Friday, November 16, 2012

Economics for Occupiers - Pt 3: Labor

A common theme in the Occupy movement, and many other groups with a liberal agenda, is the rights of the workers.  Occupiers commonly moan that they deserve a job, that they blame society for the huge debt they incurred acquiring a college education and they cannot find work.

In Part 1 we discussed a simple barter economy of meat, vegetables and fertilizer, and discussed how the addition of other commodities and trade partners increases the potential complexity of the market exponentially.  Eventually the number of possible transactions and the possible motivations of each participant becomes mind-boggling and impossible to quantify. The system has become hopelessly complex.

Once a system has become sufficiently complex, however, the job of the analyst becomes easier, because behaviors may be modeled and quantified on a statistical basis.  Individual transactions and motivations are inherently unpredictable, but the general trends and behaviors of a large enough group of actors will become very predictable.

Now let’s discuss a unique and particular commodity in any economy.  This particular commodity is the underlying driving force behind all other commodities, yet it is the most misunderstood and least appreciated.  This is the one resource that we all have at our disposal to one degree or another, and that everyone can bring to the market and sell.  This is the commodity of labor.

Read more about this in chapter 4 of Economic for Occupiers, now available on

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