Economics in one lesson and why its not easy to implement it
“[T]he whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”
Hazzlit gives many examples of how policy can go wrong and the kind of unintended consequences that it can create. There are many reasons why we cannot apply this one lesson.What could be the main reason?
More on this from Atanu Dey, my friend and mentor. He explains this in the context of the Dutch Disease, which may be quite relevant to Australia.
The Law of Unintended Consequences is pretty well known, I suppose. It is part of a more general law which I call the Zeroth Law of Ecology which says that you can never really do only one thing. That is, you want to do only A and instead you find that you have also done B and C, both of which you had no inclination to do. This is because the universe is complex and all its parts are interlinked and so when you do something to one bit of the universe, you end up disturbing the whole universe.
There must be many reasons why we cannot see all the connections. There may be ignorance, willful or otherwise, for instance. Or it could be that we are not omniscient. But, I believe, it is mostly due to what is called our bounded rationality, that is we are not clever enough to think through all the complexities of the universe.