Hayek for Dummies

Dave Budge turned me on to this link to the illustrated Hayek.

If you've never read The Road to Serfdom, I recommend you do so. I read it ten or fifteen years ago and Hayek's ideas made a great deal of sense to me. (I don't remember his prognostications, though, as being quite so drastic as the illustrated version.)

Much of what you read here about markets, planning, and economics are derived in some way from my reading of this book.

Here's my thumbnail sketch: Almost every economy develops a subset of people, Hayek calls them planners, who want to run the show. While orderly planning can often sound desirable in the face of a sometimes brutal marketplace, ultimately the planners end up imposing their personal preferences and biases on the rest of us. There is no objective person, so invariably we end up contending with the whims of the few.

For example, let's pick on the former City Commission. In considering a Land Use Code, they decided that they, better than the marketplace, can decide where certain businesses and land uses should or should not be allowed. It sounds reasonable enough, but in the end we basically have the arbitrary decisions of a few people dictating other people's private property rights. Do we really think that 5 Commissioners and a few unelected staff people are smart enough to allocate resources (the ability to utilize private property) better than the marketplace?

Socialism and communism are great systems if you get to be part of the cream riding on the top of the workers. For the workers, not so much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The invisible hand rocks . . . uUntil the guy across the street from you decides the highest and best use for his place is as a stockyard.