Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 1, 2011

in Civil Society, Complexity & Emergence, Trade

… is from the great Frank Chodorov‘s 1940 essay “Civilization or Caveman Economy?”; it is reprinted in Liberty Fund’s splendid 1980 collection, Fugitive Essays, of Chodorov’s writings, edited by Chuck Hamilton; the quotation here is from page 102 of this volume:

Every increase in trade facilities aids in the spreading of cultural values; and, contrariwise, every interference with trade results in a corresponding retardation of cultural progress.  In other words, the freer the trade, the greater the advance in civilization, and the more restrictions there are on trade, the surer will be the retrogression of civilization.

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Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 1:41 am


You are so right. Every time I drive by a closed factory (which is not hard to do, as there have been 50,000 or so in the last 10 years) I say to myself, now “There `is the spreading of cultural values.’”

Every time I go a formerly great city like Cleveland or see what has happened to Detroit I say to myself, now, “There `is the spreading of cultural values.’”

And, then I read that the supposedly wise man who wrote this crap had such a lack of judgment that he both opposed US entry into World War II and the Truman plan

And then I think to myself, this guy thought we should trade with Hitler, sending him better parts for his gas chambers, for this would promote, the”spreading of cultural values.” and I conclude that Frank Chodorov is about as sick an a!! h!!! of a human pile of sh!t that one could find.

And then I ask myself, why would you, Dandy Don, ever want to honor a truly sick f!!! like Frank Chodorov by quoting him.

Dandy Don, having slept with a dog, you got fleas and cooties

vidyohs December 1, 2011 at 6:13 am

Dolt. When a factory makes things no one wants to buy, society, culture, inter-personal human relations, and standards of living all are forced into decline when government forcibly extracts money from the public to give to those who, through their inability to produce a desired good, have become parasites on the backs of the people.

Invisible Backhand December 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

Dolt. When a factory makes things no one wants to buy…

For a start, lots of those factories are moved to China where they keep making the things “no one wants to buy”.

And some guy who’s big contribution to the world is videotaping trials on the taxpayers dime shouldn’t be calling anyone else a parasite.

Gordon Richens December 1, 2011 at 10:20 am

Then he should be driving around China and not Detroit or Cleveland.

Invisible Backhand December 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Then he should be driving around China and not Detroit or Cleveland.

nyuck nyuck nyuck. You big silly.

vidyohs December 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Dolt, just simply dolt. No need to put you down when you do it yourself so well.

muirge0 December 1, 2011 at 6:28 am

Hey, Tricky-Dicky-Nikky!

You are SO right! Every time I read about the autarky of self-sufficient feudal manors — at a time when 100% of the serfs were employed 100% of the time making everything by themselves, for themselves (cultivating their own wheat, milling it into their own flour, baking it into their own bread; cobbling their own shoes from leather they cut from their own cow hides; digging their own wells and hauling their own water; weaving their own clothing; etc., etc., etc.), I take my inspiration from your profound wisdom and learning in economics and think, “Wow! Tricky-Dicky-Nikky would sure love that way of life! How enviable it is compared to the paltry conveniences we have today! Full, back-breaking employment, 100% of the time! No closed factories from more efficient foreign competition, improved technology, or consumer fickleness! If that’s the life for Tricky-Dicky-Nikky, then that’s the life for me!”

Scratch a Marxist-Keynesian-Leftist-Mercantilist-Socialist, find a sentimentalist about the good old medieval days!

muirge0 December 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

That’s not me… that’s the guy I have frustrated to the point anonymously posting as me.

Methinks1776 December 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

You don’t have to keep announcing that. We know it’s not you. He can spell, punctuate and think.

You could post under 1,000 different aliases and we’d still know it’s EWE bekuZZ yoR sTile is Az unik aZ itt izz unn fourtuNait.

Fred December 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm


Invisible Backhand December 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Daisy Dizzy, look how muirgeo is spelled.

Jon Murphy December 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

l love you Methinks! Can we dance naked together?

Greg Webb December 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Good analysis! Even without out the misspelled words and poor punctuation, I can still pick George out from the crowd. It’s the idiotic ideas and made up history.

brotio December 3, 2011 at 12:52 am

we’d still know it’s EWE

Thanks for giving me another excuse to share a Mason Williams poem:

Them Ewe Doers
How about them Ewe Doers, Ain’t they news?
Down in the pasture a doin’ them Ewes.
Doin’ them big sheeps, doin’ them little
Doin’ them lambs, hi-diddle-diddle!
Look at them Ewe Doers, Ain’t they creeps?
High boots on, chasin’ them sheeps.
Them hooky dooky Ewe Doers, stompin’ through the weeds,
movin’ them Ewies, fillin’ they needs.
How to be a Ewe Doers? Ain’t much to it;
Meet a sweet sheep, Then you do it!

From The Mason Williams Listening Matter

Ubiquitous December 1, 2011 at 6:44 am

Every time I drive by a closed factory . . .

It’s bad public policy to allow an obvious mental deficient like you to get behind the wheel of a car. You have too much angry self-contempt to be trusted to respect the rights of others.

Why don’t you go outside and play with Invisible Backhand in the nice dumpster. You can throw fresh garbage at each other — what fun! There’s a good laddie . . .

Economic Freedom December 1, 2011 at 6:54 am

Nikolai lacks only three things to get to the top: talent, ambition, and initiative.

kyle8 December 1, 2011 at 7:19 am

No doubt if we cut off all of that icky foreign trade we could be as advanced as those beacons of self sufficiency like Myanmar and North Korea.

Randy December 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

Yeah, and I when I’m driving through Iowa these days I notice that there aren’t near as many family farms as there used to be. But then… I remember that I have no interest in working on a farm or in a factory. I’ve done both and they both suck. So I guess my question to you, Nik, is who do you imagine that you are speaking for? Who exactly is it that you want to consign to a life of low paid factory work? Have you even bothered to ask them?

Sam Grove December 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

So history started with WWII?

You persist in being narrow in perspective as well as totally boring.

vikingvista December 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

In the beginning, Germany invaded Poland. Poland was without form, and void…

Jack Fraser December 1, 2011 at 11:53 am

A formerly great city like Cleveland? Really Nikolai, Cleveland?

Randy December 1, 2011 at 11:55 am


Jon Murphy December 1, 2011 at 11:56 am

Poor Cleveland. Can’t get no love

msprout December 1, 2011 at 2:10 am

Another clear cut case of pearls before swine. BTW, The real Dandy Don would tell you that , yes, Cleveland is out of it, but Detroit still has a shot, even w/o Suh. Also, your tone and language reveals a lack of class and vocabulary skills. In the words of Sir Charles, you are clearly a teribl knucklehead – just sayin.

Niall McGinness December 1, 2011 at 2:18 am

Empty factories can be a sign of cultural progress just as empty farms are.

anthonyl December 1, 2011 at 11:23 am

We should recognize the industries that have replaced outdated pieces of capital.  Retail stores, software companies and hardware design firms dominate my landscape.  The processing plants that used to produce canned food products are all gone, converted into housing or demolished.  No one misses them.  I work in an industry that didn’t exist when those plants churned at their peak.  Things change, it is not a sign of impending doom.

Invisible Backhand December 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm

And the homeless are a sign of prosperty. You praxeologists are a gullible bunch.

Invisible Backhand December 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Prosperty is when the religion of private property destroys prosperity.

anthonyl December 2, 2011 at 3:18 am

What is the religion of private property? Religion is faith. No one has to believe in or have faith in it because the proof is there for all to see. People don’t need faith that when thy purchase a home, car or computer that it is their’s. They need only fear socialists would take it away from them.

Stone Glasgow December 2, 2011 at 8:42 am

Private property is an idea. A good one. But it’s best not to imagine that it is an obviously correct idea.

Greg Webb December 2, 2011 at 9:06 am

A person who can be deprived of his or her property has no liberty and may easily be deprived of his or her life. Private property, Stone, is a fundamental and essential right, not just a good idea.

Stone Glasgow December 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

How do you know that it is a fundamental right?

Stone Glasgow December 2, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I think rights are agreed upon when people choose to live together, and property rights are one of the things many groups agree upon. Some groups do not. Is it logical to assume the groups that choose to avoid all private property rights are wrong to do so?

Sam Grove December 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

How can you be so stupid?

Greg Webb December 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Stick around and he will outdo himself.

anthonyl December 2, 2011 at 3:37 am

That is the first time I’ve heard that term used or rather misused on this site.
Most homeless would never have a home even if it was bought and paid for. They certainly can’t afford one but so what? Many people rent shelter and don’t “own” a house. Almost any homeless person can’t take care of themselves much less a home. Some people just aren’t capable of the complex tasks that must be completed on a daily basis to maintain one. Let’s not pretend that all people are equally capable. Let’s not pretend that more prosperity can solve every problem. But that’s not really the point. I don’t advocate a free society to ensure that every last person has all the amenities we precieve they should. I advocate for a free society because it doesn’t force anyone against their will and results in the most prosperity for the most people.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 3:08 am

off topic but on target

some think no hoarding is taking place

calculated risk has the NY Fed data on declining consumer debt


Economic Freedom December 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

Nikolai is very accomplished.

He has a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D., but no J.O.B.

Jon Murphy December 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thanks to Bush’s economic policies. LOL. What’s the difference between a slave and a Taco Bell worker? Slaves were treated better. LOL.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 4:36 am

The 25 Least Influential People Alive


Don missed the list this year, but 2012 should give him his breakthru

Someone has gotten to count all those unpublished letters to the Editor

Economic Freedom December 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

Nikolai has risen from obscurity and is headed for oblivion.

Jon Murphy December 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Economic Freedom, glad to see you jumped ship and wised up. If you were a lady, I’d want to dance naked with ya.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 4:42 am
Economic Freedom December 1, 2011 at 6:53 am

Years ago, Nikolai was an unknown failure — now he’s a known failure.

vidyohs December 1, 2011 at 6:18 am

The day I made the biggest advance in understanding the issues talked about here on the Cafe is the day that I learned to personalize every conversation about the issues.

In other words when the political or social glitteratti talked about trade, they were talking about my daily actions at the micro level, not just about factories or stock markets. Trade regulations affect me personally, so I take the issues very seriously.

That is also when Og and Mog came into the picture, all we see today as social and culture issues those two began to experience and made the first steps to resolve. Life is a big circle and it hasn’t closed yet, we are still drawing the line.

Darren December 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Life is a big circle and it hasn’t closed yet, we are still drawing the line.

Ah. You have a circle, but are drawing a line. No wonder it never gets closed.

vidyohs December 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Ummmm, dude. You embarrass yourself. You think there is only straight lines?

Jon Murphy December 1, 2011 at 7:23 am

I’m glad to see others talking about the culture exchange aspect of trade, in my opinion, the most import part of trade. Trade brings us closer as humans.

Dances with Wolves December 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

You mean closer as in dance naked? You try to titillate, but you lack any sex appeal whatsoever. If fact, you are repulsive to talk to and to look at. Keep your distance or I’ll report you to the cops, you Sandusky lookalike.

anthonyl December 1, 2011 at 9:38 am

Trade is the only way to create wealth.  It is the reason humans interact with each other.  It is what separates us from any other animal.  Free non-coerced trade has led to human civilization as we know it today.  Language, art, literature, science, architecture and engeneering can all be traced back to trade.  The existance of civilization makes no sense without it.  We are creative creatures and we trade the products of this creativity to enrich ourselves and others.  Sure, there’s a lot of noise in the process but it is the underling activity of humans.  It is how we act to improve our state of being.
Eliminate free trade and you destroy civilization. 
This is how the Romans Fell.  The government imposed such price restrictions on goods flowing into the city that producers were never able to improve their methods and eventually had to stop trading with city dwellers.  The city’s poor and even rich had to move out to the surrounding areas to survive, creating the less trade friendly manorial system of the medieval period and thus weakening the entire empire leaving it vulnerable to attack.
By understanding the importance of trade we will avoid a similar fate,

Fred December 1, 2011 at 10:42 am

By understanding the importance of trade we will avoid a similar fate

The only thing consistent about history is that it repeats itself.

anthonyl December 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

Unfortunately, I suspect your right but we have never before had such access to knowledge and understanding of what maintains and advances a continuous line of progress. We have never before been such a connected world. Fighting ignorance is what we need to work on.
The idea that socialism is the answer is rampant. Socialist ideas should be identified and demolished.

Fred December 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Knowledge doesn’t matter if it is ignored. That is why history repeats itself. Because it is ignored.

Socialism is appealing because it means everyone gets to live at the expense of everyone else. That is also why it doesn’t work, because eventually there is no more “everyone else”, and just “everyone”.

But that won’t stop it from being repeated. Nope. There are different people in charge. They’ll get it right.

anthonyl December 2, 2011 at 3:50 am

Don’t let that stop you! With a lot of work you can make a few people understand. Keep cool, avoid argument and push for a discussion.

Darren December 1, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Access to knowledge and willingness to use it are two different things.

anthonyl December 2, 2011 at 3:59 am

I get down about it too. It seems like it’s easier to just give in. I feel like I’m the looney person advocating for free markets when they are the whole reason anyone is alive today. Wow, how’s that for hyperbole?

SaulOhio December 1, 2011 at 9:59 am

You must really be hitting a nerve to call out the trolls so much. It means you must be doing something right.

Keep up the good work.

Faustomics December 1, 2011 at 10:23 am

Awesome, Don. And please consider this from the great Chodorov too, describing his lifelong knowledge of and passion for Henry George’s Progess and Poverty:

“George is the apostle of individualism; he teaches the ethical basis of private property; he stresses the function of capital in an advancing civilization; he emphasizes the greater productivity of voluntary cooperation in a free market economy, the moral degeneration of a people subjected to state direction and socialistic conformity. His is the philosophy of free enterprise, free trade, free men.”
- Education for a Free Society, 1941, pp 36–37

anthonyl December 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

A true advocate of advancing our human society. As opposed to those who use fear and ignorance to coopt society for their own benefit.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

Chodorov—- A true advocate of advancing our human society

horse hockey

Chodorov wanted to sell parts for gas chambers to Hitler

He opposed WWII and instead thought we should have open trade with the Nazis

Faustomics December 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Dear Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises:

It’s clear you have strong opinions. What is your opinion then of Henry George, and his work entitled Progress and Poverty?

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

it is very easy to observe conditions when an economy is not working as it fairly should. George was, apparently a great observer and strong advocate against the conditions he saw

How you go from what he saw to being a libertarian is beyond me.

His insights on solutions were not insightful enough to solve the problems he observed. His land tax was right in that he was trying to target wealth, but limited for he did not see other approaches (taxes on property and casualty insurance premiums might be better than a land tax).

Since there are so many better thinkers about the same problem, people with experience in the trenches, why would one read him as opposed to studying FDR, Truman, and Johnson

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 11:58 am

Breaking News !!!!!!!!!!!

We interrupt this blog to with breaking news from the WSJ, which is reporting on:

China’s Superior Economic Model

Andy Stern, writes:

The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model—so successful in the 20th century—is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA’s results—a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1%—are pathetic.

This should motivate leaders to rethink, rather than double down on an empirically failing free-market extremism. As painful and humbling as it may be, America needs to do what a once-dominant business or sports team would do when the tide turns: study the ingredients of its competitors’ success.

While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China’s people-oriented development in Chongqing, a city of 32 million in Western China, which is led by an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader—Bo Xilai. A skyline of cranes are building roughly 1.5 million square feet of usable floor space daily—including, our delegation was told, 700,000 units of public housing annually.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government can boast that it has established in Western China an economic zone for cloud computing and automotive and aerospace production resulting in 12.5% annual growth and 49% growth in annual tax revenue, with wages rising more than 10% a year.


Ken December 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm

So emigrate.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

another fantasy fact exposed

The bad loans were not GSE’s

The third graph shows the origination percentage by product and year. This is a reminder that the worst of the worst loans were private label and were made in 2005 and 2006.

For those challenged by charts, they are colored, so you the children here will be entertained


rbd December 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I would love to see a post by Don or Russ on this article.


In a nutshell, the U.S. must adopt more, not less centralized planning to be successful – a system more like China’s. And why is this article in today’s Wall St Journal exactly?

Jon Murphy December 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

It is an opinion piece, not an article. The author is a former head of one of the largest labor unions in America, so it makes sense he’d like more central planning.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools December 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

They occasionally publish demonic missives as tribute to the barbarians at the gate.

anthonyl December 2, 2011 at 4:09 am

Why would anyone think the head of a huge company is a free-market advocate?

GrizzlyAdam December 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

While the content from Don and Russ is still worth reading, the comments (once insightful) are utter garbage these days.

Greg Webb December 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Just don’t read the comments from the trolls.

Grinless December 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I agree – The comment section has gone downward lately

Faustomics December 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

@Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 1:30 pm

“Since there are so many better thinkers about the same problem, people with experience in the trenches, why would one read him as opposed to studying FDR, Truman, and Johnson”

Reply link to your post disappeared so continuing here…

Yes, better thinkers like modern-day economists (not politicians/thespians such as those you cite), right? For example:


Sadly you are grossly misinformed the spirit and intent of Progress and Poverty. Be honest, have you even read it? If so, did you read his original 1879 version or the updated abridged version?

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises December 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm

I have only read excerpts

what did my synopsis miss

Greg Webb December 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Excellent quote! All protectionism does is make American companies unwilling and unable to maintain a competitive edge with innovative and desirable products and services versus their local and foreign competition. It delays the day of reckoning until their competitive edge and innovation skills are gone and catching up is too expensive, which leaves bankrupt companies, empty buildings, and a stubborn core of former workers unwilling to change.

JWH December 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Another view.

The thesis is Andy Stern is an Idiot. Tend to agree.

Stone Glasgow December 2, 2011 at 8:44 am

Trade helps everyone if we are all equals. Adults. Unregulated trade hurts children and idiots if they do not have benevolent guardians.

Greg Webb December 2, 2011 at 9:12 am

Nah. Children and the mentally impaired trade lunches, candy, baseball cards, etc. without parental or other adult supervision and without ill effect. Trade is always good. Theft is not.

Stone Glasgow December 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm

If idiots and geniuses attempt to engage in free trade, abuse is a common result if viewed by a genius observer. If children are trading baseball cards on the playground and valuing some as much as their bicycles, is it okay for an adult to bring thousands of cards to the market and end up with all the bicycles?

vance armor December 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Don — the Chodorov quote applies just as much to patents and copyrights as it does to wage and price administrative regulation by government administrative agencies, by the way. Time to start taking on the grotesque rent-seeking in the pharmaceutical industry — the worst drug pushers of all.

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