mercredi 21 mars 2012

Tarama or Caviare, Righteous Pricing Comment on Thomas Storck

Essay series:Carlos Hugo, not without remarks abt Tito, Nestor Makhnov, Mussolini
Lyndon and Benito
Tarama or Caviare, Righteous Pricing Comment on Thomas Storck

A few links on regarded by me yesterday, three my own, two from others:

Commenting on Is Usury Still a Sin?

The reasoning of Ejiciens is not altogether clear in every respect, and there are more than hints of some of the popular grounds for opposing usury which were ultimately rejected because they did not stand up to examination, such as the idea that time could not be sold and that money was purely a measure.

Time cannot be sold. When you hire out something, it is not time you sell, but probable amount of use and probable amount of tear and wear during time - estimated on a medium and giving hiring person credit for the fact that part of the use is his own credit since his own work, you only hired him the tool. When you hire out boats for pleasure rides you are asking per hour an equivalent of the work you do every day to keep them functionable. In no such licit occupation are you really selling time.

The idea that money is purely a measure is not a popular idea that cannot stand up to examination, but an ideal deviances of which are deleterious to the good use of money. Inflation is for instance making money less useful as a pure measure and therefore less useful as money.

Stork then goes on to give a catering firm as an example.

This last is what is generally called profit, a term that is often used loosely and inexactly. As we see here, Ryan reduces it to the proprietor's labor, plus his entrepreneurial abilities and risks. It is not an open-ended invitation to charge as much as the market will bear, but rather there must exist some title of justification such as Ryan enumerates here. Looked at in this way the limiting of the reimbursement for the consumptibles sold seems obvious. Of course the caterer cannot charge for 110 bottles of wine if he delivers only 100. His profit, in reality his salary and compensation for risk, etc., comes otherwise and is not gained at the expense of expecting more in return than what he supplied.

I would not even include his entrepreneurial abilities and risks. Risks are a matter of trusting providence, the reward for which is Heaven. St Thomas has already argued that taking risks of not getting repaid is no motive for getting more repaid when getting repaid.

A question is whether montes pietatis could be excluded from that reasoning. Evidently serving in such a one for a salary would not want to get too high salaries. They existed to make small people survive between businesses and works, but also to put small businesses on their feet.

Managerial abilities are in the realm of potentialities, not in that of factual value producing work, in which such potentialities are partly made actual. The question is a bit of how much you boss about. How much work is that to one? One can argue that the more you do it well, the less you need doing it, so the less work it is.

I would actually argue the rights of a catering firm owner a bit otherwise. You give your customer a number of items you bought, and you give him the work you do on it. The value of what you bought is the price you paid. The work you do is however not identical to what you pay your workers and yourself as one of them. One can argue that the value of the work you do is the use it is to your customer - or rather, usually not the real use to each customer, but the usefulness in general.

I did a work on just price back when writing on the deceased (february 2009) MSN Group Antimodernism. The real basis for a just pricing is not expense restoration (Marx' theory of "added value" makes any difference between what you ask your customers and your expenses including wages to workers robbery either towards underpaid workers or towards overpaying customers), nor access and demand (which would make prices like wheat=its weight in gold just in cases where there is too little wheat), but its kind of use.

Food and wine is immediately consumed and individually so: I am not eating the same sandwich as you are eating if we both eat a whole sandwhich, and if we share a sandwich we are not eating same part of it.

Clothes are individually worn, but not immediately consumed. A pair of trousers worn as only trousers wears after a few months. If you exchange with other trousers and wash after each day of use, and let it rest, it may keep much longer - depending on frequency or rarity of use.

Work tools like - for a writer - pencils or pens or whatever your work is in obviously have a relation to what gains you can make by them which depends on what business you are in.

Housing and means of transport are much longer lasting, ideally inheritable over centuries (means of transport tend to wear quicker than really well built houses).

You very clearly need more cups of water and more breads in your life than trousers. Some are even known to find it not immoderate to have as many bottles of wine as trousers, or more. That does not mean they are drunkards. On the other hand each trouser needs more work than each bread or bottle of wine. And same relation applies to houses versus trousers.

For each category, the same kind of relation to either expenses or rarity (meaning an expense of transport, for instance) or demand (like a luxurious variety of the category: more people want Levi's than other brands of jeans, more people with money want Russian Caviar than tarama or Kalles Kaviar - all of them are egg roe based, more people with moeny want champagne or rioja than the wines from viennese vineyard suburbs, etc.), that loosely comes along with the difference between categories and therefore understandably but mistakenly is mistaken for basis of value, are real bases for modification in price of items in each category: why Russian Caviar is - outside Caspian Sea area - more expensive than tarama made from Greek or French fish roe or Kalles Kaviar made from Norwegian or Swedish fish roe. It may be added that Russian Caviar is pure fish roe, whereas tarama and the Swedish tube caviar are dishes made from fish roe with other ingredients too, and those of less value. But it is also true that the Beluga sturgeon is rarer than the cods or haddocks whose roe serve for Kalles Kaviar.

So, while it is true that expenses must be covered, it is not quite as true that this is the main basis of the price a business can licitly charge. Indeed, the price charged is mainly related to utility as evaluated by most customers, and the wage expenses is related to utility of a worker per hour with such and such a capacity for work.

And here we come to the interest of montes pietatis. The use is the precise same for money lent as for money returned. Meaning it is difficult to say they are in and of themselves a licit form of gain. They were decided as licit due to loan sharks making investments more and more expensive made loans more needed for investments than would usually be the case.

I take it that the interest charged by montes pietatis is a kind of taxation for the public good of providing an alternative to loan sharks, which the montes pietatis could not do if they had no income - not a gain licit in itself. Because the essential utility of the loan is in and of itself measured in the amount loaned, and therefore in and of itself measured in the exact returning of that precise amount. But accessorily there is an utility of getting that loan from a mons pietatis, in situations where loan sharks by giving access to loans make it more expensive and hence more loan dependent to start a business.

Otherwise one might think there be a contradiction between the Council of Vienne (in France) condemning usury and the council of Lateran V, allowing the montes pietatis to charge interesse - the word and usage from which we derive our word interest. Such a conflict is not possible between two ecumenical councils, only between an ecumenical council and one falsely thought of as ecumenical, or between two councils falsely thought of as ecumenical. And either or both of them could be that only if Papacy was not the main succession of St Peter - as indeed is the position of Gregory Palamas, honoured by Orthodox as one of the "defendors of Orthodoxy". But even assuming the Orthodox are in the Church, we need not assume Latins - Latin Rite Roman Catholics - to be outside it: if Gregory Palamas were right about St Peter's essential successor being each bishop in each diocese, then the Papist position would be false, but not necessarily as false as to exclude from the Church.

So, even if Orthodox were right about Ecclesiology (they are wrong about filioque, I have read up on St Athanasius and other early Western filioquists), and Vienne were only a local council (as Rome thought of Constantinople V - with Gregory Palamas - as a local council erring on some particulars which Rome condemned, but not erring in everything: it was in part confirmed by Vatican I), even so, we would have to take into account evidence for the Church regarding usury, i e the taking of interest, under ordinary circumstances, as mortally sinful.

Having made such a pronunciation one may wonder if I live up to it. I received a larger sum from a sale, and the sum was on a bank account for longer than I wanted. I calculated what was interest. I did not know what real owner had given even more interest than that to the bank, and I did not care to ask the bank, so I gave the interest part to the poor, via an intermediate. I might have given the interest part to the Church, but as I was then a convinced Palmarian, and had insufficient contact with "headquarters" near Sevilla, I was not giving it to the local parish in Communion with John Paul II. So, to the poor it went, unless my intermediate double crossed me: if so that is his fault, not mine.

In my offer about how to use my writings (beyond the online reading which is of course for free) I apply the principle of usefulness estimates for just pricing, insofar as a printer / editor (amateur or professional) can pay me royalties according to his estimate or if he is poor treat my work as for economic purposes in the common domain:

Be my Unwin or Hooper if you like.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BpI, rue du Renard

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