It’s as if someone responsible for making this recent commercial for Exxon-Mobile has read Leonard Read’s 1958 essay, “I, Pencil.” (HT Ken Maurer and Jon Murphy)
It cannot be said too often: our modern world, although not perfect, works so incredibly and so consistently well for the great majority of people that we take the marvels of our daily lives for granted. These marvels are nearly all the product of unplanned human cooperation that spans the globe and involves the creativity and efforts of literally hundreds of millions of people. A distinguishing feature of this marvelous market-created world of ours is that not only do you not know how to make any of the individual goods and services that you consume, but no one knows how to make any of these things. With rare exceptions (almost all involving intimate personal services such as massages), everything that each of us moderns consumes daily requires the knowledge and information possessed by multitudes of strangers – knowledge and information that is not and cannot possibly be contained in a single mind or place.