Four Amazing Differences | AIER

If there is a special purpose to my presence in this world – other than being a loving and responsible father to my son – that purpose is to teach the principles of economics. Even for professional bias (as much as I can), I have no doubt that no part of knowledge is more important than economics in understanding society, there are few bodies of knowledge As The most important and the most important part of the economy, by far, is the economy Policy, Popularly known as “Econ 101”. Many of the harmful government policies pursued or proposed at any given moment will probably come to a halt, like 90 percent, if most people have a strong understanding of the basic economy.

At the beginning of each semester, I – unlike most teachers of economics policy – spend a few hours trying to impress my students (most of whom are still too young to buy adult drinks) to see how different their world is. Know from the world that most of their ancestors were known. I have identified four ways where our lives in the modern, capitalist world are clearly different from the lives of almost everyone until a few centuries ago.

Wonderful prosperity

The way our lives differ from our pre-capitalist ancestors is that the most obvious way is that we are remarkably rich. Ordinary people today sleep under hard roofs and walk on hard floors in homes featuring plumbing, electric lighting, and cupboards full of food, wardrobes full of clothes, and garages or driveways full of automobiles. We are so rich that it is quite admirable that ours Pets We live a materially better life today than our human ancestors before the Industrial Age.

Although often said, this fact is not often said about the quality of modern life. We are so accustomed to our spectacular resources that we allow it. And what is granted is rarely appreciated and properly understood.

Reliance on strangers

A second way where our lives are clearly different from the lives of almost all of our ancestors is that we, unlike our ancestors, rely almost entirely on strangers for our survival. Before capitalism, Jones personally helped create many products that he or she consumed. Jones probably had a direct hand in hunting, building family huts, weaving clothes for family clothing, or caring for crops and animals destined to become family food. Most of the other products and services eaten by Jones were not directly produced by his labor, which was personally known to Jones, such as those produced by village blacksmiths, cobblers, coopers, butchers, tailors, tanners, carpenters, and wheelwheels.

In stark contrast today, we inhabitants of the capitalist economy not only directly help to produce the products we personally use, we have no idea about the identity of almost everyone Did The products we use have a hand in production. Almost everything we use is produced for us by people we don’t know – who are strangers to us.

Now consider the shirt on your back, the shoes on your feet, the salami in your refrigerator, the light bulb above your head, the rest near your smartphone, the petrol in your car and the polio vaccine that still protects your body. Q: Who made these things? You have no idea about their name, face, religious beliefs, political affiliation or physical position. And none of these people know you. But still these strangers who don’t know you – and, therefore, who probably don’t care about you – worked hard to somehow create something valuable for you.

What a great.

Strangers are versatile

Our lives today are clearly a third way from the lives of all the people who lived before the dawn of capitalism. Astronomy is on a regular basis. Today we are not only completely dependent on strangers for our survival, we are also more dependent on those we depend on.

This reality is true even for seemingly common things like jeans, oranges and window pans. But this reality is better seen by thinking of more ‘modern’ but still common things like smartphones. The glass of the phone’s mouth is made of material that some strangers explored and then other strangers turned it into glass. Yet various strangers programmed the codes that allowed the phone to work, while other strangers designed the microprocessor – little wonder that was physically created by machines made by other strangers and then transported to the factory for assembly by other strangers. Each app, of course, is still a product of the minds of other strangers.

I don’t know – no one probably knew – the exact number of people whose efforts were dedicated to building your smartphone and keeping it running. But I’m sure this number is much more than a million – in fact, it’s probably more than one. When this number is added to the number of strangers whose efforts were dedicated to building your living room couch, your HVAC system, the latest medications you received, your automobile and commercial-air flight that you will see later your parents or that business deal To put it bluntly, the number of strangers who work for you on a regular basis is probably over a billion.

Wow more.

No one knows how to make any modern better

The fourth obvious difference between the lives of us and our pre-capitalist ancestors is that what we use is something that no one knows how to make or perhaps how to make. This incredible claim warrants repetition: almost everything we use is something that no one can or does not know how to do.

The most famous explanation of this wonderful reality is Leonard Reid’s brilliant 1958 essay “I, Pencil”. Creating something as simple, inexpensive, and seemingly simple as a simple pencil requires the knowledge and effort of so many different individuals that no one – indeed, any committee of indefatigable geniuses – possibly possesses such knowledge. This unimaginably vast amount of knowledge pervades the minds of countless specialized producers, almost all of whom are unfamiliar with each other, as well as the ultimate consumers of their products. And yet we have so many pencils that an average American worker today has only 13 people to work with. Seconds To earn enough income – ten cents – to buy a new pencil.

Think about this fact: a typical (“non-supervisory”) private-sector American worker, who earns about 27 27 an hour, can earn enough to buy something in a second that is so complex to produce that anyone can do it. Can’t Hopefully we will be able to fully understand what is involved in its production and what it requires the knowledge and labor of millions of strangers.

What is the reason for the great and irresistibly successful combination of the productive efforts of billions of strangers around the world? And why is this combination so silent and uninterrupted that we allow it? We rarely notice it.

We seldom notice this huge phenomenon of global cooperation and coordination, that is, until a skilled teacher from Econ 101 draws our attention. , And innovation specializes and drives countless efforts that make our wonderful world a reality.

The courage to learn is glorious!

Donald J. Boudrox

Donald J.  Boudrox

Donald J. Boudroux is a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and with the FA Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at George Mason University’s Markatas Center; A Mercatus Center board member; And Professor of Economics and former chair of the Department of Economics at George Mason University. He is the author of books The Essential Hayek, Globalization, Hypocritical and half-wittedAnd his articles appear in such publications The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report As well as numerous scholarly journals. He writes a blog called Cafe Hayek and writes regular columns on economics Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Boudreaux holds a PhD in economics from the University of Auburn and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

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