Friday, June 11, 2010

Honor Thy Speculator

Walter Block explains the vital economic role played by speculators. Here is an excerpt:

"Kill the speculators!" is a cry made during every famine that has ever existed. Uttered by demagogues, who think that the speculator causes death through starvation by raising food prices, this cry is fervently supported by the masses of economic illiterates. This kind of thinking, or rather nonthinking, has allowed dictators to impose even the death penalty for traders in food who charge high prices during famines. And this is done without the feeblest of protests from those usually concerned with civil rights and liberties.

Yet the truth of the matter is that, far from causing starvation and famines, it is the speculator who prevents them. And far from safeguarding the lives of the people, it is the dictator who must bear theprime responsibility for causing the famine in the first place. Thus, the popular hatred for the speculator is as great a perversion of justice as can be imagined...

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