Mark Perry posts at Carpe Diem at AEI a wonderful collection of quotes from Thomas Sowell and Frederic Bastiat, who share the same birthday and economic insights.
consider them the antidote to Krugman.
a few selected favorites:
Economics vs. Politics II. The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
Politics deals with the same problem by making promises that cannot be kept, or which can be kept only by creating other problems that cannot be acknowledged when the promises are made.
Greed. Someone pointed out that blaming economic crises on “greed” is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. Certainly planes wouldn’t crash if it wasn’t for gravity. But when thousands of planes fly millions of miles every day without crashing, explaining why a particular plane crashed because of gravity gets you nowhere. Neither does talking about “greed,” which is constant like gravity.
Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
“The State [government] is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
~The State in Journal des Débats (1848).
8. “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
~Economic Sophisms, 2nd series (1848)
9. “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone.”