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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 128 of the hot-of-the-press (2020) splendid work – co-published last month by the Adam Smith Institute and AIER – by Deirdre McCloskey and Alberto Mingardi, The Myth of the Entrepreneurial State [2] (footnotes deleted; links added):

A person of sense trying to understand the nature of a complex modern economy arrives quickly at a certain humility [3]. Which would not describe Mariana Mazzucato. The American columnist and political thinker George Will recently summarized Hayek’s central idea of proper humility [4], against top-down State steering: “Human beings are limited in what they can know about their situation, and governments composed of human beings are limited in their comprehension of society’s complexities. The simple, indisputable truth is that everyone knows almost nothing about almost everything.” Though he was the first among economists to draw particular attention to it, such sobering thought is not original with Hayek. It is implied by every thinker who has gotten beyond being a statist epigone of Plato’s Republic or The Laws (and not simply a footnote, as we all are, to Plato’s vision of philosophy). An economist who lacks such humility believes she can engineer the world, set up an ideal New Republic, imagine into existence a worldly-philosopher king manipulating her fellow citizens. Easy.

DBx: I say again: You show me someone who sincerely advocates industrial policy as a means of improving overall economic performance and I’ll show you someone with a god-complex – someone who believes that he or she has supernatural access to knowledge, or can provide such access to others.

Such soothsayers are taken seriously in polite society for the same reason that fortune tellers working with crystal balls are taken seriously among a certain kind of people: the will to believe in such miracles overpowers reason.

I’m quite certain that the book pictured above has in it as much practical, useful, and accurate information as does any book or position paper you’ll ever read in support of industrial policy.

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