John Stossel

Every time we call for the government to fix some problem, we accelerate the growth of government. If we do not change the way we think, we will end up socialists by default, even if no one calls us that.

Pity us poor humans. Our brains really weren't designed to do economic reasoning any more than they were designed to do particle physics. We evolved to hunt, seek mates, and keep track of our allies and enemies. Your ancestors must have been pretty good at those activities, or you would not be alive to read this.

Those evolved skills still govern human activities (modernized versions include game-playing, dating, gossiping). We're hardwired to smash foes, turn on the charisma and form political coalitions. We're not wired to reason out how impersonal market forces solve problems. But it's mostly those impersonal forces -- say, the pursuit of profit by some pharmaceutical company -- that give us better lives.

Learning to think in economic terms -- and to resist the pro-central-planning impulse -- is our only hope of rescuing America from a diminished future.

No one can be trusted to manage the economy. I began by criticizing Obama, but Republicans may be little better. Both parties share the fatal conceit of believing that their grandiose plans will solve America's problems. They won't.

But cheer up: Saying that government is not the way to solve problems is not saying that humanity cannot solve its problems. What I've finally learned is this: Despite the obstacles created by governments, voluntary networks of private individuals -- through voluntary exchange -- solve all sorts of challenges.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate