Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 1, 2014

in Complexity & Emergence, Growth, Innovation

… is from page 320 of 2006 Nobel laureate Edmund Phelps’s 2013 book, Mass Flourishing: How Grassroots Innovation Created Jobs, Challenge, and Change:

[T]he provision of private benefits to special interest groups leads not simply to some inefficiency but to a culture that undermines the spirit of aspiration and discovery that is required for economic dynamism.  Putting an end to a wanton disregard for the costliness of special interest legislation is likely to be a necessary condition for sustained dynamism.

Yes.  I add only – in the spirit of Deirdre McCloskey’s work – that causality runs also in the opposite direction: a culture increasingly hostile to discovery and economic dynamism leads to greater demand for – or, at least, toleration of – special-interest legislation to protect the incomes of existing, identifiable, ‘seen’ groups.

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