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Quotation of the Day…

Posted By Don Boudreaux On June 13, 2013 @ 7:42 am In Adam Smith,Complexity & Emergence,Dinner Table Economics,Property Rights | Comments Disabled

… is from Mike Munger’s August 2005 EconLib essay, “Everybody Loves Mikey [1]” (original emphasis):

The answer – markets create interdependencies without forcing subjugation, or even allowing abuse – was one of the key insights of Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. [2]  He said: [3] ”Observe the accommodation of the most common artificer or day-labourer in a civilized and thriving country, and you will perceive that the number of people of whose industry a part, though but a small part, has been employed in procuring him this accommodation, exceeds all computation.”  In advanced market economies, we are all dependent on others in ways we may not even have thought of.

Of course, I would prefer the “Everyone loves Mikey!” explanation.  If I am treated well, it should be because I am special.  The fact that markets create dependencies without subjugation means that I am served well for the benefit of the server; other market participants are prevented from treating me badly not by their good character but by their desire for profits.

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[1] Everybody Loves Mikey: http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2005/Mungerinvisiblehand.html

[2] The Wealth of Nations.: http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN.html

[3] said:: http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN1.html#B.I, Ch.1, Of the Division of Labor, invisible hand

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