“Giant Steps”: John Coltrane

Listen and view the title track from John Coltrane’s fifth musical project, as the animation is showing the musical notes while Coltrane et al are playing the music. Enjoy!

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The Economic Issue of Scarcity

The Central theme of the study of Economics is how humans manage scarce resources, as those resources have alternative uses. Why are those resources scarce?

Law of Marginal Utility

The individual preference ranking, or utility ranking, is central to economic action. Humans make choices and act on those choices in a spatial and temporal fashion. If an economic actor chooses activity A prior to activity B, it is clear that that actor prefers activity A over activity B, in that particular moment…in time. Likewise, if B is the next preferred activity, it is preferred over C and D. These activities are ranked from top preference, in an ordinal fashion, to the lower preference of activity. This process happens naturally, as the human mind processes this information. As time progresses, the preference, or ordinal ranking of preferences will change. This is not a static process, as it is highly dynamic in action.

For example: I may have a list of “to do” items, at the beginning of the day. However, I may have external events that alter my preference listing, or “to do” list. I may experience heavy traffic that causes me to run late for my first appointment. This will alter my priority of things on my “to do” list, as sitting in traffic ranks higher on my “to do” list.

Space and Time

Since we only have 24 hours in one day, things must be done in a priority fashion, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. However, time is a factor in scarcity. In fact: Time is the notion that creates scarcity. It is not resources. Another fact: so is space. Space is the other cause of scarcity.  This is also true since we can only occupy one space at one time.

Time is a notion of our intuition. It is not something that is external to us, rather it is internal to us. This also goes for the notion of space. Space is a concept, along with time, that is vital to how the human mind processes things through the senses. Since humans are not demigods, and we do not possess the trait of omniscience or omnipotence, time and space becomes the restricting factors. It is our minds that create the scarcity.  This does not mean that somehow we can expand our thinking to rid ourselves of scarcity, as this impossible due to the law of negation. This law impacts us spatially and temporally.

Example: Can a person be at the barbershop, but not at the barbershop at the same time? Of course not. Thus, the person must be at one place at one time. Since this concept is true universally, we must now deal with the law of marginal utility. One preference over the next, acting in time and space. This is how it works no exception.  Staying consistent with the barbershop example, either we can go to the barbershop, or we can go to the movies. If the barbershop is chosen, it’s clear, based on that decision at that time, the activity of going to the barbershop is preferred over the activity of going to the movies.


Time and Space are the causes of economic scarcity. As objects appear to us, these objects, or concepts, appear to us in our minds as things in space and we act upon them temporally. Since space and time are concepts of our intuition, we are limited on those things we can act upon during one moment in time and in space.

The Process of Capital Formation

Capital formation is a process that is vital to help facilitate economic growth. With an upward trend in economic growth, new jobs can be created, technology, innovation, and etc. With regards to the concept of Capital, it comprises many items, viz: Money, equipment, Real Estate, machinery, etc etc. With regards to this article, the focus of Capital Formation will be simply cash and its equivalents.

How is Capital Formed?

It all starts with human action. Humans seek to improve their circumstances via voluntary exchange. Voluntary exchange takes place, as the actors in the marketplace continue to produce and trade. In this process, humans will seek to place some “capital” aside. They may place it in a mattress, coffee can, a hole in the backyard, a pillow, or with a financial intermediary. Some examples of a financial intermediary are as follows: A bank, credit union, investment brokerage, and insurance company. Once the actors begin the process of production, some of the “savings” goes into the bank. This is the start of the process on how capital is formed.

The Role of the Financial Intermediary

As actors in the market begin to produce and engage in Voluntary exchange, the money is stored in a financial intermediary. Financial intermediaries, in turn, seek to “grow” their capital base. This base comes from the depositors. The financial intermediary seeks to market loans to others in the market place. These loans, limited to the scope of our analysis, are used to help business owners acquire capital equipment, fund labor, purchase real estate, and other economic inputs. 
The Natural Rate of Interest
The concept of the natural rate of interest is derived from the Law Of Marginal Utility. In short, it is the ratio between present goods and future goods.  With that ratio, and other factors(risk, etc), the financial intermediary charges interest for borrowers.  Another point to add: it is indicative of the temporal preference of things on the individual’s utility ranking. Each of our actions precede the next action. Those actions we select first are preferred over the latter actions. If those actions involve some voluntary exchange, with prices used in the exchange, the interest rate can be calculated…somewhat. In our analysis, the actor simply defers his capital for present consumption and places it into a financial intermediary. For those who use the bank to store capital, the bank provides an interest rate on those monies.  This rate of interest acts as a signal to the actors in the marketplace, as it is tantamount to a price. The rate of interest will fluctuate as the actors are constantly moving towards an over all equilibrium. In an un hampered market, all the actors in this scenario, seek to balance present needs vs future needs. 


With the process of capital formation, it begins with productivity. The actors involved in the labor market place aside some of their earnings, as they prefer to use that portion for future consumption. In turn, financial intermediaries loan out monies from this capital base to business owners, individuals and the like to help them acquire assets.