… is from page 407 of the 2014 collection, The Market and Other Orders (Bruce Caldwell, ed.), of some of F.A. Hayek’s essays on spontaneous-ordering forces; specifically, it’s from Hayek’s previously unpublished 1961 lecture at the University of Virginia “Economics and Technology,” which is the third of four lectures that Hayek delivered in UVA’s Newcomb Hall during the Spring 1961 semester; the title of this lecture series by Hayek is “A New Look at Economic Theory” (original emphases):
[I]t is because a modern economy is so complex that nobody can know all the facts that it could not effectively be guided by a central plan but must be conducted on the basis of decentralization of decisions. This is worth emphasizing because it is sometimes argued that this very complexity, which in fact prevents effective planning, makes planning necessary.
DBx: Until I receive a substantive and cogent answer I will continue to put the following question to anyone who proposes to improve the economy with industrial policy: From where will government officials who are charged with allocating resources get the information they must have in order to allocate resources better than resources will be allocated by open, competitive markets?
Describing a happy outcome is not an answer. Noting that planning is done by some foreign governments is not an answer. Pointing to flaws – real or imagined – in the existing pattern of resource allocation is not an answer. Documenting increases in inequality, stagnation of wages, record trade deficits, falling manufacturing employment, depopulation of particular towns or counties, allegedly inadequate incomes of males, rising opioid overdoses, a worsening of the quality of Aunt Yvonne’s coq au vin, or whatever factual trend you fancy might be relevant is not an answer to the question “From where will government officials who are charged with allocating resources get the information they must have in order to allocate resources better than resources will be allocated by open, competitive markets?”