"Every innovation makes its appearance as a 'luxury' of the few well-to-do. After industry has become aware of it, the luxury then becomes a 'necessity' for all."

**Ludwig von Mises (1881 - 1973)**

Ironically, the very year Dr. von Mises died, I was studying economics in college and really, really wanted a calculator.

The two most prominent manufacturers were Hewlett Packard and Texas Instruments.

The HPs were very expensive, and difficult
to use. I found them impossible! To merely calculate 2 + 2 required
many key strokes, and to my mind their process was not the least
logical.

Texas Instruments (TI), however, had a straight-forward calculation keyboard. It was also less expensive.

I say less expensive, but to me, and my friends, it was a difficult purchase at best.

We waited and waited for the price to come
down. My target price was $58. That would be approximately $300 in
today's dollars. Not huge, but for a college student difficult.

Very few of us had calculators! So few,
that in statistics class (where we had the infamous "Stat Lab," with
calculators available for all) no calculators were allowed in class
since so few had them. Unfair advantage, you know!

The calculator we all wanted to buy was the

**. You can see from its photo that it did very little really. And it had really small red numbers!***TI SR-10*
But it was the "slide rule" calculator! It
could do everything a slide rule could do! Only quicker! We all had
slide rules. They did not help in statistics class very much.

In statistics tests the average grade was
about 48. Most stat calculations required adding huge columns of
numbers. Taking data required "A" numbers, "B" numbers, "A+B", "AxB",
even more depending on the question, and each with more calculations.
Each row had to be brought to a number, each column added to a number,
and each of these numbers plugged in to formulas, some of which are as
long as your arm. Do you think on a test you are going to get all those
calculations right? No way. But, if we followed the formulas and
demonstrated we understood which formula to use in answer to a question,
we got full credit. A 50 could be an

**A**!
Let's say we had a simple question which
asked for the probability theory development of a small population of
cannibals and how much variance (or dispersion) from the mean a
collection of shrunken blond heads varied, as statistical data points
spread out over a large range of values, when compared to all shrunken
heads in general.

A few numbers would be given on the test. We had to develop the rest. No problem!

is the

**Basic Standard Deviation**formula. It is pretty simple, but from it one is required to develop variances, correlations, and
a summing notation for

**Discrete Random Variables****or even****Continuous Random Variables**

**...**

Whew! Well you get it. A calculator sure
could come in handy! Now look at that calculator up there! What does
it do? VERY LITTLE! And something similar is given out today as key
chains! Dr. von Mises predicted that!

Dr. von Mises was right of course. Today
much more sophisticated calculators are required in schools, a necessity
even at younger ages, and you MUST have one. Well, calculators and
more! And they are cheap! A really good graphing scientific or
statistical calculator now costs about $11 in 1973 dollars.

They are cheap because

*initiated***market needs****which spurred***market demands***to produce***market forces**which attract free***market-ready products****to make the product (whatever the product) more available and more affordable to the***market disposable income***There were a lot of different markets in that sentence!! Which market was which?***market.*

**THIS CALCULATOR EXAMPLE IS FREE MARKET ECONOMICS AT ITS BEST, SIMPLE SUPPLY AND DEMAND, AND CAPITALISM DEFINED. WHEN LEFT UNFETTERED CAPITALISM PROVIDES THE MARKET WITH ITS NEEDS EVERY TIME. AND WITH PRODUCTS BECOMING MORE AND MORE AVAILABLE, JUST AS DR. VON MISES SAID.**
And all that calculator stuff was done without gubment intervention or control. Gee, imagine that!

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