On April 12th in New York City, the Soho Forum will host a debate between George Selgin and Josh Barro on the resolution “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation should be abolished in favor of private sector solutions for protecting the safety of bank deposits.” George will argue in the affirmative.
By contrast, trade creates a collective problem-solving brain as big as the trade network itself. It draws [as Hayek taught] upon dispersed and fragmented knowledge to create things that nobody can even comprehend, wholes that are more complex than the sum of their individual mental parts.
No other animal does this. There is exchange and specialisation within families, even huge families such as ant colonies, which gives an ant colony considerable collective intelligence. But that’s among kin. Exchange between strangers is a unique feature of us modern hominids. As Adam Smith said, “no man ever saw a dog make fair and deliberate exchange of a bone with another dog”.