This is a quote from 1950!!! I’ve broken it into pieces:
The serious fact is that the bulk of the really important things that economics has to teach are things that people would see for themselves if they were willing to see. And it is hard to believe in the utility of trying to teach what men refuse to learn or even seriously listen to.
I think the above is the central problem of teaching principles of macroeconomics.
Then there’s trade:
What point is there in propagating sound economic principles if the electorate is set to have the country run on the principle that the objective in trade is to get rid of as much as possible and get as little as possible in return, if they will not see that imports are either paid for by exports, as a method of purchasing the imported goods more efficiently, or else are received for nothing …
The simple and effective truth that you export your own time to your employer is easy to get across to people. The implication that exports are not desirable in and of themselves is not.
Or how about employment?
… Or if they hold that economy consists in having as many workers as possible assigned to a given task instead of the fewest who are able to perform it?
All of these examples show us something that may be worse than the obvious point that sometimes a majority can be tyrannical:
It reflects a state of mind, a mode of reasoning, even more discouraging than blindness through self-interest.
That’s good. The bugbear of economics — that it’s all about blind self-interest — isn’t quite as bad as the notion that some peoples’ thinking is so muddied that they are biased against things that may even be in their self-interest.
I’ve lost track of where I got this quote from … Frank Knight via Don Boudreaux, I think
Found it: Yes, I did lift this from Café Hayek, and the quote is from
… Knight’s 1950 address, to the American Economic Association, entitled “The Role of Principles in Economics and Politics“