Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on May 4, 2017

in Hubris and humility, Regulation

… is from page 40 of the 1989 the Regnery Gateway edition of the 1979 collection – Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow – of Ludwig von Mises’s Fall 1958 lectures in Buenos Aires:

413nlVJkSvL._AC_US436_QL65_The government wants to interfere in order to force businessmen to conduct their affairs in a different way than they would have chosen if they had obeyed only the consumers.  Thus, all the measures of interventionism by the government are directed toward restricting the supremacy of consumers.  The government wants to arrogate to itself the power, or at least a part of the power, which, in the free market economy is in the hands of the consumers.

DBx: Mises here exaggerated a bit when he said that all intervention is directed toward restricting the supremacy of consumers.  In principle, not all intervention is so directed, and even in practice we might find a handful of interventions that are not meant to have that consequence.  But it is surely true that the great bulk of interventions by the state into the market are as Mises here describes them.  Some of these many interventions that override consumer choices are driven by greedy rent-seekers and their cronies in government; others of these many interventions are driven by the arrogances of elites who fancy that they know better than ordinary people what is best for ordinary people.  All such interventions are an affront to people who cherish freedom.

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