Doing nothing

Photo some rights reserved by Jes.

Following on from yesterday’s post on whether nation states make any sense in the twenty-first century and the tensions caused by working out what governments should do, I was struck by Tim Harford’s recent piece about whether we’d be better off letting politicians go on holiday for longer. His argument is that in many domains — from politics to investment, medicine to central banking — doing nothing is often better than intervening:

It is human nature to believe something must always be done. Yet we overrate our abilities to do it and it is awfully hard to make the case for passivity. The task is not made easier by campaigners wanting a policy, newspapers wanting a story or the patient wanting a pill. Who dares to offer them nothing?

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