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Explaining differences, subtle or not, between words and ideas.

Filling or Fulfilling?

Pleasure vs. Satisfaction

Pleasure is a transitory feeling. It persists only as long as those conditions which produce it survive. Satisfaction is an enduring state. Once a need is fulfilled, it is extinguished.

Eating a fine meal pleases the senses while satisfying a biological need. But biological needs are in the baser realm of human experience. The ability to procure, prepare and provide a meal has meaning beyond each instance of the act. All the steps may not be pleasant, but in them we find satisfaction.

Similarly, volunteer work is only sometimes pleasurable. But the satisfaction that comes from working with and for things larger than the self outlast any suffering endured in service.

H/T: ChicagoBoyz commenter “Joseph Somsel

Vienna vs. Omaha

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

Price is determined by the operation of the laws of supply and demand. Value is determined by the operation of human whim and preference.

In classical and Marxist economics, the correct price for a good is something that can be calculated precisely in terms of material and labor required to produce that good. Classical/Marxist theory implores people to adjust their perception of value to align with those correct prices. People ultimately serve the means of production.

Who Pays Taxes?

Tax Payment vs. Tax Burden

Tax payments are the amounts paid to the government, based on tax rates and tax rules. Tax burden reflects who a tax ultimately falls upon, after the cost of a tax payment is spread between higher prices, lower profits, and/or diminished activity. The distribution of the tax burden between various people is called the tax incidence.

Follow the Money

Investment vs. Expense:

An investment is a use of money or wealth with an expectation of income or profit. The investor expects to get his initial outlay back, with something extra, a profit. An expense is a use of money with the expectation of gaining some benefit or beneficial outcome. The wealth expended is lost, in trade for something else.

Raising Taxes

Tax Rates vs. Tax Revenue:
Tax rates are the percentage of wealth paid to the government. That percentage is can be an income tax or a property tax. Tax revenue is the total amount the government collects when everyone’s individual payments—determined by tax rate percentages—are added together. Tax rates influence individual choices, while tax revenue influences the government’s ability to fund its activities. Some argue that total tax revenue may be raised even while individual tax rates are lowered.

Introducing the Distinctionary

A few years back, your Conductor had his mental locomotive overhauled and upgraded at CoachU. One of the tools CoachU used was called the Distinctionary (pdf). It was designed to highlight sometimes subtle but important differences between words and ideas.

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