‘2. Time Preference as an Essential Requisite of Action
The answer to this question is that acting man does not appraise time periods merely with regard to their dimension. His choices regarding the removal of future uneasiness are directed by the categories sooner and later. Time for man is not a homogeneous substance of which only length counts. It is not a more or a less in dimension. It is an irreversible flux the fractions of which appear in different perspective according to whether they are nearer to or remoter from the instant of valuation and decision. Satisfaction of a want in the nearer future is, other things being equal, preferred to that in the farther distant future. Present goods are more valuable than future goods.
Time preference is a categorial requisite of human action.’
- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, page(s) 480 & 481
‘..the essential difference between rich societies and poor societies does not stem from any greater effort the former devote to work, nor even from any greater technological knowledge the former hold. Instead it arises mainly from the fact that rich nations possess a more extensive network of capital goods wisely invested from an entrepreneurial standpoint. These goods consist of machines, tools, computers, buildings, semi-manufactured goods, software, etc., and they exist due to prior savings of the nation’s citizens. In other words, comparatively rich societies possess more wealth because they have more time accumulated in the form of capital goods, which places them closer in time to the achievement of much more valuable goals..’
- Jesús Huerta de Soto, Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles, page 279
‘..the men gather around the child. She explains the foreign letters to them and shows them how they’re written. The men marvel at this 10-year-old child, a girl, at that, and they listen to her..’
‘Even in a hypothetical world in which nature provides every man with the means for the preservation of biological survival (in the strict sense of the term), in which the most important foodstuffs arc not scarce and action is not concerned with the provision for bare life, the phenomenon of time preference would be present and direct all actions.’
- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, page 485
We had moved early February to the 20th floor. We were still examining, distilling and reflecting upon our experiences in the Room of Thoughts, the so called office in the basement. We dedicated most of our time to it. We could do this because our original assignment, of reorganizing the bank, had been completed. It wasn’t a bank anymore.
The reorganization was completed when the vice president made the finishing touch to it early this year, she had scrapped the title of vice president. She had automated upper management, they were all droids now and the CEO still thought that he was in charge, that he was the Boss, the president, that he ran the show. But he wasn’t.
She and I were on the Raven, the unusual yacht. I looked up, towards the 33th floor.
‘Hasn’t he still found out that he is surrounded by mechanical droids?’
I took a sip from my tea.
‘He does all the talking,’ she said.
‘Just giving orders, he rarely asks a question.’
‘Does he listen?’
‘Only to answers he likes.’
‘It depends. Most often; “Yes, we’re on it.” or “Yes, we are in control.”‘
I sighed and took another sip and changed the topic.
‘Next month a new Agent will arrive.’
‘Why so late? We are leaving next year.’
‘Because she activated me.’
She smiled. I only shared a glimpse of her during the Counsel of the Souls. The Agents were aware of her, as was the artificial intelligence and the Raven.
‘She works on the 22th floor. I believe that she know something strange is going on,’ I said.
I took another sip.
‘Well, the way she is trading is not her usual gambit. I believe that she has noticed that our trading platform is different than those of our competitors.’
‘Because its intelligent?’
‘Yes. She made a loss on purpose and our network corrected her loss. She did this a couple of times, and every time we corrected her losses. She made a bigger loss this week. We didn’t compensated that one, nor did she, so the Boss want’s to speak with her next week.’
I took another sip of my tea.
‘How big was the loss?’ she asked.
‘Millions. The president is furious about it. It’s his money you see and he can’t stand losing.’
‘She will be fired.’
‘And we will hire her again,’ I said.
I looked at her. I had this idea.
‘Could the droids do a presentation for the CEO? The day before he meets her.’
‘Yes,’ the former vice president said.
‘Could the topic be love?’
Her eyes had this sparkle when she answered; ‘Yes.’
So the day, before the president would vent his hanger, he listened to a presentation done by droids about love.
When the droids finished their presentation his only response was in a baffling way: ‘Love?? In business?? Impossible!!’
‘..tell your boss you think the company has a love deficit.’
- Hamel, What Matters Now
( To be continued… )