1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School

Search Mises.org
Mises Made Easier
Percy L. Greaves Jr.


Tabula rasa, (Latin). A clean slate; a blank or erased tablet.

Tabular standard. A proposed method for the settlement of deferred payments (sums due after the passage of time) wherein the sum due changes in accordance with changes in a standard which is believed to reflect changes in the purchasing power of the monetary unit with the passage of time. The tabular standard specifies a previously agreed upon table which adds the prices for specified quantities of a selected group of commodities as of the date of the agreement and again at the dates that payments are due. The percentage change from the original date is supposed to indicate the change in the purchasing power of the monetary unit during the interim and thus the sum of money which will provide the recipient with the same purchasing power that was contemplated at the time of the original agreement. The proposal lacks scientific precision and at best gives a rough approximation of changes in the purchasing power of the monetary unit during periods of inflation and deflation. See "Index numbers" and "Mathematical economics."

HA. 222-23,351,398-400; M. 201-03, 401-10.

Tantamount. Equivalent in effect or significance; not differing in essence (from).

Tariff. A tax, charge or schedule of charges levied upon imports from abroad. See "Protectionism."

Tartars, or Tatars. Nomadic hordes from Central Asia, who, largely under Mongol leadership, overran large parts of Asia and Eastern Europe in the thirteenth century. Their Golden Horde Empire penetrated as far east as Silesia (East Germany) and Hungary. They slaughtered their opponents and lived off the land for more than a century until crushed (1395) by another conqueror, Tamerlane (1336?-1405). Many remained in Siberia, Southern Russia and Turkey.

OG. 237.

Tautology. Repetition of the same idea in different words.

UF. 17.

Technocrat. An advocate of technocracy, an anticapitalistic fallacy that was popular in the depression days of the early 1930's. Technocrats sought their utopia in (1) the abolition of profits, businessmen and market principles, and (2) the establishment of a society run by industrial engineers and other technical experts in accordance with the principles of advanced technology.

Technological unemployment. See "Unemployment, technological."

Teleology. The theory that the cause and direction of changes in phenomena are determined by a previously existing plan or purpose, as opposed to mechanism wherein they are determined according to the laws of the natural sciences (q.v.). All human actions (purposive human behavior) are teleological, i.e., they are activated by the purpose of the actor.

HA. 23-26; UF. 6-8.

Tertium comparationis, (Latin). Literally, a third for comparison. Hence, a basis of comparison.

Theism. In the eighteenth century sense, Theism meant a belief in one God as the Creator and as the Almighty ever present power on earth and in man. Theists in general accepted the teachings of revelation and grace and differed from Deists (see "Deism") in this respect.

Theorem of Pythagoras. The theorem that the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the two other sides.

Theory. A theory is an abstract formulation of the constant relations between entities or, what means the same thing, the necessary regularity in the concatenation (q.v.) and sequence of phenomena and/or events. A theory may be true or false. A valid theory attempts to eliminate all contradictions in the application of cause and effect to a given specific situation or set of conditions. The aim of a theory is always success in action. A characteristic of a true theory is that action based on it succeeds in attaining the expected results. A theory is implicit in every human action and likewise a theory necessarily precedes the determination of "facts" and the writing of all history as well as the interpretation of every experience.

EP. vi, xii, xv, 28-31; HA. 646-47; TH. 123, 129; UF. 16; also PLG. 16-20.

Therapeutics. The part of medical science related to the application of drugs and other remedies for curing or healing disease.

Third Estate (Tiers ?tat, French). The third order or section of the French assembly, ?tats-G?n?raux (q.v.). Originally the Third Estate members were elected by the bourgeoisie (q.v.) of the large towns. Later, those of the small towns and rural areas participated in their election. While the Third Estate was spoken of as the representation of the common people, it was elected by taxpaying males aged 25 or over and the proletarians (q.v.) had no voice in the elections. The first two Estates or orders represented the clergy and the nobility. Each Estate met and voted separately. Thus, the Third Estate was unable to end the special privileges of the clergy (compulsory tithes) and the nobility (tax exemptions). The call of the 1789 ?tats-G?n?raux provided the Third Estate with twice as many members as each of the other two Estates. On meeting, the Third Estate insisted the three Estates meet as one body with per capita voting. This was opposed by the King and the leaders of the other two Estates. The Third Estate then organized the Constituent National Assembly with minority members of the other Estates and the French Revolution (see "Revolution, French") ensued abolishing the privileges of the clergy and nobility.

Third Republic in France (1870-1940). The French government which began with the overthrow of the Second Empire (1852-1870), following the defeat of Napoleon III (1808-1873) by Germany, and lasted to the French defeat by Germany in 1940. The First Republic lasted from 1792 to 1804, and the Second from 1848 to 1852.

Thymology. See "Psychology."

Token money. Usually minor or subsidiary coins, but actually any distinguishable material which circulates as a substitute for a small amount of money and whose value as money exceeds its commodity value. Token money is generally needed to facilitate exchanges involving small amounts of money and for that reason, its acceptability is often limited to a maximum sum. Token money differs from fiat money (q.v.) in that it is, within limits, a claim for money proper and the amount outstanding is usually limited to the quantity needed for settling small amounts. Token money is a money-substitute (q.v.) and so far as its monetary value exceeds its commodity value, it is a fiduciary medium (q.v.).

HA. 432-33; M. 50-57,483.

Trade cycle. More popularly, the business cycle. The periodic rhythmical regularity of continuously recurring changes that are assumed to occur in aggregate economic activity. The phases of the trade cycle are loosely: a feverishly booming prosperity which ends in an acute crisis or panic; a period of liquidation, heavy unemployment and adjustment popularly known as a recession or depression; and a revival or recovery period that sets off an upsurge that leads to a new boom.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) originated the idea that recurrent crises are inherent in the unhampered (free) market economy. Mises has shown that "the trade cycle is . . ., on the contrary, the inevitable effect of manipulation of the money market." (The Freeman, September 24, 1951. 1(#26):829). See "Monetary theory of the trade cycle."

HA. 571-86.

Transvaluation. A change or shift in valuations.

Triangular trade. A foreign trade situation in which the flow of trade is balanced among three countries, as A exports to B, B exports to C, and C exports to A. The term triangular trade is often used to symbolize the fact that most foreign trade is more complicated than the simple assumption of an even balance of the exports and imports moving between every two countries trading with each other.

Tropism. The involuntary movement of an organism activated by an external stimulus wherein the organism is either attracted to or repelled from the outside stimulating influence. An example is heliotropism, the movement wherein plants turn toward the sun.

Trotskyists. Followers of Leon Trotsky (1877-1940), a Russian intellectual and communist revolutionist with orthodox Marxian ideas who agreed with Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) in all essential matters except as to minor tactics and who should become the Russian dictator upon the death of Nikolai Lenin (1870-1924). Expelled from the Communist Party (1927) and banished from Russia (1929), Trotsky was murdered in Mexico (1940). See "Stalinists."

S. 561-66.

Truman Administration. The United States Presidential Administration (1945-1953) of Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), a former Senator and Vice President, who became President upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945). President Truman and his subordinates were strong advocates of further intervention, particularly when prior intervention bad created difficulties in employer-employee relations.

Trumpery. Pretentious and misleading; showy but nonsensical; intentionally deceptive.

Truth. The most adequate comprehension of reality that man's mind and reason make accessible to him. Man is fallible and can never become omniscient or absolutely certain that what he considers as certain truth is not error. The criterion of truth is that it works even if nobody is prepared to acknowledge it.

B. 113; HA. 24,68; UF. 94.

Previous Page * Next Page

Table of Contents