“I Pencil” The Movie

Free markets = spontaneous organization + free trade + specialization of labor + capital + entrepreneurship. In his 1958 essay, “I Pencil” Foundation for Economic Education founder Leonard Read told the story of the simple pencil, and the complex process which brought it into existence. It’s a classic, aimed at children, but I urge you to read it if you haven’t (very short).

Now the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI.org) has created a short animated film expressing these powerful ideas.

Go here to see it.

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13 comments to “I Pencil” The Movie

  • Stefan K

    Free markets would be good if people were good. Unfortunately they are not. Their necessities and desires are skewed by selfishness and greed evidenced by the existence of the tools for war and the continuous destruction of the environment that we see today.

    If you think pencils are intricate, beautiful and complex wait until you hear about Agent Orange, IEDs, WMDs and armed drones. I suggest that we should be wary of any invisible hand that does not condemn the necessity or desire for objects such as these. Consider that the unintended end of humankind’s labor will not be decided by humankind but by the ever shrinking proportion of our society whom the invisible hand gives ownership to.

  • Stefan. if I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong. JH

    • Stefan K

      I find your argument uncompelling. I think we agree on more than you care to admit:

      We agree that modern tools of war are more complex then pencils
      We agree that people are motivated by self-interest (although perhaps not all best motivated)
      We agree that the Fed cannot revive the economy
      We agree that government spending is exacerbating the economic downturn
      We agree that the immediate interests of wealth are best served by free markets (precisely because they are so short sighted)

      Where I believe our paths diverge is at the point where you imply that serving the interests of wealth is more important than serving the interests of people (or that somehow they are the same thing) and I imply the opposite.

      Is that about right?

  • Stefan K

    According to the invisible hand?

  • John

    Um, it takes a village?

  • Al

    Um,we know what’s good for you?

  • Stefan K

    Um, what’s love got to do with it?

  • Rapscallion

    I found the “I-Pencil” film rather entertaining and informational. Obviously, I was taking it for what it was…..an enlightenment piece. Based on the responses, I did not delve deep enough into my “dark” side to truly understand the subversiveness.
    That’s OK, “Star Wars 7″ will be out soon and my “dark side” will be reborn!

  • [...] victims of lobotomy Hot Air, and even that publication from the propaganda organization, The Daily Capitalist — in short, it’s been plugged by organizations covering the entire political spectrum [...]

  • [...] victims of lobotomy Hot Air, and even that publication from the propaganda organization, The Daily Capitalist — in short, it’s been plugged by organizations covering the entire political spectrum [...]

  • [...] victims of lobotomy Hot Air, and even that publication from the propaganda organization, The Daily Capitalist — in short, it’s been plugged by organizations covering the entire political spectrum [...]

  • Stefan K

    When governments say the wishes of those with money are more valuable than the wishes of those without we call them corrupt. When markets are allowed to do the same thing we call them free.

  • Read’s fable is a good fable. It’s an illustration of how economics works. But it’s not economics. It’s not a model of how things should go, necessarily.

    This film departs from Read’s simple system to observe, and when it does, it tends to emphasize the communitarian aspects of economies.

    It ignores the role of good government in regulation that makes economies work better, though, and I think that is a very serious flaw.