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Economists, Planners and Politicians Inflicted Iatrogenic Illness on Economy

In the passage below, Gilder was writing of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. But sadly, iatrogenic illness is of more than mere historical interest.

(p. 49) In recent decades, the U.S. economy has suffered from a combination of hypochondria and iatrogenic illness. The hypochondria stems from spurious statistics and deceptive anecdotes and erroneous theories of American decline. It results in a period of fear and anxiety, propagated by the media, measured in public opinion polls, and enhanced by alarmist demagoguery. Iatrogenic illnesses are diseases caused by the doctor--in this instance by hundreds of economic Ph.D.s, government planners, and politicians who have responded to the pangs of hypochondria by inflicting thousands of real cuts on the entrepreneurs who make (p. 50) the economy go, as if, like the physicians of the Middle Ages, the experts believe in bleeding the patient as a way of restoring him to productive health.


Gilder, George. Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise: Updated for the 1990s. updated ed. New York: ICS Press, 1992.

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