A midwinter’s consideration

A midwinter’s consideration

What better time than this middle of winter to recount some great economics quotes and to commend them to our elected and appointed leaders for their careful consideration? Ah, no time like the present:

From Thomas Sowell:

“It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club.

“It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration.

“It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.

“Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing ‘compassion’ for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about.”

From Frederic Bastiat:

“The profit of one is the profit of the other.”

From Murray Rothbard:

“It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.”

From Ayn Rand:

“People are not embracing collectivism because they have accepted bad economics. They are accepting bad economics because they have embraced collectivism.”

From Jeffrey Tucker:

“Here is a principle to use in all aspects of economics and policy:

“When you find a good or service that is in huge demand but the supply is so limited to the point that the price goes up and up, look for the regulation that is causing it.

“This applies regardless of the sector, whether transportation, gas, education, food, beer or daycare. There is something in the way that is preventing the market from working as it should.

“If you look carefully enough, you will find the hand of the state making the mess in question.”

From Henry Hazlitt:

“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.”

From F.A. Hayek:

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

From Ludwig von Mises:

“Economics is a living thing—and to live implies both imperfection and change.”

From Alan Greenspan:

“There are winners and there are losers. And as much as we would like to help the losers, if we do it in the way that directs the limited capital of the society to support the low-productivity parts of the economy, it means that the rest of the economy – our overall standard of living – will not rise as much as it could.”

From Robert Higgs:

“Notwithstanding what some regard as the institutionalization of compassion, the transfer society quashes genuine virtue.

“Redistribution of income by means of government coercion is a form of theft. Its supporters attempt to disguise its essential character by claiming that democratic procedures give it legitimacy, but this justification is specious.

“Theft is theft, whether it be carried out by one thief or by a hundred million thieves acting in concert. And it is impossible to found a good society on the institutionalization of theft.”

Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).