Henry Hazlitt citations

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Henry Hazlitt

Date de naissance: 28. novembre 1894
Date de décès: 9. juillet 1993
Autres noms:헨리 해즐릿,هنری هزلیت

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Henry Hazlitt est un philosophe, essayiste, économiste et journaliste libertarien américain.

Journaliste au Wall Street Journal, à Newsweek et au New York Times, il s'est fait connaître grâce à son livre L’Économie Politique en une Leçon, un ouvrage de vulgarisation sur les principes de l'économie de marché, basé sur Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas de Frédéric Bastiat. Auteur prolifique, il est aussi l'auteur d'une œuvre majeure sur l'éthique, The Foundations of Morality.

Dans son ouvrage de 1959, The Failure of the New Economics: An Analysis of the Keynesian Fallacies, il établit une critique méthodique et systématique de la Théorie générale de l'emploi, de l'intérêt et de la monnaie de John Maynard Keynes. Il en dira même qu'il « n'a pas pu y trouver une seule doctrine qui soit vraie et originale. Ce qui est original dans son livre est faux et ce qui est juste n'est pas nouveau ».

Très proche de la romancière et philosophe Ayn Rand dans les années 1940-1950, sa pensée fut influencée par cette dernière.

Citations Henry Hazlitt

„Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas“

— Henry Hazlitt
Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

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„Let us begin with the simplest illustration possible: let us, emulating Bastiat, choose a broken pane of glass.A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker’s shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier. As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it. How much does a new plate glass window cost? Fifty dollars? That will be quite a sum. After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $50 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $50 more to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor.Now let us take another look. The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion. This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier. The glazier will be no more unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death. But the shopkeeper will be out $50 that he was planning to spend for a new suit. Because he has had to replace a window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury). Instead of having a window and $50 he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit. If we think of him as a part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer.The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new “employment” has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.“

— Henry Hazlitt

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„Suppose a clothing manufacturer learns of a machine that will make men’s and women's overcoats for half as much labor as previously. He installs the machines and drops half his labor force.This looks at first glance like a clear loss of employment. But the machine itself required labor to make it; so here, as one offset, are jobs that would not otherwise have existed. The manufacturer, how ever, would have adopted the machine only if it had either made better suits for half as much labor, or had made the same kind of suits at a smaller cost. If we assume the latter, we cannot assume that the amount of labor to make the machines was as great in terms of pay rolls as the amount of labor that the clothing manufacturer hopes to save in the long run by adopting the machine; otherwise there would have been no economy, and he would not have adopted it.So there is still a net loss of employment to be accounted for. But we should at least keep in mind the real possibility that even the first effect of the introduction of labor-saving machinery may be to increase employment on net balance; because it is usually only in the long run that the clothing manufacturer expects to save money by adopting the machine: it may take several years for the machine to "pay for itself."After the machine has produced economies sufficient to offset its cost, the clothing manufacturer has more profits than before. (We shall assume that he merely sells his coats for the same price as his competitors, and makes no effort to undersell them.) At this point, it may seem, labor has suffered a net loss of employment, while it is only the manufacturer, the capitalist, who has gained. But it is precisely out of these extra profits that the subsequent social gains must come. The manufacturer must use these extra profits in at least one of three ways, and possibly he will use part of them in all three: (1) he will use the extra profits to expand his operations by buying more machines to make more coats; or (2) he will invest the extra profits in some other industry; or (3) he will spend the extra profits on increasing his own consumption. Whichever of these three courses he takes, he will increase employment.“

— Henry Hazlitt

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„I do not mean to suggest that all those who call themselves monetarists make this unconscious assumption that an inflation involves this uniform rise of prices. But we may distinguish two schools of monetarism. The first would prescribe a monthly or annual increase in the stock of money just sufficient, in their judgment, to keep prices stable. The second school (which the first might dismiss as mere inflationists) wants a continuous increase in the stock of money sufficient to raise prices steadily by a "small" amount—2 or 3 per cent a year. These are the advocates of a "creeping" inflation. … I made a distinction earlier between the monetarists strictly so called and the "creeping inflationists." This distinction applies to the intent of their recommended policies rather than to the result. The intent of the monetarists is not to keep raising the price "level" but simply to keep it from falling, i. e., simply to keep it "stable." But it is impossible to know in advance precisely what uniform rate of money-supply increase would in fact do this. The monetarists are right in assuming that in a prospering economy, if the stock of money were not increased, there would probably be a mild long-run tendency for prices to decline. But they are wrong in assuming that this would necessarily threaten employment or production. For in a free and flexible economy prices would be falling because productivity was increasing, that is, because costs of production were falling. There would be no necessary reduction in real profit margins. The American economy has often been prosperous in the past over periods when prices were declining. Though money wage-rates may not increase in such periods, their purchasing power does increase. So there is no need to keep increasing the stock of money to prevent prices from declining. A fixed arbitrary annual increase in the money stock "to keep prices stable" could easily lead to a "creeping inflation" of prices.“

— Henry Hazlitt

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