Re: Future State

Mark Crosby (crosby_m@rocketmail.com)
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 10:30:25 -0700 (PDT)


---mlbowli1@cord.iupui.edu wrote:
< The current evidence seems to support the notion that economic
interference by the state is bad economics, but will this always be
the case? It is not inconcievable that advances in complex adaptive
systems theory, or some other discipline, may lead to the discovery of
"lever points" within economies that would allow articulate control of
economic rescources without the fear of collapse. Economists and
scientists (evil ones, no doubt) could provide policy makers with
indefinately sustainable socialist economic policies.>

As someone pointed out recently (actually Eugene forwarding a Miller
post from the Hayek list), Mark Miller addressed this notion of being
able to find useful leverage points for the economy in his 9612
_Reason_ magazine critique of John Hollandís _Hidden Order_ (see
http://www.reasonmag.com/9612/bk.miller.html )

< Surprisingly, what Holland presents as the chief contribution his
work can make in economics is to help us identify "lever points" for
fixing economic problems. [SNIP]

This is the familiar central-planning fantasy, and everything the book
says on the matter has already been well answered by Hayek. [SNIP]

In the market, the intervener is of no greater intelligence than the
creatures populating the system, and of substantially lesser
intelligence than the system as a whole. Worse, the information within
the system cannot be gathered together. This is the Hayekian
"knowledge problem," and it cannot be sufficiently emphasized. No one
can ever succeed, no matter how totalitarian their control, at
bringing together in one place the dispersed information that
individuals and market structures are locally adapting to but are
mostly unaware of. Holland endows his learning systems with a large
population so the resulting system can learn more, and can behave in
ways that take more knowledge into account. If a smaller population of
creatures were given levers for controlling a larger population, this
would simply reduce the aggregate intelligence of the system toward
that of the smaller population. >

So, even well-meaning attempts to pry at these 'leverage points'
should only show the futility and increase the scatter of adaptations
and work-arounds that thwart the central plan.

Mark Crosby
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