Morality is a Problem of Cost, Not Scarcity

[S]carcity and Property exist prior to cooperation. However, scarcity is an analytic concept. Humans think in terms of cost, not scarcity. Because scarcity requires knowledge we cannot possess other than through prices/costs. So we cannot know something is scarce any more than we can know something is analytically true. We can only know that it is costly. The very concept of scarcity is modern, even if the precursor existed in the late medieval period (Norman English). Prior to the modern period, everything is ‘scarce'(costly) except an oversupply of labor and an over-demand for consumption. So it is praxeologically irrational to construct operational definitions out of that which is operationally impossible. (the profundity of that statement may not be immediately obvious.)

Cooperation evolves out of the increased productive value of cooperating minus the loss of value in free riding, parasitism and predation. Humans evolved moral intuitions as pre-cognitive assessments of changes in the state of that which they had expended effort upon (paid costs for), so humans ‘feel’ changes in inventory as emotions, and ‘feel’ reactions to violations of parasitism, and react expensively to prevent future such actions – and so, humans act morally on costs, not analytically on scarcity. They must because reason is too expensive and failure prone compared with intuitive responses. We avoid one another because of potential conflict, yes. And, indeed, many of our primate relatives avoid conflict, but do not cooperate. Yet we cooperate with one another out of a desire for returns and discounts. We cooperate because we evolved the ability to empathize with intentions. We cooperate because it is more productive to cooperate than not. We are wealthier, more numerous and more powerful than our primate relatives, because we can not only prevent takings, but because we can cooperate – and they cannot.

But for cooperation to be both rational and evolutionarily survivable, it must be relatively free of parasitism (beneficial for all parties: meaning mutually productive). And that is why humans are so highly agitated that we inflict punishment on all violators of the contract against parasitism: violence, theft, fraud, fraud by omission, fraud by indirection, free riding, socialization of losses, privatization of commons, rent seeking, conspiracy, statism, conversion, invasion, and conquest. We call this sequence ‘criminal, ethical, and immoral behavior’. Or we shorten it to ‘morals’.

As such, it is impossible for an economy to form without cooperation – where there are prohibitions only on violence, but an absence of a prohibition on parasitism that make cooperation possible. It is only possible for an economy to form in the presence of morality: suppression of free riding.

The only possible solution for any organism is the sequence:

1) movement/memory/scarcity/defense(property)

2) intention, incentives, cooperation, morality (non parasitism) – cooperation on the production of normative commons.

As such the only CAUSALLY POSSIBLE origin of moral rules is the prohibition on parasitism, not scarcity.

3) Just as we had to suppress ethical and moral parasitism in order to create cooperation, we must expand our suppression to include organized parasitism (state monopolies). But that does not mean that we must abandon prohibitions on parasitism. And it does not mean that it is possible to. Transaction costs alone would force the logical restoration of the state on the one hand, and the organized genocide of low trust peoples (gypsies and jews, and now apparently, muslims) that all host cultures (except the west) always enact. The only possible means of obtaining liberty is to increase the scope of moral prohibitions (prohibitions on parasitism) to reflect innovations in parasitism of the marxist and Keynesian era.

So, for a bit of irony, the scarcity exists prior to cooperation, and therefore it is not praxeologically possible to come into existence post-cooperation.

As such human societies evolve out of an ever-expanding suppression of parasitism, largely by centralizing parasitism to pay for the suppression of local parasitism. Once centralized, the next opportunity for increasing prosperity by suppression, is to eradicate centralized parasitism, by eliminating monopolies that make parasitism possible.
Ergo, the only possible libertarian society is one of high trust, and total suppression of free riding (parasitism).
Ergo the only possible social order using the ghetto ethic is one of those imprisoned either in the ghetto, or on Crusoe’s island.

[O]ne must question the dogmatic advocacy of operational definitions (praxeology) in the construction of any economic statement that we say is ‘true’, while at the same time constructing economic statements that are not operational, but merely rational. This is a contradiction.

Furthermore, operational (praxeological) definitions only prove that something is existentially possible, and if constructed as measures they produce reproducibility. But they do not demonstrate that they are in fact the way something occurred (truth), nor do they demonstrate the exclusive means by which something can be accomplished.
Meaning is useful, but it is rarely true – except by accident. In fact, we may view science as an effort to replace the subjectively meaningful, with the objectively truthful.

Defense of meaning is justification. Man justifies. Justification is just another means of deception of others, and satisfying confirmation bias of the self – which in itself is merely an attempt to obtain a discount. But it is psychologically understandable that one would argue desperately to defend his investments in justification, despite the universal evidence to the contrary of his arguments. It is also logical that it is so easy to use loading, framing, overloading, obscurantism, conflation, and justification, to do so. But justification is merely justification – an error or a deceit.

Hoppe and Rothbard work to justify Ghetto ethics. In large part i have solved the problem that Mises came so close to, failed to, and was ostracized over. I have tried to correct hoppe’s deductive arguments by converting them to scientific arguments, and thereby abandoning the ghetto influence of Rothbard, and preserving Hoppe’s arguments against the incentives of state vs private ownership. And his use of insurance to eliminate monopoly insurer of last resort. And his use of economics to operationally and intuitionistically describe operations and construct theories of all human behavior.

It so happens that the interests between states (out group parties) are not commensurable, and therefore can only be reduced to questions of property and contract. But for in-groups to form, sufficient to hold the territory necessary to implement sufficient suppression of parasitism that it is possible to construct a condition of liberty, requires the suppression of all forms of parasitism regardless of the means by which such costs are imposed.

Man perceives and operates on property he has expended costs, even mere forgone opportunity costs, to obtain. He treats his body, mind, kin, allies, several property, corporate property, common property, normative property, and sovereignty as property that he must defend. He seeks cooperation because it is a non linear multiplier of productivity. But he cooperates *under normative conditions*, meaning that he habituates cooperation, only under conditions of total prohibition on parasitism. Those peoples that learn truth can produce trust, and trust can produce greater velocity and adaptability than lower trust societies, because transaction costs are lower than all other competing groups. To create truth and trust a minority organize and systematically apply violence to those who practice lower levels of truth and trust, to compel them to either abandon their parasitism, or to leave, or to kill them, because their parasitism forces an exported cost upon all other high trust practitioners in the local region.

Hoppeian and Rothbardian mis-application of the ethics of international trade for the purpose of avoiding military conflict, to the local polity where the purpose is reducing transaction costs so that they can cooperate in production of goods, services, commons, institutions and norms, not-withstanding. (They are making a rather stupid error in retrospect. But like all people of those eras fighting socialists, they resorted to the same tactics. Fighting dishonest marxism with dishonest libertarianism is probably a tactical necessity, but now that we are no longer so ignorant of the science we can abandon imitating the marxists and just argue the case for liberty scientifically.)

Curt Doolittle

( it will take me a few more times to get it tight, but it’s pretty close.)


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