Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on May 8, 2014

in Complexity & Emergence, Growth, Hayek, Inequality

… is from pages 139-140 of the 1976 Vol. II (“The Mirage of Social Justice”) of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty:

Nobody capable of useful work need today lack food and shelter in the advanced countries, and for those incapable of themselves earning enough these necessities are generally provided outside the market.  Poverty in the relative sense must of course continue to exist outside of any completely egalitarian society: so long as there exists inequality, somebody must be at the bottom of the scale.  But the abolition of absolute poverty is not helped by the endeavour to achieve ‘social justice’; in fact, in many of the countries in which absolute poverty is still an acute problem, the concern for ‘social justice’ has become one of the greatest obstacles in the elimination of poverty.  In the West the rise of the great masses to tolerable comfort has been the effect of the general growth of wealth and has been merely slowed down by measures interfering with the market mechanism….  But the attempts to ‘correct’ the results of the market in the direction of ‘social justice’ have probably produced more injustice in the form of new privileges, obstacles to mobility and frustration of efforts than they have contributed to the alleviation of the lot of the poor.

Today is the 115th anniversary of Hayek‘s birth.

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