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Moon Struck

Posted By Don Boudreaux On July 17, 2009 @ 8:52 am In Complexity & Emergence | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the Washington Post:

While I share Charles Krauthammer’s admiration for the scientific brilliance that put men on the moon and returned them safely to the earth, I disagree that “the wonder and glory” of manned lunar exploration is a sufficient reason for Uncle Sam to again undertake such missions (“The Moon We Left Behind [1],” July 17).

Such “wonder and glory” is funded with money forcibly taken from taxpayers.  This process inspires no awe and is decidedly inglorious.  Moreover, achievements even more wondrous and glorious than moon shots surround us daily – for example, New York City is fed day in, day out, without fail.  Millions of people from around the world work to grow, process, warehouse, deliver, cook, and serve food so that eight million New Yorkers eat well each day.  No one plans this wondrous achievement, and no one is forced to contribute toward its realization.  It’s the happy result of hundreds of millions of persons peacefully pursuing their own self-interests within markets.

Is a moon shot really as wondrous as the intricate coordination of the plans and actions of these countless suppliers and consumers?  Is putting a human being on the moon really as glorious as the fact that hunger has been all but eliminated everywhere that markets operate?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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