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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 236 of Benjamin Rogge’s January 1965 paper “Job Creation … Whose Job Is It?” as this paper is reprinted in A Maverick’s Defense of Freedom, the 2010 collection of Rogge’s essays that is edited by Dwight Lee:

Whose task is it to create jobs then? No one’s; the jobs to be done are implicit in the wants of the consumers. The only problem is to find the appropriate mechanism for bringing workers and jobs together.

DBx: Yes.

As long as people have wants that aren’t completely fulfilled – which is to say, as long as people breathe – there will be jobs to do. Advocates of protectionism and industrial policy believe that the best mechanism for matching employment with want-fulfillment is conscious government direction. Our leaders are presumed to know not only just what is the ranking, as well as what are the weights, of our different preferences, but also how best to fulfill as many of these preferences as possible.

Protectionists – and any ‘leaders’ who follow their advice – are arrogant beyond description. Such knowledge could be had in one mind, or in one committee of minds, only if the mind or minds in question belong to gods. The knowledge that must be had is dispersed widely. The only method yet known for gathering and processing this knowledge in ways that lead to tolerably good outcomes in societies consisting of more than a few hundred people is the market price system. It is this system – or large swathes of it – that protectionists and industrial policyists wish to override with their own puny minds. What arrogance!

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