Finance Division: An Austrian perspective

By Justin Austin

Justin Austin is from Big Rapids and is a junior at Ferris studying political science and economics. He is also the student government’s director of finance.

Within the Ferris community, Student Government’s Finance Division is an obfuscate entity, albeit monetarily powerful and far reaching, responsible for the allocation of the Student Activity Fee (SAF). Such responsibility granted to a student bureaucracy seems quite the grave error considering the impossibility of providing a true “collective good” for, in the words of Murray N. Rothbard in “Man, Economy and State,” “It by no means follows that every beneficiary must be forced to pay for the good, which, incidentally, he may not even want.” Although the SAF fee is, in fact, refundable, the minute window of time wherein individuals may receive their refund, coupled with the lack of awareness of said refund, sustains Rothbard’s aforementioned principle as a metric for Finance Division appropriation and allocation. The fallacy of “collective goods” being established, how might Finance Division determine the arbitrary profits/losses of a fallacious good?

Faced with the dangers inherent of a non-profit/ loss public financial entity, the Division executes the acquisition and expenditure of public (SAF) funds in order to acquire non-calculable “profits.” The investiture of these “voluntary” funds toward registered student organization (RSO) events will, by definition, not benefit each individual by whom the SAF is funded. “Government, however, has no checkrein on itself, i.e., no requirement of meeting a test of profit-and-loss or value service to consumers, to permit it to obtain funds.” Rothbard would readily apply the above description to Finance Division given the Division’s lack of accountability to the student body—accountability in this case being the individual student’s ability, or lack thereof, to “disinvest” in Finance Division, more specifically the SAF, were dissatisfaction to be incurred upon said individual.

In short, Finance Division is yet another bureaucracy redistributing the wealth of individuals in adherence to specious conceptions of the collective good, the derivation of which neglecting the principle that, “only individuals have ends and can act to attain them.”