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The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World by Ron Paul, Mark Spitznagel

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Chapter Four

The Seen and the Foreseen

The Roots of the Austrian Tradition

First there is the seen, visible and immediate, that which is most easily grasped. Then there is the yet unseen, what comes next as the consequence of the former, realized in the latter—which can, indeed, become the foreseen. Herein, we find a time sequence, a sequential seen and unseen—not to be confused with the concurrent seen and unseen, one visible and one hidden. To emphasize, our focus is on the temporal, on an extended depth of field from the immediate to the intermediate and beyond. With the foreseen—a key concept that comes to us from Frédéric Bastiat, a proto-Austrian economist and a key figure of this chapter—moving from proximate to ultimate, the future becomes clearer, even obvious, but not because of prediction, the stuff of naïve data analyses and mathematical models. One cannot learn from history, a posteriori, because causal relationships are deceptively veiled from our perception (what is unfortunately termed the “teleological fallacy”). Rather, in many cases the foreseen emerges through the logical rigor of deduction, based on what one knows (and, to some degree, what one observes and experiences) as a sentient human being.

The bridge from the seen to the foreseen is crossed purposefully, via a teleological path of means and ends—our familiar Ziel as Mittel to achieve a Zweck, the common thread of the Clausewitzian strategy. Means are teleological; that is to say, means are tools used ...

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