Men of Business, Part 5 to blupete's Essay
"An Essay On Economics"
It was Thomas Carlyle who preached that "work is noble." To Carlyle, as was the case for Marx who came after him, labour was the real source of wealth. John Stuart Mill spread the same idea in his work Principles of Political Economy (1848) where he concluded that the production of wealth came about only through physical human activity.24 Mill concluded, wrongly, as so many economists have done since, that a value, as struck by the market, of any particular commodity or service, is the result of some person or persons labour, and not, which in fact it is, a signal that a person or persons have made the right (or for that matter the wrong) decision or series of decisions, encouraging others to do, or not to do likewise.
All the advances in our "modern" economy are due to the far sighted men who have searched out widely dispersed and constantly changing information and have then brought it together, for reasons that would best serve their own personal advantage. These men hardly give a thought of the side advantage to the larger group we call society, a thought, incidently, which is equally foreign to both the mind of the primitive man and the modern socialist.
"The efforts of millions of individuals in different situations, with different possessions and desires, having access to different information about means, knowing little or nothing about one another's particular needs, and aiming at different scales of ends, are coordinated by means of exchange systems. As individuals reciprocally align with one another, an undesigned system of a higher order of complexity comes into being, and a continuous flow of goods and services is created that, for a remarkably high number of the participating individuals, fulfills their guiding expectations and values. ...
Walter Bagehot on business schools:
The whole market process then became understood as a process of transfer of information enabling men to use, and put to work, much more information and skill than they would have access to individually."25
"Few things are more amusing than the ideas of a well-intentioned young man, who is born out of the business world, but who wishes to take to business, about business. He has hardly a notion in what it consists. It really is the adjustment of certain particular means to equally certain particular ends. But hardly any young man destitute of experience is able to separate end and means. It seems to him a kind of mystery; and it is lucky if he do not think that the forms are the main part, and that the end is but secondary. There are plenty of business men, falsely so called, who will advise him so. The subject seems a kind of maze. 'What would you recommend me to read?' the nice youth asks; and it is impossible to explain to him that reading has nothing to do with it, that he has not yet the original ideas in his mind to read about; that administration is an art as painting is an art; and that no book can teach the practice of either."26
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