“Not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.”
I, Pencil is an entertaining short essay describing the complexity involved in producing a seemingly simple everyday object, the lead pencil. The essay is written from the pencil’s point of view, who explains his family history – origins and background – and boldly states that “not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me.”
I, Pencil is a fun read that hits on the important idea that the economy consists of millions of separate parts moving in harmony. Read uses the essay to explain that these complex processes that take place within the economy are so intricate that they cannot possibly be controlled by one mastermind.
I, Pencil is an important first read in understanding how the market economy works. Read’s essay is so influential that Economist Milton Friedman begins his PBS television show, Free to Choose, with this example. Friedman’s video can be watched here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Gppi-O3a8&feature=youtu.be