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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 589 of Deirdre McCloskey’s Fall 2018 Cato Journal article, “Bauer on Culture and the Great Enrichment [2]” (links added; citation deleted):

[Peter] Bauer [3] was therefore not misled, as so many economists are, by the litany of “imperfections” in the market, of which I have recently counted fully 110 imagined since 1848 [4] – monopoly, externalities, inadequate aggregate demand, irrational consumers, informational asymmetries, and on and on, recently bearing fruit in many a Nobel Memorial Prize. Not one of them – startlingly in what purports to be a serious empirical science – has been shown to be a substantial obstacle to economic progress, except on the blackboard. All are used to recommend corrective governmental action by saintly geniuses able to predict and therefore to engineer the future without flaw for the good of us all. As Comte, the master of such thinking, put it in 1830, Savoir pour prévoir, afin de pouvoir, “Know in order to predict, to be able to act with power” in the state. Meanwhile the highly “imperfect” economy, chiefly by ignoring the statist advice of the increasing number of illiberal economists, yielded a Great Enrichment from 1800 and especially from 1848 to the present of 3,000 percent more goods and services for the poorest among us, uniquely in economic history.

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