Skip to main content

Into the Wild: An Economics Lesson


There is a great deal of substance behind the Keynesian motif, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” If this is your prerogative, your axiom, we are destined to differ on matters of principle and timeline. Surely, any quantity or decided cash figure is relevant exclusively to the available produce yielded by its trade. The current valuation thereof, whilst unadulterated, corroborates a rather stable, predictable trend of expectations, whereas its significance wanes once reconfigured by a process of economic, fiscal or monetary manipulation. 

Individuals, vast in their interests and their time preferences and overall appetites, are to be made homogeneous by an overarching system which predetermines the price floors, ceilings and general priorities of life. Of course, all of this exists merely in abstract form. However, the supposition proposed by those who champion the agenda of “basic needs” fails to complement the progress achieved by the abolition of presumed guilt by the sole misfortune of birth or race, a precedent codified in 1865 to counter previous rulings, especially one landmark 1857 decision. 

There is all of the difference in the world between treating people equally and making them equal. Since there exists no passive means by which to ensure that all hereditary, biological, anatomical, geographical or financial advantage is equalized, there remains only one means by which all persons can be received as near-equals: the scope of law. 

Let us first be clear that this civilization, full of diverse persons of vast demands, ambitions and interests, seldom, outside the ease of political or intellectual discussion, takes interest in equality in the confines of their respective agendas. Every bit of human action is self-interested and compelled by the perception of advantage. By this phenomenon, equality is rendered a complete impossibility so long as individuals behave as their own representatives. 

At the granular level, we may easily sift through striking inequities to determine the reasons and impetuses directing these outcomes. Ultimately, the means by which data compilation reduces human behavior to traceable metrics outright dismisses the ambiguity of the purpose of life. 

One emblematic example of this is apparent in the story of Chris McCandless, the principal character of the true story “Into the Wild.” In Chris’s short life, he is the sole producer and consumer of goods. His economy is hardly sustainable, let alone quantifiably significant. How can we measure the success of his life if our computational gauges are not intended to capture his objectives? 

Even the most sophisticated of algorithms would fail to adequately model the quality of his adventure, and any attempt to gauge and reconfigure it would surely undermine its significance and the treasured yet often overlooked value of personal liberty.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

America's Civil War: Not "Civil" and Not About Slavery

Virtually the entirety of South and Central America, as well as European powers Britain, Spain and France, peacefully abolished slavery — without war — in the first sixty years of the nineteenth century. 

Why, then, did the United States enter into a bloody war that cost over half of the nation’s wealth, at least 800,000 lives and many hundreds of thousands more in casualties? 

The answer: the War Between the States was not about slavery. 

It was a war of invasion to further empower the central government and to reject state sovereignty, nullification of unconstitutional laws, and the states’ rights to secession. 

It was a war that would cripple the South and witness the federal debt skyrocket from $65 million in 1860 to $2.7 billion in 1865, whose annual interest alone would prove twice as expensive as the entire federal budget from 1860.

It was a war that would blur the lines and jurisdictions between sovereign states, that would indiscriminately sacrifice the founding principles etched …

One of Every Three American Adults is a Criminal

Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal posted an article on the growing epidemic of criminal records. The article reports that nearly one out of every three American adults has a criminal record -- a statistic corroborated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose records show 77.7 million individuals on file in the organization's master criminal database. Is this an indication of a society which is becoming more violent and criminal, or of one which is becoming ever-populated with needless and overreaching laws, ordinances, and regulations? In a country whose growing majority depends upon government for salary or entitlements, this is indeed the mechanism through which the dependency is enabled. Some are obviously more than willing to surrender increments of freedom for the promise of free stuff.    

Along with the extensive and pervasive development of laws in the United States, their execution has become more vile and horrid. And the experience of police brutality, along wit…

Homelessness More Lucrative than $150,000/Year Job in SF Bay Area

Most people in the United States long for a $150,000-per-year salary. This makes sense, as the nation's median personal income is roughly 80 percent below that mark. 

It's a lot of money. 

In fact, this income level qualifies for the top 4 percent of Americans and the top 0.1 percent of the world's population; it is 109 times the global average.

If this is true, how could an unemployed homeless person possibly make more money? Well, the federal, state and local governments: that's how!

Let's take a look at the numbers.

A single Bay-Area Californian earning $150,000 per year pays an effective income tax rate of 32.23 percent: this figure is inclusive of a 7.20-percent effective state income tax (and 9.30-percent marginal rate), an 18.27-percent effective federal income tax (and 24.00-percent marginal rate), and a 6.76-percent effective rate for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes. 



In addition to income taxes, the homeowner incurs an annual mortgage cost amou…