35 First-Class Henry Hazlitt Quotes

Henry Hazlitt was an American journalist known for his written publications in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and The New York Times on the topics of business and economics. His first publication ‘Economics in One Lesson’ was published in 1946 and said to be his most enduring contribution. Known as one of the most brilliant public intellectuals of the 20th century, Hazlitt left a remarkable legacy behind. Here is a look at some of the best Henry Hazlitt quotes from his life.

“A man will put forth greater efforts to save himself from ruin than he will merely to improve his position.”

“A strong passion for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.”

“Capitalism will continue to eliminate mass poverty in more and more places and to an increasingly marked extent if it is merely permitted to do so.”

“Contrary to a popular impression, profits are achieved not by raising prices, but by introducing economies and efficiencies that cut costs of production.”

“Each of us must also sell something, even if for most of us it is our own services rather than goods, in order to get the purchasing power to buy.”


“Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man.”

“Everything we get, outside of the free gifts of nature, must in some way be paid for.”

“Government can’t give us anything without depriving us of something else.”

“Heavy unemployment means that fewer goods are produced, that the nation is poorer, and that there is less for everybody.”

“Here we shall have to say simply that all government expenditures must eventually be paid out of the proceeds of taxation; that inflation itself is merely a form, and a particularly vicious form, of taxation.”

“If a government resorts to inflation, that is, creates money in order to cover its budget deficits or expands credit in order to stimulate business, then no power on earth, no gimmick, device, trick or even indexation can prevent its economic consequences.”

“It is possible to increase paper-money income to any amount by debasing the currency. But real income can only be increased by working harder or more efficiently, saving more, investing more, and producing more.”

“It is significant that while there is a word “profiteer” to stigmatize those who make allegedly excessive profits, there is no such word as “wageer” – or “losseer.”

“Just as there is no technical improvement that would not hurt someone, so there is no change in public taste or morals, even for the better, that would not hurt someone.”

“People collectively cannot buy twice as much goods as before unless twice as much goods are produced.”

“Practically all government attempts to redistribute wealth and income tend to smother productive incentives and lead toward general impoverishment.”

“Real wealth, of course, consists in what is produced and consumed: the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the houses we live in.”

“Rent control, however, encourages wasteful use of space.”

“So government policy should be directed, not to imposing more burdensome requirements on employers, but to following policies that encourage profits, that encourage employers to expand, to invest in newer and better machines to increase the productivity of workers.”

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

“The first requisite of a sound monetary system is that it put the least possible power over the quantity or quality of money in the hands of the politicians.”

“The function of profits, finally, is to put constant and unremitting pressure on the head of every competitive business to introduce further economies and efficiencies, no matter to what stage these may already have been brought.”

“The ideas which now pass for brilliant innovations and advances are in fact mere revivals of ancient errors, and a further proof of the dictum that those who are ignorant of the past are condemned to repeat it.”

“The larger the percentage of the national income taken by taxes the greater the deterrent to private production and employment. When the total tax burden grows beyond a bearable size, the problem of devising taxes that will not discourage and disrupt production becomes insoluble.”

“The notion that we can dismiss the views of all previous thinkers surely leaves no basis for the hope that our own work will prove of any value to others.”

“The only way we could remember would be by constant re-reading, for knowledge unused tends to drop out of mind. Knowledge used does not need to be remembered; practice forms habits and habits make memory unnecessary. The rule is nothing; the application is everything.”

“The ‘private sector’ of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the ‘public sector’ is, in fact, the coercive sector.”

“The thing so great that “private capital could not have built it” has in fact been built by private capital—the capital that was expropriated in taxes.”

“The times call for courage. The times call for hard work. But if the demands are high, it is because the stakes are even higher. They are nothing less than the future of human liberty, which means the future of civilization.”

“There is no more certain way to deter employment than to harass and penalize employers.”

“Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore.”

“We cannot distribute more wealth than is created. We cannot in the long run pay labor as a whole more than it produces.”

“What inflation really does is to change the relationships of prices and costs.”

“What is put into the hands of B cannot be put into the hands of A.”

“When the government makes loans or subsidies to business, what it does is to tax successful private business in order to support unsuccessful private business.”

Henry Hazlitt was one of the most influential literary critics of his time. In the following video, Hazlitt’s work is reviewed along with the invaluable lessons shared by his contributions.

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