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Quotation of the Day…

… is from the great economic historian Joel Mokyr; specifically, it’s from pages 124-125 of the interview with Mokyr that appears in Arnold Kling’s and Nick Schulz’s excellent 2009 book, From Poverty to Prosperity:

We didn’t create the laws of nature.  That God may have done.  But we use them, and we change the environment, and we change the way species look.  We did that long before we knew genetic engineering, you know.  God didn’t create poodles; we did.  But I see these arguments being made [for example, against genetic engineering].  They’re being made from a religious point of view – we shouldn’t be playing God – and they are being made from a populist point of view, which is that these new technologies will take people out of jobs and disrupt communities.  When people domesticated animals and went to organized agriculture, they disrupted the communities of hunters and gatherers.  These communities were hopelessly disrupted.  It wasn’t good for the guys who wanted to keep those communities, but that’s what technological progress is all about.  The Industrial Revolution disrupted communities like nothing before.