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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 186 of Joseph Epstein’s 1999 book, Narcissus Leaves the Pool:

I don’t mean to sound like a University of Chicago economist, but perhaps no better forcing house for talent exists than the marketplace.

DBx: Unquestionably so. Yet very many policies – in place and proposed – thwart the marketplace’s capacity to spark, intensify, polish, and productively channel talent.

For instance: Protective tariffs and subsidies. These policies reduce competitive pressures on entrepreneurs, investors, managers, and workers. Talent is dimmed. Many innovations that would create new goods and services, or that would that reduce the amount of resources used to produce existing goods and services, never happen, or happen later than they would have happened absent the tariffs or subsidies. This preemptive elimination or delay of innovations cannot be measured with any accuracy, for that which doesn’t happen is unseen. Visible, measurable, actual reality might then appear to ‘work’ just as the proponents of tariffs and subsidies predicted. “Look! See the manufacturing jobs?! See the high wages earned by manufacturing workers?! See here on our shores the gleaming factories churning out microchips, steel, home appliances, and automobiles?! See the fall in our trade deficit?! Isn’t it wonderful?! See how industrial policy works?! And you ideology-blinded market-fundamentalist no-think neoliberal economists said that we industrial-policy advocates are mistaken! Ha! Shows what you know!”