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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 112 of Virginia Postrel’s superb and still-relevant 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies:

By dispersing knowledge and control, a dynamic society takes advantage of the human quest to create and discover. Dynamism allows the world to be enriched through the decentralized, trial-and-error experiments in which we all engage when left free to do so. While reactionaries seek rules that will ban change and technocrats want rules that will control outcomes, dynamists look for rules that let people forge new bonds, invent new institutions, and find better ways of doing things. Like the laws of physics and chemistry, which permit the simplest of particles to form complex combinations, dynamist rules allow us to create the bonds of life – to turn the atoms of our individual selves, our ideas, and the stuff of our material world into the complex social, intellectual, and technological molecules that make up our civilization.

DBx: Beautifully put.

This insight is one that is lost on proponents of industrial policy such as Oren Cass, Julius Krein, Mariana Mazzucato, Marco Rubio, and Elizabeth Warren. Industrial-policy proponents want to play god with the material of the social universe. They believe that only by conscious design – design usually along the particular lines that they fancy – can good social orders be formed.

Industrial-policy proponents might well have the motivations of a god. But because of their ignorance of sound economics and their obliviousness to the unfathomable details and complexity of the modern global economy, the consequences of industrial-policy proponents’ ideas are destined to be indistinguishable from those wrought by a devil.


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