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A Curious Fatality

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

David Brooks’s column today is entitled “The Fatal Conceit.”  That’s the title also of the last book written by the late Nobel laureate economist F.A. Hayek.  On page 76 of that 1988 book, Hayek notes that “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

That so many economists today have abandoned this task is unfortunate.  The scholars best able to expose the vanities and delusions of those who believe that fantasy can be engineered into reality if only enough centrally directed coercion is employed are falling down on the job.  Let us hope that the result isn’t fatal.

Donald J. Boudreaux