Through and through the world is infested with quantity: To talk sense is to talk quantities. It is no use saying the nation is large. . . . How large? It is no use saying the radium is scarce. . . . How scarce? You cannot evade quantity. You may fly to poetry and music, and quantity and number will face you in your rhythms and your octaves.
Alfred North Whitehead
If I were to give a summary of the tendency of our times, I would say, Quantity. The multitude, the mass spirit, dominates everywhere, destroying quality. Our entire life--production, politics, and education--rests on quantity, on numbers. The worker who once took pride in the thoroughness and quality of his work, has been replaced by brainless, incompetent automatons, who turn out enormous quantities of things, valueless to themselves, and generally injurious to the rest of mankind. Thus quantity, instead of adding to life's comforts and peace, has merely increased man's burden.
The aim was to regulate the value of money by increasing or diminishing the quantity of it. The effects of these measures appeared to provide an inductive proof of the correctness of this superficial version of the Quantity Theory, and incidentally concealed the weaknesses of its logic.
Ludwig von Mises
If we compare two static economic systems, which differ in no way from one another except that in one there is twice as much money as in the other, it appears that the purchasing power of the monetary unit in the one system must be equal to half that of the monetary unit in the other. Nevertheless, we may not conclude from this that a doubling of the quantity of money must lead to a halving of the purchasing power of the monetary unit; for every variation in the quantity of money introduces a dynamic factor into the static economic system. The new position of static equilibrium that is established when the effects of the fluctuations thus set in motion are completed cannot be the same as that which existed before the introduction of the additional quantity of money. Consequently, in the new state of equilibrium the conditions of demand for money, given a certain exchange-value of the monetary unit, will also be different. If the purchasing power of each unit of the doubled quantity of money were halved, the unit would not have the same significance for each individual under the new conditions as it had in the static system before the increase in the quantity of money.
Ludwig von Mises
A few modern philosopher's assert that an individual's intelligence is a fixed quantity, a quantity which cannot be increased. We must protest and react against this brutal pessimism.... With practice, training, and above all, method, we manage to increase our attention, our memory, our judgment and literally to become more intelligent than we were before.
To inquisitive minds like yours and mine the reflection that the quantity of human knowledge bears no proportion to the quantity of human ignorance must be in one view rather pleasing, viz., that though we are to live forever we may be continually amused and delighted with learning something new.
Indeed, the quantity of PCBs still in use plus the quantity still languishing in waste dumps exceeds the total amount that has already escaped into the general environment. Without a program to recall and contain them, semivolatile PCBs will continue to insinuate themselves into the food chain for decades.
Desired substance, things, patterns, or sequences of experience that are in some sense "good" for the organism - items of diet, conditions of life, temperature, entertainment, sex, and so forth - are never such that more of the something is always better than less of the something. Rather, for all objects and experiences, there is a quantity that has optimum value. Above that quantity, the variable becomes toxic. To fall below that value is to be deprived.
We have already examined one of the objections that have been brought against the Quantity Theory; the objection that it only holds good ceteris paribus. No more tenable as an objection against the determinateness of our conclusions is reference to the possibility that an additional quantity of money may be hoarded. This argument has played a prominent role in the history of monetary theory; it was one of the sharpest weapons in the armoury of the opponents of the Quantity Theory. Among the arguments of the opponents of the Currency Theory it immediately follows the proposition relating to the elasticity of cash-economizing methods of payment, to which it also bears a close relation as far as its content is concerned.
Ludwig von Mises
The riches of a country are to be valued by the quantity of labor its inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the quantity of silver and gold they possess; which will purchase more or less labor, and therefore is more or less valuable, as is said before, according to its scarcity or plenty.
If the land was divided among all the inhabitants of a country, so that each of them possessed precisely the quantity necessary for his support, and nothing more; it is evident that all of them being equal, no one would work for another. Neither would any of them possess wherewith to pay another for his labour, for each person having only such a quantity of land as was necessary to produce a subsistence, would consume all he should gather, and would not have any thing to give in exchange for the labour of others.
Heat may be considered, either in respect of its quantity, or of its intensity. Thus two lbs. of water, equally heated, must contain double the quantity that one of them does, though the thermometer applied to them separately, or together, stands at precisely the same point, because it requires double the time to heat two lbs. as it does to heat one.
The burden of the national debt consists not in its being so many millions, or so many hundred millions, but in the quantity of taxes collected every year to pay the interest. If this quantity continue the same, the burden of the national debt is the same to all intents and purposes, be the capital more or less.
Given that there are seven billion people living on this earth, there is a consistent quantity of imbecile or idiot, okay. Previously, these people could express themselves only with their friends or at the bar after two or three glasses of something, and they said every silliness, and people laughed. Now they have the possibility to show up on the internet. And so, on the internet, along with the messages of a lot of interesting and important people - even the Pope is writing on Twitter - we have a great quantity of idiots.
'Conservation' (the conservation law) means this ... that there is a number, which you can calculate, at one moment-and as nature undergoes its multitude of changes, this number doesn't change. That is, if you calculate again, this quantity, it'll be the same as it was before. An example is the conservation of energy: there's a quantity that you can calculate according to a certain rule, and it comes out the same answer after, no matter what happens, happens.
Richard P. Feynman
Where there are few people, and a great quantity of fertile land, the power of the earth to afford a yearly increase of food may be compared to a great reservoir of water, supplied by a moderate stream. The faster population increases, the more help will be got to draw off the water, and consequently an increasing quantity will be taken every year. But the sooner, undoubtedly, will the reservoir be exhausted, and the streams only remain.
The total quantity of all the forces capable of work in the whole universe remains eternal and unchanged throughout all their changes. All change in nature amounts to this, that force can change its form and locality, without its quantity being changed. The universe possesses, once for all, a store of force which is not altered by any change of phenomena, can neither be increased nor diminished, and which maintains any change which takes place on it.
Hermann von Helmholtz
We may lay it down as an incontestible axiom, that, in all the operations of art and nature, nothing is created; an equal quantity of matter exists both before and after the experiment; the quality and quantity of the elements remain precisely the same; and nothing takes place beyond changes and modifications in the combination of these elements. Upon this principle the whole art of performing chemical experiments depends: We must always suppose an exact equality between the elements of the body examined and those of the products of its analysis.
The mistake in the argument of those who suppose that a variation in the quantity of money results in an inversely proportionate variation in its purchasing power lies in its starting-point. If we wish to arrive at a correct conclusion, we must start with the valuations of separate individuals; we must examine the way in which an increase or decrease in the quantity of money affects the value-scales of individuals, for it is from these alone that variations in the exchange-ratios of goods proceed.
Ludwig von Mises
According to the current view, the maintenance of sound monetary conditions is only possible with a 'credit balance of payments'. The confutation of this and related objections is implicit in the Quantity Theory and in Gresham's Law. The Quantity Theory shows that money can never permanently flow abroad from a country in which only metallic money is used (the 'purely metallic currency' of the Currency Principle). The tightness in the domestic market called forth by the efflux of part of the stock of money reduces the prices of commodities, and so restricts importation and encourages exportation, until there is once more enough money at home. The precious metals which perform the function of money are distributed among individuals, and consequently among separate countries, according to the extent and intensity of the demand of each for money. State intervention to assure to the community the necessary quantity of money by regulating its international nlovements is supererogatory.
Ludwig von Mises
GRAVITATION, n. The tendency of all bodies to approach one another with a strength proportioned to the quantity of matter they contain-the quantity of matter they contain being ascertained by the strength of their tendency to approach one another. This is a lovely and edifying illustration of how science, having made A the proof of B, makes B the proof of A.
Thus far I have explained the phenomena of the heavens and of our sea by the force of gravity, but I have not yet assigned a cause to gravity. Indeed, this force arises from some cause that penetrates as far as the centers of the sun and planets without any diminution of its power to act, and that acts not in proportion to the quantity of the surfaces of the particles on which it acts (as mechanical causes are wont to do) but in proportion to the quantity of solid matter, and whose action is extended everywhere to immense distances, always decreasing as the squares of the distances.
Nothing in life is certain except death, taxes and the second law of thermodynamics. All three are processes in which useful or accessible forms of some quantity, such as energy or money, are transformed into useless, inaccessible forms of the same quantity. That is not to say that these three processes don't have fringe benefits: taxes pay for roads and schools; the second law of thermodynamics drives cars, computers and metabolism; and death, at the very least, opens up tenured faculty positions.
As a general rule, man strives to avoid labor. Love for work is not at all an inborn characteristic: it is created by economic pressure and social education. One may even say that man is a fairly lazy animal. It is on this quality, in reality, that is founded to a considerable extent all human progress; because if man did not strive to expend his energy economically, did not seek to receive the largest possible quantity of products in return for a small quantity of energy, there would have been no technical development or social culture.
Let us merely discuss the question, what consequences would necessarily follow if, ceteris paribus, with an increasing quantity of money, prices were restricted to the old level by official compulsion? An increase in the quantity of money leads to the appearance in the market of new desire to purchase, which had previously not existed; 'new purchasing power', it is usual to say, has been created. If the new would-be purchasers compete with those that are already in the market, then, so long as it is not permissible to raise prices, only part of the total purchasing power can be exercised.
Ludwig von Mises
I feel overawed by quantity where counting no longer makes sense. By unrepeatability within such a quantity. By creatures of nature gathered in herds, droves, species, in which each individual, while subservient to the mass, retains some distinguishing features. A crowd of people, birds, insects, or leaves is a mysterious assemblage of variants of certain prototype. A riddle of nature's abhorrence of exact repetition or inability to produce it. Just as the human hand cannot repeat its own gesture, I invoke this disturbing law, switching my own immobile herds into that rhythm.