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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 211 of the 1972 Nash Publishing edition of Felix Morley’s 1949 volume, The Power in the People:

Time and again, those who argued for competition have, in practice, leaned toward monopolistic operations.  Advocates of the free market have worked openly and surreptitiously for high tariffs and other governmental favors.  During the period of the National Industrial Recovery Act, businessmen, with honorable exceptions, indorsed and supported controls of production and prices that completely invalidated the tenets of free enterprise, even in the narrowly commercial sense of the phrase.  As defenders of a philosophy of liberty, the record of many captains of American industry is uninspiring.

Entrepreneurs and business firms are essential means to an innovative, flourishing economy that enables ordinary men and women to lead lives enriched by material abundance.  And profits, when earned in markets without restrictions on entry or exit, are economically indispensable to help guide the allocation of resources.  Profits are also (again as Warren Meyer explains) ethical as well as evidence that those who earn them have successfully improved the lives of their fellow human beings.  But it cannot be said too often that production and (hence) producers are means to the end of consumption.  No entrepreneur or business has a right to consumers’ dollars (or euros, or pesos, or yuan, or yen, or you name the currency).  Consumers do not exist or act to promote the well-being of producers; producers exist and act to promote the well-being of consumers.  Producers who succeed at this goal earn profits as rewards for these successes, but they are entitled only to the profits that they earn from the free spending choices of consumers.  Producers are not entitled to the continuing patronage of consumers.  Producers should be left free to compete for such patronage, but consumers should not be forced to bestow their patronage on any producers regardless of the how hard those producers work or how very sincerely those producers wish to remain in their current lines of enterprise or work.


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