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How praxeology can help explain human action and decision-making in the economy.


Praxeology: The Basics

At its core, praxeology is the science of human action. Ludwig Von Mises, who popularized the term, postulated that human actions are purposeful and that individuals act based on their subjective values to achieve desired ends. In other words, intentionality and a desire to better one's circumstances are the driving forces behind all human behavior.

Individualism and Subjective Value

The concept of subjective value is one of the foundational ideas of praxeology, as Mises emphasizes. In the market, individuals act based on their own personal valuations and not on some objective standard of value. This perspective challenges many mainstream economic models that rely on equilibrium states and objective utility functions.

Friedrick Hayek emphasized the decentralized nature of information in the economy. The problem with centrally planned economies was that they could never gather and process the vast amounts of decentralized and dispersed knowledge that exist in an economy. Each individual, with their unique preferences, knowledge, and circumstances, plays a critical role in the overall function of the market.

Time, Uncertainty, and Knowledge

Praxeology considers the role of time and uncertainty in human action. People act in the present with an eye to the future, but the future is always uncertain. The limits of human knowledge and the challenges that uncertainty introduces are boundless.

Thomas Sowell, in his essays and novels on knowledge disparities, socio-economic decisions, and cultural influences, touched upon the idea that various actors in the economy operate with different sets of knowledge. Praxeology would consider that these actors make decisions based on this fragmented and sometimes imperfect knowledge, aiming to achieve the best outcomes given their constraints.

The Role of Institutions

Institutions play a crucial role in guiding human action. Market prices, for instance, are not just arbitrary numbers. They convey critical information about supply, demand, and subjective valuations. By understanding praxeological principles, we can appreciate why many of the most prominent economists are such strong proponents of the price system—it's an institution that allows countless individuals to coordinate their actions without centralized control.

Social and Cultural Factors

From a praxeological standpoint, these can be seen as the broader contextual factors that shape individual preferences, values, and the horizon of possible actions.

By understanding praxeology, the layperson gains a framework that prioritizes individual action, subjective value, and the role of time and uncertainty in decision-making. This perspective stands in contrast to many other economic frameworks promoted by deficient economies relying on debt taxation through inflation. It offers a unique and valuable lens through which to view human decision-making in the economy. More importantly, however, it is evidence-based and works. Unfortunately, that cannot be stated for modern-day theories and academic manifestos. From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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