Several years ago, I returned home from a trip just as a storm struck with non-stop lightning and crashing thunder. As I entered my bedroom at about 2 a.m., I found my two children in bed with my wife, apparently scared by the loud storm. I resigned myself to sleep in the guest bedroom that night. The next day, I talked to the children, and explained that
it was O.K. to sleep with Mom when the storm was bad, but when I was expected home, please don't sleep with Mom that night. They said OK.
After my next trip several weeks later, my wife and the children picked me up in the terminal at the appointed time. The plane was late, and there were hundreds of other folks waiting for their arriving passengers, also. As I entered the waiting area, my son saw me, and came
running, shouting, "Hi, Dad! I've got some good news!"
As I waved back, I said loudly, "What's the good news?"
"Nobody slept with Mommy while you were away this time!" Alex shouted.
The airport became very quiet, as everyone in the waiting area looked at Alex, then turned to me, and then searched the rest of the area to see if they could figure out exactly who his Mom was.
The Old Man's Job Application
This is an actual job application that a 75-year-old senior citizen submitted to Wal-Mart in Arkansas.
NAME: George Martin
DESIRED POSITION: Company President or Vice President. But seriously, whatever's available. If I was in a position to be picky, I wouldn't be applying here in the first place.
DESIRED SALARY: $185,000 a year plus stock options and a Michael Ovitz style severance package. If that's not possible, make an offer and we can haggle.
LAST POSITION HELD: Target for middle management hostility.
PREVIOUS SALARY: A lot less than I'm worth.
MOST NOTABLE ACHIEVEMENT: My incredible collection of stolen pens and post-it notes.
REASON FOR LEAVING: It sucked.
HOURS AVAILABLE TO WORK: Any.
PREFERRED HOURS: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL SKILLS?: Yes, but they're better suited to a more intimate environment.
MAY WE CONTACT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER?: If I had one, would I be here?
DO YOU HAVE ANY PHYSICAL CONDITIONS THAT WOULD PROHIBIT YOU FROM
LIFTING UP TO 50 lbs.?: Of what?
DO YOU HAVE A CAR?: I think the more appropriate question here would be "Do you have a car that runs?"
HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY SPECIAL AWARDS OR RECOGNITION?: I may already be a winner of the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, so they tell me.
DO YOU SMOKE?: On the job - no, on my breaks - yes.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IN FIVE YEARS?: Living in the Bahamas with a fabulously wealthy dumb, sexy, blonde, supermodel who thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. Actually, I'd like to be doing that now.
DO YOU CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE IS TRUE AND COMPLETE TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE?: Oh yes, absolutely.
SIGN HERE: Sagittarius
Wal-Mart ended up hiring the old man because he was so funny.
Can anyone tell me why…??
If all the nations in the world are in debt, where did all the money go?
Who copyrighted the copyright symbol?
Why are the numbers on a calculator and a phone reversed?
If a person suffered from amnesia and then was cured would they remember that they forgot?
If a person owns a piece of land do they own it all the way down to the core of the earth?
LIFE IN THE 1500'S
The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500's:
Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children! Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway.
Hence the saying a "thresh hold."
(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."
My brain will fixate on people I hate while allowing me to forget to drink enough water.
I read that a cat will start eating your dead body if left alone for a day or two, but a dog will usually defend the body for a week or more, and then only eat you out of starvation. I think this illustrates what has been on the cat's mind all along.
The fact that we have McDonald's in Wal-Mart and Starbucks in Target says a a lot about the demographics.
We should have a steroid Olympics to see the absolute potential of the human body.
We are all colorblind relative to a mantis shrimp.
Before photography, no one had ever seen themselves blink.
It's called firmware because firm is between hard and soft
Jurassic world has all the technology to create a dinosaur from scratch, but nobody thought to make a custom mobile app to track the dinosaurs they create?
Trying to fall asleep is just faking it until you make it.
Hurricanes are becoming so powerful and violent that they should be named after fictitious monsters and villains to encourage evacuation. Hurricane Patricia doesn't sound scary, but Hurricane Sauron does.
Batman sure is lucky he never got an identifiable scar on his lower face
If I ever see an amputee getting hanged, I'd probably just start calling out letters.
Issue of the Times;
We're Still Haunted by the Labor Theory of Value by Steven Horwitz
Why are so many students convinced that they should receive better grades for the papers they’ve spent so much time writing?
It’s not a belief about the quality of those papers; it’s a belief about the hours and hours spent working on them. This fundamental misunderstanding about the value of labor is at the center of the Marxist critique of capitalism.
The Center of Everything
For thousands of years, humans were sure that the earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around it. With the advent of systematic inquiry, scientists had to develop more and more complex explanations for why their observations of the universe did not fit with that hypothesis. When Copernicus and others offered an alternative explanation that was able to explain the observed facts, and did so more clearly and concisely, the heliocentric model triumphed. The Copernican revolution changed science forever.
There is a similar story in economics. For hundreds of years, many economists believed that the value of a good depended on the cost of producing it. In particular, many subscribed to the labor theory of value, which argued that a good’s value derived from the amount of work that went into making it.
Much like the geocentric view of the universe, the labor theory of value had some superficial plausibility, as it does often seem that goods that involve more labor have more value. However, much like the story in astronomy, the theory got increasingly complicated as it tried to explain away some obvious objections. Starting in the 1870s, economics had its own version of the Copernican revolution as the subjective theory of value became the preferred explanation for the value of goods and services. Today, the labor theory of value has only a minuscule number of adherents among professional economists, but it remains all too
common in other academic disciplines when they discuss economic issues, as well as among the general public. (The labor theory of grades is, as I noted above, particularly popular among college students.)
The Specter of Karl Marx (and Adam Smith)
One reason the theory is still the implicit explanation of value in many other disciplines is because they rely on the theory’s most famous adherent for their understanding of economics: Karl Marx. Marx was hardly the only economist to hold this view, nor is the labor theory of value unique to socialists. Adam Smith believed in a somewhat weaker version of the theory as well.
For Marx, the theory was at the center of his view of the problems of capitalism. The argument that capitalism exploited workers depended crucially on the view that labor was the source of all value and that the profits of capitalists were therefore “taken” from workers who deserved it. Marx’s concept of alienation focused on the centrality of labor to making us
human and the ways in which capitalism destroyed our ability to take joy in our work and control the conditions under which we created value. Without the labor theory of value, it is not clear how much of Marx’s critique of capitalism remains valid. Part of the problem for Marx and others who accepted the theory was that there were so many seemingly obvious objections that they had to construct complex explanations to account for them. What about the value of land or other natural resources? What about great works of art that were produced with a small amount of labor but fetched extremely high prices? What about
differences in individuals’ skill levels, which meant that there would be different amounts of time required to produce the same good?
The classical economists, including Marx, offered explanations for all of these apparent exceptions, but, like the increasingly complex explanations of the geocentricists, they began to feel ad hoc and left people searching for a better answer.
The Austrian Revolution
In economics, that answer came when, much like Copernicus, several economists realized that the old explanation was precisely backward. This point was clearest in the work of Carl Menger, whose Principles of Economics not only offered a new explanation for the nature of economic value but also founded the Austrian school of economics in the process.
What Menger and others argued was that value is subjective. That is, the value of a good is not determined by the physical inputs, including labor, that helped to create it. Instead, the value of a good emerges from human perceptions of its usefulness for the particular ends that people had at a particular point in time. Value is not something objective and transcendent. It is a function of the role that an object plays as a means toward the ends that are part of human purposes and
Thus, according to the subjectivists, land had value not because of the labor that went into tilling it, but because people believed that it could contribute to the satisfaction of some direct want of their own (such as growing crops to eat) or that it would contribute indirectly to other ends by being used to grow crops to sell at the market. Works of art had value because many people found them to be beautiful no matter how much or how little labor went into producing them. With value being determined by human judgments of usefulness, the variations in the quality of labor posed no trouble for explaining value.
Indeed, economic value was a completely separate category from other forms of value, such as scientific value. That’s why people pay money to have someone give them a complete horoscope reading even though astrology has no scientific value whatsoever. What matters for understanding economic value is the perception of usefulness in pursuit of human purposes and plans, not some “objective” value of the good or service.
Turning Marx Upside Down
But the real Copernican revolution in economics was how the subjective theory of value related to the value of labor. Rather than seeing the value of outputs being determined by the value of the inputs like labor, the subjective theory of value showed that it’s the other way around: the value of inputs like labor were determined by the value of the outputs they helped to produce.
The high market value of well-prepared food is not the result of the value of the chef’s labor. Rather, the chef’s labor is valuable precisely because he is able to produce food that the public finds especially tasty, beautiful, or healthy. On this view, labor gets rewarded according to its ability to produce things that others value. When you then consider the ways
in which labor combining with capital enables that labor to produce goods that humans value even more, which in turn increases labor’s remuneration, Marx’s whole worldview is suddenly turned on its head. Capital does not exploit labor. Instead, it enhances labor’s value by giving labor the tools it needs to make even more of the things that humans value.
Understood correctly through the subjective theory of value, capitalism is fundamentally a communication process through which humans try to sort out how best to make use of our limited resources to satisfy our most urgent wants. Exchange and market prices are how we make our subjective perceptions of value accessible to others so they can figure out how best to provide us with the things we value most.
We Have More Work to Do
For economists, the labor theory of value holds roughly the same validity as the geocentric view of the universe. For that reason, Marx’s whole theoretical apparatus, and therefore his criticisms of capitalism, are equally questionable.
Unfortunately, many people, academics outside economics and the public alike, are simply unaware of the Copernican revolution in economics. Knocking down the labor theory of value remains a labor-intensive and valuable task.
Quote of the Times;
“On the mountain of truth, you never climb in vain. You either reach a higher step today or you exercise your strength in order to climb higher tomorrow.” - Nietzsche.
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