The bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economists sees only what the effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups
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APAHenry Hazlitt Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=the-bad-economist-sees-only-what-immediately-strikes-eye-good-economist-also-looks-beyond-the-bad-economist-sees-only-direct-consequences-henry-hazlitt
ChicagoHenry Hazlitt Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=the-bad-economist-sees-only-what-immediately-strikes-eye-good-economist-also-looks-beyond-the-bad-economist-sees-only-direct-consequences-henry-hazlitt, accessed .
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The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects - his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity.
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You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him anything less. You merely deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn, while you deprive the community even of the moderate services that he is capable of rendering. In brief, for a low wage you substitute unemployment. You do harm all around, with no comparable compensation.
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Government relief tends constantly to get out of hand. And even when it is kept within reasonable bounds it tends to reduce the incentives to work and to save both of those who receive it and of those who are forced to pay it. It may be said, in fact, that practically every measure that governments take with the ostensible object of 'helping the poor' has the long-run effect of doing the opposite.
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All subsidy measures, all schemes to redistribute income or to force Peter to support Paul, are one-eyed as well as shortsighted. They get their immediate appeal by focusing attention on the alleged needs of some particular group of intended beneficiaries. But the inevitable victims - those who are going to be asked to pay for the new handout in increased taxes (which directly or indirectly means almost everybody else) - are left out of account. Only one-half of the problem has been seen. The cost of the proposed solution has been overlooked.
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This is perhaps as good a place as any to point out that what distinguishes many reformers from those who cannot accept their proposals is not their greater philanthropy, but their greater impatience. The question is not whether we wish to see everybody as well off as possible. Among men of good will such an aim can be taken for granted. The real question concerns the proper means of achieving it. And in trying to answer this we must never lose sight of a few elementary truisms. We cannot distribute more wealth than is created. We cannot in the long run pay labor as a whole more than it produces.
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There are men regarded today as brilliant economists, who deprecate saving and recommend squandering on a national scale as the way of economic salvation; and when anyone points to what the consequences of these policies will be in the long run, they reply flippantly, as might the prodigal son of a warning father: "In the long run we are all dead." And such shallow wisecracks pass as devastating epigrams and the ripest wisdom.
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For every dollar that is spent on the (boondoggle) bridge a dollar will be taken away from taxpayers. If the bridge costs $1, 000, 000 the taxpayers will lose $1, 000, 000. They will have that much taken away from them which they would otherwise have spent on the things they needed most.
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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.
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