Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 18, 2015

in Economics

… is from pages 235-236 of my former professor Leland Yeager’s 1999 paper “The Moral Element in Mises’ Human Action,” which is a chapter in Human Action: A 50-Year Tribute (Richard B. Ebeling, ed., 2000):

It is too much to expect that most people should actively understand economics; perhaps it suffices if they have the humility to recognize their ignorance and refrain from destructively imposing its consequences.

Still, it is important that enough people do get economics straight and disseminate its teachings.  That requires subtle insights and a perspective different from those of the layperson.  Its conclusions are counterintuitive, and fallacies pervade public opinion.  Most do not understand the law of unintended consequences.  Economic ignorance is so widespread and its consequences so frightening that, as [Israel] Kirzner said, reducing it “becomes a goal invested with independent moral worth.”  Economic education serves a human goal of such importance that “passionate concern becomes … a morally natural phenomenon.”


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