And I Can Fly By Twirling My Tongue

by Don Boudreaux on November 27, 2019

in Complexity & Emergence, Curious Task, Hubris and humility, Man of System, Myths and Fallacies, Reality Is Not Optional

Here’s a screenshot of an ad that appeared just now on my Cafe Hayek homepage. The hubris revealed by the ad is astonishing enough. What’s more astonishing – to the point of being frightening – is the apparent fact that many people find such an ad to be credible and appealing.

Andrew Yang does not “know how to build an economy that puts people first” (whatever it might mean to “put people first”; what else might be “first” in an economy? Beetles? Oak trees? Mushrooms? Curious and colorless green ideas that sleep furiously?) No one knows how to “build an economy.” No one can possibly know such a thing regardless of what in that economy is to be “put first.”

Economies aren’t built. Economies are emergent, spontaneous orders. Andrew Yang – or you name the hubris-saturated man or woman of system – literally knows no more about “building an economy” than he knows about how to build a new species each member of which gets nutrition by eating rocks, lives for 10,000 years, and is impervious to the force of gravity.

The conceit evidenced here by Yang – and by Warren, by Sanders, and by the-list-is-depressingly-long – is foolish, frightening, and, indeed, fatal.


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