Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 519 of Volume I of The Collected Works of Armen A. Alchian (2006); specifically, it’s from an op-ed that Alchian published in the Los Angeles Times sometime in 1979 and entitled “It’s Easy to End Gas Shortage”:

‘An obstinate belief of some people that the value of having gasoline can be kept low by limiting the price to be as low as when there was more gasoline is just plain wrong.  The quicker that obstinate error is understood by politicians and the public, the better.  Yet [President Jimmy] Carter and his politicians refuse to either understand or admit they understand that pervasive, inescapable, overwhelming fact of life.  As a result we are suffering the consequences of these price controls.  We are not allowed in a civilized fashion to offer money to sellers of gasoline.  Instead we now compete like barbarians in wasteful forms – standing in lines, inconvenient service hours – a gigantic social waste in a futile, ignorant, deceptive effort to keep values and costs low.’

Alchian’s use of the phrase “fact of life” reminds me that many on the “Progressive” left pride themselves on their unapologetic embrace of science and rational thought and on their rejection of superstitions.  And yet many of these same people support the likes of rent-control and minimum-wage legislation.  (I’m also quite sure that a far greater number of self-identified “Progressives” than self-identified libertarians – and, although I’m less sure about this one, even than self-identified conservatives – support legislation to prohibit so-called “price gouging” when natural disasters strike.)

via Quotation of the Day….

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