Leonard Read’s famous 1958 essay “I, Pencil” shows how the free market coordinates the efforts of thousands of people around the world to produce a simple, everyday item (Read chose the pencil, but it could have been anything else) that no one person could possibly make on his own. It’s a great, eye-opening piece, but in a book I recently read, the authors suggest that it needs to be revisited so as to extol the role of the state.

In this piece on the Foundation for Economic Education site today, I argue that Read’s essay does not need any improving, and furthermore that the authors of the book, in arguing for a bigger role for government (they think government can do more to help people “solve problems from the bottom up”) would open the Pandora’s Box of government intrusion into our lives wider than ever.