Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Taking vs Trading

If aliens arrived on our planet...would they want to trade with us or would they just take whatever resources they wanted?  It's my firm belief that they would want to trade with us.  Here's my logic...

In order for an alien civilization to advance to the point that it could actually visit us...they would already have learned that progress depends on trading rather than taking.   This is because taking destroys individual foresight and if you destroy individual foresight then you hinder progress.

In very simple terms...two heads are better than one.  We all have unique perspectives so we can see numerous uses of the same exact resource.  Trading integrates perspectives which allows resources to be put to their most productive uses...while taking does the opposite.  It seems highly unlikely that an alien civilization could efficiently allocate all the resources necessary to visit out planet...yet fail to appreciate that their progress was a direct result of integrating everybody's unique perspectives.  

Here on planet Earth we still haven't figured out that our progress depends on integrating people's perspectives.  If we had figured this out then taxpayers would be able to choose which government organizations they gave their taxes to...aka pragmatarianism.  Once we understand why people's perspectives should matter...then we'll allow taxpayers to trade their taxes for public goods that they value...our rate of progress will increase...and visiting inhabited planets will happen sooner rather than later.  With the understanding of progress under our belts...we would see the value in trading with the aliens rather than taking their resources by force.

This concept was the point of Bastiat's Parable of the Broken Window...
It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way, which this accident has prevented. - Bastiat, What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen
Right now we allow 538 congresspeople to spend around $4 trillion dollars.  Did they labor to earn that money?  No...they did not.  Taxpayers did.  When we allow congress to spend money that they did not earn...the perspectives of millions and millions of taxpayers are blocked from determining how their money should be distributed in the public sector.  As a result...progress is severely hindered.  Yet, people see roads and schools...so they see their tax dollars at work.  But they are simply seeing the SEEN...anybody can do that.  The challenge is to try and see the UNSEEN.  The unseen is the outcome of applying millions and millions of our most productive perspectives to the public sector.

The next time you watch a movie in which the aliens take the resources they want by force...or vice versa...hopefully you'll understand that what you're watching is merely a reflection of our society's lack of understanding regarding the correlation between perspectives and progress.

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