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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 4 of the 1950 Augustus M. Kelley reprint of Philip Wicksteed’s magnificent 1910 work, The Common Sense of Political Economy (available here without charge):

We shall find that the economic relations constitute a machinery by which men devote their energies to the immediate accomplishment of each other’s purposes in order to secure the ultimate accomplishment of their own, irrespective of what those purposes of their own may be, and therefore irrespective of the egoistic or altruistic nature of the motives which dictate them and which stimulate efforts to accomplish them.

DBx: A market economy emerges when individuals are free to peacefully trade with each other and to the extent that individuals exercise this freedom. These exchanges can be ‘simple,’ as when Bill buys a loaf of bread from Betsy’s store, or complex, as when Bill, Betsy, Beatrice, and Bryan agree on the rules for their book club – or as when Bill, Betsy, Beatrice, Bryan, Bob, Beth, Ben, and Bettina agree to pool their funds in order to drain a mosquito-infested ditch that runs past each of their homes. (The range of contractual complexity is vast.)

One feature common to each and every market exchange is that each party furthers his or her own goals by agreeing to help other parties to the exchange further their own goals. What could be more sociable? What could be more humane? What could be more civilized, beautiful even?


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