Friday, May 23, 2008

Central Planning

Central planning of any large, complex, and adaptable human enterprise is a daunting task. This is not to say that it is impossible or that it cannot yield useful results. There are times when central planning is absolutely essential; war, for example.

The question is can central planning produce results as efficiently and in a comparable variety as can dispersed, decentralized efforts.

The answer is a resounding "No." Consider Ron Bailey's review of Sex, Science and Profits: How People Evolved to Make Money, by Terence Kealey. Kealey is a well-known critic of massive government funding of basic scientific research.

An excerpt:

"Kealey shows in nearly every case the crucial inventions of the past two and half centuries were called forth by markets, not invented by scientists working from ivory towers. These include the steam engine, cotton gin, textile mills, railroad engines, the revolver, the electric motor, telegraph, telephone, incandescent light bulb, radio, the airplane—the list is nearly endless."

Read the rest here
Check out an interview with Kealey here

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