Saturday, July 31, 2010

Complex orders

Earlier this month Boyes compared the current administration to that of FDR. He wrote:

I find the parallel between the Obama Administration economic policies and those of the FDR Administration uncanny

Clearly the evolution of state presence in society has accelerated since WW 2 and we see in present deficits and other "fiscal policies" as well as "monetary policies" a willingness to extend state control further into the process of discovery and use of knowledge.

Think Markets has a must read for those undecided about the benefits of increased centralization:

The recent July blog makes two key points

The market system itself is a large and highly interconnected system of exchanges, capable of generating beneficial effects unintended by the participants. The latter’s behavior is nonetheless shaped by feedback from these effects. And it is an open system, subject to and adaptive to changes, including attempts at outside control.

The issue of adaptive reaction (feedback) is an important, perhaps essential, issue to consider when looking at the performance of society. It is in my view an indirect measure of liberty and freedom. Douglass North highlights the role of what he calls adaptive efficiency and it is this flexibility and ability to engage in trial and error that is at the center of a market or spontaneous order.

Adaptive orders, and the US remains one of the most adaptively efficient societies in the world, in spite of the evolution and emergence of an expanding welfare state. Boyes and I share the concern articulated by Pete Peterson and others that the elasticity of our society seems to be near a zenith and the ability of our open access order to adapt to additional outside or central control may be limited. The constraints on state involvement in society seem to be broken in a distressingly cavalier and frequent manner - I view this as the most striking similarity between the Obama and FDR administrations.

Think Markets goes on to point out what is the key recognition that is lacking in public policy discourse today.

The recognition of some social systems as complex arrangements whose beneficial effects are the unintended consequence of people pursuing personal goals is an extremely important but seriously underappreciated scientific discovery.

The Santa Fe Institute is one of a few locus points for the study of and discussion of the Hayekian view of complexity, knowledge and the discover procedure embedded in competition that work together to create opportunity, wealth and freedom in a spontaneous order.

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