Lecture 17: Developing the principles of economic theory.

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    Dr. Herbener,

    I want to start off by saying that i just love your approach
    and perspective that you use to teach your lessons. I find your
    material to be presented not only clearly and in a logical wsy,
    but you break up the lessons into quantities that can be understood
    and digested by my simple mind. (And you reinforce the
    lessons eith simple yet powerful examples.)

    In this lesson, i was floored when you discussed the
    necessity that means and ends are not only required,
    but that in order for the rules of economic science
    and human action to hold, there needs to be a level
    of uncertainty that caries from human to human between
    fully certain to totally random.

    Once i digested that concept, i felt it almost spoke to
    me spiritually (snd i spillover for bringing this line
    of thought into your course material on my own….and not
    knowing your position on religion, spirituality or God,
    i dont mean to say anything that offends you.

    But when i thought about what what you said it made
    me realize the answer to the question of “why does God
    let bad tbings happen to good people?” The answer is perhaps

    Yhe answer has three components to me..
    First, God gave us free will as a gift of freedom
    and second, just like the laws of physics snd
    mathematics, God has designed a system which includes
    humans snd the very human nature that God
    imprinted us with so that humans might not only
    survive, but as lso hsve at our means the ability to
    tend for th he greater world ss our own societies continue
    to grow and expand.

    Ok….that may be quite a bit of my own imagination
    and interpretation of my own faith snd
    your teachings mixed into a concoction that many
    (Perhaps even you ) could never subscribe to.
    Nut i had to get it off my chest since i was just
    do blown away by your lesson.


    Also, please pardon me horrible spelling and grammar of my post. I am typing this in on a small Android phone as I sit in a McDonald’s parking lot. I was literally coming back from my home in New Hampshire back to Massachusetts and I was struck by your comments in this lesson. Thank you very much!


    Many thanks for your kind comments. In fact, I agree with your sentiments.

    Here is a piece I wrote surveying the rise of the market economy in Christendom:



    Hello Professor Herbener,

    I just learned a lesson that I thought I learned many years ago regarding “saving often”…..I had just typed up a very long missive in reply to you in this thread, and I hit SUMBIT….or so I thought….and of course, here I am not seeing it posted. (hard lesson learned)

    So rather than try and remember the post, or even clone my thoughts, let me just capture the basics of “most” of it.

    First, I thank you for pointing me at the above article. It is wonderful, and I have read it twice and need to read it again. I am finding great insight and wisdom in it. (I wish I had more of an appreciation for history when I was growing up)

    Second…..I had talked about a point in your lecture where you spoke about the Command Economy not having the price mechanism to signal the economy in order that it allocate resources to serve the needs and preferences of people….that reminded me of some of my friends at work who “escaped” from the USSR back in the 80’s and 90’s….and their description of the black market there, that everyone seemed to participate in. That exactly shows your point of not service needs….but it also shows that people, even when subjected to such an inefficient system, continue to find ways to get their preferences met. Sure, not as efficiently….but then again, their desires did not simply go away…..their desires forced them to create a parallel (albeit illegal) system to help fill them. (thank goodness for this “grand design” we have been created in….it might just lead to fulfillment, no matter the obstacles we set in our own path) So even in our hampered economy, the vestiges of whatever free-market we have will indeed work to serve the preferences / needs of people that “illegal yet still-created” black market did for those in the USSR….so the vision is to open up ALL aspects of the market so we can maximize progress.

    Thirdly…..I made comment about using analysis methods from other complex systems in the analysis of others. Weather and electronics are other complex studies….and there are things like network theory and / or piece-wise linear analysis used to study complex responses to complex circuits. I noted how the progress of computer design had sort of stalled until the idea of a RISC (reduced instruction set computer) replaced the CISC (complex instruction set computer) thereby unleashing computer design in dimensions (clock rate and multi-level pipelines) that were not possible using CISC architectures. I suppose that Praxeology of the Austrian School is a similar “tool”, and so I wonder if the science of economics isn’t similar in that it grows to a point where it might perhaps “stall”, until another breakthrough thought helps define the next “step” that will further propel economic thought. (on which is can be built further) Again….it is wonderful to be part of a grand design.

    I hope this posts makes it…..I have to CUT-N-PASTE it into a file just in case I botch this one too. 🙂


    PS: I finally did a little looking into Grove City College, and you in so far as other things you wrote, and I suppose it was silly for me to be so worried to connect my thoughts on your post to God. (20/20 hindsight) Also, as an aside….I am always fascinated by online websites like “Rate my professor” and how it must feel to have a place where people can publicly comment on you. As an Electrical Engineer, I might have a hard time with it….but as a person who ran for and held local office, it was a part of the territory…oh, and I thought the write-ups were actually very good….when you consider the age of the folks posting, and the situation they might feel having just either succeed or not-so-successfully completed your class….they might not have the emotional depth to make the sort of assessment that themselves might give after a few more years of growth. (but even so…..you seem to be a very good professor)

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