≡ Menu

Our Economy Is Not a Child’s Erector Set

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the New York Times:

Like Gail Collins, I was unimpressed with George Bush’s speech yesterday to the Economic Club of New York (“George Speaks, Badly,” March 15).

But I disagree with Ms. Collins that “in times of crisis you would like to at least believe your leader has the capacity to pretend he’s in control.”  A defining characteristic of this economy that produces such enormous abundance for us all (and yes, despite the current downturn, it continues to produce prodigiously) is that no one is “in control.”  Indeed, no one could possibly be “in control.”  A far greater danger to Americans’ prosperity than a President with a poor speaking style and a penchant for standard-fare political shenanigans is the spread of the belief that economic salvation lies in having someone “in control.”

Donald J. Boudreaux

Remember, no one knows, no one has ever known, and no one can possibly know, all that is necessary to make even the ubiquitous commercial-grade pencil.  It’s astonishing how prevalent is the view that economies are “run” by people pulling levers — or should be, or could be, run by people pulling levers.  This misconception is the economics equivalent of the belief that the earth is flat, or that volcanoes won’t erupt if they are fed a sufficient number of virgins.


Next post:

Previous post: