by Mark A. Monoscalco
“I, Pencil” is an incredible essay written by Leonard E. Read that was first published in 1958.
Milton Friedman said this about “I, Pencil”: “I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s invisible hand—the possibility of cooperation without coercion—and Friedrich Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the price system in communicating information that “will make the individuals do the desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.”
Donald J. Boudreaux puts this essay into perspective: “For its sheer power to display in just a few pages the astounding fact that free markets successfully coordinate the actions of literally millions of people from around the world into a productive whole, nothing else written in economics compares to Leonard Read’s celebrated essay, “I, Pencil.”
I have decided not to provide highlights of this essay. Please read this essay in its entirety, you will be enlightened and uplifted:
Mark A. Monoscalco is a member of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. His personal blog, from which this is re-posted, can be found at http://defendingcivilsociety.blogspot.com.