Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on April 10, 2014

in Other People's Money, Politics

… is from page 314 of Richard Posner’s 2001 book, Frontiers of Legal Theory:

It is necessary to distinguish between two types of belief, the notional and the action-impelling.  The distinction corresponds to that between cheap talk and credible commitment (“putting your money where your mouth is”).

Political and academic talk is indeed too-often cheap.  And cheap talk, especially when lubricated by cheap beliefs, is a source of significant negative externalities – negative externalities such as legislatively imposed minimum wages, “equal pay” regulations, trade restrictions, and a huge slew of other government actions.  By far, the most consistently trustworthy pollster or ‘discoverer’ of what people truly want is the market.


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