… is from page 72 of David Mamet’s new 2022 book, Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch:
The danger of a command economy is not that mistakes will be made but that they will not be corrected.
DBx: Government officials who use their power to override market processes in order to impose their own economic plans do not spend their own money. Further, these officials win power by presenting themselves as being singularly inspired and blessed with extraordinary vision. The stated purpose used to justify any of their schemes is to replace with a ‘rational’ or ‘common-good’ plan what they portray as mindless or chaotic or myopic or greed-fueled private actions.
Failure of any such scheme – whether that scheme be full-on socialism or industrial policy or some other species of economic arrogance – to live up to its hype, because it costs the planners nothing personally, is attributed to subversion, or to insufficient vigor in pursuing the plan, or to weather – to anything other than any fault in the plan itself. How, after all, could the plan be faulty given that it is the product of the minds of uniquely public-spirited geniuses? So the state doubles-down on pursuit of the plan. In doing so, it identifies enemies of the plan – speculators, financiers, billionaires, “the elite,” the bourgeoisie, foreigners, long-dead economists, or often (because of its rigor, my favorite!) “greed.”
As evidenced by the short and not-so-sweet run of CNN-Plus, no such folly occurs when economic processes are guided by markets, with individuals and firms investing their own money, and with consumers – also spending their own money – being free to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as they choose.