The “philosophically objective” value of a new product serves as the teacher
for those who are willing to exercise their rational faculty, each to the
extent of his ability. Those who are unwilling remain unrewarded—as well as
those who aspire to more than their ability produces . . . .
A given product may not be appreciated at once, particularly if it is too
radical an innovation; but, barring irrelevant accidents, it wins in the long
run. It is in this sense that the free market is not ruled by the intellectual
criteria of the majority, which prevail only at and for any given moment; the
free market is ruled by those who are able to see and plan long-range—and the
better the mind, the longer the range.
The economic value of a man’s work is determined, on a free market, by a single
principle: by the voluntary consent of those who are willing to trade him their
work or products in return.