“While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible.”
― Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
One of the benefits of running a blog for the last seven years has been interacting with so many smart people. During these daily interactions I am introduced to new ideas, different points of view, and become acquainted with a plethora of great thinkers. When I was younger, before kids, long commutes, running a blog and being beaten down by life, I was a voracious reader. My regular commenters direct me towards writers and books I wish I had read in my twenties rather than my fifties.
But I guess it is never too late to learn something new. I’ve now read the first two of the four books I bought myself at Christmas: The Law by Frederic Bastiat; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek; and Tragedy & Hope by Carroll Quigley. What is so striking after reading The Law (written in 1850) and Economics in One Lesson (written in 1946) is humanity’s foibles, belief in fallacies, and ignorance of economics hasn’t changed over the last two centuries.