Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Flying blind, always...

When recently asked to comment on the absence of data resulting from the government shutdown (last Friday's cancelled jobs report for example), CNBC economics reporter Steve Liesman replied (on behalf of the Fed) "it's like flying an airplane without any radio with the windows covered up."

As I have vented here a zillion times, I marvel at the so widely held notion that mere men and women---the most academically accomplished even---can even begin to believe they can fly the economy any more than they can flap their arms and fly themselves.

Here's enlightened economist Don Boudreaux on the topic (be sure to read the entire article):
Attempts to centrally plan economies are very much like attempts to fly by dressing like and flapping like a bird: utterly futile because the most that can be observed of any successful economy are a handful of large details (“assembly lines,” “retail outlets”…..). The vast majority (99.99999999999…9 percent) of the details that must work reasonably well aren’t observed by the would-be central planner. What Hayek called “knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place” – knowledge of details spread today across the globe and across billions of different human minds – is not incidental to the successful operation of a modern economy. Utilizing that knowledge – vast, deep, changing, incredibly fine-grained detailed knowledge – is the very key to a successful market economy.

Central planning is as futile as trying to strap on wings and fly like a bird --- and potentially as calamitous.

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