Subject: Economics -- why it's important.
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 11:44:15 -0400 (EDT)

Kragen Sitaker writes:
 > Russ Nelson writes:
 > > RMS is in the majority of people who think that economics is about
 > > money.  It's not.  Economics is the study of what people do with their
 > > freedom -- why they make the choices they make.
 > Economics is the study of what fictional people with purely selfish
 > motivations, and classically perfect information about their
 > alternatives and perfect strategy, do.

Nahhh.  It's only been that way since the end of WWII.  Some of us
practice the old form of practical economics, which predicts from
theory that fixing prices too low results in shortages (and lo!  You
have too little housing in NYC), or too high results in oversupply
(and lo!  The feds have to buy out dairy herds).

If you want a view from the trenches, if you have a really bad
attitude about economics, if you think competition is anything worse
than multiple offers of cooperation, if you laugh at the old joke
about "If you lined up 2,000 economists head to toe, they would have
2,001 opinions", go read _The Vices of Economists--The Virtues of the
Bourgeoisie_, by Deirdre N. McCloskey.

At the very least, free software business leaders should be familiar
with the basic results produced by economists (and yes, they do agree
on much -- but somehow only the disagreements are news).  A good
introduction is _Economics in one Lesson_, by Henry Hazlitt.  Another
painless introduction to price theory (and if you don't understand
price theory, how can you price your goods and services?) is David
D. Friedman's _Hidden Order_.

Search for any of these books.

-russ nelson <>
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