I always enjoy David Leonhardt’s economics writings for the New York Times. He sees and reports on interesting things. Fine. But, still, is it really too much to ask that a writer on economics take a look at the many thousands of books and millions of writings that demonstrate that there is a causal relationship between free markets and prosperity?
In his final column this week, he asks the big question: “What economic policies have succeeded before and are most likely to lead to the best life for the largest number of people?”
Promising! But then the answer comes. “Almost nothing is certain.” Still, he is pretty certain about this: “a market economy with a significant government role is the only proven model of success.” Well, let’s see: that covers just about every economy in existence for the last hundred years, excepting perhaps speedily growing Asian tigers in the 1980s, on one hand, and Stalin’s prison society on the other. Is there really nothing more to say?
Leonhardt then starts flailing around randomly. He brings up the horrors of laissez-faire, the importance of education, the dangers of global warming, the benefits of immigration, the dangers of debt, and so on. He might have added a few points about sun spots, tie widths, hair lengths, and yo-yo fashions too. So long as you throw out any notion of cause and effect, you can pretty much postulate that anything might be related to anything else.
This is a predictable conclusion for a blogpost on Mises.org: the whole column just makes you want to say with exasperation: “please read Mises.”