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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 173 of Thomas Sowell’s 1983 book, The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspective (original emphasis):

[P]olitical systems give expression to beliefs, often at negligible cost, while economic systems are constrained by the hard realities and thus impose substantial costs for being wrong and confer substantial benefits for being right.

DBx: The persons who Sowell has in mind as experiencing the consequences of their decisions are individual decision-makers. When individuals make political decisions, too often the bulk of the costs of these decisions not only fall on other people, but fall in a manner as to be spread across multitudes of other people.

Each individual upon whom such a cost is imposed therefore typically doesn’t realize that he or she is bearing this cost, because for him or her that cost is very small and comes amidst countless other changes. But even when the person does ‘feel’ this cost and correctly identifies its source, it’s usually so small in comparison with the additional costs that would have to be borne to resist its imposition as to make resistance worthwhile.

Politics, in short, allows each of us to live at each other’s expense. This politics-enabled socialization of the costs of decisions, by largely shielding each person from the costs of taking decisions, results in the taking of far more bad decisions than would occur absent this socialization of costs. The ironic outcome is that, overall, each person is weighted down with far heavier net costs than he or she would bear were fewer decisions made politically.

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