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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 162 of Bas Van Der Vossen’s and Jason Brennan’s excellent 2018 book, In Defense of Openness (footnotes deleted; links added):

When people are poor, not only are they more likely to suffer from starvation or disease, but their ability to cope with bad weather and weather disasters is also much worse. We often hear that climate change may lead to more frequent and much worse severe superstorms. It may indeed, even if the United Nations recently release a report arguing that so far, it has not. But it’s worth noting that weather-related deaths have declined dramatically over the past century. Despite a much larger population, the absolute (not just relative) number of yearly weather-related deaths are only about one-fiftieth now what they were 80 years ago.

DBx: The historical record proves – as conclusively as any historical record can prove anything – that the economic growth brought over the past 200 or so years by market-driven innovism (to use Deirdre McCloskey’s proposed substitute term for “capitalism”) is by far humanity’s greatest and most reliable source of safety, cleanliness, and protection from physical harm. In contrast, the history of governments’ treatment of human beings is, shall we say, rather checkered.

“Ironic” does not fully capture the oddity of pursuing greater human safety by entrusting the state with power to rein in competitive, innovative markets.


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