Applause today, as loud as possible: that's pretty much all that matters to the thespians we call "government officials."
The fundamental error of the interventionists consists in the fact that they ignore the shortage of capital goods. In their eyes the depression is merely caused by a mysterious lack of the people's propensity both to consume and to invest. While the only real problem is to produce more and to consume less in order to increase the stock of capital goods available, the interventionists want to increase both consumption and investment. They want the government to embark upon projects which are unprofitable precisely because the factors of production needed for their execution must be withdrawn from other lines of employment in which they would fulfill wants the satisfaction of which the consumers consider more urgent. They do not realize that such public works must considerably intensify the real evil, the shortage of capital goods.
The common man may not know the term "tragedy of the commons", but he knows it when he sees it. As the scramble for public resources ensues, however, another economic phenomenon kicks in: the fallacy of composition, which states that what benefits one segment of the economy at the expense of everything else cannot possibly prove beneficial for the economy as a whole. Put simply, we cannot all subsidize each other and come out ahead. While most want to be subsidized by others without having to pay anything in return, special interests from all sides ensure that the looting becomes universal.
Our table manners, and company manners, and street manners change from time to time, but the changes are not reasoned out; we merely notice and conform. We are creatures of outside influences; as a rule we do not think, we only imitate…Morals, religions, politics, get their following from surrounding influences and atmospheres, almost entirely; not from study, not from thinking. A man must and will have his own approval first of all, in each and every moment and circumstance of his life – even if he must repent of a self-approved act the moment after its commission, in order to get his self-approval again: but, speaking in general terms, a man's self-approval in the large concerns of life has its source in the approval of the peoples about him, and not in a searching personal examination of the matter.