Humor Magazine

The Forever Law of Unintended Consequences

By Davidduff

Shortage of time, m'Lord, has forced me to larceny and I herewith display my ill-gotten gain from the always first class Cafe Hayek, to be precise, their 'Quote of the Week':

is from page 210 of David Friedman’s excellent 1996 book, Hidden Order:

Suppose the English government requires (as it does) that greenbelts be established around major cities.  That reduces the amount of residential land – driving up rents.  A law that is defended as a way of protecting urban beauty against greedy developers has as one of its effects raising the income of urban landlords at the expense of their tenants.

But do socialist Greens ever consider, let alone care about, the consequences of their actions?  Of course not!

And on the basis that I might as well be hung for a pair of crimes as one, I throw myself on the mercy of the court and offer yet more booty, again, one of their 'Quotes of the Week', this one from Ms. Deirdrie McCloskey.  Actually, mention of her name touches what passes for my conscience.  I was once wantonly rude to her and after my abject apology I promised to buy one of her books - which I have not yet done, mea culpa!  Yes, I know, 'I'm a very naughty boy'!  Anyway, this quote . . .

… is from page xxi of the second edition (1998) of Deirdre McCloskey’s path-breaking 1985 volume, The Rhetoric of Economics:

Economics, like geology or evolutionary biology or history itself, is an historical rather than a predictive science.  Economics is not widely regarded as an imposing creation of the human mind.  But I think it is.  It is social self-understanding … as remarkable as anthropology or history.  All the more pity that economists have in the past fifty years become idiot savants of modernism.

“Modernism,” as McCloskey uses the term here, is quite like the “scientism” criticized so profoundly by Hayek.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog