Showing posts from June, 2009

Profit as Life-blood

Another succinct bit of wisdom from Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–1781); this one on profit:
It is this advance and this continual return of capitals which constitute what one must call the circulation of money — that useful and fruitful circulation which gives life to all the labors of society, which maintains movement and life in the body politic, and which is with great reason compared to the circulation of blood in the animal body. For if, by any disorder whatsoever in the sequence of expenditures on the part of the different classes of society, the [entrepreneurs] cease to get back their advances with the profit they have a right to expect from them, it is evident that they will be obliged to reduce their undertakings; that the amount of labor, the amount of consumption of the fruits of the earth, the amount of production, and the amount of revenue will be reduced in like measure; that poverty will take the place of wealth; and that the common workmen, ceasing to find employmen…

Exploitation Defined

I've often encountered when in discussion of "sweatshops" the charge that those who own them are exploiting those they employ. But I think it all depends on one's definition of exploitation. The common definition is similar to: the act of employing to the greatest possible advantage. If that is all there is to exploitation, it is hardly objectionable.

We all exploit and are exploited everyday. For example, my employer has given me the greatest tools and training necessary to do my job. It is in my employer's best interest to do so as it gives him the greatest possible advantage in serving his customers. On the other hand, I have sought the greatest tools and training so as to give myself the greatest possible advantage over other employees or potential employees. So in short, we have exploited each other to our own advantage.

So why all the fuss over the supposed "exploitation" of sweatshop employees? It comes back to the definition of exploitation. If so…

Global Warming Consensus

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone still seriously believes that there's any sort of scientific "consensus" on man-made global warming. There absolutely isn't. And as for scientific "consensus" here's something on that by the late Michael Crichton:
I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science co…