Thursday, April 18, 2019

"She was genuinely surprised to hear the word 'profit' used in a positive way"

Two great stories have found their way into my inbox via good friend and hardcore Bay Area libertarian Mark Addleman.

What is most fascinating to me about these stories is in the second one. Mark discusses the role of value and profit to a careful listener who had never heard the Austrian perspective before but was able to grasp it and turn around and immediately write about it on her own blog!

Kudos to Mark for having what must have been a powerful presentation and to Kyoko Uchida who grasped things immediately.

Here's Mark's email:
Hi Bob -

Just wanted to give you a couple of austro-libertarian related stories.

Yesterday I was involved in a programming related chat on a public Slack channel.  The conversation had drifted into jokes about how well a particular tech luminary knew different subjects.  One guy on the channel joked that the luminary probably didn't know anything about Austrian Business Cycle Theory.  Of course, this got my attention.  I got into a private conversation with the guy.  Turns out, he was a Fellow of the Swedish Mises organization for a while.  I asked him about being libertarian in Sweden.  He said he takes every opportunity to spread the message of liberty but it's difficult because of state indoctrination.  He's even lost friends because of his views.  Sad.  I can see the US heading in that direction.

On the other hand, the encounter gave me a chance to reflect on Walter Block's stories of his and Rothbard's efforts to seek out libertarians.  In contrast to their herculean efforts, here I was in a completely non-libertarian context where I just randomly ran into one!

Another story involves the secondhand (thirdhand?) dealers in austro-libertarian ideas.  I was having a discussion with a colleague about how to create businesses that deliver value to customers.  My part of the conversation skewed heavily toward basic economic principles such as subjective theory of value.  She was fascinated by this approach having never heard anything like it before.  She was genuinely surprised to hear the word "profit" used in a positive way and that customers profit from exchanges as well as businesses

She wrote a blog encapsulating her understanding of subjective value theory from her perspective as a customer experience designer: 
For someone who just learned about these ideas, I think it's awfully good.

It's little encounters like these that keep me hopeful.

Note: Please no nitpicking in the comments, what Kyoko wrote up after one conversation is positively brilliant.


1 comment:

  1. Robert, would you write on Medium? Might be a worthy avenue for outreach to deeper thinking lefties.