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Dismal Science 

Editor:

David Johnston's recent article "Wealth Care" (April 14) refers to the practitioners of "the dismal science of economics" as if they cannot reach correct conclusions from their data. I wonder if he really understands who he is aligning himself with when he uses the phrase "the dismal science of economics."

While this nation struggled with the slavery issue and debated over the need for freedom for all people, the economists and religious leaders were the ones arguing against slavery. The pro-slavery leaders accused the economists of practicing the dismal science of economics. The economists believed that an individual will be more productive and have more ingenuity when free. Thus they felt that the slaves would be good for the economy of the nation if allowed to freely participate in our nation's marketplace. The issue, being solved in our country via the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, was still being debated hotly in England. In England the pro-slavery crowd used the phrase "dismal science of economics" as a derogatory remark against the anti-slavery economists of that time.

When, in the 1960s and 1970s, the idea arose that population-growth control was going to solve a lot of the world's problems, it was the economists who strongly argued against it. The economists believed that a nation's worth was in the people who worked, invented and manufactured goods. The population-control crowd again used the phrase "dismal science of economics" to deride the economists. Time has proven the economists right.

When governments provide a free benefit to the population it is always accompanied by some loss of freedom. The economists of today believe that a people who are free will be more able to succeed in the world's marketplace. Overtaxing the rich and handing out free benefits to the rest of the population will lead to a dismal economy and less freedom for us all.

When Mr. Johnston used the phrase "dismal science of economics," I wondered if once again this crowd was trying to enslave us by taking away our freedom to function in the marketplace freely.

Ed Woodcock, Eureka

 

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