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Apa itu Morhabshi dalam ramuan Minyak?


Menurut Wikipedia: Morhabshi (English: Myrrh) merupakan bahan resin berwarna merah keperangan, diambil daripada getah kering pokok Commiphora Myrrha. Tumbuhan ini juga tumbuh di negara Somalia dan bahagian timur Ethiopia. Bahan getah beberapa spesies Commiphora dan Balsamodendron lain turut dikenali sebagai Morhabshi (myrrh), termasuk dari C. erythraea (kadang kala dikenali sebagai Morhabshi India Timur (East Indian myrrh), C. opobalsamum dan Balsamodendronkua.



Mises Daily: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by

For years I've puzzled over the question of why religious people have such trouble coming to terms with economics. This problem applies only to modern religious people, for it was Catholics in 15th- and 16th-century Spain who systematized the discipline of economics to begin with. That was long ago. Today, most of what is written about economics in Catholic circles is painful to read. The failing extends left and right, as likely to appear in "progressive" or "traditionalist" publications. In book publishing, the problem is so pervasive that it is difficult to review the newest batch.

It's not just that the writers, as thoughtful as they might otherwise be on all matters of faith and morals, do not know anything about economic theory. The problem is even more foundational: the widespread tendency is to deny the validity of the science itself. It is treated as some kind of pseudoscience invented to thwart the achievement of social justice or the realization of the perfectly moral utopia of faith. They therefore dismiss the entire discipline as forgettable and maybe even evil. It's almost as if the entire subject is outside their field of intellectual vision.

Here is a theory (with a debt to Rothbard, Hoppe, Kinsella, et al.) about why this situation persists. People who live and work primarily within the religious milieu are dealing mainly with goods of an infinite nature. These are goods like salvation, the intercession of saints, prayers of an infinitely replicable nature, texts, images, and songs that constitute nonscarce goods, the nature of which requires no rationing, allocation, and choices regarding their distribution.

None of these goods takes up physical space. One can make infinite copies of them. They can be used without displacing other instances of the good. They do not depreciate with time. Their integrity remains intact no matter how many times they are used. Thus they require no economization. For that reason, there need to be no property norms concerning their use. They need not be priced. There is no problem associated with their rational allocation. They are what economists call "free goods."

If one exists, lives, and thinks primarily in the realm of the nonscarce good, the problems associated with scarcity — the realm that concerns economics — will always be elusive. To be sure, it might seem strange to think of things such as grace, ideas, prayers, and images as goods, but this term merely describes something that is desired by people. (There are also things we might describe as nongoods, which are things that no one wants.) So it is not really a point of controversy to use this term. What really requires explanation is the description of prayers, grace, text, images, and music as nonscarce goods that require no economization.

So let us back up and consider the difference between scarce and nonscarce goods. The term scarcity does not precisely refer to the quantity of goods in existence. It refers to the relationship between how many of these goods are available relative to the demand for goods. If the number available at zero price is fewer than people want for any reason whatever, they can be considered scarce goods. It means that there is a limit on the number that can be distributed, given the number of people who want them.

Scarcity is the defining characteristic of the material world, the inescapable fact that gives rise to economics. So long as we live in this lacrimarum valle, there will be no paradise. There will be less of everything than would be used if all goods were superabundant. This is true regardless of how prosperous or poor a society is; insofar as material things are finite, they will need to be distributed through some rational system — not one designed by anyone, but one that emerges in the course of exchange, production, and economization. This is the core of the economic problem that economic science seeks to address.

It is almost impossible to think of a finite good that is nonscarce. We can come up with a scenario, perhaps, like two people living in paradise surrounded by an ocean of bananas. In this case, the bananas would be a nonscarce good. They could be eaten and eaten forever, provided that the bananas do not spoil. Another proviso is that there can be no free trade between paradise and the rest of the world, else one of the inhabitants might get the bright idea to arbitrage between nonscarce bananas in paradise and scarce bananas everywhere else. In this case, the bananas would obtain a price and would therefore have to be called scarce goods, not nonscarce goods.

In the real world outside of the banana paradise, nonscarce goods are of a special nature. One feature is that they are typically replicable without limit, like digital files or the inspiration one receives from an icon that can be copied without limit.

As an example, consider the case of the loaves and fishes, an incident in the life of Jesus recorded by all four Gospel writers. Jesus is speaking to the multitudes, and the listeners grow hungry. The Apostles only have five loaves and two fishes: These are scarce goods. They could have thrown them into the air and created a food riot over who got what. They could have opened a market and sold them food at a very high price, rationing them by economic means. Both solutions would produce outrageous results.

Instead, Jesus had a different idea. He turned the scarce bits of food into nonscarce goods by making copies of the scarce food. The multitudes ate and were full. Then the food evidently turned back into scarce goods, because the story ends with Jesus instructing His disciples to collect what is left. Why collect what is nonscarce? Clearly, the miracle had a beginning and end.

The story nicely illustrates the difference between a scarce and nonscarce good. Jesus often used this distinction in His parables, which are mostly stories about the scarce world told in order to draw attention to truths about the nonscarce world. Think of the merchant who bought pearls at a low price and sold them at a high price. One day he found the pearl of the highest possible value, and he sold all he had just to buy and hold it. The pearl, of course, represents salvation and the love of God — nonscarce goods, because there is enough for everyone who desires them.

We are in fact surrounded every day by nonscarce goods exactly like the loaves and fishes. All ideas are of this nature. I can come up with an idea and share it with you. You can possess it, but in so doing, you do not take that idea away from me. Instead, you hold a replica of it — just as real and intact as the original version. Words are this way: I do not need to parse them out in order to save some for myself. Tunes in music are this way, too. I can sing a tune to you, and you can repeat it, but this action does not remove the tune from me. A perfect copy is made, and can be made and made again unto infinity.

This is completely different from the way things work in the realm of scarce goods. Let's say that you like my shoes and want them. If you take them from me, I do not have them anymore. If I want them again, I have to take them back from you. There is a zero-sum rivalry over our use of the goods. That means there must be some kind of system for deciding who can own them. It means absolutely nothing to declare that there should be something called socialism for my shoes so that the whole of society can somehow own them. It is factually impossible for this to happen, because shoes are a scarce good. This is why socialism is sheer fantasy, a meaningless dreamland as regards scarce goods.

The difference between scarce and nonscarce goods has long been noted within the Christian milieu. St. Augustine was once challenged to explain how it is that Jesus can speak for the Father in heaven though the Father is separate. He responded that there is a special nonscarce nature associated with words so that the Son can speak the same words and possess the same thoughts of the Father.

This is true on earth, too, Augustine continued:

The words I am uttering penetrate your senses, so that every hearer holds them, yet withholds them from no other. … I have no worry that, by giving all to one, the others are deprived. I hope, instead, that everyone will consume everything; so that, denying no other ear or mind, you take all to yourselves, yet leave all to all others. But for individual failures of memory, everyone who came to hear what I say can take it all off, each on one's separate way.

In saying these things, Augustine was both establishing and following up on a tradition that prohibited the buying and selling of nonscarce things. Jewish Halachic code prohibits a rabbi or teacher to profit from the dissemination of Torah knowledge. He can charge for time, the use of a building, the books, and so on, but not the knowledge itself. The Torah is supposed to be a "free good" and accessible to all. From this idea also comes the prohibition on simony within Christianity.

The moral norm is that nonscarce goods should be free. There is no physical limit on their distribution. There is no conflict over ownership. They would not be subject to rationing. This is not true with regard to material goods.

To further understand this, let's try an alternative scenario in which a nonscarce good like salvation (nonscarce because it is infinitely replicable) is actually a scarce good that must be rationed. Let's say that Jesus had not offered salvation to all but instead had restricted the number of units of salvation to exactly 1,000. He then put His Apostles in charge of allocating them. (When I mentioned this to a nonbelieving friend of mine, he said: "You mean like tickets to Paradise? I bought five of those in a mosque in Istanbul!")

The Apostles would have immediately confronted a serious problem. Would they give them all out immediately or dispense them over the course of a year, or ten years? Perhaps they suspected that the world would last another 100 years; they might limit the distribution of salvations to only ten per year. Or perhaps they needed to reserve them to last 1,000 years. Regardless, there would have had to be rules and norms governing how they were distributed. Perhaps this would be based on personal displays of virtue, of monetary payment, of family lineage, and so on.

No matter what the results, the history of Christianity would have been very different if Jesus had not made salvation a nonscarce good, but instead had limited the supply and charged the Church with allocation. There would have been no liberality in spreading the gospel. Forget the whole business of going to the ends of the earth or becoming fishers of men. Under a limited supply, the salvation could not be replicated. If, for example, the Apostles had chosen a 1,001st person to be saved, eternal life would have been taken away from the first person to receive it.

This might sound preposterous and even frightening, but this is precisely the situation that persists with all material goods in the real world. All scarce things are fixed, and all things must be allocated. Even under conditions of high economic growth and rapid technological progress, all goods in existence at any one time are finite and cannot be distributed without norms or property rights, lest there be a war of all against all. Another factor of production that is scarce is time, and this too must be allocated by some means.

As it happens, salvation is indeed a nonscarce good available to all who seek it. So are the intercessions of saints. No one fails to ask for the intercession of a saint, but no one knows for a fact whether someone else is employing that saint at the moment. No, we rightly assume that saints have no limits on their time for prayer. Indeed, the limitlessness of salvation is the prototype for all forms of nonscarce goods like music, texts, images, and teachings.

Mises Daily: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 by

[Excerpted from An Essay on Economic Theory (1755; 2010)]

An Essay on Economic Theory

It is a common idea, accepted by all those who have written on commerce, that an increased quantity of money in a state decreases the rate of interest, because when money is abundant it is easier to find some to borrow. This idea is not always true or accurate. For proof, we need only to remember that, in 1720, nearly all the money in England was brought to London. In addition, the number of notes in circulation further accelerated the movement of money to an extraordinary level.[1]

However, this abundance of money and increased circulation did not decrease the interest rate, which had been running at 5 percent or lower. It only served to raise the rate, which increased up to 50 and 60 percent. It is easy to account for this increased rate of interest. The reason is that everyone had become an entrepreneur in the South Sea scheme and wanted to borrow money to buy shares, expecting to make an immense profit with which it would be easy to pay this high rate of interest.[2]

If the abundance of money in the state comes from the hands of moneylenders, the increase in the number of lenders will probably lower the rate of interest. However, if the abundance comes from the hands of people who will spend it, this will have just the opposite effect and will raise the rate of interest by increasing the number of entrepreneurs who go into business as a result of this increased spending and will need to supply their businesses by borrowing at all types of interest.

The abundance or scarcity of money in a state always raises or lowers the price of everything in markets, without any necessary connection to the rate of interest, which may very well be high in states where there is plenty of money and low in those where money is scarcer — high where everything is expensive, and low where everything is cheap; high in London, low in Genoa.

The rate of interest rises and falls every day from mere rumors, which might decrease or increase the confidence of lenders without affecting the prices of products in markets.

The most constant source for a high rate of interest in a state is the great expenditures of nobles, property owners, and other rich people. Entrepreneurs and master craftsmen supply the great houses with all the elements of this spending, and entrepreneurs almost always need to borrow money in order to supply them. When the nobles consume beyond their income and borrow money, they doubly contribute to raising the interest rate.

In contrast, when the nobles of the state live frugally and buy firsthand [without middlemen] as often as they can, they will acquire many products from their servants without dealing with entrepreneurs. This diminishes profits and the numbers of entrepreneurs in the state, and it consequently reduces the number of borrowers, as well as the interest rate. Because these entrepreneurs work with their own capital — borrowing as little as they can — and content themselves with small profits, they prevent those who have no capital from starting similar enterprises with borrowed money. Such is the case today in the Republics of Genoa and Holland, where interest is sometimes at 2 percent, or lower for the upper classes.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Poland, France, Spain, England, and other countries, the affluence and expenses of noblemen and property owners has kept the country's entrepreneurs and master artisans accustomed to large profits, enabling them to pay a high rate of interest, which is higher still when they import everything from abroad with the added risk for the enterprises.

When the prince or the state incurs heavy expenses, such as when making war, the rate of interest increases for two reasons. The first is that it increases the number of entrepreneurs with several new large enterprises for war supplies, and it therefore increases borrowing. The second is because of the greater risk that war always brings.

On the contrary, when the war is over, risk diminishes, the number of entrepreneurs decreases, and war contractors who go out of business reduce their expenditures and become lenders of the money they have gained. In this situation, if the prince or the state offers to repay part of the public debt, it will reduce the rate of interest significantly. This will truly have an effect if part of the debt can be paid off without borrowing elsewhere, because the repayments increase the number of lenders in the highest class of interest [i.e., the prime rate], which will affect all the other classes.

When the abundance of money in the state is caused by a continuous [positive] balance of trade, this money first passes through the hands of entrepreneurs. And although it increases consumption, it does not fail to lower the rate of interest because most of the entrepreneurs will acquire enough capital to conduct their business without borrowing, and even become lenders of the amount they have gained beyond what they need to operate their business.

If the state does not have a great number of nobles and rich people who spend lavishly, the abundance of money will certainly lower the interest rate while increasing the price of goods and merchandise exchanged. This is what usually happens in republics that have neither much capital nor considerable land, and that grow rich only by foreign trade. But in states that have considerable capital and large property owners, the money brought in by foreign trade increases their rents and enables them to spend heavily, which maintains several entrepreneurs and artisans besides those who engage in the foreign trade. This always keeps interest rates high despite the abundance of money.

When a noble or property owner ruins himself by extravagant expenditures, the lender who holds the mortgages on the property often acquires the absolute ownership to it. It may also be the case in a state that lenders provide more credit than money in circulation. In this case, they are subordinate owners of the land and its production, which have been mortgaged as security, and without which the lenders' capital would be lost by the bankruptcy of the borrowers.

In the same manner, one may consider the owners of public debt to be the subordinate owners of state revenues, which are used to pay them interest. However, if the legislature was compelled by the needs of the state to use these revenues for other purposes, the owners of public debt would lose everything, while the amount of money circulating in the state would not diminish by a single coin.

If the prince or the administrators of the state want to regulate the current interest rate by law, the regulation must be established on the basis of the current market rate in the highest class or thereabout.[3] Otherwise the law will be useless, because entrepreneurs are obedient to the forces of competition (or the current price as settled by the proportion of lenders to borrowers), and as a result they will resort to secret deals. This legal constraint will only hamper trade and raise the interest rate instead of fixing it.

Historically, the Romans, after passing several laws to restrict interest rates, passed one to prevent the lending of money altogether. This law had no more success than its predecessors. Justinian's law, which restrained well-to-do people from taking more than 4 percent, those of a lower order 6 percent, and traders 8 percent, was equally amusing and unjust, because it was not forbidden to make 50 and 100 percent profit in all sorts of enterprises.[4]

If it is allowable and respectable for a property owner to lease a farm to a poor farmer at a high rent, risking the loss of the rent for a whole year, it seems that it should be permissible for a lender to lend money to a needy borrower at the risk of losing, not only his interest or profit, but also his capital, and to stipulate any interest rate that the borrower will freely consent to pay.

It is true that loans of this type can make lenders worse off; they can lose both the interest and their capital because they are far less likely to recoup losses compared to the property owner, who cannot lose the land he rents. Because bankruptcy laws are relatively favorable to debtors and allow them to start again, it seems that usury laws should always be adjusted to market rates, as is the case in Holland.

The current interest rate in a state seems to serve as a basis for establishing the market price of land. If the current rate is 5 percent or 1/20 part, the price of land should be the same [i.e., 20 times the amount of interest paid per year on the mortgage of similar land]. However, because ownership of land gives a certain status and rights in some states, it will be the case that when interest is 5 percent or 1/20 part, the price of land is set at 1/24 or 1/25 [25 times], although the mortgage rate on the same land hardly exceeds the current interest rate.

After all, the price of land, like all other prices, is regulated naturally by the proportion of sellers to buyers, etc. And as there will be many more buyers in London, for example, than in the provinces — and as these buyers who live in the capital will prefer to buy land in their locality rather than in distant provinces — they would rather buy land in their vicinity at 1/30 or 1/35 than distant lands at 1/25 or 1/22. There are often other acceptable reasons affecting land prices, unnecessary to mention here, since they do not invalidate our explanations of the nature of interest.[5]

Notes

[1] Cantillon is referring here to an increase in the amount of bills of exchange, and what is now called the "velocity of money," during the South Sea Bubble of 1720.

[2] Cantillon may have been the first author to clearly distinguish between the purchasing power of money and the interest rate on loans. This was one of the most critical elements of Cantillon's overall assault on mercantilist doctrine.

[3] Cantillon seems to disparage usury laws in general but here stipulates that, if they are used, they must conform to the market rate of the highest class of interest. This would allow the state, property owners, and the most trustworthy borrowers to continue to borrow without interference. Entrepreneurs could finance their businesses by purchasing supplies and inputs where the price to be paid in the future includes a return on interest. Private individuals could continue to borrow and easily evade the law. Therefore, usury laws based on market rates could cause little "embarrassment."

[4] Justinian I (483 AD–565 AD) was an Eastern Roman Emperor and is considered one of the most important of the later emperors. He is most remembered for the codification of Roman law that he initiated and which subsequently became the basis of European legal systems.

[5] Cantillon here seems to be suggesting a capital-asset pricing model where the value of land is 22 to 35 times the annual interest or income derived from the land, and that the ratio is adjusted according to the benefits of its location.

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