… is from page 65 of Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett’s review – titled “The Problem with Nudging People to Happiness” – of Cass Sunstein’s 2019 book On Freedom; Randy’s review appears in the May 2019 issue of Reason:
“Let the market decide” is not necessarily a recipe for correct answers. But a decentralized order of freedom within the boundaries of our legally protected rights allows a diversity of choices from which better results can emerge “as if by an invisible hand.” Knowledge can evolve instead of being stipulated by a Leviathan.
DBx: Well put.
Saying “Let the market decide” sounds simplistic, but in fact it is among the most vital of the simple rules for a complex world. Saying “Let the market decide” is shorthand for counseling that each person be allowed to use his or her own unique knowledge of time, place, and circumstance – and of his or her individual subjective preferences – as he or she sees fit to experiment with ways to improve his or her small corner of the world.
No human being being godlike, this approach – with confines set chiefly by the law of property, contract, and tort – is simply the best that we can do. The alternative of giving to human beings power that can be knowledgeably and safely used only by benevolent godlike creatures doesn’t turn those human beings into benevolent godlike creatures; it typically turns them into devil-like creatures. And the greater is the false faith of the people in the godlike powers of secular rulers, the more devilish those rulers become.