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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 311 of F.A. Hayek’s 1968 lecture “Competition As a Discovery Procedure,” as reprinted in The Market and Other Orders (Bruce Caldwell, ed., 2014) – a collection of some of Hayek’s most influential essays:

Misinterpretation of the market order as an economy that can and ought to satisfy different needs in a certain order of priority, shows itself particularly in the area of policy to correct prices and incomes in the interest of what is called ‘social justice.’  Whatever meaning social philosophers have attached to this concept, in the practice of economic policy it has almost always meant one thing, and one thing only: the protection of certain groups against the necessity to descend from the absolute or relative material position which they have for sometime enjoyed.  Yet this is not a principle on which it is possible to act generally without destroying the foundation of the market order.  Not only continuous increase, but in certain circumstances even mere maintenance of the existing level of incomes, depends on adaptations to unforeseen changes.  This necessarily involves the relative, and perhaps even the absolute, share of some having to be reduced, although they are in no way responsible for the reduction.