Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hazlitt on Economic and Political Literacy

Hazlitt, in his 'Economics in One Lesson', has many interesting things to say, things which really should be learnt and understood by those who take our money or want to decide how to spend it. One observation he makes is the following,

"Finally, by the greatest miracle of all, this world of superinternational controls and coercions is also going to be a world of "free" international trade! Just what the government planners mean by free trade in this connection I am not sure, but we can be sure of some of the things they do not mean. They do not mean the freedom of ordinary people to buy and sell, lend and borrow, at whatever prices or rates they like and wherever they find it most profitable to do so. They do not mean the freedom of the plain citizen to raise as much of a given crop as he wishes, to come and go at will, to settle where he pleases, to take his capital and other belongings with him. They mean, I suspect, the freedom of bureaucrats to settle these matters for him."

That seems pretty clear, and sounds about right.

3 comments:

Vincent said...

At first I thought you were quoting from the celebrated essayist William Hazlitt, but it didn't look like his style. Who this guy is, I don't know.

CIngram said...

Neither did I, but I came across his book while trying to understand what money is, and I was struck by these lines. Not by the style, just by the simplicity and clarity of them.

Vincent said...

After the initial disappointment of its not being William Hazlitt, I do agree with you, at least from the extract you show.