≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 336 of Thomas Sowell’s 1980 magnum economic opus, Knowledge and Decisions:

The academic process is a process of pre-arrangement by persons already in possession of knowledge which they intend to articulate and convey unilaterally.  Social processes are processes of systemic discovery of knowledge and of its multilateral communication in a variety of largely inarticulated forms.  To “solve” an academic “problem” is to deal with pre-selected variables in a prescribed manner to reach a pre-arranged solution.  To apply the academic paradigm to the real world is to arbitrarily pre-conceive social processes – the whole complex of economic, social, legal, etc., activities – as already comprehended or comprehensible to a given decision maker, when in fact these very processes themselves are often largely mechanisms for coping with pervasive uncertainty and economizing on scarce and fragmented knowledge.

Or as expressed in the title of Jim Buchanan’s profound 1982 letter-to-the-editor of Literature of Liberty: “Order Defined in the Process of Its Emergence.”