Thomas Sowell Trade-offs vs Solutions

While use of the word “perfectibility” has faded away over the centuries, the concept has survived, largely intact, to the present time. The notion that “the human being is highly plastic material”36 is still central among many contemporary thinkers who share the unconstrained vision. The concept of “solution” remains central to this vision. A solution is achieved when it is no longer necessary to make a trade-off, even if the development of that solution entailed costs now past. The goal of achieving a solution is in fact what justifies the initial sacrifices or transitional conditions which might otherwise be considered unacceptable. Condorcet, for example, anticipated the eventual “reconciliation, the identification, of the interests of each with the interests of all”—at which point, “the path of virtue is no longer arduous.”37 Man could act under the influence of a socially beneficial disposition, rather than simply in response to ulterior incentives.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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