Sentence of the Day

It is through exchange that difference becomes a blessing, not a curse.

Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Jonathan Sacks quoted in McCloskey’s The Bourgeois Virtues.

Hat tip to Steve Horowitz at The Austrian Economists who rightly says "Have the benefits of specialization and exchange ever been presented more concisely and beautifully than in that one sentence?"  Maybe this should be sentence of the year.


I wonder if the statement is meant to include the exhange of ideas.

It is not clear to me how difference is a curse without exchange. A curse for whom? Those who are different? From whom? Everyone is different from someone - would it be a curse for all of mankind? If so, could it really be considered a curse? Compared to what?

Commenters above - you're over thinking it.

Or, as Tyler might say, "You're just not too bright."

Or thick, intentional or otherwise....

The quote doesn't make sense. It should be: Exchange is valuable because of differences.

I don't think we (or Tyler) want to make a normative judgment about whether differences are good or bad. They just "are."

Yes, that's concise and very true. Specialize, exchange and benefit!

Not sure why commentators are thinking astray over this simple concept. Friday morning may be.

Josh - thanks for posting the whole paragraph. The quote McCloskey extracted looks even BETTER seen in context.

"differences" refers to comparative advantage, yo.

Ask Steve Horwitz what he thinks of the quotes I have given him from Mises, Hayek, and Boudreaux, about redistribution, that he will not allow on his blog,and what he thinks of the free exchange of ideas with myself, Mises, Hayek,

and Bourdreax.


This is a good illustration of the difference between value and price.

The market determines prices, but value is whatever you make of it.

If there is a cautionary tale here, it not to place too much value on things whose prices can readily be determined.

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