My Imaginings are So Beautiful!

by Don Boudreaux on April 29, 2009

in Complexity & Emergence

Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch explain with eloquence and spirit why what Adam Smith called “the man of system” is not visionary but, rather — and at best — self-absorbed and out-of-touch.

Here’s a slice from Gillespie’s and Welch’s fine essay:

Consider the president’s recent “major” speech about transportation, yet another Castro-like exhortation in which Obama boldly rejected the failed policies of the past in favor of the failed policies of the future.

“Our highways are clogged with traffic,” he noted, before unveiling his big fix: Shiny new trains that go almost twice as fast as cars. Forget that, as urban historian Joel Garreau has long documented, our country has been decentralizing its living and working patterns for decades now, migrating from virtually all urban centers (except maybe for booming Washington, D.C.) to relatively low-density suburbs. In a big, spread-out country where individualized service at the coffee stand, on cable TV, and in your computer is the new normal, our chief visionary officer is talking about a one-size-fits-all solution that will surely bomb even bigger than NBC’s Supertrain.


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