Fun_People Archive
9 Jan
More economist bashing

Date: Mon,  9 Jan 95 13:40:43 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: More economist bashing

Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)

Economists are never as confident or as dogmatic when they are
giving advice to developing countries.  From the World Bank and
the International Monetary Fund, to say nothing of Washington's
think tanks, pour forth the encyclicals and injunctions:  Open
your markets to foreign capital and goods.  Respect
intellectual-property rights.  Pay your debts.  Deregulate your
domestic markets.  Dismantle your state planning agencies and
trust in the benevolence of the invisible hand.

This advice has only one disadvantage: it doesn't work and never
has.  No country that has successfully developed has ever
followed this path.  Countries that eschew the laws of
laissez-faire perform demonstrably better than countries that
embrace it.  This has been true from the start of the Industrial
Revolution, and it is true today.

Even nineteenth-century Britain and America, portrayed in
economic lore as the most virtuously laissez-faire of rising
economies, were never free traders.  Britain developed its
infant industries behind the walls of high tariffs and a tight
technical embargo.  It was illegal to export blueprints of
textile machinery.  Britain did not begin to embrace the god of
the invisible hand until its own industries had achieved
technological supremacy.

	-- Walter Russell Mead

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []