Monday, January 19, 2015

Horse sense

Tyler Cowen cites The Horse in the City which I reviewed a while back.  This history is interesting for many reasons.

1. Most people fear the environmental effects of cars but have little knowledge of how much more polluted the cities were when we relied on horses.
2. Many routinely extrapolate negative trends to the point of inevitable catastrophe but fail to note how horse-manure doomsday never came; entrepreneurs, not an army of regulators, came to the rescue.

3. Those who rue the passing of a golden-age past are usually ignorant of the realities; it is usually these same folks who fear the future -- and who somehow know how to manage it.

4. Washington politicians recently saw the possible decline of the Detroit auto industry as ominous but the decline of the auto's predecessor, the horse, was not a calamity.

One can never know enough history. Read the book.