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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two,
Patrice Riemens on Sat, 19 Apr 2014 14:06:27 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Ippolita Collective, In the Facebook Aquarium Part Two,


A bit 'hefty' piece to-day, hence short.
Happy Easter Reading!
p+5D!


Libertarians - or a short history of capitalism on steroids
(section 2, contd.)


Society [in the anarcho-libertarian perspective -transl] is taken as being
the outcome of (purely) economic transactions at the individual level
(scale). But in order to understand how such a vision has come into being,
a trip down Memory Lane is called for. As per Austrian economic theory,
especially in the Ludwig von Mises - Rothbard's guru - declination, the
individual is endowed with a praxis which defines her/him a priori,
without need for her/his concrete actions to be taken into account. (And)
by applying praxeology, studying this practice, one can arrive at
unvarying axioms.

And absolute truth springs forth from one (and one) axiom only: the
Fundamental Axiom - or 'Action One' [4]. In other words, individuals /act/
in order to achieve their (subjective) /ends/, and in order to do so,
apply /means/. All human beings, at all times, have taken this axiom for
granted; it can neither be denied nor falsified, since by doing so one
/acts/ (even if by negating). In philosophical terms one may therefore say
that the action axiom is a / synthetic a priori proposition/[**]. From the
fundamental axiom springs forth the following, equally absolute truth: all
individuals always try to maximize their own interests ('utility'). An
individual always acts in such a  way as to alter her/his present
condition, which sHe views as unsatisfactory (by definition), in order to
replace it by a condition which sHe thinks would be a better one. Every
human action therefore, consists in the elimination of a perceived want
and of the satisfaction of a need. Put differently, every human action
tends towards the advancement of one's own benefit [***]. Every action is
geared towards individual profit, and this in an entirely subjective
fashion. The individual cannot but act, move, maximize his profit, or at
least try to do so, and this finds its materialization in the accretion of
wealth. Plenty is good and more is even better - let the numbers talk for
themselves!

The concept of /time/ as a 'weak resource' sheds more light on the
far-reaching influence this doctrine has exercised, according to which a
human being is (only truly) free as (in the capacity of) consumer.  This
is exactly the definition of liberty underlying the digital social
networks and the ideological aggregate going with the monicker 'Web 2.0'.
As time is a weak resource, and all human action are geared towards the
satisfaction of needs through the accumulation/consumption of
wealth/goods, speed becomes the essence of achievement. From this purely
deductive affirmation derives the case that in the matter of production
and consumption, the shorter the action lasts the better. Individuals, as
consumers driven by subjective needs, want it all now rather than latter.
Soon is good, now is better - and fast is king!

Of course, praxeology is a bit more complex in the writings of the
Austrian School's authors than in our present rendering. Yet, like all
theories pretending to hold absolute validity at all times, at all places,
and for all people, praxeology displays a number of irreducible
contradictions. Yet we need to pause on one particular aspect it shares
with the anarchist American individualistic tradition: absolute
subjectivism. (...)

(to be continued)
Next time: on objectivism in classic (esp. english) economic theory.





......
[4] Murray N Rothbard "Praxeology: The Methodology of Austrian Economics",
in:  The Logic of Action One Method, Money, and the Austrian School.
Cheltenham: Elgar, 1997, pp 58-77. See esp p 70 of:
https://mises.org/rothbard/praxeology.pdf
[**]
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/578646/synthetic-a-priori-proposition
[***] 'acquisition of utilities' in the original; I don't know if a
literal translation would make much sense in English, hence my
interpretation.


-----------------------------
Translated by Patrice Riemens
This translation project is supported and facilitated by:
The Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
(http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/portal/)
The Antenna Foundation, Nijmegen
(http://www.antenna.nl - Dutch site)
(http://www.antenna.nl/indexeng.html - english site under construction)
Casa Nostra, Vogogna-Ossola, Italy


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