Using People the Right Way

Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Gary M Galles

“‘Use’ can mean ‘to utilize or employ,’ with no additional implication of harm to others. That is what we mean when we say someone uses a hammer. That same usage applies when people voluntarily provide their services to advance others’ purposes in markets. In contrast, ‘use’ can also mean ‘abuse or harm,’ particularly as a result of force or fraud. That is what someone means when they say ‘you pretended to care about me, but you were just using me.’ That is also what anti-capitalist critics portray ‘use’ to mean. The first meaning is consistent with benefiting others (as in mutually acceptable market arrangements, which individuals would not otherwise enter into); the second meaning requires that others are harmed.” (09/07/23)