quinta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2006

Capital, preferência temporal e taxa de juro

"As we have seen, there is only one way by which man can rise from the ultraprimitive level: through investment in capital.

But this cannot be accomplished through short processes, since the short processes for producing the most valuable goods will be the ones first adopted. Any increase in capital goods can serve only to lengthen the structure, i.e., to enable the adoption of longer and longer productive processes.

Men will invest in longer processes more productive than the ones previously adopted. They will be more productive in two ways:

(1) by producing more of a previously produced good, and/or
(2) by producing a new good that could not have been produced at all by the shorter processes.

Within this framework these longer processes are the most direct that must be used to attain the goal—not more roundabout. Thus, if Crusoe can catch 10 fish per day directly without capital and can catch 100 fish per day with a net, building a net should not be considered as a “more roundabout method of catching fish,” but as the “most direct method for catching 100 fish a day.”

Furthermore, no amount of labor and land without capital could enable a man to produce an automobile; for this a certain amount of capital is required. The production of the requisite amount of capital is the shortest and most direct method of ob­taining an automobile.

Any new investment will therefore be in a longer and more productive method of production. Yet, if there were no time preference, the most productive methods would be invested in first, regardless of time, and an increase in capital would not cause more productive methods to be used.

The existence of time pref­erence acts as a brake on the use of the more productive but longer processes. Any state of equilibrium will be based on the time-preference, or pure interest, rate, and this rate will determine the amount of savings and capital invested.

It determines capital by imposing a limit on the length of the production processes and therefore on the maximum amount produced.

A lowering of time preference, therefore, and a consequent lowering of the pure rate of interest signify that people are now more willing to wait for any given amount of future output, i.e., to invest more proportionately and in longer processes than heretofore.

A rise in time preference and in the pure interest rate means that people are less willing to wait and will spend proportionately more on consumers’ goods and less on the longer production processes, so that investments in the longest processes will have to be aban­doned.[27]"

Chapter 8—Production: Entrepreneurship and Change (continued)
4. Capital Accumulation and the Length of the Structure of Production
"Man, Economy and State", by Murray N. Rothbard

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