organon

A question regarding a particular venue of wealth acquisition, in an ethical context.

339 posts in this topic

The question is interesting:

Can the action of a man upon his own consciousness that does without question achieve value in relation to that consciousness, whether its actualization in a psychological sense, and/or the increase of its understanding in a given field, be considered productive work?

The question I would ask is: Has the individual gained anything of legitimate value through this activity?

If the answer is yes, then yes, it is productive work.

Take the engineer who studies a textbook and gains increased understanding that will allow him to better do his work; is he productive?

In the context of one who acquires profession-specific knowledge, meaning that such knowledge is acquired in the context of a productive end, as with medical study, or the study of law, or the study of an aspect of engineering, I would argue that the work involved is only productive work in the context of the intent and goal of applying that knowledge to his or her profession.

If he should gain a thorough understanding of, say, neurobiology, or a particular aspect of engineering, not with any goal whatever in mind, but as an end in itself, outside of the context of any rational, productive goal whatever (either in relation to neurobiology or in relation to some other field to which its truths are or might be related), then, I think, it could not be considered productive work.

What about the engineer who studies rational psychology, a study that is not in the context of his chosen field of productive work but is rather in the context of achieving the general actualization of his consciousness? Is this productive, given no direct relation to a productive end?

Yes, I think so, without question. Should such study result in the authentic actualization of his mind, and his more thorough achievement of happiness, such actualization is a legitimate value, and it could be considered productive work.

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The burden of proof is on the man who asserts the positive.
This statement is not supported in the post. According to the claimed standard, it cannot be "introduced to the realm of cognitive consideration."

Fortunately, the claimed standard is wrong. As such, it can indeed be cognitively considered.

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My primary focus here has been exactly *what* is considered a *material* value
Then, when requested, the identification of some non-material values would have been helpful to the discussion.
If lectures, which physically consist of a man exciting air molecules with his voice in order to convey information to a listener's ears, are considered a material value, that helps to answer my question - the term is being used in such a broad way that it applies to any external action of men, including any service professions.
What type of value would they have been but material? Is speaking or writing non-material?

Also, if this was the focus, then how does all the talk about the difference in value between the material and intellectual content of a material value relate to that focus?

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If such (non-physical) contemplation is *not* productive...
On what basis is this claim made? Recall that productiveness is the process of creating material values. In other words, productiveness is not limited to just the movement of the pen on paper. It includes the thought that goes into what one is writing. The point up till now has simply been that the process must include that act of writing. But it has never been restricted to just that act.

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Paul - the problem arises because 'creating value' is being invalidly limited to one form. Note that the action which produces a material value - specifically material wealth (the 10k) - for one's SELF, where one previously did not have said material value, is discounted as the creation of wealth....

Let us examine this argument; the difficulty, so far as it appears valid, results, I think, from ambiguity as to the meaning of the word "produce".

No. The problem lies in your application of the concept productiveness. There has been no ambiguity from what I have read.

A rational gambler, through painstaking effort, develops a system that beats the house on a regular basis. One evening, he gains $10k at a casino.

He now has an additional $10k in one's bank account. Has he "produced" $10k?

In what sense?

Have his actions "given rise to" that $10k (one definition of "produce")? Yes.

Has he exercised productiveness -- i.e., the creation of values -- in the process of gaining that $10k? Given that he created no values? No.

The rational gambler's actions "give rise to" his winnings. But he has not demonstrated productivity.

How is the above an examination of "the argument"? The above is an example that his little to do with the argument which, as you've formulated it, is that unless a physical/material object has been brought into existence, then values are not created by individuals who are engaged in exchange based upon the use of their reason.

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Modified:
The [unqualified] claim of an error, here or in the other thread, requires, or should require, the [demonstration] of error, in either case. The burden of proof is on the man who asserts the positive. Such was not attempted here.

I suggest you reread previous threads. Your error has been amply demonstrated by many in this thread.

I, in contrast, have indicated the basis of my own position [in the context of this thread], to wit, that productive activity has not been demonstrated to have been exercised.

For him to claim an error -- to claim an error elsewhere -- to claim that something united the two errors -- in the complete absence of any demonstration, is not something, I would argue, that can be introduced to the realm of cognitive consideration.

On methodology: You have not answered criticisms; you have changed your examples and meaning of words. You have introduced irrelevant examples (gambling). You have misinterpreted your own examples (Pretty Woman).

Please address my question in Post 78. Do you not see the values that were created which are the basis for the productiveness of the speculator?

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A rational gambler, through painstaking effort, develops a system that beats the house on a regular basis. One evening, he gains $10k at a casino.

He now has an additional $10k in one's bank account. Has he "produced" $10k?

In what sense?

Have his actions "given rise to" that $10k (one definition of "produce")? Yes.

Has he exercised productiveness -- i.e., the creation of values -- in the process of gaining that $10k? Given that he created no values? No.

The rational gambler's actions "give rise to" his winnings. But he has not demonstrated productivity.

Paul - this quote is simply further evidence of the point I have twice made already. An invalid limitation is being placed on the definition of 'produce' in this context. In other words, as previously indicated, this is the same error that originally occurred in the thread on 'virtue'.

What's more, given that 'productiveness' is a particular virtue, the invalid identification of 'virtue' (in the aforementioned thread) means no rational application of that term is possible.

If you have any questions about this, I will be glad to address them.

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Have you not said that a speculator is not productive, or not doing productive work, or you can't see what has been created? Productiveness is recognition of the fact "that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind." (Galt's speech) So what is it that you don't see being created when one person ends up with money rather than something he doesn't want, another person ends up with that something rather than the money he doesn't want, and the speculator ends up with a monetary profit? I see three things created.

It has not been demonstrated that the speculator has himself created any productive value by means of his activity, as with the example of the rational gambler, which is without question relevant to this issue.

If productiveness is defined as the virtue involving the creation of values, and no values have been demonstrated to have been created by the individual in question, on what basis can one argue that he has demonstrated productiveness?

Again: have his actions "given rise to" (one definition of "produce", and not the key one here) $10k? Yes.

Has he demonstrated the virtue of productiveness, as described by Miss Rand? Did the futures trader, or gambler, or speculator, create any authentic values? No, not that I can see.

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How is the above an examination of "the argument"? The above is an example that his little to do with the argument which, as you've formulated it, is that unless a physical/material object has been brought into existence, then values are not created by individuals who are engaged in exchange based upon the use of their reason.

I have indicated above (more than once) that a service profession the effect of which is only on consciousness (e.g., rational psychological person-to-person therapy), and which has no material manifestation, can be an entirely valid productive activity.

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...why do you concede "The middle man in your example is not creating something new"? If three people achieve values, creation has occurred. If I don't have something today, but I do have it tomorrow, it was created.

I agree. I was granting the premise that, for Production to occur, some new thing had to be created. Clearly, the communication of information, the bringing together of people for a mutually advantageous exchange and the transacting of that exchange, are all creating something for the purposes of the recipients. I did intend to make that point (which, Organon points out, was already made), but got distracted and hit the Send button (and went to sleep -- which The Forum apparently never does) :ph34r:. Thank you for the input.

I guess I don't understand Organon's original problem, the one that started this thread: Is this middle man doing something he can be proud of? Is he 'Virtuous', in the Objectivist sense of having produced values? My response is 'Of course he is!' My concretization of the process which such a facilitator goes through, the abilities brought to bear to make the transaction possible and then to see it through to completion, was intended to show that it is in no way just someone coming along and sucking money out of the transaction, but, rather, someone adding value by making the deal possible for the two parties, who are willing to pay him for his service. He is productive. His income, from customers who pay voluntarily for his services, is evidence of that, but the value he creates by putting the deal together, is a creative and productive fact.

A dramatic example is Michael Milken (when he was Michael Milken, not the Altruistic shell of a charity-mogul that he is now), whose brilliance was in finding 1) talented scientists, engineers, entrepeneurs, with good ideas, but no money to bring them to fruition and enough risk to the venture that no one would lend to them and 2) venture capitalists with money who were willing to put down the money as seed money to set up these men and their venture with a business plan and a structure. He would then 'syndicate' the VC's and issue a junk bond, which he would then float in the market, for large amounts of small money, to actually make the project viable. Two examples of his projects were MCI (very successful for a long time, now not so much), and Intel. Virtually every one of his projects made money for all parties. He never 'created' a chip or a phone exchange, but his financial brilliance made a great deal of amazingly productive work possible.

To the extent that a salesman connects a buyer with a product that they want, they are productive. They are virtuous. How can someone in who obtains a price and product for one person that they see as advantageous not providing an 'authentic' value? How can someone who obtains a selling price, regardless of the next sale price for that item (house) that the seller finds advantageous not providing an 'authentic' value? If the original seller is unaware of the buyer willing to pay $100,000 more for his property because he doesn't know or have the means to know how to find such a seller, doesn't that make the point that the flipper is creating a transaction that the seller could not have? He is being paid well for understanding and acting on his knowledge, initiative, and skills. If I, the seller, find out how much more my place could have sold for had I done what the flipper did, so what? I learned something and, if I can act on it in the future, I will make more profit in that future sale. If the flipper makes the property more attractive, yes, that's an obvious added value. If he does not, he can still add value by finding a buyer who wants the property at the higher price. It is the flipper's risk that he will make a profit or not. His knowledge that this property will be worth far more than the selling price and locating the right buyer -- through listing, marketing, or personal relationships -- is what he adds in value. The fact that he didn't add a coat of paint is not the value added; the connection with the buyer is. The knowledge and experience that enable him to identify and purchase an undervalued property enable him to achieve a value for himself. How is this not productive, not virtuous?

So, I really do not understand Organon's initial question. I think we've defined our terms. Could Organon explain why such a facilitator as the property flipper in his example has not been productive or virtuous, or produced value? Why he thinks this guy is -- to try to put a word to the thought -- a leech, or whatever? Where would this put Midas Mulligan? I'm not trying to be inflammatory or to put words in anyone's mouth. I'm just trying to understand the question, the problem, that started this discussion. I don't get it.

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A dramatic example is Michael Milken (when he was Michael Milken, not the Altruistic shell of a charity-mogul that he is now), whose brilliance was in finding 1) talented scientists, engineers, entrepeneurs, with good ideas, but no money to bring them to fruition and enough risk to the venture that no one would lend to them and 2) venture capitalists with money who were willing to put down the money as seed money to set up these men and their venture with a business plan and a structure. He would then 'syndicate' the VC's and issue a junk bond, which he would then float in the market, for large amounts of small money, to actually make the project viable. Two examples of his projects were MCI (very successful for a long time, now not so much), and Intel. Virtually every one of his projects made money for all parties. He never 'created' a chip or a phone exchange, but his financial brilliance made a great deal of amazingly productive work possible.

Hello alann,

Did Michael Milken, or does a good investment banker, provide a legitimate service? Defined as a service that offers a legitimate value to the man or men with whom the investment banker deals?

Yes. Why?

An investment banker offers the service, to those of value who need capital and to those who have capital, of putting them together.

This is a legitimate, valued service profession. It offers value to both parties.

To the extent that a salesman connects a buyer with a product that they want, they are productive.

Yes, person-to-person sales can be entirely virtuous, as discussed above, even though his work may involve only the communication of information.

So, I really do not understand Organon's initial question. I think we've defined our terms. Could Organon explain why such a facilitator as the property flipper in his example has not been productive or virtuous, or produced value?

My question would be: what legitimate service was provided?

(1) Re the buyer: the speculator identified the property (given his grasp of the marketplace), identified the buyer's motivation, contacted the buyer, began negotiations, and signed the contract.

What legitimate value did he add to the life of the man with whom he dealt? Has there been any productive work on the part of the speculator? Has he produced anything, in the sense of value creation?

(2) Re the seller: the speculator offered the seller a home at 60% of FMV, a price that the seller agreed to. Was there any value creation on the part of the speculator in this process?

Not that I can tell, in either case.

Similarly, consider futures trading. Each party with whom one deals, on each end of the transaction, chooses to make the trade, for whatever reason. Is there productivity involved on the part of the successful trader? No, I don't think so.

Is thorough knowledge and analysis of a given trade, or deal, needed in order to have any likelihood of success in the case of any given instance, or without question, in the long run? Yes.

But has the futures trader, or speculator, produced anything, in Miss Rand's sense? Either in terms of a material good (not applicable) or in terms of a service that has added to the lives of the men with whom he has dealt? Not that I can see.

Why he thinks this guy is -- to try to put a word to the thought -- a leech, or whatever? Where would this put Midas Mulligan? I'm not trying to be inflammatory or to put words in anyone's mouth. I'm just trying to understand the question, the problem, that started this discussion. I don't get it.

The speculator, or futures trader, is not unethical -- the money is not "unclean". It is gained legitimately. But the virtue of productiveness has not been exercised, so far as I can tell.

Re Midas Mulligan -- what is a service provided by a good banker?

He obtains a return on the money of his clients, by virtue of investment in opportunities that he deems worthy of that investment. The clients benefit, given his evaluation is correct.

Is this a valued, legitimate service, for which they pay him in return? Without question, yes.

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A rational gambler, through painstaking effort, develops a system that beats the house on a regular basis. One evening, he gains $10k at a casino.

He now has an additional $10k in one's bank account. Has he "produced" $10k?

In what sense?

Have his actions "given rise to" that $10k (one definition of "produce")? Yes.

Has he exercised productiveness -- i.e., the creation of values -- in the process of gaining that $10k? Given that he created no values? No.

The rational gambler's actions "give rise to" his winnings. But he has not demonstrated productivity.

Paul - this quote is simply further evidence of the point I have twice made already. An invalid limitation is being placed on the definition of 'produce' in this context. In other words, as previously indicated, this is the same error that originally occurred in the thread on 'virtue'.

What's more, given that 'productiveness' is a particular virtue, the invalid identification of 'virtue' (in the aforementioned thread) means no rational application of that term is possible.

If you have any questions about this, I will be glad to address them.

I agree with you. But even a circle has an end point. :ph34r: And I'm almost there.

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Have you not said that a speculator is not productive, or not doing productive work, or you can't see what has been created? Productiveness is recognition of the fact "that all work is creative work if done by a thinking mind." (Galt's speech) So what is it that you don't see being created when one person ends up with money rather than something he doesn't want, another person ends up with that something rather than the money he doesn't want, and the speculator ends up with a monetary profit? I see three things created.

It has not been demonstrated that the speculator has himself created any productive value by means of his activity, as with the example of the rational gambler, which is without question relevant to this issue.

I'm not covering this again, but you yourself answered 'yes' to every element of the virtue of productiveness in a previous post. Again, you are changing words. We have not been talking about creating 'productive value.' We are talking about creating values by being productive. And since you only mean by creation the production of concrete physical things, there is no use continuing this conversation, is there?

If productiveness is defined as the virtue involving the creation of values, and no values have been demonstrated to have been created by the individual in question, on what basis can one argue that he has demonstrated productiveness?

Well, if we can not agree on the perceptual evidence of our eyes, then any philosophic discussion is besides the point. Apparently, money, a house, and profit are not values, which, when one doesn't have them at one point in time but then one does have them later in time, a miracle has occurred, but no creation occurred.

Again: have his actions "given rise to" (one definition of "produce", and not the key one here) $10k? Yes.

Has he demonstrated the virtue of productiveness, as described by Miss Rand? Did the futures trader, or gambler, or speculator, create any authentic values? No, not that I can see.

Check your premises. I'm at the end of my circle.

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So, I really do not understand Organon's initial question.
Allan - I would suggest the reason for the lack of understanding here is conflicting definitions of 'produce' or 'create'. Invalid definitions of those terms are being put forth in the context of the virtue of 'productiveness'. This is made amply clear in the following statement:
...consider futures trading. Each party with whom one deals, on each end of the transaction, chooses to make the trade, for whatever reason. Is there productivity involved on the part of the successful trader? No, I don't think so.

...has the futures trader, or speculator, produced anything, in Miss Rand's sense? Either in terms of a material good (not applicable) or in terms of a service that has added to the lives of the men with whom he has dealt? Not that I can see.

It is also evident in this statement as well:
What legitimate value did he add to the life of the man with whom he dealt? Has there been any productive work on the part of the speculator? Has he produced anything, in the sense of value creation?
As indicated in a previous post (HERE), this acceptance of contextually invalid definitions caused the exact same difficulties in another thread (HERE).

Furthermore, as I also pointed out in that previous post, there is a larger problem here than just contextually invalid definitions for 'produce' or 'create' etc.. As is made clear in the other thread (from about THIS post onward - specifically the posts between organon and Betsy, and organon and myself), an invalid 'definition' of 'virtue' is also being put forth. Given that 'productiveness' is a particular virtue, acceptance of an invalid 'definition' of virtue means no rational application of 'virtue' is possible.

Thus, before one can have a rational discussion about a particular 'virtue' (here or anywhere else), the proper definition of that term must be identified. In other words, before one starts talking about 'productiveness', one needs to make certain it - and the category in which it is contained - are anchored to reality. At this point, that is not the case.

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What type of value would they have been but material? Is speaking or writing non-material?

Giving a lecture is not normally regarded as being in the same class of productive activity as making physical widgets, which was the very question at hand in regards to use of the term "material".

Also, if this was the focus, then how does all the talk about the difference in value between the material and intellectual content of a material value relate to that focus?
Because the intellectual content is not fundamentally material, it is consciousness based, transmitted via a physical form. A man's consciousness also requires a material body, that does not make his mind a material thing.

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Two examples of [Milken's] projects were MCI (very successful for a long time, now not so much), and Intel.

Milken was instrumental in the funding of Intel? I'd never heard that before. Where was Intel when he was being persecuted? It is absolutely monstrous, even worse than I thought, that Milken was persecuted in light of that fact. I'd forgotten the details and Googled on it and discovered this article:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts208.html

If the article is true, and it sounds true, it's an extremely damning presentation of Giuliani as a total power luster.

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Giving a lecture is not normally regarded as being in the same class of productive activity as making physical widgets, which was the very question at hand in regards to use of the term "material".
Since the context was material vs non-material, unless the claim was that a lecture is non-material, I don't see how the above is relevant. (Of course confusion on this is why my request for the name of some supposed non-material values was so important at the time).
Also, if this was the focus, then how does all the talk about the difference in value between the material and intellectual content of a material value relate to that focus?
Because the intellectual content is not fundamentally material...
Since it was never claimed the intellectual was not a value, but simply that the intellectual required material embodiment rather than no material embodiment to be considered 'productive', I don't see how the comparative difference between the two types of values is relevant.
A man's consciousness also requires a material body, that does not make his mind a material thing.
Since no such thing and no such principle was suggested, I don't see how this statement is relevant.

Despite all of the above, it appears we are on the same page now in regard to the definition of 'productiveness' requiring the term 'material'.

BTW - did you catch this post, which addresses the new issue you brought up for consideration?

If such (non-physical) contemplation is *not* productive...
On what basis is this claim made? Recall that productiveness is the process of creating material values. In other words, productiveness is not limited to just the movement of the pen on paper. It includes the thought that goes into what one is writing. The point up till now has simply been that the process must include that act of writing. But it has never been restricted to just that act.

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John, without changing the defintion, please explain to me why "the application of reason to the problem of survival" does not qualify as productiveness for your speculator who has created a profit, a value and wealth that allows him to survive?

Hello Ray,

A definition of productiveness as "the application of reason to the problem of survival" cannot, I think, ignore the context in which that statement is made, namely, the larger definition of productiveness, as the creation of values.

Consider the currency trader; or rational gambler; or the example provided relating to Edward Lewis, in the film Pretty Woman.

John

Ray, this may be useful in understanding the basis of my position.

I'd like to examine further why, although wealth is gained, productiveness has not been exercised -- i.e., in the sense of the application of reason to the problem of survival, in Miss Rand's sense of value creation, whether of matter or of service.

Has, e.g., a rational gambler, or futures trader, applied his reason to the problem of survival? Has he himself produced any authentic values, related to the maintenance of life? No, I would argue he hasn't. He has obtained wealth, but he has not been productive in Miss Rand's sense.

Is the wealth he obtained by means of speculation, able to secure values? Food, a home, clothing, a car, whatever?

Yes. Why?

Due to the existence of other men, who have exercised productiveness in Miss Rand's sense, with whom he trades.

He has not himself been productive. The wealth he gained is only life-sustaining only in the context of the existence of other men who are productive in Miss Rand's sense, with whom he trades.

Is speculation unethical? No.

But, in order for the wealth obtained through speculation to secure, through trade, values by which his life can be maintained, is by means of trade with other men, who have demonstrated productiveness in Miss Rand's sense, i.e., the creation of authentic values, whether of matter or of service.

Were the world filled only with speculators, absent men who are productive in Miss Rand's sense -- they would not live for long.

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Giving a lecture is not normally regarded as being in the same class of productive activity as making physical widgets, which was the very question at hand in regards to use of the term "material".

That is because physical goods (like widgits) are not in the same class as services (like lecturing). The former is a material value and the latter is a spiritual value (a value of consciousness). If either of them is exchanged for money, then it becomes an economic value.

When a man creates values, he is being productive. It doesn't really matter if the particular value is a good, a service, material, spiritual, or economic. They are all values.

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(2) Re the seller: the speculator offered the seller a home at 60% of FMV, a price that the seller agreed to. Was there any value creation on the part of the speculator in this process?

Not that I can tell, in either case.

Each man creates his own value in something. I have met many people that would state to me, "look at how much that land is selling for that over-looks the ocean (city, mountains or what ever one values), it did not cost the owner that much. The owner/speculator had the vision to see (which others did not), that people might value a certain piece of property if brought to their attention, the value that was over-looked. The speculator has created value that was not identified before or not even thought of before.

And, once again you have not answered my question nor recognized the vaue of the speculators own life.

One more example.

A farmer decides to sell his farm animals manure to other local framers, that do not have farm animals, for their crops. The farmer doing the selling makes a huge profit yearly from selling something that I am certain he did not add a thing to. The wealth created from his rational thought on how to survive has generated a huge value for him and his family. But, if I understand you theory, he has not added any value to the substance being sold, so he is not productive.

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-------------

Is the wealth he obtained by means of speculation, able to secure values? Food, a home, clothing, a car, whatever?

Yes. Why?

Due to the existence of other men, who have exercised productiveness in Miss Rand's sense, with whom he trades.

He has not himself been productive. The wealth he gained is only life-sustaining only in the context of the existence of other men who are productive in Miss Rand's sense, with whom he trades.

---------

Why would productive men trade with non-productive men? What are they trading?

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That is because physical goods (like widgits) are not in the same class as services (like lecturing). The former is a material value and the latter is a spiritual value (a value of consciousness). If either of them is exchanged for money, then it becomes an economic value.

When a man creates values, he is being productive. It doesn't really matter if the particular value is a good, a service, material, spiritual, or economic. They are all values.

Neatly and accurately sums it all up in two short paragraphs. :ph34r: Thanks Betsy.

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John, without changing the defintion, please explain to me why "the application of reason to the problem of survival" does not qualify as productiveness for your speculator who has created a profit, a value and wealth that allows him to survive?

Hello Ray,

A definition of productiveness as "the application of reason to the problem of survival" cannot, I think, ignore the context in which that statement is made, namely, the larger definition of productiveness, as the creation of values.

Consider the currency trader; or rational gambler; or the example provided relating to Edward Lewis, in the film Pretty Woman.

John

Ray, this may be useful in understanding the basis of my position.

I'd like to examine further why, although wealth is gained, productiveness has not been exercised -- i.e., in the sense of the application of reason to the problem of survival, in Miss Rand's sense of value creation, whether of matter or of service.

Has, e.g., a rational gambler, or futures trader, applied his reason to the problem of survival? Has he himself produced any authentic values, related to the maintenance of life? No, I would argue he hasn't. He has obtained wealth, but he has not been productive in Miss Rand's sense.

Is the wealth he obtained by means of speculation, able to secure values? Food, a home, clothing, a car, whatever?

Yes. Why?

Due to the existence of other men, who have exercised productiveness in Miss Rand's sense, with whom he trades.

He has not himself been productive. The wealth he gained is only life-sustaining only in the context of the existence of other men who are productive in Miss Rand's sense, with whom he trades.

Is speculation unethical? No.

But, in order for the wealth obtained through speculation to secure, through trade, values by which his life can be maintained, is by means of trade with other men, who have demonstrated productiveness in Miss Rand's sense, i.e., the creation of authentic values, whether of matter or of service.

Were the world filled only with speculators, absent men who are productive in Miss Rand's sense -- they would not live for long.

Obviously, were the world filled only with steel-makers, or any other specialized profession, such as dentists or hair-dressers, they would not live for long. It is rather pointless to say so. Taken seriously and literally, "world filled only with speculators" puts before the advocator's mind (as well as his audience's) something impossible to grasp. It serves no purpose in argumentation and is, therefore, not productive of rational value.

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I think I might have figured out something. Let’s see if this clarifies some issues.

What is the difference in society between barter and trading with money? When barter is the system of trade, one’s own commodities are directly traded for another’s commodities. For example, I trade my apples for your eggs. In such a society, it is very easy to see what values I created and what values another person created. I exerted effort to plant a tree, water it, fertilize it, and make sure it grew tasty apples. I picked the apples from the tree, packaged them and brought them to market. My effort brought the apples to market so that I could find an individual who had exerted a similar type of effort in bringing the eggs to the market. The value is created by our desire for each other’s product in order to feed ourselves and sustain our lives.

When I exerted the effort in growing sufficient apples to trade on the market, it is not the apples that are a value to me, it is the eggs. I don’t want my apples, I want your eggs. So, when I use the virtue of productiveness in acting to gain and/or keep my values, virtue pertains to my process of growing apples to acquire the value of eggs.

Now let’s jump to a society that uses money as a means of trade. Now my focus is on my productiveness at growing apples in order for me to acquire money, which is an intermediate value. Now I can use the money to buy not just eggs, but any item throughout the entire marketplace within society. And no one needs to know that I produced apples. The fact that I have money means that I have produced something of value to others. So what happens when someone comes along and says, “Hey, Paul. I know someone in California who will sell you his house for $100,000. Would you like to buy it?” Well, I ask myself, have I sold $100,000 worth of apples? I look in my bank account and say, “Yes, I’d like to buy the house.”

Unknown to me, the person who asked me to buy the house had just bought the house for $75,000 from another person who sells eggs. This “speculator” had previously obtained $75,000 from growing oranges in Florida and selling them in the marketplace.

So, let’s summarize. A speculator bought a house for $75,000 and sold it to me for $100,000. Was the speculator productive? What value did the speculator create? Did the speculator exercise productivity? Clearly, the answer is "yes," the speculator created $25,000 worth of monetary profit (value) for himself. This value represents the difference in value between my production of apples (the equivalent value I place on the house) and his production of oranges.

So, in conclusion, it is clear that the speculator was productive ($75,000 worth of oranges) and that he created value ($25,000 worth of profit).

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This value represents the difference in value between my production of apples (the equivalent value I place on the house) and his production of oranges.

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Modification: at end of sentence in italics.

This value represents the difference in value between my production of apples (the equivalent value I place on the house) and his production of oranges (the equivalent value the egg producer placed on the house).

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