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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 101 of the 2015 Matthew Dale translation of Zhang Weiying’s superb 2010 book, The Logic of the Market:

The market has never tried to change human nature, and guardians of the market have never considered using the market to change human nature. Instead, precisely because human nature cannot be changed, the market economy exists, which is also the reason the market economy is necessary: It causes human actions to better conform to the requirements of virtue.

DBx: In markets each person has the ability to say “no” and to have that response respected. Each person, therefore, in markets gains by peacefully making offers to which other people say “yes.”

Matters differ greatly when a person acts through the state. Any individual with the ability to commandeer state power – to have that power used on his or her behalf – can override other people’s right to say “no.” Those with access to state power have no incentive to improve the welfare of all with whom they deal. Such people might – indeed, typically must – form coalitions with some others in order to accumulate enough influence to grab and use state power. But state power is valuable to those who possess it precisely because those who possess it can gain without having to improve the welfare of all people with whom they engage.


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