Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Classic Story "I, Pencil" Turns 50

Eloquent. Extraordinary. Timeless. Paradigm-shifting. Classic. Half a century after it first appeared, Leonard Read’s 'I, Pencil' still evokes such adjectives of praise. Rightfully so, for this little essay opens eyes and minds among people of all ages. Many first-time readers never see the world quite the same again.

~Foundation for Economic Education president Lawrence Reed, on the 50th year anniversary of the free market classic "I, Pencil."

Leonard Read’s delightful story, “I, Pencil,” has become a classic, and deservedly so. I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s invisible hand—the possibility of cooperation without coercion—and Friedrich Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the price system in communicating information that “will make the individuals do the desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.”

~Nobel economist Milton Friedman


At 12/18/2008 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hayek's "insights" on dispersed knowledge are only a crass restatement of Mises' profound insight that economic calculation is impossible in an economy without market prices.

It was Mises who first created the theory of the boom-bust cycle in The Theory of Money and Credit, and Mises who wrote the Magnum Opus of the Austrian school, Human Action.

Economists only seem to know of Hayek because of his nobel prize. But if recent history is any example, nobel prizes are not awarded based on pursuit of economic truth.


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