to me if you advocate wealth redistribution.

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