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The popular errors of political economy

trade

For my speech to Abingdon schools I chose to cover ten of what I called “the popular errors of political economy.”  I began with the mistaken notion that things have value.  No, we value them, but that value is in our minds, not something possessed by or within the object.  The whole labour theory of value that Marx was so fond of disappears when you realize this, as does the notion of ‘surplus value’ and exploitation.  I had a go at using the law to limit profits, or of trying to achieve ‘fair’ prices.  I showed the fallacy of supposing that everyone will be better off if we ‘live more simply’ or try to be self-sufficient.

If you could reduce my case to a single phrase of three words it would be something like ‘trade it good.’  It enriches, it creates wealth, it fosters co-operation, it opens up opportunities.  It also gives us the means to conquer diseases and malnourishment, and to engage in educational and cultural activities.  It has a lot going for it.

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