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Galambos and Other Nuts

From Mises Blog, 2006:

[Archived Mises blog comments]

Galambos and Other Nuts

August 8, 2006 by Stephan Kinsella

It’s predictable. Just like if you criticize a scientologist you are going to get a ton of replies from kooks, so if you criticize Galambos (see links below). So let me be clear: from what I have seen Galambos was some minor cult California hippie figure, who was smart but who not only adopted a kind of bizarre, flaky scientism, but a crankish and absurd view of intellectual property.

(I must say I view as similarly crankish Georgists. And if someone uses the word “allodial,” my crankdar also goes off. See more on libertarian cranks and nutjobs–the income tax protestors/Irwin Schiff nuts, common law court types, militia nuts, etc.)

Am I wrong here? Are there serious thinkers–libertarians, Austrians–who actually view Galambos as more than some kooky, marginal figure, and have profited from his thought?Some Galambos mentions:

[Archived Mises blog comments]

Comments (39)

  • adam knott
  • Why not post a brief summary of his arguments, and why they are wrong, as opposed to the immediate name calling?
  • Published: August 8, 2006 1:19 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • It’s not “immediate”; I’ve seen this for years. And I have several links to more info. I address it, as I mention, in AGainst Intellectual PRoperty:

    It is difficult to find published discussions of Galambos’s idea, apparently because his own theories bizarrely restrict the ability of his supporters to disseminate them. See, e.g., Jerome Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand (San Francisco: Cobden Press, 1971), pp. 69–71. Scattered references to and discussions of Galambos’s theories may be found, however, in David Friedman, “In Defense of Private Orderings: Comments on Julie Cohen’s ‘Copyright and the Jurisprudence of Self-Help’,�? Berkeley Technology Law Journal 13, no. 3 (Fall 1998), n. 52; and in Stephen Foerster, “The Basics of Economic Government,�? http://www.economic.net/articles/ar0001.html”

     

    The most radical of all IP proponents is Andrew Joseph Galambos, whose ideas, to the extent that I understand them, border on the absurd.49 Galambos believed that man has property rights in his own life (primordial property) and in all “non-procreative derivatives of his life.�?50 Since the “first derivatives�? of a man’s life are his thoughts and ideas, thoughts and ideas are “primary property.�? Since action is based on primary property (ideas), actions are owned as well; this is referred to as “liberty.�? Secondary derivatives, such as land, televisions, and other tangible goods, are produced by ideas and action. Thus, property rights in tangible items are relegated to lowly secondary status, as compared with the “primary�? status of property rights in ideas. (Even Rand once elevated patents over mere property rights in tangible goods, in her bizarre notion that “patents are the heart and core of property rights.�?51

    Galambos reportedly took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths, claiming a property right in his own ideas and requiring his students not to repeat them;52 dropping a nickel in a fund box every time he used the word “liberty,�? as a royalty to the descendants of Thomas Paine, the alleged “inventor�? of the word “liberty�?; and changing his original name from Joseph Andrew Galambos (Jr., presumably) to Andrew Joseph Galambos, to avoid infringing his identically-named father’s rights to the name.53

    49 See Galambos, The Theory of Volition, vol. 1. Evan R. Soulé, Jr., “What Is Volitional Science?�? http://www.tuspco.com/html/what_is_v-50_.html. I have read only sketchy accounts of Galambos’s theories. I also met a real, live Galambosian once, much to my surprise (I had supposed that they were fictional creations of Tuccille [It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand, pp. 69–71]), at a Mises Institute conference a few years ago. My criticism of Galambos’s ideas in what follows only applies to the extent that I am properly describing his views.

    53Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand, p. 70. Of course, I suppose that any Galambosian other than Galambos himself, having the same type of dilemma, would be unable to change his name as a solution to the problem, because this solution was Galambos’s inalienable, “absolute�? idea.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 1:33 PM

  • Angry Person
  • LOL!!!!! So, first Stephan reaches a new low by impersonating (ha, ha) me by posting under the name “Person”, then strongly condemns this, saying that he’s warned the poster, then comes back to post in this thread, but OOPS, he forgot to switch back to his regular name after impersonating me because he used the ever convenient “Remember Me” feature of the blog! Now, he’s made a post that is identifiably his, but with the handle Person, showing that he was the one he just condemned and “warned” by email!!!

    This is too rich.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 1:39 PM

  • Dan Colema
  • Absurd. (Forget about bordering; it’s simply absurd). Why not drop $20 in the box for every use of the word “Liberty” and give it to the descendents of the Sumerians, who used cuneiform to inscribe the first instance of the word?

    And why only a nickel to Paine’s descendents? You would think that, being on a moral high horse, he wouldn’t be so stingy.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 1:41 PM

  • Tim Swanson
  • How can one objectively define these arbitrary royalty amounts? Why only 5 cents? Wasn’t every word invented by someone? If so, how much should each word be worth? How much is this sentence worth? Is there a time frame in which IPed words are allowed to become “common,�? “generic,�? and end up in the public domain?

    From a utility perspective, merely saying a purportedly IPed word or idea does in no form or fashion degrade its existence or ability to function. It does not lose any attribute. Whereas, physical property has the ability to erode and break down with time – it can depreciate. So what is the economic justification for extracting “rents�? on an ever-abundant, non-scarce entity?

    How do you meter the unmeterable?

  • Published: August 8, 2006 2:44 PM

  • Paul Edwards
  • I like this one the best,

    “Galambos reportedly took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths, claiming a property right in his own ideas and requiring his students not to repeat them�?

    Ha Ha! That’s perfect. For some philosophies, it is a great relief to suppose that its adherents have the character and courage of their convictions which requires them to keep their wacky little ideas to themselves.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 3:08 PM

  • nskinsella
  • Wikipedia (presumably Galambos would have hated the open-source nature of Wikipedia) says Galambos “spread his message about absolute property rights through a series of paid lectures, notable for requiring attendees to sign a non-disclosure agreement, releasable only after publication of his theory, which he called “volitional science”.” Who knows if it’s right.
  • Published: August 8, 2006 3:13 PM

  • Tim Swanson
  • “Galambos reportedly took his own ideas to ridiculous lengths, claiming a property right in his own ideas and requiring his students not to repeat them�?

    Interestingly enough, many software programmers are essentially faced with the same quagmire.For instance, if you worked on key portions of proprietary software, you may have a hard time finding a job at a competing firm, due to the fact that previous knowledge of how the software runs, might influence the way you code and it would then become a legal liability.

    Hence this is one of the reasons why Compaq used engineers that had not worked on BIOS code to create a reverse-engineered workaround using a “black box.”

    And this is also seen in the SCO vs IBM debate regarding UNIX: who owns “derivative” works.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 3:37 PM

  • sic itur ad astra
  • I took Dr. Galambos’ classes from 1974 – 1978, taking every live course he offered. During the last two years, I served in a voluntary capacity as his assistant at the podium, so I knew him well.

    He combined at least three rare characteristics: a photographic memory, the intellectual integrity of a scientist and a genius level intellect. Nevertheless, he was unbelievably difficult to work for and he repelled people who disagreed with him like water off a duck’s back.

    Those who would quibble with his ideas today only need to read the one book that his estate has allowed to be published: Sic Itur Ad Astra (This is the way to the stars).

    As difficult as it was to work for him, I relished that time and wish I had taken more notes. He was brilliant. Those who criticize parts of his Theory of Volition do so regularly by taking things out of context.

    To the question of, “How can human beings live together peacefully and explore the universe?, he delivered a societal system to accomplish it. What a great man.

    The crime being committed today is by the attorney of his estate whom Dr. Galambos trusted, but has subsequently blocked publishing any of the hundreds of audio tapes I recorded for him of every lecture he delivered.

    Like Nicola Tesla, he worried to his grave that others would steal his ideas and profit from them without his permission. And like Tesla, because we do not have access to his ideas today, our civilization is less well off.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 5:01 PM

  • sic itur ad astra
  • Tim,

    The first question you must ask is, “Are ideas property?” If you answer “Yes” then a market exists to protect them. Galambos created a technology to handle this.

    The answer to your questions about paying royalties for ideas can be reduced to simply this: Is the idea you received valuable to you? If it is and you offer a royalty, you can have more. If the owner declines your offer, you give up access to more. If Galambos’ estate were operating according to his principles, certain people would have access to his ideas. To my knowledge, they are locked up.

    The WWW is a technology that Dr. Galambos did not predict, but which would have handled the protection of primary property (ideas) perfectly.

    Have you ever wondered how many great ideas died in the brains of innovators because they became so frustrated by shysters who sneered, “Ideas are a dime a dozen…”

  • Published: August 8, 2006 5:20 PM

  • Vince Daliessio
  • Sic Itur said Re: Galambos;

    “Like Nicola Tesla, he worried to his grave that others would steal his ideas and profit from them without his permission. And like Tesla, because we do not have access to his ideas today, our civilization is less well off.”

    Having had a basic science education, I can usually read books that are somewhat technical in nature, even if they deal with a discipline with which I am unfamiliar.

    So I picked up a book on Tesla’s work in the bargain bin at my local megabooks, and I cracked it open, and WOW – it’s unreadable! The man was a genius in his own way, no doubt, but his ability to explicate his ideas for a moderately technical audience approached zero.

    This, I fear, is often the case with pure scientists. The ability to present ideas with clarity to a broad audience is often the deciding factor in whether ideas succeed.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 5:31 PM

  • quincunx
  • Galambos was a niche market advocate. His ideas could never be popular by his own methodology.

    “Is the idea you received valuable to you? If it is and you offer a royalty, you can have more. If the owner declines your offer, you give up access to more. ”

    That’s fine and all except the majority of humans are social creatures who dispense their ideas ad naseaum at no cost. Galambos was a fringe. He himself no doubt could not really ASSESS all the information that he borrowed.

    In fact I don’t see how when can even communicate (orally or in writing/typing) if one to apply the Galambos doctrine to the extreme.

    “The man was a genius in his own way, no doubt, but his ability to explicate his ideas for a moderately technical audience approached zero.”

    If I recall, he never really finished anything he started. He preferred the act of thinking to the act of seeing anything through to the end.

    Not deride his talents, but he needed people to support him, because he had no self discipline.

    IIRC, he died in extreme poverty.

    In fact he was awfully like Marx, except he didn’t create an ideology that blamed the system.

  • Published: August 8, 2006 7:22 PM

  • Brett Celinski
  • IP is just nationalization of language.

    Oh, we already have that.

  • Published: August 9, 2006 8:54 PM

  • Brian Gladish
  • Mr. Kinsella,

    A number of points:

    • I offer you some time next year at ASC 2007 (assuming we are both alive, WWIII hasn’t come to pass, etc.) to discuss Galambos’s ideas and what he did and did not do. Mr. Tuccille’s book was, if memory serves me, wrong on almost all counts (your footnotes in “Against Intellectual Property” are my source), and I assume you are interested in the truth.
    • I find it surprising that in a group of “cranks” (as the mainstream sees anarcho-capitalists, libertarians of any ilk and misesian liberals) you wish to invest so much effort discrediting someone that you seem to think is already completely discredited.
    • Galambos never advocated a state- or legally-imposed system of intellectual property protection (copyright or patent). He advocated a market system and was quite clear that he viewed the current state-sanctioned system with disdain. You have indicated to me privately that you would not argue against such a market-based system (e-mail of 4/10/2005).
    • Rothbard, in The Ethics of Liberty (pages 123-124) advocates contractual copyright and ownership of copyrighted material in perpetuity.
    • You might explain why it is good scholarship to try to prove that Adam Smith acquired all of his correct ideas from Cantillon and others, while a mention of the Tannehills’ connection (direct or indirect) with Galambos is labelled as “dark hinting that the Tannehills plagiarized Galambos.”

    I have learned from LeFevre, Rothbard, Karl Hess, Galambos, von Mises, Hayek and others. All of them had something to say that was worth hearing and each appeared to many or most of their contemporaries as “cranks” or “extremists.”

  • Published: August 11, 2006 12:34 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Thanks Brian! We’ll see, about your offer re ASC 2007. These posts should not be “about me”. 🙂

    Rothbard was quite explicit about the pedigree of Smith’s ideas. What I have seen so far re Tannehills/Galambos are vague mutterings. Out with it, I say! Or let’s drop it, and move on.

    Anyway–so, is it your view that G was not a crank? If so, is it because there *are* no cranks; or, there are cranks, but G was just not one of them? If I could clarify your position, it would maybe save me a plane ticket.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 1:07 AM

  • Brian Gladish
  • Mr. Swanson,

    There is no way to objectively define royalty amounts, just as there is no way to objectively define the price of a car – it’s all about subjectivity. Market forces, given the chance, will determine it.

    If good ideas are not scarce, what idea have you had which produced as much value as the idea of the pin? I certainly can claim no such idea myself.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 10:20 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Brian, ideas–whether good or not–are not rivalrous. That is what we mean by scarce.

    BTW the definition of crank is of use here: “An eccentric person, especially one who is unduly zealous.”

    Or, “a whimsically eccentric person [syn: crackpot, nut, nut case, nutcase, fruitcake, screwball]”.

    Do you think these definitions are reasonable? If so, do you think there are any cranks? And if so, would you say Galambos was not one of them?

  • Published: August 11, 2006 10:26 AM

  • Brian Gladish
  • Stephen,

    I thought you were a regular attendee (saw you at ASC 2005, but not this year), and meeting would not be problematic in the financial or temporal sense.

    I also thought I was rather explicit in my connecting of the Tannehills through Skye D’Aureous/Durk Pearson (who is credited in their acknowlegements, worked with Alvin Lowi and took Galambos’s classes early in the history of the Free Enterprise Institute) to Galambos. Whether or not they actually took Galambos’s classes has been indicated as “unlikely” by one source. Another, more definitive source, has not responded. I would say that there is little doubt of some influence and only the magnitude is in question.

    So, It appears you would like to label me as “crank” or “non-crank” based upon whether I think Galambos was a crank among cranks or in a class by himself. I guess I would not classify him with the people I think of as cranks – flat earthers, PETA, ELF, Democrats, Republicans, etc. Maybe that makes me a crank in your view. If so, I guess I’ll have to live with that.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 10:49 AM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Brian,

    I thought you were a regular attendee (saw you at ASC 2005, but not this year), and meeting would not be problematic in the financial or temporal sense.

    Yes. I was sort of joking.

    I also thought I was rather explicit in my connecting of the Tannehills through Skye D’Aureous/Durk Pearson (who is credited in their acknowlegements, worked with Alvin Lowi and took Galambos’s classes early in the history of the Free Enterprise Institute) to Galambos. Whether or not they actually took Galambos’s classes has been indicated as “unlikely” by one source. Another, more definitive source, has not responded. I would say that there is little doubt of some influence and only the magnitude is in question.

    I am still not sure exactly waht is being contended. You guys seem not to want to be explicit. Oh well.

    And I must confess, when I am reading and I see someone mention someone purpotedly named “Skye D’Aureous” my California hippie-weirdo crank-dar goes off and my eyes automatically glaze over and I find it difficult to continue. Probably it’s just “me”>

    “So, It appears you would like to label me as “crank” or “non-crank” based upon whether I think Galambos was a crank among cranks or in a class by himself.”

    No–but do I catch a whiff of the California-ish derision of “labels”, i.e. principled, conceptual thinking?–I am just confronting the issue head on. Galambosians critique me for calling Galambos a crank, yet none of them seem to want to deny it. I just wanted a denial, or an affirmance.

    “I guess I would not classify him with the people I think of as cranks – flat earthers, PETA, ELF, Democrats, Republicans, etc.”

    Oh, I would not say dems and repubs are cranks. Just semi-socialists. And I would include income tax protestors, common law court nuts, UFO nuts, etc.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 11:11 AM

  • Brian Gladish
  • Stephen,

    Given your referenced definition of “crank” (eccentric, esp. unduly zealous) I would definitely fit as would Galambos, Rothbard, Block and yourself – all people proposing strong, unorthodox positions and defending them, which is eccentric in and of itself.

    What is being contended is that there was (and is) some value in the ideas of someone you dismiss out of hand as a crank – nothing more. If Adam Smith was influenced by Cantillon it enhances Cantillon’s standing and encourages us to read him. If the Tannehills (who are highly regarded in this venue) were influenced by Galambos it gives him some credibility that you have not, so far, accorded him. That may lead to people reading volume 1 of his book (based upon lectures given in 1967 as I remember) and finding that the ideas therein have some merit.

    If you wish to label someone you should know that it does not necessarily capture the essence of what they are. Although all of the mainstream people I know would call me a libertarian, I am definitely not a blockian, “plumb-line” libertarian or even a rothbardian libertarian (maybe the two are the same). Having said that you do not know where it is that I diverge from those individuals (which is irrelevant to the mainstream – they know I’m crazy). So label if you must, but you might not get it right.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 12:20 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Brian, let me be clear. I would not say Galambos was bad, or did nothing to help the movement, or that his ideas are worthless. That he was apparently somewhat of a libertarian in his conclusions puts him way above most people in my eyes. Yet I think his ideas are essentially nutty and also wrong, insofar as they rest on his scientism, and especially his incorrect (and, yes, crankish) views of “primary property” etc. That there seems to have been an almost amusing aspect to his little movement seems undeniable; the reported bizarre habits of changing his name, banning his followers from spreading his views, dropping nickels in boxes for use of the word “Liberty”–is all self-evidently eccentric, bizarre, crankish, and ridiculous. And his followers never even deny these accusations, or even try to defend them.
  • Published: August 11, 2006 12:27 PM

  • Brian Gladish
  • Stephen, let me (also) be clear.

    Galambos changed his name to his father’s to honor his father after the latter’s death (Galambos’s name was previously Andrew Joseph Galambos). He realized that having the same name might obscure his father’s achievements as an architect and cause confusion, so he changed it back. Tuccille does not describe the events accurately.

    His ideas were disclosed contractually as outlined in Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty which I referenced in an earlier comment. If this was a poor strategy (as it almost certainly was with no timely publication forthcoming) he has and will suffer the consequences.

    In all of the years I took courses (1975-1982) from Galambos I never saw nor heard about him dropping nickels in any can for the use of the word “Liberty.”

    So, consider the statements denied and or defended by someone who is a follower of Galambos as he is a follower of LeFevre, von Mises et al.

    By the way, to address quincunx’s comment that he died in extreme poverty, I believe he is quite wrong in that regard. Galambos owned a large home in Orange, California, had a number of people in his employ and left enough money in his estate (even after a trusted associate embezzled a reported $1 million) to fund the publication of the first volume of his book. Although California is expensive, I believe that his situation hardly qualified as extreme poverty.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 2:34 PM

  • Stephan Kinsella
  • Gladish:

    Galambos changed his name to his father’s to honor his father after the latter’s death (Galambos’s name was previously Andrew Joseph Galambos). He realized that having the same name might obscure his father’s achievements as an architect and cause confusion, so he changed it back. Tuccille does not describe the events accurately.

    Even if it’s the way you describe it, this is just weird. Normal people don’t do this. See, remember the part about “eccentric” in the definition of crank?

    His ideas were disclosed contractually as outlined in Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty which I referenced in an earlier comment. If this was a poor strategy (as it almost certainly was with no timely publication forthcoming) he has and will suffer the consequences.

    It’s still kooky, bizarre, weird, and abnormal.

    In all of the years I took courses (1975-1982) from Galambos I never saw nor heard about him dropping nickels in any can for the use of the word “Liberty.”

    That’s not a denial of the report.

    (even after a trusted associate embezzled a reported $1 million)

    Stories of embezzlement often surround kooks and eccentrics, don’t they?

  • Published: August 11, 2006 2:50 PM

  • Brian Gladish
  • Stephen,

    Sure, he was different.

  • Published: August 11, 2006 3:00 PM

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  • Published: March 4, 2007 9:25 PM

  • Virgil Speriosu
  • “Galambos and Other Nuts

    It’s predictable. Just like if you criticize a scientologist you are going to get a ton of replies from kooks, so if you criticize Galambos (see links below). So let me be clear: from what I have seen Galambos was some minor cult California hippie figure, who was smart but who not only adopted a kind of bizarre, flaky scientism, but a crankish and absurd view of intellectual property.”

     

    Mr. Kinsella,

    a pronouncement as above, about someone you admit to know little about, doesn’t recommend your other writings.

    I took many of Galambos’ courses on tape and I attended a couple of live lectures. I met Professor Galambos. He has had a profoundly positive effect on my life.

    His ideas on liberty, capitalism, morality, property (especially primary property) form a revolutionary framework that shows the path towards freedom. One of his main points was that freedom can’t be brought about by a political mechanism. Freedom is a technology, its products are created by the few but accepted and used by the many.

    Galambos argued that the respect for other people’s primary property (i.e., ideas and intellectual and creative work) is a prerequisite for the building of what he called the bridge to freedom.

    Though he worked out much of the detail of how this respect for primary property was to be implemented, regrettably Professor Galambos was not able to publish his work. Certainly he didn’t have much good to say about the current patent and copyright system.

  • Published: December 24, 2007 10:14 AM

  • Beth Kirkland
  • I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

    I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

    I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

    He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

    IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

  • Published: August 11, 2008 12:09 PM

  • Beth Kirkland
  • I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

    I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

    I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

    He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

    IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

  • Published: August 11, 2008 12:09 PM

  • Beth Kirkland
  • I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

    I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

    I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

    He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

    IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

  • Published: August 11, 2008 12:10 PM

  • Beth Kirkland
  • I was an atttendee of many of Galambos courses, V-50 three times, (first with Jay Snelson), V-201, V-282, V-76, (favorite with V-50), and the Open Ended course for one year.

    I did find him, “eccentric, and his thinking muddled,” beyond V-50 and V-76.

    I had a close friend who worked for him for several years and she found him difficult, with unrealistic expectations.

    He lacked a clear cut goal, with implementation, (sound business plan to bring his ideas into effect), and this was obvious with V-201.

    IMO his place in history will be relegated as a minor figure in Modernism and no more.

  • Published: August 11, 2008 12:11 PM

  • tom smith
  • A. Einstein described you perfectly; “”Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.”
    Apparently Galambos’ idea was to use his intelligence to pursue his ideals. And your idea consists of dismissive namecalling. Not the best way to disagree with someone in my opinion.
  • Published: October 3, 2008 2:04 PM

  • Arthur Ogawa
  • I wish to comment from the standpoint of someone who came to his ideas through reading V-50 at a time when Dr. Galambos was still living.

    Simply stated, I think that there is a great deal of benefit to be earned by an ernest and open-minded study of his ideas, and the great tragedy of his life is that his extensive legacy is less accessible to people than it ought to be.

    Perhaps the most powerful of his ideas is the acknowledgement of volition as a supremely important aspect of people’s life. To put it in my own terms (what else can I do?), the extent to which volition characterizes my experience and my interactions with others, is an indicator of how appropriately my life is ordered, and the degree to which I am in a beneficial environment. In this regard, Ayn Rand’s own discussions of what is man’s nature (“a volitional being”) and, I believe, the ideas of Dr von Mises, intersect well with those of Dr Galambos.

    I can only encourage those who have a genuine interest in Dr Galambos’ ideas to seek out those of his works that have been published, and to in turn encourage those in charge of his intellectual estate to disseminate them further.

    I also encourage those who are tempted go along with this dismissal Dr Galambos as a crank to consider the basis upon which he, his ideas, and his life are being criticized: someone who has no first-hand experience with the man’s ideas nor of himself. How disappointing: it’s is no more than a bunch of second-hand tales. I can get that quality of “information” on a blog. Oh, that’s right: this is a blog, is it not?

    As Virgil Speriosu previously blogged, Dr Galambos “has had a profoundly positive effect on my life.” I concur.

    Finally, a comment on Mr Kinsella’s writings. It is altogether too easy to criticize, to ridicule. Such statements reflect poorly on yourself and by extension on the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Perhaps one’s goal was to evoke comments, to stir up controversy? If so, you have succeeded only at the expense of your own credibility and that of the institution that hosts your writings. Ludwig von Mises was an intellectual giant, as was Andrew Galambos; you come off as mean-spirited and lacking in intelligence. For you to be in their (virtual) company in this forum strikes me as rather incongruous. How do you justify your presence here, may I inquire?

    This post CC: contact@mises.org, with hardcopy to LvMI under separate cover.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Published: October 7, 2008 1:54 PM

  • CarlD
  • Galambos articulated several key ideas, including

    1) the concept of a for-profit college level education,
    2) the concept that freedom is a valuable product that can be produced in the same sense that the Wright Brothers manufactured lift,
    3) the long-term perspective, meaning changes that could easily take more than 1,000 years.

    For reference, the phrase “this way to the stars” forecasts the need for a rational government for the human species to survive and ultimately populate the galaxy.

    I recently heard some political pundit spooning over the brilliance of calling government spending “an investment”.

    How much obfuscation and deceit can the society endure? Except for Galambos’ level of accurate terminology, who or what has any chance to solve this problem?

  • Published: January 6, 2009 3:37 PM

  • William B. Hergonson
  • Anyone who has read this blog thread to this point deserves to know that the Jay Snelson version of the V-50 lectures, recorded live in 1977, has finally been released on CD (and MPEG downloads) to the public through Charles Holloway’s “Mapping Feedom” Project.

    See www.v-50.org

    Judge for yourself the validity of Andrew Galambos’ ideas. This guy “Kinsella” is the true “crank” (as in Andy Rooney “cranky”) in this discussion. He is just a name-calling wacko who knows not from which he speaks. He is an embarssment to the good name of Von Mises.

  • Published: February 24, 2009 3:25 PM

  • Stephan KinsellaAuthor Profile Page
  • A Galambosian sighting, everyone! There’s a live one, over there!
  • Published: February 24, 2009 3:43 PM

  • Jon Christiansen
  • Thanks William for the info on V-50. I’m sure there are many members of the Von Mises Institute who went to the lectures. Many of us first heard of Von Mises because of Galambos 30 years ago. I don’t know who that guy is either but I hope he is not part of the Institute.
  • Published: April 6, 2009 10:47 PM

  • Eric
  • I find it difficult to understand why Galambos is portrayed like this. I just finished the v-50 lectures as presented by Jay Snelson. Von Mises is mentioned more than a few times. If I remember correctly, Snelson calls Von Mises the greatest economist of the 20th century. I think there should be more positive things about Galambos on this website.
  • Published: May 15, 2009 7:37 PM

  • Tom
  • Regarding the Galambos-Durk Pearson-Tannehill connection:

    Morris Tannehill indirectly learned of Andrew J. Galambos’ ideas. Those ideas were “amended” in some cases by Morris and Linda Tannehill and subsequently published in their book, THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY.

    I do not believe that Morris — or “Tanny” (as he liked to be called) — intentionally sought to intellectually plunder anyone including Galambos, of whom he had no direct knowledge.

    Having been in communication with Morris Tannehill in the early 70s I was informed by Tanny that he and Linda learned a number of “revolutionary” ideas regarding free market technological alternatives to statism from Walter Block who had previously visited with Durk Pearson (a.k.a. Skye’d Aureous, co-publisher with Sandy Shaw of the LIBERTARIAN CONNECTION) in the late 1960s in California. Tanny communicated to me that after meeting with Durk Pearson, Walter subsequently traveled across the U.S. and met/talked with Tanny and Linda en route.

    See: http://solohq.org/Forum/ArticleDiscussions/1303.shtml regarding Pearson & Shaw.

    I do not for one moment believe that Walter intentionally sought to plunder Galambos’ ideas — some of which he learned from discussions with Durk Pearson in California. Like many of us at that time, Walter (and, no doubt Tanny and Linda) were truly excited about the possibility of free market justice alternatives to statism.

    The only individual who COULD be accused of intellectual plunder would be Durk Pearson who did directly hear some of the ideas presented in Course V-50 in the 1960s in Los Angeles and who DID receive a notice that the ideas presented in the Course were proprietary to Andrew J. Galambos. It is Mr. Pearson’s apparent insensitivity to intellectual property in the free market that led to his subsequent communication of those ideas to Walter. No doubt Mr. Pearson was also excited about the new ideas. While Walter was a subsequent conduit to Morris (and Linda) Tannehill in the Midwest, I certainly place no blame whatsoever upon Walter — I believe he was as excited as many of us were about the power and potency of such ideas.

    As expressed in THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY, however, the ideas — especially those relating to free market justice technologies — remain a pale, somewhat-diluted imitation of the ORIGINAL ideas of free market justice developed by Andrew J. Galambos … as presented in his basic course (V-50) and more extensively in his advanced course (V-201) called by him “the most important course of The Free Enterprise Institute”.

    Having read THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY in 1970 and subsequently and enthusiastically applied the label of “anarcho-capitalist” to myself, it was not until I personally met Andrew Galambos in 1973 that I realized that the true source of many of the ideas presented in THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY came from Galambos. I learned from Galambos that a more accurate label to apply to myself would be the term “liberal”.

    I even presented Galambos with a copy of THE MARKET FOR LIBERTY when I met with him in 1973 thinking that he would enjoy reading it. After reviewing it, he handed it back to me saying that “the book represented a plunder of his ideas.” I then handed the book right back to him saying, “If that is the case, then I don’t want that copy of the book: since you are the rightful innovator of many of the ideas in the book, I am returning your property.” He accepted the book and sincerely thanked me.

    I subsequently invested the time to directly study Galambos’ ideas for myself rather than only rely upon 2nd- 3rd- or 4th-hand communications from others. For many additional reasons not relevant to the above discussion, I have great respect for Andrew J. Galambos. I consider him one of the intellectual giants of our species.

  • Published: May 20, 2009 7:18 PM

  • Joe Jackson
  • Hi Everyone

    Quick comments that may start a new thread here. Did you know that Galambos also taught a course in investments? V30T. I took this course at night while working as a geophysicist for Texaco Oil. V50T and V201T prompted me to eventually leave oil exploration and start my own sole proprietorship but during this time I was impressed by the technical fit between this investment course and the idea-logical ones. I kept my eyes open for companies that fit as well, at least a little bit, of the criteria taught in these courses. I found one! I started buying Apple Computer when Steve Jobs came back based on his ability to produce ideas and his concern for keeping them secret. Galambos talked about keeping an eye out for visionaries w/companies attached. I’m 56 and financially independent with 3 houses and I just sold a restaurant. Courses anybody?

    Shamefull plug –> Quinces [old Red Rooster], in Jerome AZ. New owner is Vlad.

    jj

  • Published: May 29, 2009 3:26 AM

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Ken Despain March 7, 2013, 1:57 pm

    Mr Kinsella,

    You comments on Galambos betray a depth of ignorance on the topic that leave me astounded that you would have the audacity to be as critical as you have been. You obviously know nothing of Galambos and are relying solely on hear say and innuendo from others who have little or no first hand experience with the topic as well.

    I can’t imagine why anyone would lend any credence to your comments on any topic since you appear to be willing to present yourself as an authority on subjects about which you have failed to familiarize yourself with even the most elementary facts.

    You appear to be one of those people. that are so plentiful these days, that are so enamored with your own ability to babble that you prefer to babble instead of think.

    • Stephan Kinsella March 19, 2013, 11:44 am

      Thanks. I think Galambos was a complete scientistic quasi-cultist nutter. Anyone who is at all attracted to his insane idea is presumptively a crank in my view. Go back to crank-town, you psycho.

    • Stephan Kinsella April 7, 2013, 8:49 pm

      Thanks! If only someone would post Galambos’s unabridged works on the web so we could be non-ignorant about it. Oh, wait, that would be against his own theories. Hahah. doomed by self-Darwinism. Probably a good thing.

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