… is from page 371 of the final chapter of Matt Ridley’s splendid new (2020) book, How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom:
I repeat: the stories of innovation that I have documented in this book teach a lesson that it relies heavily on freedom. Innovation happens when ideas can meet and mate, when experiment is encouraged, when people and goods can move freely and when money can flow rapidly towards fresh concepts, when those who invest can be sure their rewards will not be stolen.
DBx: It’s too bad that this lesson has been learned by so few people. Very many people today ‘reason’ that if they can imagine in their heads economic outcomes that are (believed to be) better than those that prevail in the market – and if they can then describe with words in broad outline what these ‘better’ outcomes would look like – then they have made a solid case for using government coercion to override the private choices of millions of consumers and investors in order to engineer the economy toward these imagined ‘better’ outcomes.
Forget these people’s impertinence. Instead recognize that their intellectual achievement is akin to a dreamer who, fancying that it would be lovely for horses to fly, sketches some pictures of Pegasus and then charges biologists with the task of creating herds of such creatures posthaste.