The Foundation for Economic Education has released an audio version of the booklet I, Pencil. Written by FEE’s founder Leonard E. Read and first published in 1958, its message proclaiming the importance of economic freedom has not diminished with the passage of time.
This audio recording, which you can listen to on your computer or mp3 player, is just short of 15 minutes in length. But it this short span it makes a compelling case for economic freedom instead of government control and planning.
In Wichita, we have a mayor, city council, and business leaders that are steering us down the path of government control instead of freedom. We locally — and in Topeka and Washington too — need to heed the lesson of I, Pencil on the impossibility of government planning to control and regulate our economy:
I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies — millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.
The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand — that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive master-minding — then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.