I, Pencil

Those who are concerned that China’s economy will surpass ours should consider the following “required reading.”

China just announced to great fanfare that after years of effort and millions in investment, it has managed to produce… a ballpoint pen! (This was accomplished in the US about 80 years ago).  Before you read on, check out this short article that outlines why China is crowing so loudly about this and why its system took so long to accomplish it.   .

Now read a three page essay written in 1958 which had the Chinese read it, might have been saved a lot of time and expense.  This essay,   “I, Pencil”  (see also a short 6 minute video) elegantly conveys how hard it would be, bordering on impossible, for any one person to produce just one, simple pencil.

Thousands of men and women are required to produce the simple tool you hold in your hand.  And they do it without holding a mass meeting or relying on a central planning committee.  The free market system takes a lot of abuse for its supposed shortcomings; usually by those who haven’t seen (or don’t remember) the long lines for basic goods and services in countries that subscribe to central planning. If there is a friend, employee or a young person, in your life that does not have an appreciation for the unparalleled effectiveness of the greatest economy in the world, then “I, Pencil” is required reading.

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