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Walter Block on Money as a Sui Generis Good

Sui Generis”

In 1912, in The Theory of Money and Credit [TMC], Ludwig von Mises argued that money is neither a producer good nor a consumer good, but a special type of good, which, following Karl Knies, he called media of exchange goods.1 Nowadays, some Austrians refer to money as a sui generis good (sui generis meaning “of its own kind”), to highlight its unique character, although Mises apparently never himself used this terminology. For example, in a recent article touching on this topic, Thorsten Polleit writes:

Money is no consumption good and no production good. It is the exchange good, a good sui generis. I should also note that money is not a claim on goods, and in a free market, no one is obliged to give you something for your money.2

I have also long claimed that Mises and Rothbard viewed money as a sui generis good.3 But Mises and Rothbard never used the term. It appears to have first been introduced, in this context, in a 2005 paper by William Barnett III and Walter Block (hereinafter, “BB”), “Money: Capital Good, Consumers’ Good, or (Media of) Exchange Good?4 They use the term “sui generus” (a misspelling of sui generis), but only once, in the Abstract, which reads:

Is money a producers’ good or a capital good, or is it sui generus, as Mises, Rothbard, and other Austrians have maintained? We argue that all action is either consumption or production, and that exchange is but a form of production. Consequently, all goods are either consumers’ goods or producers’ goods; there is no third possibility. And that among these two money is a producers’ good, not a consumer good.5

Of course, the name or label applied is unimportant. The substantive issue is what matters. If Mises is right that money is a unique medium of exchange good and neither a producers’ nor consumers’ good, then we can use the term sui generis to describe it. So the debate is over whether Mises et al. are right, or whether BB are right.

Mises on Money’s Unique Status

I agree with Mises. His reasoning, as quoted by BB, makes perfect sense to me. As Mises writes:

It is usual to divide economic goods into the two classes of those which satisfy human needs directly and those which only satisfy them indirectly; i.e., Consumption Goods, or goods of the first order, and Production Goods, or goods of higher orders. The attempt to include money in either of these groups meets with insuperable difficulties. It is unnecessary to demonstrate that money is not a consumption good. It seems equally incorrect to call it a production good.

Of course, if we regard the two-fold division of economic goods as exhaustive we shall have to rest content with putting money in one group or the other. This has been the position of most economists; and since it has seemed altogether impossible to call money a consumption good, there has been no alternative but to call it a production good.

This apparently arbitrary procedure has usually been given only a very cursory vindication. …

Knies made room for money in the classification of goods by replacing the two-fold division into production goods and consumption goods by a three-fold division into means of production, objects of consumption, and media of exchange. His arguments on this point, which are unfortunately scanty, have hardly attracted any serious attention and have been often misunderstood. …

It is true that the majority of economists reckon money among production goods. Nevertheless, arguments from authority are invalid; the proof of a theory is in its reasoning, not in its sponsorship; and with all due respect for the masters, it must be said that they have not justified their position very thoroughly in this matter. This is most remarkable in Böhm-Bawerk. As has been said, Knies recommends the substitution of a three-fold classification of economic goods into objects of consumption, means of production, and media of exchange, for the customary two-fold division into consumption goods and production goods. …

This [the preceding argument] is a complete justification of the suggestion put forward by Knies that economic goods should be divided into means of production, objects of consumption, and media of exchange; for, after all, the primary object of economic terminology is to facilitate investigation into the theory of value.6

The Optimal Supply of Money

My own view is that the primary difference between what I would call normal goods—producers and consumers goods—is that an increase in their supply increases wealth or human welfare, while an increase in the supply of money does not. This is also part of Mises’s reasoning:

What prevents us nevertheless from reckoning money among these ‘distribution goods’ and so among production goods (and incidentally the same objection applies to its inclusion among consumption goods) is the following consideration. The loss of a consumption good or production good results in a loss of human satisfaction; it makes mankind poorer. The gain of such a good results in an improvement of the human economic position; it makes mankind richer. The same cannot be said of the loss or gain of money. Both changes in the available quantity of production goods or consumption goods and changes in the available quantity of money involve changes in values; but whereas the changes in the value of the production goods and consumption goods do not mitigate the loss or reduce the gain of satisfaction resulting from the changes in their quantity, the changes in the value of money are accommodated in such a way to the demand for it that, despite increases or decreases in its quantity, the economic position of mankind remains the same. An increase in the quantity of money can no more increase the welfare of the members of a community, than a diminution of it can decrease their welfare.7

Rothbard views this matter similarly. As he writes:

We are now on the threshold of a great economic law, a truth that can hardly be overemphasized, considering the harm its neglect has caused throughout history. An increase in the supply of a producers’ good increases, ceteris paribus, the supply of a consumers’ good. An increase in the supply of a consumers’ good (when there has been no decrease in the supply of another good) is demonstrably a clear social benefit; for someone’s “real income” has increased and no one’s has decreased.

Money, on the contrary, is solely useful for exchange purposes. Money, per se, cannot be consumed and cannot be used directly as a producers’ good in the productive process. Money per se is therefore unproductive; it is dead stock and produces nothing. Land or capital is always in the form of some specific good, some specific productive instrument. Money always remains in someone’s cash balance.8

Since BB disagree with Mises’s assertion that “An increase in the quantity of money can no more increase the welfare of the members of a community, than a diminution of it can decrease their welfare”—as made clear in their papers on the optimum quantity of money, another thing they disagree with Mises et al. about—9 it is no wonder they resist treating money as a sui generis good and prefer to treat it as a producers’ good, in which case an increase in its supply increases wealth or human welfare just as does an increase in other producers’ goods. In other words, rejecting Mises’s and Knies’s sui generis classification of money and treating it like a production good meshes with BB’s view that an increase in the supply money (as long as this is result of voluntary, free market interactions) increases human welfare. But this does not mean Mises is wrong.

Rights Violations vs. Increasing Wealth

Now one can readily agree with BB that increasing the supply of money on a free market does not violate anyone’s rights. As they write:

as an economist qua economist, all that can be said is that in a commodity money economy some individuals voluntarily add to the stock of money; e.g., by causing newly mined gold to be minted into coins. It is true that this reduces the value of the existing stock of money below what it otherwise would be, but that can no more be said to violate the rights of someone whose money holdings are so decreased in value than can the production of additional units of any other good that reduces the value of preexisting units of that good. That is, actions that are within the rights of the individuals cannot be said to improperly harm others because they cause a decline in value of the others’ possessions, regardless of whether the goods in question are money or something else. [p. 185]

The fact that inflating the money supply does not violate rights, an ethical-legal and normative matter, does not imply that in economic terms the creation of additional money increases wealth. This is because money is not wealth. Real or normal goods are wealth precisely because the production of an additional unit of a given good increases wealth and thus human welfare, even if, because of the law of marginal utility, each additional unit is worth less than the preceding ones. We must always keep in mind that economics is a wertfrei, or value-free, descriptive science. Talk about violating rights is the province of law and ethics. We must be careful not to intermix the two.10

Ultimately, I find Mises’s and Rothbard’s view of money here to be sound and BB’s critique to be unpersuasive. First, as noted, there is a careless intermixture of normative (prescriptive) and economic (descriptive) categories and reasoning; this can only lead to confusion. It is not clear why it is relevant that inflating the money supply doesn’t have to violate rights. How this is supposed to show that money is not a unique type of good is not clear to me.


Second, there are no clear definitions given of “goods” or even “claims” (another legal-normative concept imported into economics), which is essential for such an analysis, especially since BB build some of their arguments on the notion of “claims” and their entire discussion about what kind of “good” money is. To discuss this we need to know what goods are.

The term “goods,” I find, is rarely adequately defined, and is not always used consistently by Austrians. As I discuss in a previous article,11 Menger’s 1871 book, Principles of Economics,12 begins with the definition of a good that excludes the concern over scarcity. Something is a good, in Menger’s view, when it is causally capable of satisfying a human need. This is a very broad definition. Austrians and other economists have been inconsistent on how they identify goods: whether it includes immaterial goods as well as material resources (and whether it includes legal “things” like “claims”); whether it includes only economic or also non-economic goods; whether it is broad enough to encompass things like “love” and relationships; whether it is synonymous with “means” or a subset thereof, and whether it is synonymous with “wealth” or just some overlapping set.

My view is that for purposes of legal and rights theory, only conflictable things are the subject of property rights; economic analysis can include more vague or ephemeral aspects of human life and action, such as time, love, general conditions of human action, etc., as long as it keeps the relevant limitations and distinctions in mind. If it wants to include things beyond material consumer goods or capital goods that produce consumer goods, such as time, relationships, or legal rights, it needs to be careful and very clear. This is a field that is, I think, ripe for further research and work by those with sufficient background in both Austrian economic and legal theory.13

In any case, Hoppe summarizes Menger’s four requirements for objects to become goods:

The first is the existence of a human need. The second requirement is such properties as render the thing capable of being brought into a causal connection with a satisfaction of this need. That is, this object must be capable, through our performing certain manipulations with it, to cause certain needs to be satisfied or at least relieved. The third condition is that there must be human knowledge about this connection, which explains, of course, why it is important for people to learn to distinguish between goods and bads. Thus, we have human knowledge about the object, our ability to control it, and the causal power of this object to lead to certain types of satisfactory results. And the fourth factor is, as I already indicated, that we must have command of the thing sufficient to direct it to the satisfaction of the need.14

Thus, for Menger, for something to be a good, there must be human knowledge of this cause-and-effect connection, along with command over the thing so that the relationship between cause and effect can be realized. Among these goods he includes goodwill, family connections, friendship, love, religious and scientific fellowships—all of which fall into the class of things that can be replicated without displacement. Only later in the opening chapter, when discussing the issue of property, does Menger introduce the notion of scarcity and hence the need for economizing.

In the end, in most cases, the term “goods” tends to be used by Austrians more or less as a synonym for the scarce means of action. This is explicit in Rothbard. He writes:

The means to satisfy man’s wants are called goods. These goods are all the objects of economizing action. Such goods may all be classified in either of two categories: (a) they are immediately and directly serviceable in the satisfaction of the actor’s wants, or (b) they may be transformable into directly serviceable goods only at some point in the future—i.e., are indirectly serviceable means. The former are called consumption goods or consumers’ goods or goods of the first order. The latter are called producers’ goods or factors of production or goods of higher order.15

This equivalence between means and goods is also implicit in Mises’s writings, as well. As he writes:

Economic goods which in themselves are fitted to satisfy human wants directly and whose serviceableness does not depend on the cooperation of other economic goods, are called consumers’ goods or goods of the first order. Means which can satisfy wants only indirectly when complemented by cooperation of other goods are called producers’ goods or factors of production or goods of a remoter or higher order.16

Types of Goods

Now if we identify a class of things relevant to human life that we call goods, we can identify different types of goods. For example, economists have found it useful to distinguish consumers’ from producers’ goods, as a way of explaining complex economic interactions and the process of production. They also distinguish between present and future goods. Other classifications have been used, such as public vs. private, special types of goods, such as Giffen Goods, Veblen goods, club goods, and so on. If we are going to consider money a good, because of this broad definition, inevitably the question as to how to classify it will emerge.

The Consumer vs. Producer Goods Binary

Now Mises, following Knies, argues that the consumer and producer goods classification is not necessarily exhaustive. As he writes:

if we regard the two-fold division of economic goods as exhaustive we shall have to rest content with putting money in one group or the other. This has been the position of most economists; and since it has seemed altogether impossible to call money a consumption good, there has been no alternative but to call it a production good.17

But, says Mises, this is simply an “arbitrary procedure” that “has usually been given only a very cursory vindication.” There is simply no reason there could not be other classifications. BB argue that because money aids someone in producing consumer goods, and is not itself a consumer good, it is a producers’ good. Yet by this reasoning one could call one’s spouse’s loyalty or love or support a producers’ good, since it aids him in producing consumer goods.18 If one is to stretch the concept of “producers’ good” so much that it can include novel types of things, then one cannot then turn around and claim that every feature is shared by member of the new, expanded class—for example, “well if money ‘is’ a producers’ good, then increasing more of it must increase welfare, just as it does for other producers’ goods.” This would be type of equivocation, or semantic legerdemain.

There is no reason to think our classification schemes are fixed or exhaustive. Hans-Hermann Hoppe eviscerates the conventional view that there is a clear distinction between public and private goods, and that the state is needed to produce public goods. As he writes in A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism:

A clear-cut dichotomy between private and public goods does not exist, and this is essentially why there can be so many disagreements on how to classify given goods. All goods are more or less private or public and can—and constantly do—change with respect to their degree of privateness/publicness with people’s changing values and evaluations, and with changes in the composition of the population. They never fall, once and for all, into either one or the other category. In order to recognize this, one must only recall what makes something a good. For something to be a good it must be realized and treated as scarce by someone. Something is not a good-as-such, that is to say, but goods are goods only in the eyes of the beholder. Nothing is a good without at least one person subjectively evaluating it as such. But then, since goods are never goods—as-such—since no physico-chemical analysis can identify something as an economic good—there is clearly no fixed, objective criterion for classifying goods as either private or public. They can never be private or public goods as such. Their private or public character depends on how few or how many people consider them to be goods, with the degree to which they are private or public changing as these evaluations change, and ranging from one to infinity. … [I]f this is so, no decision whatsoever can be based on the classification of goods as private or public.19 

This reasoning also would apply to other distinctions between types of goods, such as the distinction between consumer and production goods, which is also based on the subjective appraisal of individual market actors (food, vehicles, clothes, and so on could be viewed subjectively as consumption goods, or as production/intermediate goods, depending on the use put to them by the actor). It is also why Hoppe (and Mises) recognizes that not all goods are necessarily consumption or producer/capital goods, viz., money, which is sui generis since it is neither a capital nor consumer good.

Unique Characteristics of Money

In fact money, if we can even call it a good, has so many unique features not shared by any other goods that it would be bizarre not to give it its own category: media of exchange goods. For example, in a free market, there would tend to be one money economy-wide, even world-wide. Notes Hans-Hermann Hoppe:

since a more easily and widely resalable good is preferable to a less easily and widely resalable good as a medium of exchange, “there would be,” as Mises writes,

an inevitable tendency for the less marketable of a series of goods used as media of exchange to be one by one rejected until at last only a single commodity remained, which was universally employed as a medium of exchange; in a word, money.20

This cannot be said of normal goods (producer and consumer goods). In fact, the entire point of human production, and of a free market economy with trade and an extensive division of labor, is to produce more goods and more types of goods. This difference alone would make money a unique type of good.

Second, as already noted, producing more normal goods increases wealth but increasing money does not. Increasing the supply of money causes price inflation, i.e. the redistribution of wealth; and might even set in motion a destructive business cycle by stimulating an artificial boom; not to mention possible Cantillon effects. Even if these latter two effects do not result from free market inflation, the first effect cannot be denied. Even if this redistribution of wealth does not violate rights, there is no reason to assume that wealth is generated. (I also disagree with BB’s contention, in another paper, that increasing the quantity of money can increase social wealth because it makes “additional transactions” possible.)21

And third, as Hoppe points out, faced with the

challenge of unpredictable contingencies, man can come to value goods on account of their degree of marketability (rather than their use-value for him as consumer or producer goods). … That is, a demand for media of exchange can arise, i.e., a demand for goods valued on account of their marketability or re-salability.

… as the most easily and widely salable good, money is at the same time the most universally present—instantly serviceable—good (which is why the interest rate, i.e., the discount rate of future goods against present goods, is expressed in terms of money) and, as such, the good uniquely suited to alleviate presently felt uneasiness about uncertainty.

Because money can be employed for the instant satisfaction of the widest range of possible needs, it provides its owner with the best humanly possible protection against uncertainty.

… Only present, instantly serviceable goods can protect against unpredictable contingencies (uncertainty). … Only money, on account of its instant and unspecific wide-ranging salability, can protect him against uncertainty.”22 

Thus we see again that money has so many unique qualities and features not shared by any other goods that it simply must be classified as sui generis, if only as a caution to avoid expecting it to behave in the market like other goods do (for example, unlike normal goods, increasing its supply does not increase wealth!).

Money: Present or Future Good?

Notice how Hoppe keys in on money’s status as a (very unique form of) present good in arguing how unique it is. Perhaps sensing the implications of money’s being recognized as a present good, BB argue that it is in fact a future good. I find this very odd since previously Block co-authored a paper with Hoppe and Guido Hülsmann that argued that money is a present good. To wit, BB here claim: “We conclude that money is not a present good. Therefore, it must be a future good …” Yet in a the previous paper, Block et al. wrote: “Yet money is demonstrably not a future good.”23 I may be missing something or am slow, but this seems like a contradiction to me. Hoppe’s argument that money is a present good, and a unique present good, at that, seems sound to me.

BB’s argument that money is a future good is then used to argue that it must be a producer good. First, BB quote Rothbard as saying that

A future good may be a claim on future consumers’ goods or it may be a capital good, which will be transformed into a consumers’ good in the future.24

Here, they seek to establish that future good can only be either (a) claims, or (b) capital (producer) goods. This is another reason it is important to define what a “claim” is. BB next argue that because money is a future good, and, also that

it is no more “a claim on future consumers’ goods” than it is a claim on present or future capital goods. The logical conclusion, based on Rothbard, is that it is a capital good. That is, it is a good and there are only consumers’ goods and capital goods.

Get that? BB argue money is a future good. Then, they cite Rothbard as some kind of authority to prove that future goods can only be claims or capital goods. And since money is a future good, but is not a claim, then the only choice remaining is that it is a capital good. But consider how flawed and pointless this is. First, it is not true that money is a future good; instead, Hoppe, Hülsmann and Block are correct that it is a present good.25 Second, Rothbard does not even claim, much less prove, that future goods can only consist of his two options, i.e., that it is exhaustive. And finally, so what if BB prove by this semantical jiu-jitsu that money “is” a capital good? So what? This still doesn’t prove that it doesn’t have unique features that other “capital goods” don’t have, and it still doesn’t prove that money is wealth or that increasing its supply increases wealth.

And ironically, after stating that money is not a claim on either future or present goods, in note 16, BB say the opposite:

Money is not the only good that is a claim to other goods. Properly understood any good is a claim against other goods …

Color me confused and, yet again, this is why a definition of claim is essential. But BB were correct earlier to say money is not a claim, as is Polleit, quoted above, who pointed out: “I should also note that money is not a claim on goods, and in a free market, no one is obliged to give you something for your money.” Claim is apparently meant to be a legal term here imported into this economic analysis—26 see the reference to stocks and bonds as claims—but goods, even if legally owned, are simply scarce resources or means that the owner or possessor can use for consumption or production. Any legal rights are simply the right to exclude others from using the resource (good).27 Owning a resource or good in no wise gives the owner a legal claim on others’ goods. Now it occurs to me that it is possible that BB mean “claim” in some economic sense instead of a legal sense, but again, this would require careful definition and explanation.

For the foregoing reasons, I find BB’s argument that money is not a sui generis good to be incorrect. But I thank them for introducing the term, even if they think it points to a null set.

[Substack version]

  1. Mises, TMC, chap. V, § 1. []
  2. Thorsten Polleit, “Why Governments Hate Currency Competition,” Mises Wire (July 1, 2020). []
  3. See, e.g., Kinsella, “On Coinbase, Bitcoin, Fractional-Reserve Banking, and Irregular Deposits” and “Comments on Block and Barnett on the Optimum Quantity of Money.” []
  4. William Barnett III & Walter Block, “Money: Capital Good, Consumers’ Good, or (Media of) Exchange Good?“, Rev. Austrian Econ. 8, no. 2 (2005): 179–94. []
  5. Note: Block confirms to me in private correspondence that instead of “Is money a producers’ good or a capital good, or is it sui generus…” BB meant instead to write “Is money a producers’ good or a consumers’ good, or is it sui generus…” N.b.: For years I mistakenly thought Mises and Rothbard had referred to money as a sui generis good. I suspect I read BB’s paper long ago and, since it discusses and criticizes the view of Mises et al. on this view of how to classify money, and I must have assumed that Mises himself had used this term as well. I was also used this phrase being used in the law, to describe distinct types of rights that do not quite fit into existing classification schemes, such as intellectual property rights like boathull designs, database rights, semiconductor mask work protection, supplementary protection certificates for pharmaceutical products (after expiry of a patent protecting them), and even NSA “trademark”-type rights.)  On the latter, see Kinsella, “Yet another type of IP: NSA ‘Trademark’ Rights,” C4SIF Blog (Oct. 2, 2013); see also Jane C. Ginsburg, “Copyright, Common Law, and Sui Generis Protection of Databases in the United States and Abroad,” U. Cin. L. Rev. 66, no. 1 (Fall 1997): 151–76; Philip J. Cardinale, “Sui Generis Database Protection: Second Thoughts in the European Union and What it Means for the United States,” Chi.-Kent J. Intell. Prop. 6, no. 2 (2007): 157–76; Daniel J. Gervais, “The Protection of Databases,” Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 82, no. 3 (June 2007): 1109–68. []
  6. Mises, TMC, chap. V, § 1. []
  7. Ibid. []
  8. Rothbard, Man, Economy and State, with Power and Market, chap. 11, § 4. []
  9. See, e.g., BB’s papers “On the Optimum Quantity of Money,” Q. J. Austrian Econ. 7, no. 1 (2004): 39–52 and “The Optimum Quantity of Money, Once Again,” Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 7, no. 1 (March 2012): 9–24, and my response at “Comments on Block and Barnett on the Optimum Quantity of Money.” []
  10. For one attempt to carefully analyze how economics imports legal concepts as part of its analysis, see Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, “Whether Legal Rights and Relationships Are Economic Goods”, in Shorter Classics (Libertarian Press Grove City, 1962).  []
  11. See Kinsella, “Goods, Scarce and Nonscarce,” in Legal Foundations of a Free Society (Papinian Press, forthcoming 2023). The following text is drawn from comments in that piece. []
  12. Carl Menger, Principles of Economics (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute 2007 [1871]). []
  13. See the important discussion of the concept and category of goods and economic goods, in Menger, Principles of Economics, Appendix A: Goods and “Relationships” and Appendix B: Wealth, and in Böhm-Bawerk, “Whether Legal Rights and Relationships Are Economic Goods,” in particular: the Introduction, chap. I, “Historical and Doctrinal Comments on the Goods Concept and on Categories of Goods,” and chap. VI, “An Analysis of ‘Relationships’ as ‘Goods.'”  For my discussion of the relevance of the concept of conflictability, see Kinsella, “Against Intellectual Property After Twenty Years: Looking Back and Looking Forward,” in Legal Foundations of a Free Society, Part III and idem, “On Conflictability and Conflictable Resources,” StephanKinsella.com (Jan. 31, 2022).  []
  14. Hoppe, Economy, Society, and History (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2021), p. 9; see also Menger, Principles of Economics, chap. I, §1, p. 52 et pass. The second requirement corresponds to the means being causally efficacious; the third to the actor’s knowledge of causal laws; and the fourth to the availability of the means.   []
  15. Rothbard, Man, Economy and State, with Power and Market, chap. 1, § 3 (citations omitted). []
  16. Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Scholar’s ed. (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 1998), chap. IV, § 1, p. 93. I also discuss related issues in Kinsella, “Goods, Scarce and Nonscarce.”  []
  17. Mises, TMC, chap. V, § 1. []
  18. Böhm-Bawerk actually addresses a similar point in “Whether Legal Rights and Relationships Are Economic Goods,” the section “Love And Friendship As Economic Goods.” []
  19. See also Hoppe, “Fallacies of the Public Goods Theory and the Production of Security,” in The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute 2006 [1993]); also Kinsella, “Public Goods and Intellectual Property.” []
  20. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “The Yield from Money Held,” in The Great Fiction: Property, Economy, Society, and the Politics of Decline (Second Expanded Edition, Mises Institute, 2021). []
  21. See Kinsella, “Comments on Block and Barnett on the Optimum Quantity of Money.” []
  22. Hoppe, “The Yield from Money Held”; bold emphasis added. []
  23. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, with Jörg Guido Hülsmann & Walter Block, “Against Fiduciary Media,” Q. J. Austrian Econ. 1 no. 1 (Spring 1998): 19–50, also in Hoppe, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property. []
  24. Rothbard, Man, Economy and State, with Power and Market, chap. 1, § 9. []
  25. To be clear: this assumes money is itself a good, and that if so, it must be either a present or future good. Given this choice, Hoppe’s argument makes more sense. Yet the more fundamental issue, it seems to me, is not whether a good itself “is” a “present” or future good. Rather, the concepts of present and future are more directly relevant in understanding human action: that is, all action is the employment of means (“goods”) in the present, but aimed at the attainment of an end in the future (sometimes the end is a good, sometimes just a change in the state of affairs). Classifying goods or means as present or future must be derivative of this inquiry and related back to the categories and structure of human action.  []
  26. Again, see Böhm-Bawerk, “Whether Legal Rights and Relationships Are Economic Goods.” []
  27. I discuss this further in Kinsella, “What Libertarianism Is,” in Legal Foundations of a Free Society, Appendix I: “Property”—Concept and Terminology. []
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