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first lesson of economics“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

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We address a wide variety of major issues including: What is the essence of conservatism? What was the role of faith in the American Founding? Is liberal learning still possible in the modern academy? Should conservatives and libertarians be allies? What is the proper role for the American Republic in spreading ordered liberty to other cultures/nations?

We have a great appreciation for the thought of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Irving Babbitt and Christopher Dawson, among other imaginative conservatives. However, some of us look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.”

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3 replies to this post
  1. Ironic, I interpreted this quite differently from the way it was probably intended. The presupposition of economics is that reality reduces exclusively to the material. Economics can only deal with what can be quantified and measured. What is spiritual cannot be quantified or measured.

    Politics–in its premodern sense–deals with the relationships and organization of human beings. Christians (and premoderns like Plato and Aristotle) believe human beings are both material and spiritual beings. Thus, for premoderns, politics cannot be reduced to economics: it must also address and defend those aspects of human life which CANNOT be quantified or measured.

    SO, If the first lesson of economics is indeed "scarcity," the first lesson of politics is to educate people that "scarcity" is not the fullest description of reality.

  2. Economics does NOT presuppose only the material, since the spiritual can, indeed, be quantified. How much is thirty minutes worth of meditation worth, spending time with one’s child, or taking in the Samurai exhibit at the local museum? It is precisely the trade-off of the next best use of that amount of time, money, and resources that is the measure. Economics calls this Opportunity Cost. Thus, the rest is a non sequitur.

    Secondly, the other allegedly non-measurable things such as relationships are absolutely measurable, both in terms of opportunity cost and in diminishing marginal utility. The very phrase people use to end both friendships and romantic relationship is often “it just wasn’t worth it anymore.” This is the very cost-benefit analysis that realizes diminishing marginal utility.

    In economics, prices send signals to consumers and producers about the use of scare resources. This applies to oil, corn and tin; but also to time, effort and love.

    Until we re-integrate Psychology, Economics, and Philosophy as the Moral Sciences (as they were in the 18-19th century, and are becoming again with Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioral Economics, etc.), we will continue to fracture the human experience. T.S. Eliot, C.P. Snow, and many others have warned what we ignore at our own peril.

  3. Introducing Economics you need to look up the Economic law spheres by H Dooyeweerd a neo Calvinistic philosophical outlook .

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