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No Man of System

Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday to the Washington Post:

George Will wisely warns that government micromanagement of the economy will be followed by consequences both unintended and undesirable (“‘Shock And Awe’ Statism,” May 31).  The economy is vastly more complex than such planners suppose.Writing in 1698, Charles Davenant criticized the arrogance of such planners: “It is hard to trace all the circuits of trade, to find its hidden recesses, to discover its original springs and motions, and to shew what mutual dependence all traffics have one upon the other.  And yet, whoever will categorically pronounce that we get or lose by any business, must know all this, and besides, have a very deep insight into many other things.”*

Donald J. Boudreaux

* Charles Davenant, Discourses on Publick Revenues (1698), p. 388.