from Praxeology: The Methodology of Austrian Economics
The above passage makes sense to me, but the passage that follows it has me confused:The fact that people act necessarily implies that the means
employed are scarce in relation to the desired ends; for, if all means were
not scarce but superabundant, the ends would already have been attained,
and there would be no need for action.
This seems to take a completely different course of reasoning if I'm understanding it correctly.Stated another way, resources that
are superabundant no longer function as means, because they are no
longer objects of action. Thus, air is indispensable to life and hence to
the attainment of goals; however, air being superabundant is not an
object of action and therefore cannot be considered a means, but rather
what Mises called a "general condition of human welfare."
Let's take the example of filling up a balloon with air. Going along with the first passage, there is already a superabundance of balloons filled with air, therefore there is no need to fill up any currently deflated balloons with air. But the second passage does not assume a superabundance of ALL means, but claims to apply to any SINGLE means. So let's assume we have a superabundance of both air and deflated balloons, but we want an inflated balloon, of which there is a limited supply. This passage appears to be claiming that neither the superabundant air, nor the superabundant deflated balloons count as means in achieving the end of having an inflated balloon. How is it possible not to consider the air and the balloon means in this case?
The statement that resources that are superabundant no longer function as means appears to be false.