Freeman

June 1990

Volume 40, 1990

FEATURES

Consumer Sovereignty

JUNE 01, 1990 by BETTINA BIEN GREAVES

From time to time, insightful economists have described the operations of a market economy. Many have noted that no central planner is needed to tell producers what to produce, when to produce, how much to produce, and what quality to produce. Adam Smith, often called the "first economist," pointed out in 1776 that the butcher, the baker, and the brewer are guided as if by "an invisible hand." Frederic Bastiat remarked in 1845 that Parisians need not fear starving the next day, but could sleep peacefully in their beds, confident that the city would be provisioned during the night.

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Heavily-armed police and their supporters will tell you they need all those armored trucks and heavy guns. It's a dangerous job, not least because Americans have so many guns. But the numbers just don't support these claims: Policing is safer than ever--and it's safer than a lot of common jobs by comparison. Daniel Bier has the analysis. Plus, Iain Murray and Wendy McElroy look at how the Feds are recruiting more and more Americans to do their policework for them.
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