Freeman

ARTICLE

Perspective: A Word From the Guest Editor

SEPTEMBER 01, 1994 by BETTINA BIEN GREAVES

For many years I have been on the Foundation's staff. When people asked me what I did, I would tell them, “I read, I write, and I look things up.” That about covers it. Occasionally I edited an article for The Freeman. But this is the first time I have actually edited an entire issue.

The quality of the articles included here is impressive. A thought-provoking article on government by the late Henry Hazlitt leads off. Daniel Walker, Mark S. Pulliam, Scott Alexander, and Jan Malek deal with the very fundamentals of a market society—private property, contract, and trust. And Japanese professor Murata destroys the myth that MITI's “industrial policy” is invincible. These and the other articles in this issue are described briefly in the Table of Contents.

Being Guest Editor has been a challenge, also fun. Through it all, I have gained much respect for those before me, especially Paul Poirot and Brian Summers, who, month after month, and year after year, put together a journal of well-written, interesting, educational, and thought-provoking articles.

—Bettina Bien Greaves

Justice

The utilitarian economist does not say: Fiat justitia, pereat mundus. [Let justice be done even though the world be destroyed.] He says: Fiat justitia, ne pereat mundus. [Let justice be done so the world will not be destroyed.] He does not ask a man to renounce his well-being for the benefit of society. He advises him to recognize what his rightly understood interests are. In his eyes God's magnificence does not manifest itself in busy interference with sundry affairs of princes and politicians, but in endowing his creatures with reason and the urge toward the pursuit of happiness.

—Ludwig von Mises

Human Action

 

Quality

I still remember my teachers in Switzerland some fifty years ago hammering into our heads that only will we succeed in the bigger world, if we produce quality, to make up for the small size of the homeland. “Our country has no natural resources,” they used to preach, “but we have people, and if they excel, they will be noticed. If every move you make is more courteous, the workplace cleaner, the food you prepare better; you will succeed. Not everyone is cut out to be great and to do great things, but as long as you do even little things in a great way, you will not only survive but triumph.”

—Gina Kindschi Bloom

Variety

It is easy to point to evil in the world. But if men are free and at peace with their neighbors, the good that comes from social cooperation overpowers the bad. Individuals with different aptitudes, interests, talents, wants, and goals benefit by specializing and exchanging the products of their labor. This is the market. Songwriter Jan Corm reflects on the good that comes from “variety” in her musical, Run to Catch a Pine Cone:

The world needs lots of variety.

      Think about it and you'll agree.

      Because the world needs variety . . .

      That's why the world needs me.

      You can't paint a picture with only one color.

      With only one color, life couldn't be duller.

      But when you add contrast the picture will live.

      So let me be me, I'll have much more to give.

      Variety, Variety, the world depends on it, yes siree.

      Mountain and flatland, desert and sea.

      Because I'm different this old world needs me.

      A tune with just one note is no tune at all.

      The magic begins when the notes rise and fall.

      So let me sing my song, whatever it be.

      The world will be richer because I am me.

      Variety, Variety, look around you and you will see,

      The old world thrives on variety.

      That's why the world needs me.

—Jan Conn

Run to Catch a Pine Cone

The Human Mind

Thomas J. Watson, Jr., chairman of International Business Machines Corp.: “There is really no comparison between the human mind and the most fantastic computer ever imagined. There are many things that a machine has never done, cannot do today, and will not do tomorrow; in fact, will never do. The human mind holds billions of pieces of information, all cataloged we know not how, all brought to mind or retrieved we know not how, all synthesized into knowledge, into intelligence, into creativity, and all available to guide every one of us as we move through this complicated world—available to give us morality, character, sympathy, and countless other human traits.”

The National Observer,

November 18, 1968 (p. 14)

Toleration

It is not the diversity of opinions, which cannot be avoided; but the refusal of toleration to those that are of different opinions, which might have been granted, that has produced all the bustles and wars.

—John Locke

“A Letter Concerning Toleration”

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

September 1994

ABOUT

BETTINA BIEN GREAVES

Contributing editor Bettina Bien Greaves was a longtime FEE staff member, resident scholar, and trustee. She attended Ludwig von Mises’s New York University seminar for many years and is a translator, editor, and bibliographer of his works.

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