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Rue Britannia

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


You rightly lament Britain’s refusal to escape the enterprise-crushing statism of its high-tax, high-spending, and high-inflation governing regime (“The Bad Alternative to Trussonomics,” Oct. 18).

In 1955 F.A. Hayek, speaking about Britain years after that nation embarked on its ill-conceived journey down the gloomy, no-growth path paved with oppressive taxation, enervating largess, and idiotic nationalization of many industries – a journey that Margaret Thatcher decades later reversed only partly – wrote that “I do not doubt … that for countries who are striving to rise, or to recover the wealth they have lost, the stimulus to all individual energies that the reign of freedom brings alone will lead to the goal.”*

So true – and yet so ignored by too many Brits. It’s a shame that the country that served as capitalism’s cradle seems determined now to be one of its coffins.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

* F.A. Hayek, “The Political Ideal of the Rule of Law,” Commemoration Lecture of the National Bank of Egypt, Cairo, 1955; reprinted as Chapter Five of Hayek, The Market and Other Orders, Bruce Caldwell, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014). The quotation above appears on page 125.