Who Said It?
By David Henderson
“Three things happened to change people’s thinking in recent years,” he continued. “First, they have seen how badly the public sector can mess things up. With competition, things seem to go better. Innovation happens. The world is more focused on variety than quantity. Secondly, markets are able to do things that people used to think required government coordination. Markets make it possible to rent videos in every town in America, with no public involvement. There is now a skepticism about the view that you have to have the public sector to get things done. And thirdly, a gradual refinement in economic science has led to an upward revision in elasticities, in how systems respond. There is a greater response to tax rates than people used to think. If you interfere with property rights, business responds by going elsewhere. Maybe it is because economies are more global.
“What’s the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today?” X asked. “What I tried to leave my students with is the view that the invisible hand is more powerful than the hidden hand. Things will happen in well-organized efforts without direction, controls, plans. That’s the consensus among economists. That’s the Hayek legacy.”
(quoted from Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw, The Commanding Heights, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.)
QUESTION: Who is X?