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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 30 of George Stigler‘s 1964 article “The Tactics of Economic Reform,” as it is reprinted as Chapter 3 of Stigler’s 1975 collection, The Citizen and the State: Essays on Regulation:

The best scholars are not the best reformers.  A scholar ought to be tolerably open-minded, unemotional, and rational.  A reformer must promote paradise if his reform is adopted: a candid and qualified estimate of the effects of a given public policy would never arouse a majority from inertia….  It follows that reformers care little for meticulous scholars – and use only those parts of the scholars’ work which fit their needs – very much the way that theatrical advertisements present selected adjectives from the reviews.  The scholars are normally contemptuous of the reformers, whose scholarly attainments are indeed usually amateur.  Reform and research seldom march arm in arm.


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