“Power attracts pathological people. It’s not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the pathological.” –Frank Herbert
One for us, and them:
From the archives at Bonner & Partners (USA):
It’s about something that affects us all in ever greater measure – the arrogance of central planners.
From BB’s Diary:
Bill Bonner, Chairman – April 13, 2016
WHY ALL CENTRAL PLANNING IS DOOMED TO FAIL
We’re still thinking about how so many smart people came to believe things that aren’t true.
They believe they can manipulate the future and make it better. Not just for themselves… but also for everyone else.
Where did such a silly idea come from?
After the Renaissance, Aristotelian logic came to dominate Western thought. It was essentially a forerunner of positivism – which is supposedly based on objective conditions and scientific reasoning.
“Give me the facts,” says the positivist, confidently.
“Let me apply my rational brain to them. I will come up with a solution!”
BEYOND THE HERALD’S CRY
This is fine, if you are building the Eiffel Tower or organising the next church supper.
But positivism falls apart when it is applied to schemes that go beyond the reach of the “herald’s cry”.
That’s what Aristotle said: Only a small community would work. Because only in a small community would all the people share more or less the same information and interests.
In a large community, you can’t know things in the same direct, personal way. You have no idea who made your sausage or what they put in it. You have to rely on “facts” that are no longer verifiable by direct observation or personal acquaintance.
So it’s hard for people to work together in the same way.
In a large community, central planners’ “facts” are nothing more than statistical mush, wishful thinking, and theoretical claptrap – like WMD, GDP, the unemployment rate, and the Übermensch.
Large-scale planning fails because the facts upon which it is built are always unreliable and often completely bogus.
It fails also because people don’t really want it.
In a small community, the planners and the people they are planning for are close enough to share the same goals.
But in a large community, the planners are a small minority.
And in a large community, the planners usually have their own agenda… often a hidden one.
They call for stricter law enforcement… while getting campaign contributions from the prison industry. They seek a cure for cancer… and depend on the pharmaceutical industry for job offers. They promote a united Europe… and hope to be its head man.
Large-scale planning provides almost countless opportunities for corruption. But it’s not the dirty dealing that dooms it. It is that the planners don’t know (or care) what people really want… and don’t have the means or the information necessary to achieve it anyway.