MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Governments Endorse Heraclitus, Not Einstein – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 17, 2022

It is said that central planning has failed over and over, and this is the reason for its abandonment.  Central planners therefore are not insane.  But central planning has not been abandoned.  It is enthusiastically endorsed by economists the world over in one area especially, central banking.  This one exception apparently refutes Einstein.  Establishing a committee of bright people to force their monetary decisions on millions of market participants is better than allowing those participants to make monetary decisions on their own, notwithstanding the horrendous results.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2022/12/george-f-smith/governments-endorse-heraclitus-not-einstein/

By George F. Smith

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is colloquially defined as insanity, per a quote attributed to Albert Einstein.  Call me insane, but I wince whenever I hear this.  As a rule of thumb it’s fine but it can be slippery.  I’m reminded of another quote from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who is alleged to have said, “A man cannot step into the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.”

Heraclitus, in other words, would say it is not possible to do the same thing over and over.  We may think we’re doing the same thing, but on closer inspection we’re not.  We never are.

In matters of government there is a fundamental tension between Einstein and Heraclitus.  Defenders of government tend to favor Heraclitus — it’s not the coercive approach that’s wrong, it’s the particulars of the approach.  Better people and more money will move us forward.  Especially more money.

If we look at particulars we might get confused.  A case can be made that the War on Poverty is the mother of all government programs in the extent of its failure, yet it’s been around since 1964.  How failed is it?  Economist Walter Williams writes (2014):

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty. In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every U.S. factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building. With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet.

If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation”. Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

See the rest here

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