The Amazing Hume

Of late I’ve begun to realize how amazingly insightful David Hume was on several important issues:

Update: See also Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s brief discussion of Hume in the video clip below.

See also Cordato and Kirzner on Intellectual Property (April 21, 2011)

  1. See also Wendy McElroy on Benjamin Tucker: “Tucker, however, asked the question in more fundamental terms; he asked why the concept of property existed at all.  What was there in the nature of man and of reality that made such a concept necessary?  He postulated that property arose as a means of solving conflicts caused by scarcity.  Since all goods are scarce, there is competition for their use.  Since the same chair cannot be used at the same time and in the same manner by two people, it becomes necessary to determine who should use the chair.  Property arose as an answer to this question.  “If it were possible,” Tucker wrote, “and if it has always been possible, for an unlimited number of individuals to use to an unlimited extent and in an unlimited number of places the same concrete thing at the same time, there would never have been any such thing as the institution of property.””  

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  • His recognition of the is-ought gap. Writes Hans-Hermann Hoppe: “one can readily subscribe to the almost generally accepted view that the gulf between ‘ought’ and ‘is’ is logically unbridgeable.” (A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism, p. 163.)


  • Great post! I love Hume. Also his “problem of induction” point pre-refuted positivism and was cited by Mises. And Hume was a great advocate of free trade and hard money.

  • Hoppe and Hume (youtube)

  • “•His insight that any supply of money is optimal, also a key Austrian insight. (See Hoppe, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, p. 194; Block & Barnett, On the Optimum Quantity of Money.)”

    Block & Barnett, On the Optimum Quantity of Money:

    “Thus we again arrive at a fork in the road, facing two possibilities. First, the free market is inefficient, i.e., it allocates some of the new or extant gold to a valueless use as money, when it could and should have diverted it to a valuable use in jewelry or contacts, and this after first allocating other scarce resources to mining and refining, or to the conversion, thereof. Or, second, Mises and Rothbard are wrong. It staggers the (individualistic) mind to think that people would voluntarily commit valuable resources to the creation of socially-valueless goods.”