Thomas Sowell on Decision Consequences

This comes to us from Thomas Sowell’s “Basic Economics”:

“…a New York Times reporter writing about the problems of a middle-aged, low-income woman said, ‘if the factory had just let Caroline work day shifts, her problem would have disappeared.’ But, he lamented: ‘Wages and hours are set by the marketplace, and you cannot expect magnanimity from the marketplace.’

“Here again, the inescapable conflict between what one person wants and what another person wants is presented in a way that recognizes only one side of this equation as human. Most people prefer working day shifts to working night shifts but, if Caroline were transferred to the day shift, someone else would have to be transferred to the night shift. As for ‘magnanimity,’ what would that mean except forcing someone else to bear this woman’s costs? What is magnanimous about someone who is paying no cost whatsoever—in this case, the New York Times reporter—demanding that someone else be saddled with those costs?”

RIP, Margaret Thatcher

Upon finding out that Margaret Thatcher died this morning, this quote from Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics* came to mind:

“The last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is said to have asked British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: How do you see to it that people get food? The answer was that she didn’t. Prices did that.”

RIP, Margaret Thatcher. You will be missed.

*Affiliate Link