Clearing Out The Clippings, No. 61

To the extent that economic thinking is based on the market, it takes the sacredness out of life, because there can be nothing sacred in something that has a price. Not surprisingly, therefore, if economic thinking pervades the whole of society, even simply non-economic values like beauty, health, or cleanliness can survive only if they prove to be ‘economic.’

— E.F. Schumacher

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. But markets or no, everything has a price, an opportunity cost. So apparently it is logically impossible for anything to be possible. Or else Schumacher misunderstands economics,* and there are in fact no truly non-economic values. After all, beauty has opportunity costs–when making something I could stop at “reasonably attractive,” and devote my time to other matters, or I can ignore those other matters and put that time towards turning reasonably attractive into beautiful.

    *Yes, I know he was an economist. That gives him even less excuse.

    • Does anyone read Ambrose Bierce anymore?

      The Hare and the Tortoise

      Of two Writers one was brilliant but indolent; the other though dull,
      industrious. They set out for the goal of fame with equal opportunities.
      Before they died the brilliant one was detected in seventy languages as
      the author of but two or three books of fiction and poetry, while the
      other was honoured in the Bureau of Statistics of his native land as the
      compiler of sixteen volumes of tabulated information relating to the
      domestic hog.

  2. Doubt that many folks still read “an occurrence at owl creek bridge”, but folks have seen some variant on it – the Twilight Zone episode or Carnival of Souls or LOST. None have matched the original, but Carnival of Souls had its moments.

Comments are closed.