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Sample Paths Forward Dialog

I read Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony by a Sony founder, Akio Morita. I liked it. But near the end were some comments about currency exchange rates which were incompatible with the capitalist, limited-government, free-trade viewpoint. (He's not a Marxist or anything. He's a mixed "moderate".)

Morita died in 1999, but let's suppose I could speak with him. The dialog below is what I would expect the conversation to be like. (Except I'd expect him to be less clear, direct, honest and patient.)

The point of this dialog is to summarize what Paths Forward is about. The same kinds of questions and comments can be used with most people about many topics. (You just replace "Mises" with a relevant, great thinker with published work who the person is contradicting.) This kind of issue comes up all the time.

curi: I saw some negative views on free trade in your book. Have you read Ludwig von Mises, the economist who explains why you're mistaken?

Akio: No.

curi: Will you read Mises now, and study him carefully, and learn all about the issue?

Akio: No. That sounds potentially interesting but I'm very busy.

curi: Will you refrain from making any comments about economics until after you find time to learn about it?

Akio: No. I don't know everything but I know a lot, and many people consider me a wise expert worth listening to.

curi: Can you refute Mises?

Akio: No. I haven't read him.

curi: Are you adequately familiar with the free trader school of thought, from other sources, to refute it? If you are, that should apply to Mises too.

Akio: No, I can't do that.

curi: Do you know of anyone else, in the whole world, who has refuted Mises, and written down the reasons Mises is wrong, who you can reference, endorse, and take responsibility for?

Akio: No.

curi: Then how did you determine that Mises is wrong, or should be ignored?

Akio: I didn't.

curi: Then why are you making public recommendations about economic matters contrary to Mises' published explanations of economics, if you don't know of the existence of any correct arguments that Mises is mistaken?

Akio: What I'm saying sounds right to me, based on what I do know.

curi: It's been refuted in books you've chosen not to read, and have no answer to. Will you change your mind or behavior now that you know this?

Akio: No I won't change. I already knew that there existed books advocating free trade economics, which I couldn't specifically refute or reference refutations of. I spoke anyways, ignoring that knowledge, and ignoring criticism and disagreement from people like you, because I don't care about rational truth-seeking.


If you make statements like these, some people will try to turn the discussion around and ask about your Paths Forward. They will ask you similar questions. Have you read Marx, Krugman, Pikkety, Keynes, or some other anti-capitalist? If not, do you know of any answers to them that you will use to speak for you? But the answer is yes, at least for me! Yes, for the topics I speak about, I do have answers to opposing thinkers, either personally or by reference.


Elliot Temple on March 16, 2018

Comments (3)

Morita: I am willing to join FI under a pseudonym.

Curi: You can use my anon a/c

FF: Have you read "The fountainhead"?

Morita: NO!!!!

FF: Are you going to read it?

Morita: No, I am busy

FF: How is it like being dead?

Morita: ....


FF at 2:35 AM on March 16, 2018 | #9711 | reply | quote

I updated to post to rename him from Morita to Akio (his first name) in the dialog.


curi at 12:55 PM on March 16, 2018 | #9713 | reply | quote

i liked this quote from _Made in Japan_:

> [In foreign countries] Ironically, we took advantage of a handicap in the beginning, which was that we were unknown and we could not recruit university graduates, who would find this little foreign company lacking in prestige. And so we had marvelous, energetic young people holding important jobs in this new company who appreciated the opportunity to succeed even though they did not come equipped with a degree from a famous university. We applied my philosophy of disregarding school background, and it worked in Germany as well as in Japan.


curi at 3:12 PM on March 16, 2018 | #9714 | reply | quote

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)