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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 107 of Vol. II (“The Mirage of Social Justice” [1976]) of F.A. Hayek’s great three-volume work, Law, Legislation, and Liberty:

It is necessary now to examine more fully the special attributes possessed by the order of the market and the nature of the benefits we owe to it. This order serves our ends not merely, as all order does, by guiding us in our actions and by bringing about a certain correspondence between the expectations of the different persons, but also, in a sense which we must now make more precise, by increasing the prospects or chances of every one of a greater command over the various goods (i.e. commodities and services) than we are able to secure in any other way. We shall see, however, that this manner of co-ordinating individual actions will secure a high degree of coincidence of expectations and an effective utilization of the knowledge and skills of the several members only at the price of a constant disappointment of some expectations.

DBx: In other words, a society that ensures maximum possible prospects to everyone of enjoying high and growing standards of living has as a core rule the need of producers – including workers – to adjust to the demands of consumers. To the extent that this rule is violated – to the extent that some producers are protected by the state from having to adjust to the demands of consumers – society is less prosperous (and less free).

In a wealthy and otherwise economically dynamic country such as today’s United States, this rule can occasionally be broken in order to bestow unfair privileges on a handful of producers without the negative consequences being noticeable. But make no mistake that every firm, every industry, every worker shielded by tariffs, subsidies, and other interventions from the competitive market process is being allowed to break the rules of that process. Protected firms, industries, and workers receive benefits unjustly extracted from their fellow citizens.

And no matter how much pundits such as Oren Cass, or politicians such as Trump, Warren, or Schumer, plead moralizingly for the protection of existing firms and jobs from competition, recognize that all such pleas are pleas that some people be entitled to receive special privileges at the greater expense of their fellow citizens.