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Thread: Can Economics Explain Human Sacrifice?

  1. #1

    Default Can Economics Explain Human Sacrifice?

    Do you think that human sacrifice falls outside the scope of economics? I recently compiled numerous passages that argue that ritualistic sacrifice is simply trade between believers and their deities. If you're at all interested in economics, politics or religion...then you might find some insightful passages...Can Economics Explain Human Sacrifice?



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  3. #2
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    No it cannot, only the lack of value for human life combined with selfishness and unfounded fear.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    No it cannot, only the lack of value for human life combined with selfishness and unfounded fear.
    Can economics explain why somebody would sacrifice their cattle to their god?

  5. #4

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    Sacrificing your property in exchange for the good feeling that you will get from your beliefs about the benefits of sacrifice is consistent with all other human action. It is no different than choosing to eat a certain diet or exercising in a certain way or giving aid to a person in need.
    The proper concern of society is the preservation of individual freedom; the proper concern of the individual is the harmony of society.

    "Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." - Byron

    "Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe." - Milton

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    Member Zippyjuan's Avatar
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    The sacrifice was made with the expectiation of getting some positive return in the future (Heaven or salvation? better crops next year? Storms to go away?). Money is invested with the hope of getting some future positive return (otherwise you could go and spend it today and definately get something for it). Both can have emotional reasons for making a particular investment. Yes, I suppose it could be done for economic reasons. Can you put a dollar value on the sacrifice or its hoped for benefits? That is more difficult to calculate.
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 12-11-2012 at 11:41 AM.
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  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Can economics explain why somebody would sacrifice their cattle to their god?
    Can you explain why somebody would sacrifice their hard earned money for an ugly toyota camry? People just do weird things

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Can economics explain why somebody would sacrifice their cattle to their god?
    How is that any different than sacrificing $15 for a pizza?

    Oh yeah - it isn't.

  9. #8

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    Rather than asking if it can explain sacrifice, why not ask if it can take human sacrifice into account? A complete economic system that formulates laws that describe the results of human behavior spread out over a population ought to ought to include within its scope all aspects of human behavior and motivation, including human sacrifice.
    Last edited by erowe1; 12-11-2012 at 11:47 AM.
    Iím not a libertarian. Iím not advocating everyone run around with no clothes on and smoke pot.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by juleswin View Post
    Can you explain why somebody would sacrifice their hard earned money for an ugly toyota camry? People just do weird things
    Hey now--Camry's are reliable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Can economics explain why somebody would sacrifice their cattle to their god?
    I find it more economical to keep my stock , if I need to sacrifice one , would it not make more sense to invade the country next door and do it with those ? lol
    Last edited by oyarde; 12-11-2012 at 11:51 AM.

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    Illinois cattle , watch out If the cattle are in a Socialist state , are thy tainted ?

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    Natural resources < human population.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    The sacrifice was made with the expectiation of getting some positive return in the future (Heaven or salvation? better crops next year? Storms to go away?). Money is invested with the hope of getting some future positive return (otherwise you could go and spend it today and definately get something for it). Both can have emotional reasons for making a particular investment. Yes, I suppose it could be done for economic reasons. Can you put a dollar value on the sacrifice or its hoped for benefits? That is more difficult to calculate.
    If I sacrifice a cattle each year...and each year the gods provide adequate rains to ensure plentiful crops...then why try to fix something that's not broken?

    Clearly our public sector is broken...except, unfortunately, it's not really clear to the large majority of taxpayers. Here's why...

    Every year, 100 million homes pay for a bundle of cable channels. Like any bundle, it's hard to see exactly what they are paying for. That is somewhat the point of bundling -- to disguise the true cost of the constituent items. - Derek Thompson
    General-fund financing is analogous to a market situation where the individual is forced to purchase a bundle of goods, with the mix among the various components determined independently of his own preferences. The specific tie-in sale is similar to general-fund financing, that is, nonearmarking. - James M. Buchanan
    Itís very difficult indeed to work out what government spending is actually worth: for as weíve not a choice in it then thereís no market price nor accurate valuation from the people who actually get whatever is produced. - Tim Worstall
    In the private sector, the voluntary sector of the economy, we know that something is "well worth the money" if people are willing to spend their own money on it. In government, politicians work to separate the payment of taxes from the receipt of specific services. We're not asked "will you pay $100 right now for farm subsidies and $4000 for Medicaid and $1600 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and $130 for a new presidential helicopter and ... ?"

    If we did get such a question, we might well decide that lots of government programs were not "well worth the money" to the people who would be paying the money. - David Boaz, Well Worth the Money
    If we allowed taxpayers to choose which government organizations they sacrifice to...then each and every one of them would be able to decide whether the actual benefit was greater than the cost of the sacrifice.

  15. #14

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    I am giving up something of lesser value, my cattle, for something of greater value, obedience to God.

    So I guess you can say part of economics can. Very odd question.

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    Member awake's Avatar
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    Tony Robbins charges 200 bucks a ticket. Poll the audience and see why they traded 200 bucks for feeling good about themselves. Value is a personal thing that is universal in that everyone does it, but thats where it ends, personal values are never the same.

    If a man wishes to give to God, let him feel good in the exchange.

  17. #16

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    I wish I could make 1000 people give me 200 bucks for spouting 3 hours of BS

  18. #17

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    How can economics explain people buying defective products?

    Donating money to a cult?

    Buying Justin Bieber CD's?

    Easy...value is subjective.

    Also people never buy products for themselves...but what they benefit from them. I buy ice cream, because it will make me happy...not because I want to own ice cream. I buy a couch because I want to feel comfortable...not because I want to have title over a couch.

    These feelings are ultimately filtered through our perceptions. If we choose to perceive a happy exchange, we will get it. Ultimately happiness is our goal and perceptions are our gate-keepers to it.

    Ultimately all value is subjective. Now economics can ascertain objective principals by which subjective means are obtained though. Economics can study the quantity of humans available for sacrifice, how much they will fetch on the market, how to transport the humans to the sacrificial altar...but economics can't argue that human sacrifice shouldn't bring happiness. No more than economics can argue that asparagus is tastier than brussel sprouts.

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    Cults , Beiber , I guess you have convinced me that value is subjective....

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    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If I sacrifice a cattle each year...and each year the gods provide adequate rains to ensure plentiful crops...then why try to fix something that's not broken?

    Clearly our public sector is broken...except, unfortunately, it's not really clear to the large majority of taxpayers. Here's why...
    If we allowed taxpayers to choose which government organizations they sacrifice to...then each and every one of them would be able to decide whether the actual benefit was greater than the cost of the sacrifice.
    Are you saying government is God?
    "When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." Frederic Bastiat


    Peace.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpwi View Post
    Now economics can ascertain objective principals by which subjective means are obtained though. Economics can study the quantity of humans available for sacrifice, how much they will fetch on the market, how to transport the humans to the sacrificial altar...but economics can't argue that human sacrifice shouldn't bring happiness. No more than economics can argue that asparagus is tastier than brussel sprouts.
    Just because values are subjective doesn't mean that human sacrifice is economically sound. Human sacrifice, when it isn't voluntary, is nothing more than a command economy.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    Are you saying government is God?
    Anything you sacrifice to is a god. A sacrifice is simply a cost. The goal should always be that the benefit be greater than the cost. But because values are subjective...it has to be up to each individual to decide for themselves whether the expected benefit will be greater than the cost. Which is why taxpayers should choose which government organizations they make their sacrifices to. Whichever government organizations fail to offer benefits greater than the costs...will be destroyed. This will free up resources for more benevolent gods. And this is how we make progress. Therefore...freedom is simply religious tolerance.
    Last edited by Xerographica; 12-15-2012 at 10:56 PM.

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    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Anything you sacrifice to is a god. A sacrifice is simply a cost. The goal should always be that the benefit be greater than the cost. But because values are subjective...it has to be up to each individual to decide for themselves whether the expected benefit will be greater than the cost. Which is why taxpayers should choose which government organizations they make their sacrifices to. Whichever government organizations fail to offer benefits greater than the costs...will be destroyed. This will free up resources for more benevolent gods. And this is how we make progress. Therefore...freedom is simply religious tolerance.
    And the IRS is my mandated church. So much for the separation of church and state.
    "When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." Frederic Bastiat


    Peace.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    Are you saying government is God?
    That's what it sounds like to me.

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    So if Govt thinks it is God, can you broker a deal with them where I sacrifice a cow for them and they leave me alone forever ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Working Poor View Post
    I wish I could make 1000 people give me 200 bucks for spouting 3 hours of BS
    With hard work, dedication and just believing in yourself, one day YOU could!
    Stop the Looting and Start Prosecuting! Gold plated Tungsten IS Money!
    We Must Dissent A colher n„o existe.
    A government is just a body of people, notably, usually, ungoverned.

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  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    And the IRS is my mandated church. So much for the separation of church and state.
    The IRS isn't the problem...it's merely a symptom. The problem...the root we need to strike at...is people's lack of understanding regarding the value of religious tolerance. But if you understood the value of religious tolerance...then you'd understand the positive consequences of allowing taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes.

    If people could choose which government organizations they sacrificed their taxes to...would they sacrifice their taxes to the IRS? If many people would choose to sacrifice their money to a "violent" god...if they would derive value from doing so...then they would find value in doing so even if there wasn't a state.

    If few people would sacrifice their taxes to the IRS...then we, as a society, would debate whether the IRS truly constituted a "public" good. How many taxpayers would have to give their taxes to the IRS for it to constitute a "public" good? One taxpayer? One hundred taxpayers? One thousand taxpayers? One hundred thousand?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    So if Govt thinks it is God, can you broker a deal with them where I sacrifice a cow for them and they leave me alone forever ??
    The problem isn't the govt. It's the people who believe in the govt. But more specifically...it's the people who believe in 538 congresspeople. What's wrong with believing in 538 congresspeople? The problem is that all our individual valuations matter. Markets work because our choices, our spending decisions, influence how society's resources are used. Allowing 538 congresspeople to spend our taxes prevents our priorities from determining whether more or less funds are spent on defense.

    So if you want to sacrifice a cow...then sacrifice it to learning the economic arguments that support giving taxpayers the freedom to choose which government organizations they make their sacrifices to.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Just because values are subjective doesn't mean that human sacrifice is economically sound. Human sacrifice, when it isn't voluntary, is nothing more than a command economy.
    But economics isn't really a study of philosophy/ethics/politics...it is the study of why people allocate resources.

    I mean aliens could conquer earth and they could enslave the human race and force us to mine natural resources for them. The aliens could sell the more productive humans to each other (perhaps some humans were better at iron mining...others better at zinc mining).

    The aliens could then hurtle these resources into the sun to appease their gods.

    Economics doesn't concern itself with what is owned or how ownership brings happiness...just why that exchanges take place. Ethics are important, but are a separate school of thought.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpwi View Post
    I mean aliens could conquer earth and they could enslave the human race and force us to mine natural resources for them. The aliens could sell the more productive humans to each other (perhaps some humans were better at iron mining...others better at zinc mining).
    Aliens would never conquer the earth and enslave us. This would violate my rule. Xero's rule states that, by the time the inhabitants of a planet have developed to the point they can visit other inhabited planets, the causality between development and freedom would be obvious to them. Here's my blog entry on the topic...Taking vs Trading.

    For example...would China's development be helped or hindered if they enslaved us? Well...they would sure have access to a ton of valuable resources. But progress doesn't depend on merely having resources. Just because you have a tree doesn't mean that you'll know of each and every possible use for it. Even if you know of a certain way that the tree might be used...it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be capable of realizing the use that you had in mind.

    So if China just "took" all our resources...then they would see it as one step forward. But what's more important to grasp is that they wouldn't be able to see all the new and innovative ways that we might have used our resources if our freedom hadn't been taken away from us. Therefore, the seen would be the one step forward as a result of the greater amount of resources...but the unseen would be the ten steps forward that they would have taken as a result of American innovation.

    This is a two way street though. When Mao enslaved China for decades...he didn't just screw the Chinese people...he screwed the entire world by preventing the Chinese people from coming up with new and innovative ways of using their limited resources. Who knows how many additional steps the world would have taken if the Chinese people had been free. Who knows how many valuable services/goods we would be using right now if it hadn't been for Mao.

    If an alien civilization visited our planet tomorrow...then they would clearly understand that they could take one step forward by taking all our resources. But more importantly...they would also clearly understand that merely taking our resources would cost them the ten steps forward that they would have taken by trading with us.

    Right now we take people's taxes. This means that we take one step forward. People clearly see the bridges, roads, public schools and national defense. But what they don't see are the ten steps forward that we would take if we gave taxpayers the freedom to shop for themselves in the public sector.

    Saying that freedom is "morally" or "ethically" right does absolutely nothing to help people see the unseen. To help people see the unseen...to ensure that our freedom is really protected...we have to help people understand the economics.



    So start a blog, and figure out how you can use your words to help people understand the economics. The more people who do this...the more unique perspectives we'll have applied to the problem of how we can use words in such a way that they help people understand economics. If you hit on an innovative and effective way of helping people understand economics...then I'll use your same method...until somebody else comes up with a more effective way. This is how we make progress.





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