Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 12, 2022

in Economics, Hayek, Reality Is Not Optional

… is from page 173 of F.A. Hayek’s 1950 essay “Economics,” written for Chambers’s Encyclopaedia, as this essay is reprinted as chapter 11 in Essays on Liberalism and the Economy (2022), which is volume 18 (expertly edited by Paul Lewis), of The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek:

The specific set of problems which is singled out for treatment by economics as a distinct discipline arises from the circumstance that in most of their activities men are constrained to choose between the various ends they would wish to achieve, because the available means which can be used for a variety of these ends are limited in quantity and insufficient to satisfy all requirements.

DBx: Yes.

Yet a great deal of government ‘policy’ is undertaken as if the constraint of scarcity can be escaped by magical thinking or merely because today’s majority wishes the constraint to disappear. The state, in the eyes of far too many people, possesses god-like powers to work miracles. Most such people commit what has been identified – I think by Matt Ridley – as the “reverse naturalistic fallacy,” which is the jejune belief that if something or some condition ought to exist, then that thing or condition can indeed be made to exist.

Add a Comment    Share Share    Print    Email

Previous post:

Next post: