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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17881/the-amazing-failure-to-see-the-incredibly-obvious/

The Amazing Failure to See the Incredibly Obvious

July 27, 2011 by

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.”

{ 6 comments }

jon July 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

i’m a small fish that takes on other small fish who read articles like his.

my reply is usually “mises.org learn something.”

Aftab Singh July 27, 2011 at 10:28 am

A rather unfortunate final article for him!

Walt D. July 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Failure to see the Incredibly Obvious. “please read Mises.”
Jack Nicholson’s famous rant from “A Few Good Men” comes to mind.
“You can’t handle the truth”.
Keynesian economists can not handle the truth.
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?”
Then he proceeds to spout a bunch of canned socialist dogma solutions , none of which have ever worked.

MikeSoja July 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Leonhardt: “What economic policies have succeeded before and are most likely to lead to the best life for the largest number of people?”

If he has to ask, he’ll never know. In fact, by asking, he’s ipso facto on the wrong track.

Free individuals exercising their own “economic policies” is what’s best. The second that meddlers and looters begin poking around with their dim notions of what’s best for their fellows is when things begin going south.

And it doesn’t even matter if “freedom” is what cranks GDP the fastest, etc. The important thing is that people get to go at their own speed, pursuing their own happinesses, with whatever talents and inclinations they possess.

Bogart July 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm

The real issue is the same old one with any Progressive mindset, that government, institutionalized violence, is a legitimate tool to solve problems. Then to reinforce his case he ignores the history of his own country. For example: the author seems to be a fan of “Public Education” or what I call “Education paid through robbery”. But looking at the history of the USA, the populace living in the USA was MORE literate before public education AND the internet not less.

And the author then makes the other standard error of looking at the current situation and comparing it to sometime in the past and see since we got all of this government everything has improved. That ignores technology improvements and an increased division of labor that came about despite government intrusion.

TokyoTom July 29, 2011 at 2:55 am

Jeffrey, I agree completely. How can he ignore the glaring failures of the Keynesians, so glaring that Soros is funding a grappling around for new ideas, as long as they’re not Austrian?

The problem is that, like so many here, Leonhardt takes corporate statism as just part of te natural order of things.

Tom

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