Thomas Sowell Quotes #6

by Harley Voogd


“One of the difficulties with trying to create ‘solutions’ is the uncertainty of defining what is a ‘problem.’ When A and B make a transaction between themselves that C does not like, is that a problem to be solved?

A and B may be employer and employee, landlord and tenant or lender and borrower. No doubt each of the primary parties to any of these transactions would prefer terms more favourable to himself or herself, but the transactions would not have taken place unless at least one, and probably both, were willing to accept something less than they might hope for.

“But many among the intelligentsia press for government to ‘do something’ about transactions terms that the parties themselves have agreed to, this call for government intervention often being based on ideas similar to those expressed by John Rawls in A Theory of Justice. However, the question must be raised as to the basis for arming intellectual coteries with the massive powers of government to forcibly undo economic transactions terms made by millions of people intimately familiar with their own individual circumstances and alternatives, in a way that distant intellectuals or government functionaries cannot possibly be familiar.”

~from Wealth, Poverty and Politics, page 361