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Quotation of the Day…

Posted By Don Boudreaux On December 12, 2012 @ 8:36 am In Complexity & Emergence,Man of System | Comments Disabled

… is from pages 267-268 of Brink Lindsey’s 2002 book, Against the Dead Hand [1]:

The fundamental problem is that equating order with top-down control retains a powerful intuitive appeal.  Despite the obvious successes of unplanned markets, despite the spectacular rise of the Internet’s decentralized order, and despite the well-publicized new science of “complexity” and its study of self-organizing systems, it is still widely assumed that the only alternative to central authority is chaos….  Consequently, whenever some issue becomes a matter of public concern, there is inevitably strong pressure to impose some top-down mandate or create a new bureaucracy to manage the problem.  Meanwhile, those who resist such centralized policy responses are routinely castigated for their callous disregard of the issue.

In other words, very many people – nearly everyone on the political left, yet plenty also on the political right – remain creationists.  They continue to fail to grasp the nuances, deep meaning, and full implications of the science of spontaneous order that first flowered among scholars in 18th-century Scotland [2].  The still-living scholars who today are most prominent in carrying forward this spontaneous-order tradition as a scientific research project include Armen Alchian [3], Gary Becker [4], James Buchanan [5], Ronald Coase [6], Harold Demsetz [7], Kenneth Elzinga [8]Richard Epstein [9], David Friedman [10], Israel Kirzner [11], Henry Manne [12], Deirdre McCloskey [13], Vernon Smith [14]Thomas Sowell [15], Gordon Tullock [16], Richard Wagner [17]Walter Williams [18]Bruce Yandle [19], and Leland Yeager [20].

I name here only some of the ‘elders’ of this rich and revolutionary scientific tradition; I do not name all of them.  And I name none of the younger (say, below-65) scholars.  A longer list would be long indeed – but it would not be long enough, for the number of creationists continues to overwhelm.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Against the Dead Hand: http://www.amazon.com/Against-Dead-Hand-Uncertain-Capitalism/dp/0471442771/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324473623&sr=1-1

[2] first flowered among scholars in 18th-century Scotland: http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Fcollection=19&Itemid=27

[3] Armen Alchian: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Alchian.html

[4] Gary Becker: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Becker.html

[5] James Buchanan: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Buchanan.html

[6] Ronald Coase: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Coase.html

[7] Harold Demsetz: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/02/harold_demsetz.html

[8] Kenneth Elzinga: http://people.virginia.edu/~kge8z/

[9] Richard Epstein: http://www.hoover.org/fellows/10027

[10] David Friedman: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/

[11] Israel Kirzner: http://www.econ.nyu.edu/user/kirzner/

[12] Henry Manne: http://www.law.gmu.edu/faculty/directory/emeritus/manne_henry

[13] Deirdre McCloskey: http://www.deirdremccloskey.org/

[14] Vernon Smith: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/SmithV.html

[15] Thomas Sowell: http://www.tsowell.com/

[16] Gordon Tullock: http://economics.gmu.edu/people/gtullockemeritus

[17] Richard Wagner: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rwagner/

[18] Walter Williams: http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/

[19] Bruce Yandle: http://mercatus.org/bruce-yandle

[20] Leland Yeager: http://mises.org/journals/aen/aen12_3_1.asp

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