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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 184 of Deirdre McCloskey’s excellent 2019 book, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All: A changing economy requires constant diligence and focus by humans, which is more likely evoked by humans owning the capital, labor, and land than by remote central planners. DBx: Yes. Philosophers can debate whether or not change implies open-endedness and, hence, genuine unpredictability and uncertainty. I believe that it does. If I’m correct, then to the extent that the economy is planned centrally, that planned part of the economy either must be prevented from changing or the central plan must be abandoned (or the plan itself changed so often that to call it a plan is an abuse of language). Genuine change cannot be

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… is from page 184 of Deirdre McCloskey’s excellent 2019 book, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All:

Quotation of the Day…A changing economy requires constant diligence and focus by humans, which is more likely evoked by humans owning the capital, labor, and land than by remote central planners.

DBx: Yes.

Philosophers can debate whether or not change implies open-endedness and, hence, genuine unpredictability and uncertainty. I believe that it does. If I’m correct, then to the extent that the economy is planned centrally, that planned part of the economy either must be prevented from changing or the central plan must be abandoned (or the plan itself changed so often that to call it a plan is an abuse of language).

Genuine change cannot be planned. By its very nature it cannot be planned. Genuine change cannot be predicted in the detail required to make planning operationally possible. And yet real economic growth (as opposed to the kind of economic ‘growth’ that was reported by and about the Soviet Union) is possible only if genuine change occurs.

All schemes to put the direction of the economy in the hands of officials with the power to coerce resources from others are destined to fail. That clever professors, pundits, and politicians can and do use math, graphs, words, beautiful slogans, and sharp PowerPoint presentations to describe how such armed officials might engineer us all to a point closer to economic bliss proves nothing about the real world except, perhaps, that the human propensity to put faith in grand hopes while ignoring realism about human nature and (now that the 20th century is on record) ignoring also experience is dismayingly potent.

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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