On not learning from experience

Take it away Prof. Friedman:

It apparently did not occur to him that the contrast between his experience in getting services provided by government and his experience buying groceries on the private market, where you simply pay your money and walk out with what you have bought, might say something about the relative workability of the two systems for providing goods and services. Nor that if a system introduced in large part on the theory that it would even out differences between rich and poor turned out to serve higher status people much better than lower status people, perhaps the theory was wrong, perhaps government production and distribution was creating, rather than eliminating, inequality. When a judge goes to the grocery store, he gets the same groceries at the same price as anyone else.
His conclusion was that these were real problems with the existing system, and the solution was to make that system work better. Institutions which, on the evidence of his own first-hand experience, were still functioning badly seventy or eighty years after they were first designed and built, were to be reformed by the wave of a magic wand with the aid of lots of well intentioned young lawyers inspired by a commencement address.
Some people just never learn, do they?

One comment on “On not learning from experience

  1. It’s not that some people never learn, it’s that some people cannot learn. Socialism is frequently incorrigible. It’s a mental illness, a disfigurement of thought.

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