Thursday, March 23, 2017


On the one hand, it would be kind of useful to have economist Friedrich Hayek around today, to maybe be a clear voice pointing out just how wrong President Trump's trade policies are now and are going to be later. The libertarian-leaning professor believed that a group of human beings, interacting together in trade under what he called "the rules of just conduct," could thus operate a society for the benefit of as many of its members as possible. No one human being could possibly know enough to plan out such a society, he said. It had to grow on its own. The president also believes society has to grow on its own, just as long as it does it the way he says.

But on the other hand, Hayek, who died 25 years ago today, would have to try to get his message out to people in the midst of a media machine that pays more attention to what the president tweets and thinks Al Franken knows more about the U.S. Constitution than a sitting federal judge. Being as he would be just a couple of months shy of his 118th birthday, he would probably find better uses for his time than to try to convince them.

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