Freeman

ANYTHING PEACEFUL

"I, Pencil" Quoted in LA Times

SEPTEMBER 08, 2010 by TSVETELIN M. TSONEVSKI

Defending the free economy in his Los Angeles Times column, Jonah Goldberg quotes FEE founder Leonard Read’s classic, “I, Pencil.”

In 1958, Leonard Read wrote one of the most famous essays in the history of libertarianism, “I, Pencil.” It begins, “I am a lead pencil — the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.” It is one of the most simple objects in human civilization. And yet “not a single person on the face of this Earth knows how to make me.”

Later in the column Goldberg quotes Austrian economist F. A. Hayek in explaining why the market economy and decentralized decision-making are so vital for prosperity.

Friedrich Hayek did the heavy lifting on this point half a century ago in his essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” The efficient pricing of markets allows millions of independent actors to decide for themselves how to allocate resources. According to Hayek, no central planner or bureaucrat could ever have enough knowledge to consistently and successfully guide all of those economic actions in a more efficient manner.

ABOUT

TSVETELIN M. TSONEVSKI

Tsvetelin Tsonevski is director of academic affairs at FEE. He holds an LL.M. degree in Law and Economics from George Mason School of Law.

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required
Sign me up for...

CURRENT ISSUE

July/August 2014

The United States' corporate tax burden is the highest in the world, but innovators will always find a way to duck away from Uncle Sam's reach. Doug Bandow explains how those with the means are renouncing their citizenship in increasing numbers, while J. Dayne Girard describes the innovative use of freeports to shield wealth from the myriad taxes and duties imposed on it as it moves around the world. Of course the politicians brand all of these people unpatriotic, hoping you won't think too hard about the difference between the usual crony-capitalist suspects and the global creative elite that have done so much to improve our lives. In a special tech section, Joseph Diedrich, Thomas Bogle, and Matthew McCaffrey look at various ways these innovators add value to our lives--even in ways they probably never expected.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION