Wednesday, August 25, 2010


P.J. O'Rourke in the Wall Street Journal:
The free market is not an ideology or a creed or something we're supposed to take on faith, it's a measurement. It's a bathroom scale. I may hate what I see when I step on the bathroom scale, but I can't pass a law saying I weigh 160 pounds. Authoritarian governments think they can pass that law--a law to change the measurement of things.

The Soviet Union didn't collapse because of Reagan or Thatcher or missile bases or Star Wars: It collapsed because of Bulgarian blue jeans. The free market was trying to tell the Communists that Bulgarian blue jeans were ugly and didn't fit, that people wouldn't wear Bulgarian blue jeans -- not, literally, to save their lives. But the Kremlin wasn't listening, and the Berlin Wall came down.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

This sounds like something of his I've read before. I suppose it's okay to recycle your own stuff.

Carl said...

AVI: The second paragraph is a re-working of part of P.J.'s essay on the fall of the Berlin Wall, from Give War a Chance. The first para, however, is new to me.

OBloodyHell said...

AVI, writers recycle all the time, esp. ones who write on deadline.

An overview of Sowell or Walter Williams will show you a regular set of echoes of prior pieces.

For anyone unfamiliar with O'Rourke, in addition to Give Peace A Chance, I particularly also recommend Parliament of Whores and Eat The Rich, his treatises on government and economics, respectively.