A Positively Sloped Marginal Utility Curve

From: S
Sent: Saturday, July 27, 2019 5:11 PM
To: Walter Block
Subject:

Reading Hoppe you realize each of his sequential ideas has a positively sloped marginal utility.

Dear Sebastian:

However, I’m sure that Hans, along with me, would disagree with your assessment, were it to be taken literally. For one thing, when you talk of “slope” you imply a diagram. And, what, pray tell, would be on the vertical axis of that diagram? Why, utils. What else could be there? But, this implies cardinal utility, which Austrians oppose, not ordinal utility, which we accept. But even in the latter case, strictly speaking, the first thing my friend Hans says is surely more important than the very last thing he says, because he usually states principles first, and, only later, examples. But, suppose, in order to foil me, he wrote the very best thing in an essay of his, last. Then, would your assessment be correct? Sorry, not even then, since we would claim that he offered us two different kinds of insights. Insights A, which decreased in ordinal value as he wrote them, and, singular insight B, which was a different type of “good.” (I’m now assuming, arguendo, that cardinal utility is valid.)

The point is, diminishing marginal utility is not an empirical generalization, not only, anyway, although it might be looked at that way, but, rather, it is a matter of praxeology. It is a necessary condition of human action.

Best regards,

Walter

Share

2:26 am on September 3, 2019