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The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Tu Ne Cede Malis

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The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science
Ludwig von Mises

Certainty and Uncertainty

7. Decision-making

There are fads and fashions in the treatment of scientific problems and in the terminology of the scientific language.

What praxeology calls choosing is nowadays, as far as it concerns the choice of means, called decision-making. The neologism is designed to divert attention from the fact that what matters is not simply to make a choice, but to make the best possible choice. This means: to proceed in such a way that no less urgently desired end should be satisfied if its satisfaction prevents the attainment of a more urgently desired end. In the production processes directed in the market economy by profit-seeking business this is accomplished as far as possible with the intellectual aid of economic calculation. In a self-sufficient, closed, socialist system, which cannot resort to any economic calculation, the making of decisions concerning means is mere gambling.

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