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I, Pencil: My Family Tree as Told to Leonard E. Read

by Leonard E. Read, Richard M. Ebeling, Milton Friedman

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» See also 4 mentions

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Cool short story about the "invisible hand". It gives a refreshing perspective on the million of goods and services generated by the modern economy every seconds - how it could be extremely difficult to plan and make a pencil from scratch without free competition, private property and market.

My question is, is free market the only place where innovation thrives? There are advanced inventions that are a direct product of central planning and governmental research funding - coming to my mind are Apollo 11, atomic bombs, even some argue, the many technology components behind the first iPhone ([b:Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy|33358206|Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy|Tim Harford|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1491703991l/33358206._SY75_.jpg|54098044] has a great chapter on this). Military research seems to be a great driving force in technology advancement

Perhaps the free market is the best way to productionalize and distribute progress?

( )
  footgun | Feb 28, 2022 |
The majority of this essay explores the complexity of industry behind making a single pencil, and the complex interplay between mining and chemistry and shipping and so forth -- millions of people to produce "the pencil" and no one person who is The Maker of The Pencil (my phrasing).

And then it attributes this miracle of industry to the free market and extrapolates the decentralized nature of all these resources coming together into a pencil into the almost godly state of the Invisible Hand of the Free Market. ( )
  elam11 | May 30, 2020 |
A short but brilliant story illustrating how the free market effectively coordinates the activities of thousands of economic agents in getting us products and services, in the absence of any central planner. A great read. ( )
  Adewoye | Feb 20, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Leonard E. Readprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ebeling, Richard M.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Friedman, Miltonmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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