Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 14, 2015

in State of Macro, The Economy

… is from David Ricardo.

My policy is, as it has always been, to use as Quotations of the Day (and as Bonus ones) only quotations that I’ve run across in my own readings.  For a variety of reasons I don’t take suggestions from readers – and that policy will not change.  But today I make an exception for an unsolicited suggestion that comes from a scholar whose work – and whose person – I admire unreservedly.  My dear and good friend Bob Higgs sent this suggestion from David Ricardo’s posthumously published [1824] “Observations on Parliamentary Reform“:

The quantity of employment in the country must depend, not only on the quantity of capital, but upon its advantageous distribution, and above all, on the conviction of each capitalist that he will be allowed to enjoy unmolested the fruits of his capital, his skill, and his enterprise.  To take from him this conviction is at once to annihilate half the productive industry of the country, and would be more fatal to the poor labourer than to the rich capitalist himself.

Ricardo here concisely summarizes (1) the Austrian understanding that an economy’s ‘microeconomic’ details at least match in importance any considerations of aggregate demand, and (2)  Bob Higgs’s own deep understanding of the depressing consequences of regime uncertainty.

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