Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Quotes of the day: On economics as prophylactic

“Economics is primarily useful, both to the student and to the
political leader, as a prophylactic against popular fallacies.”

- Henry Calvert Simons, The Simons’ Syllabus, ed. Gordon Tullock

“Not because he knows so much, but because he knows how much he would
have to know in order to interfere successfully, and because he knows that
he will never know all the relevant circumstances, it would seem that the
economist should refrain from recommending isolated acts of interference even
in conditions in which the theory tells him that they may sometimes be beneficial. …
    “It is no accident that in our subject the term ‘principles’ is so often used in the
titles of general treatises. Especially so far as economics policy is concerned,
principles are practically all that we have to contribute.  Principles are
particularly important however, when the one political aim which we
may take for granted is personal freedom.”
- F.A. Hayek, ‘The Economy, Science and Politics’

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