RALPH HARRIS - The Enemies of Progress


Why is it that politicians of all parties still shrink from giving enterprise, competition and consumer choice their head so as to spread increasing bounty ever more widely?

Economics is the most scientific of social sciences for two reasons. First, the measuring rod of money provides a universal system of comparing values. Second, economic life exhibits a more consistent motivation than appears in what passes as political science, to say nothing of the discipline—or is it the indiscipline—of sociology. In Mill’s words, the ruling psychological law is ‘that a greater gain is preferred to a smaller’, which I notice applies even to my socialist friends. Thus the working hypothesis in economic analysis is that consumers tend to maximise net advantages of employment and, less confidently, governments to maximise some measure of national welfare.