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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 13 of David Schmidtz’s hot-off-the-press 2023 book, Living Together (original emphasis):

What we need to avoid is not mistakes per se so much as being slow to admit mistakes. Being quick to admit mistakes, thus quick to learn, drives progress.

DBx: Yes. And in this insight there is yet another lesson for industrial policyists. For their schemes to have even a remote prospect of working as well as free markets at improving the public welfare, the government officials in possession of the discretionary power both to spend other people’s money and to impose restrictions on how other people spend their own money must have access to reliable knowledge about how well or poorly their subsidies and trade restrictions are working. Yet because these officials censor many market signals, and ignore many other such signals that are not censored, these officials receive no good or timely feedback about the performance of their schemes.

Furthermore, because neither the benefits nor the costs of the decisions made by industrial-policy mandarins are concentrated on those mandarins – these benefits and costs are dispersed across the country’s entire population – these mandarins will be much slower than are private entrepreneurs and investors to admit their errors and take corrective action even when evidence of error arises.

The bottom line is that anyone who argues that industrial policy is a sound means of improving the performance of the overall economy is someone who believes in miracles.


Industrial policyists are very much like the archer depicted here.

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