The Rocco De Leo Show

Episode 14

The Problem with Central Planning and the Omniscient Dictator

published on

Central Planning, as Hayek refers to comes as us with different disguises. This is important to understand because most politician in America and around the free world are not going to ask for your vote for "central planning".  This is something that comes in chunks.  Mostly from special interests (which sound ugly and political) and "important" causes (which sound important to many people). Understanding what the ultimate goal and the ultimate end is when the government either through a single "leader" or a group of leaders gets involved in aspects of the economy that are better left to individuals is paramount to preserving our freedom, as well as those cause we seemingly think the government can solve.

What is Central Planing

Central planning is the coordination, organization, resource allocation, and focus of growth and attention directed from a central authority (king, president, dictator, administrator, etc).  In a society centrally planned, the individual is merely a player who will be allocated resources and coerced (or moved) to action based on instruction from the central authority.

Why do people think Central Planning is important

The argument arose as society was becoming more complex.  As cities and industries grew to enormous sizes with many different wants and needs, the supporters of Central Planning saw Central Planning as the only means to prevent such a large society from devolving into chaos. They believed that only by a large state (or administrator) can all the moving parts coordinate to meet all the needs of the people. They believed this not possible when directed by the individual.

Why it is Wrong and Why smart people go all in on it

I argue that this idea is actually a good idea. Why not have an all knowing, all present, all loving and all caring "omniscient dictator" direct traffic for all mankind.  The only problem is that this is impossible. It seems as though the only "person" with this ability is God, and He likes giving us choice and free will. The "next best" choice is far inferior to God.  In simple terms, the only way to make an economy perform the way to meet the most needs for its people, is by having instant knowledge of all things at all times, and in all places as well as understanding local customs, nuances and needs. This too is impossible. No one person or board of people can make these decision or even begin to process all the information even in one large city. This is best left to the individual.  Hayek states that individuals, "coerced" or driven by competition and the want to succeed are best suited to make decisions on a moment by moment basis.  Powered by prices, the free market (competition) will instruct or dictate where people move their resources and how they coordinate, organize, and focus. It is amazing to see this in action on a day by day basis in every city in America. Perhaps it's a bit scary to realize that there is no one actually controlling this orchestra.  Of course, maybe more scary would be to actually see someone attempt. As in the Soviet Union, or Venezuela.  It never works.

As I wrote in my previous post Freedom, A Victim of Its Own Success?, a free society tends to produce generations of people who are so removed from the struggles to obtain freedom and the desire to understand freedom since there's no "vissible" threat to it, that they become complacent. People who don't understand or even belive in tyranny are destined to hand over their freedoms to tyrants under the guise of "special interests" or "causes". Hayek calls many of these people "technicians".  Powerful technicians see the possiblility of their cause (whatever it may be) being achieved if and only if the entire focus of humankind becomes his cause. As if the world can come together like the movie Indepence Day and fight off a superior alien force, a cause is seeminly this important for many "technicians".  They don't see the damage or the cost to the rest of society, nor do many care. Some of these causes are great and many are not. That's not the point.  The point is even if the puppet master can cure cancer, if everyone has already starved to death, what's the point? And, don't forget, there a million and one causes out there all believing they are the most important of all causes.

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