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« More Things Are Getting Better (or There's No Great Stagnation): Phone Service | Main | The Broken Window Fallacy is Alive and Well »


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In looking for undeerstandings from the past for solutions to social problems and disasters, may I recommend a piece from the past?

Simon Newcomb, "The Let-Alone Principle," in the "North American Review" (1870).

Newcomb, if known at all today, is recalled as a a formulator of the equation of exchange before Irving Fisher.

But he was also a strong proponent of the free market economy against the heavy, busy-bodie hand of government, including people being able to find solutions to their own problems, including social disasters.

So his reference to a "let-alone" policy in the title of this piece is not meant to be a "put-down," as would tend to occur today.

He was advocating this as a "positive" theory of social problems.

Richard Ebeling

See the discussion by Will and Tyler ...

However, I fear that Will is picking up Mill's point about the rapid recovery of countries in the wake of natural disasters. The empirics are getting picked up, but without an explanation of why!

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