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    econlib | 29 min
    3 reads4 comments
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    econlib
    3 reads
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    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      1 week ago

      The problem which we meet here is by no means peculiar to economics but arises in connection with nearly all truly social phenomena, with language and with most of our cultural inheritance, and constitutes really the central theoretical problem of all social science. As Alfred Whitehead has said in another connection, “It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.” This is of profound significance in the social field. We make constant use of formulas, symbols, and rules whose meaning we do not understand and through the use of which we avail ourselves of the assistance of knowledge which individually we do not possess. We have developed these practices and institutions by building upon habits and institutions which have proved successful in their own sphere and which have in turn become the foundation of the civilization we have built up.

      • jeff
        Top reader this weekScribe
        1 week ago

        So glad to see this got another read! If I could pin one article to the top of my profile this would be it for sure.

    • SEnkey
      ScoutScribe
      1 year ago

      Marvel - That emergent markets are neither consciously created or recognized. Hayek does a great service pointing out the problem of having all the needed information. It just isn't possible.

    • jeff
      Top reader this weekScribe
      1 year ago

      This is at once both a technical argument for decentralization and a beautiful meditation on the emergent phenomena of civilization and society. Hayek's words of caution on the use of data and statistics for broad top-down decision making are at least as relevant today as they were when they were written back in 1945.