The Art of the Possible

Brad DeLong passes on on an amusing remark from Robert Solow: “Well, if everything is politically impossible except what we have now, we could have saved a lot of time here.”

So true. Meaningful political change is rarely “politically possible” in the sense that there is some obvious method through which the existing constellation of forces could easily bring it about. If it were, after all, it would have happened already. Which isn’t to say it’s a good idea to attempt the impossible — if you do, you’ll probably fail. But if nobody ever tried to do anything that was probably doomed to failure, then nothing would ever happen.