Freeman

ARTICLE

The ABC's of Modern Economics

MAY 01, 1960 by RALPH BRADFORD

Q

is for Quality. People or things

Possess it or not. The degree of it springs

From reaching for standards.

The best you can do Is strive for the quality label—for you.

R

is for Reason, to which we appeal

To bolster our causes, with fervor and zeal,

Until it says no to our gain or our pride—

Then Reason is ridiculed, damned, and denied.

S

is for Satan, who used to be feared

And hated by all who were properly reared;

But Satan assumes many forms, and his double,

Old Something-for-Nothing, accounts for our trouble.

T

is for Truth, which is central in life,

But seldom observed in its fullness.

The strife Of living obscures it, and over it falls

The shadow of doubt—and yet ever it calls.

U

is for Us and our Union of States,

Where each has the freedom to earn what he rates;

But some who contend that the rates are unequal

Would tax, seize, and squander, ignoring the sequel.

V

is for Victory, sweet to the taste

For only a moment—the product of waste

And death and destruction. The danger of winning

Is this: that your troubles are only beginning.

W

stands for the Wisdom that springs

From deep understanding of men and of things.

Transcending intelligence, higher than knowledge,

It can’t be transmitted, or taught in a college.

X

is the symbol of subjects obscure

And objects unseen, with a mystic allure:

The yet-undiscovered, impending and vast,

Is greater than all we have learned in the past.

Y

is for Youth, no better or worse

Than in Cicero‘s day—except for the curse

Their blundering elders, through many a year,

Have fastened upon them: the torment of fear.

Z

is for Zoo, where the monkeys look out

On you and on me as we amble about,

With a hint of contempt in their simian eyes.

And sometimes I’m stopped with this shocking surmise: That

a modern millennium well might begin,

If we let them all out, and they locked us all in!

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

May 1960

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required

CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION

Essential Works from FEE

Economics in One Lesson (full text)

By HENRY HAZLITT

The full text of Hazlitt's famed primer on economic principles: read this first!


By FREDERIC BASTIAT

Frederic Bastiat's timeless defense of liberty for all. Once read and understood, nothing ever looks the same.


By F. A. HAYEK

There can be little doubt that man owes some of his greatest suc­cesses in the past to the fact that he has not been able to control so­cial life.


By JEFFREY A. TUCKER

Leonard Read took the lessons of entrepreneurship with him when he started his ideological venture.


By LEONARD E. READ

No one knows how to make a pencil: Leonard Read's classic (Audio, HTML, and PDF)