Saturday, February 18, 2006

The God of Gold

Are you confused about the true nature of value?

Are you a Smitho-Bentho-Marxian who believes the true utility and value of a product is mainly determined by the amount of labour used to create that product or are you a Scholasto-Cantillonian-Mengerian who believes that the utility and value of a product is entirely in the eye of each individual beholder?

Do you believe that because a labouring man spends four days hunting a beaver this makes the resulting beaver pelt in the city fetch a market price of four ounces of silver? Or do you believe that an entrepreneurial man might choose to spend up to four days hunting a beaver because he has economically calculated that when he brings the beaver pelt back to the city market, in four days time, he will probably get four ounces of silver for it, basing this risky view upon today's current market price?

Fear ye not; for there is a simple way of deducing the answer to this tricky cart-before-horse or horse-before-cart question. You can avoid all of that labour theory of value nonsense, which generated the dreadful Gulags and concentration camps of the twentieth century, and which still leaves us at the mercy of such Marxoid morons as the British Labour Party, an organization which actually named itself after the labour theory of value. How so MacDuff? By inventing a time machine and returning to the Byzantine Empire, in what is now the European segment of modern Turkey.

According to a plaque I read in a small English archaeological museum recently, there was a special pedestal in the Byzantine Hippodrome, the East Roman version of the Circus Maximus, upon which was placed a magical statue. If you named an object and then placed a certain amount of gold in the free hand of this statue, if the price was right the statue's hand would briefly close upon the gold; in other words the Gods themselves would consent objectively to a stated price transaction.

Although nobody knows which column this was, of which only three linger on, in the ruins of the Hippodrome, I feel certain that it must have been one of these very three historical survivors; namely the Serpentine Column.

To the right of the picture above you may be able see its remains. These stick up out of the ground in the ruins of Byzantium at the famous Hippodrome. You can still visit this column today, in modern Istanbul.

So why do I believe that this particular column must be the seat of objective truth valuation? Because of its history, which is tied directly into important mythological predictive capabilities. After the Battle of Plataea, in 479 BC, in which the Greeks defeated the Persians, a golden tripod statue was created for the Oracle of Apollo, at Delphi. Surmounting this tripod was a statue of the Sun God Apollo himself. The Roman Emperor Constantine and his successors later stripped Greece of her treasures to adorn the New Rome capital of Byzantium; the Delphic Tripod was one of these treasures. Sited in the Hippodrome, in a venue which could hold a hundred thousand spectators, the Tripod remained standing until 1204 AD, when crusaders, on their fourth crusade, sacked the venerable old city. These Latins, as the Byzantine Greeks knew them, stripped all of the gold from the Tripod and melted it down for coinage; what remains of the Tripod is a last supporting bronze stump, known as the Serpentine Column.

So now we know what to do to stop the endless arguments between the war-mongering neoclassicists and the peace-loving Austrians. All we need do is take some of the Bank of England gold that Gordon Brown is selling off to buy paper Euros with and then recreate multiple copies of the Delphic Tripod of Apollo. We should then set these copies up in the entrance halls of all the world’s major central banks, open them to the public, and then hey presto all of our valuation concerns will be over.

So it's goodbye Ludwig von Mises and the socialist economic calculation debate, because we will have at our disposal perfect economic calculation engines driven by the Gods themselves. Plus, the inflationists and counterfeiters who run these banks will be held in check. For if we ever doubt the value of the fiat money that these underhand shysters keep running off the printing presses, the supreme golden Sun God Apollo himself will let them know the errors of their ways via publicly certified transaction valuation checks. Marvellous.

Until this happy day, however, I am afraid that we will still be at the mercy of value in the eye of the beholder and the need for a market of such beholders to allow reasonably predictable economic calculation. 'Twas ever thus. The true God of Gold must therefore be Von Mises, because of his spectacular view on economic calculation which so successfully predicted the end of communism. Let us pray his theory on economic calculation also one day brings down the British Labour Party and all the dangerous morons who sail in her. That truly will be a happy day.


Julius Blumfeld said...

Oh the Labour party have long since wised up:

"Yes we know that the communists were wrong in thinking that the State could control the economy. But that old ECA debate is just soooooo last season. We are much more modern. We accept that markets are a neceessary evil and that, nasty and unpleasant though it is, the profit motive has a place in the modern world, but of course markets must be carefully regulated to ensure social justice and to avoid catastrophic market failures"

They may be stupid, but they are cunning with it ;-(

Gekko said...

I wouldn't limit it to the Labour party now that the New Tories have 'discovered' socialism .

Jack Maturin said...

"So we, the Labour Party, hereby accept a capitalist economy to put bread on the table. However, to ensure fairness und sicherheit for Das Folk in der Labour heartlands, it is in Ordnung for us to heavily regulate it."

From communism to fascism in the blink of removing clause IV from the Labour Party's constitution.

Yes, I suppose the Labour Party have become Nazis rather than Bolsheviks.

But it's a heck of a way to get out of trying to refute the ECA, by becoming the very thing you profess to despise most?

But then as Professor Hoppe says in a PDF, all those who rule by coercion are socialists (including the 'New Tories'). The means of how they implement this collectivized rule by force may vary, thus giving us a happy fun loving range from Bolshevik socialist to National socialist, but it's still the same old wolf hiding under different colored cloths.

Jack Maturin said...

Whoops, got that PDF address wrong! :-)