Economics in One Lesson: VI – Credit Diverts Production (or why ‘credit easing’ is a dreadful idea)

Every week over 26 weeks, I’ll be publishing a précis of a chapter of Henry Hazlitt’s brilliant 1946 book, Economics in One Lesson, prepared by Michael Dowsett during his internship. The index page is here.

Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousandfold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics, or medicine—the special pleading of selfish interests. While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible.

This week, Credit Diverts Production, which seems particularly relevant with the Chancellor’s plans for “credit easing”…

Buy or download Economics in One Lesson.

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