Quotation of the Day…

(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 168 of Tom Palmer’s 2007 paper titled “Twenty Myths about Markets” (which was written for a Mont Pelerin meeting in Nairobi), as this paper is reprinted in Tom’s important 2009 book, Realizing Freedom:

Moreover, there is no “well balanced” middle of the road. State interventions into the market typically lead to distortions and even crises, which then are used as excuses for yet more interventions, thus driving policy one direction or another.

DBx: Tom here identifies yet another danger posed by state obstruction of peaceful activities. People are not pawns on a chessboard which, when moved from here to there by the visible hand, remain obediently in place until moved again by the visible hand. Instead, each of us has desires that we wish to fulfill and, when one path to fulfillment of a desire is blocked, we typically search for, and find, other paths.

These other paths are as numerous as human beings are creative. There is simply no way for the mind that is attached to the visible hand to know which other paths will be discovered or forged. And so the visible-hand’s mind will inevitably be surprised and disappointed to discover that its own scheme for the arrangement of society isn’t working out quite as that mind anticipated. The visible-hand’s mind thus intervenes again, in ways not originally anticipated, hoping to correct for the unanticipated reactions of the willful and unruly pawns.

The sequence repeats, with the results on the ground differing ever-more from the beautiful blueprint that originally motivated the intervention of visible-hand’s mind.


The screenshot above is from this report in today’s New York Times. Of course, the NYT passes this measure off as being caused chiefly by “the pandemic” rather than by the government’s massive crushing of economic, income-earning opportunities. Whatever.

Property owners along with people seeking housing will each respond to this obstruction of property rights in detailed ways that the wielders of visible fists in Albany cannot possibly anticipate. Many of the unruly pawns will be portrayed as enemies of the people for disrupting the goals of Albany’s well-intentioned fists. And the fists will then come smashing down again, this time in response to this unruliness – and in ways that none of the fists originally expected would be necessary.

Read the Full Article here: >Cafe HayekCafe Hayek