Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 10, 2018

in Virginia Political Economy

… is from page 96 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s 1977 paper “Law and the Invisible Hand,” as this paper is reprinted in Moral Science and Moral Order (2001), Vol. 17 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan (footnote deleted):

Sir Dennis Robertson put the same point somewhat differently when he said that the economists’ task was that of showing how to minimize the use of that scarcest of all resources, love.  And he urged his fellow economists to emit warning barks whenever they observed proposals that required love for their effective implementation.

DBx: This important point can be generalized.  ‘That scarcest of all resources’ might indeed be love, but almost equally scarce are three more such resources: awareness, attention, and knowledge.  That which a person doesn’t know, and those of whom a person is unaware, simply cannot factor into a person’s decision-making calculus in the same detailed and nuanced ways that those things that, and those people whom, a person does know enter into that person’s decision-making calculus.


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