There is a very popular with some groups of people belief that states that all the evil in the world is caused by people’s ignorance; that the only way to eliminate evil is to eliminate ignorance; once people are educated, intelligent, free of superstitions and the need to devote most of their time to satisfying their basic necessities, we will at last have a healthy society of pure happiness and harmony. These people, however, seem to have very vague understanding of human nature and history.
The definition of right and wrong is one of the most widely discussed questions in philosophy, the one that, in some ways, is the foundation of this branch of knowledge itself. Every human being, every society and every person on Earth has certain understanding concerning what is right and what is not; there are certain general ideas that direct at good and bad actions; the man can act in a certain way because he wants so, but still believe that he is acting in a way that is wrong. Why is it so, where do these ideas come from?
Egoism and altruism are almost always considered to be the two opposing ideologies or, at least, two opposing outlooks on life. But is it really so?
If we look at the definition of word “egoism”, we will see that it means an attitude towards life, the bearer of which always puts his interests before the interests of all the other people. But is it said that his interests are automatically concerned with doing everything that pleases him sensually, while torturing all the other people on the way – just for fun? Yet, it is the way most people tend to perceive egoists.
Ask any European of whether they find eating with chopsticks convenient and the answer is certain to be negative. And I am not an exception. I will eagerly agree it is true, but despite this fact I love eating with chopsticks and take them everywhere with me, using them for everything from sushi to French pate. Why? The matter is that convenience is not the only factor that can influence your attitude to something: chopsticks have so many advantages that you soon stop thinking about the drawbacks.
When I think about the difficulties that I have had to overcome recently, the achievement which I am most proud of may seem like a trifle to other people. However, for me, who lives mostly on tea and coffee, the challenge of spending three days without an electric kettle was a dramatic battle with my habits.
When I was expecting my daughter, I often imagined what it would be like to spend time with her. In my ideal imaginary world, I would hold her in my arms and caress her happily and she would always smile to me contently and happily. But soon after she was born, it came as a revelation to me: babies cry! The first time I watched her little face wrinkling, sweet little mouth opening and the loudest scream I had ever heard being produced, I thought: “Oh! My! God! She is crying! What shall I do?” I felt like an idiot. It seemed to me that I was the only mother on the planet who could not take care of her own child. Luckily, soon I found out that all mothers feel exactly the same.
In an adult’s mind games are associated with fun and relaxation. However, for a child playing a game is an essential and absolutely vital part of his daily routine, because this is the only way a child can develop. In order to help a baby develop by playing, it is important for parents to choose proper toys.
The Sherman Act of 1890 finished the era of truly free market in the United States of America, although, ironically, it has been directed at protecting the freedom of competition. It may seem obvious that the law that limits the competitors cannot be protecting the competition, but, nevertheless, this law became the foundation of what we know today as the American antitrust legislature.
The Sherman Act prohibits all kinds of all contracts, combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade, and monopoly in interstate and foreign trade. On paper it seemed to be perfect for protecting smaller participants of the market from being eliminated by the larger ones; in reality everything turned out much worse. Read more »
Some economic principles (in fact, most of them) are not limited by the sphere of economics and have great influence over the other lines of human activity. The idea of opportunity cost is one of them. It means that the value of any action should be judged according to how profitable would it be to do something else? The opportunity cost of doing any action is all the other actions that could have been done instead of it but weren’t. If the action brings more profit than any of its alternative, then the decision is economically correct. If some of the alternatives can bring better results, then the decision is economically wrong.
There are many ideas concerning the purpose of the state: why it appears, what its functions are and so on. The economical science has a simple answer to this question that is limited to one phrase: the free-rider problem.
The free-rider problem is an economical problem that is based on the fact that certain members of the society consume the resources they haven’t paid for. For example we can use the law enforcement and road maintenance. It is next to impossible to determine to what extent every particular person uses them. Read more »