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19 mars 2009

Österrikarnas "subjektiva" värdeteori

Jag är med på Facebook sedan ett par veckor, och ikväll skrev jag ett kort inlägg om "österrikisk" värdeteori versus objektivism. Jag förmodar att det kan vara av visst intresse för andra också. Kort, men förhoppningsvis pedagogiskt.

I think it important to note that the so-called "subjective theory of value" espoused by Mises and other "Austrians" is not subjectivism in the philosophical sense of the term. It has nothing to do with "It’s true because I feel it’s true" or "It may be true for you, but it’s not true for me" (and all that kind of jazz). It refers to the simple and elementary fact that economic phenomena can always be traced back to individual choices and individual valuations.

That they call this theory "subjective" raises unnecessary havoc – especially to us who have learned and digested the principle that values are as objective as any other fact of reality. The best advice I can give when you read Mises is to, in your own mind, substitute "individual" every time Mises writes "subjective". (There will still be points where an Objectivist will have to disagree with Mises, but they will be much fewer.)

I once made up a simple but drastic example to illustrate the point: suppose two persons meet in the middle of a desert. One of them is starving to death, but has only a bottle of water left; the other one is thirsting to death, but has only a loaf of bread left. Obviously, the stage is set for an exchange.

"Austrians" would call this "subjective", merely because it illustrates that values can differ from person to person and are dependent on the specifics of the situation. But what is really subjective about this?

It’s an objective fact that a man cannot survive without food; and it’s equally objective that he cannot survive without water.

För mer kött på benen, läs Objectivism versus "Austrian" Economics on Value.

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Utgivare: Per-Olof Samuelsson, Järnvägsgatan 13, 645 31 STRÄNGNÄS
E-post: per-olof.samuelsson@swipnet.se
Hemsida: www.nattvakt.com


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