Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 21, 2019

in Complexity & Emergence, Creative destruction, Trade

… is from page 198 of Deirdre McCloskey’s excellent 2019 book, Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All:

The theory of great wealth espoused by the bourgeoisie and by its friends the liberal economists, on the contrary [to other theories of enrichment], is desert by virtue in supplying ethically, without coercion, what people are willing to buy.

DBx: Yes, and it’s a theory that’s both correct as a positive matter and one that conduces to attractive normative conclusions.

In contrast, the theory of great wealth espoused by protectionists is desert by virtue of possessing a current occupation along with the ability to persuade the state to coerce other people to continue to purchase, at undiminished prices, the outputs of those ‘productive’ activities. It’s a theory that’s both incorrect as a positive matter and one that conduces to ugly normative conclusions.

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