Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on July 28, 2012

in Great Depression, History, Man of System

… is from page 9 of Amity Shlaes’s must-read 2007 book about the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man:

One of the most famous Roosevelt phrases in history, almost as famous as “fear itself,” was Roosevelt’s boast that he would promulgate “bold, persistent experimentation.”  But Roosevelt’s commitment to experimentation itself created fear.

Yep.  And depressing fear it turned out to be – as Robert Higgs so carefully documents.

Substituting serially a handful of grandiose, one-size-fits-all schemes dreamed up by politicians – where no such scheme competes simultaneously with any other – forcibly eradicates tens, or even hundreds, of millions of individual private experiments undertaken simultaneously, each launched and guided by someone with his or her own money at stake and prohibited from forcing unwilling others to play along with any particular experiment.  Experimentation, therefore, of the sort that FDR championed was really neither so “bold” (as it was done with other people’s money and lives) nor “persistent” (as, at any time, it displaced myriad, individual, simultaneous experiments with one gargantuan ‘experiment.’)

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