Saturday, February 18, 2023

Beware the "correct solution".................

 One idea Friedman articulates better than almost anyone else is how advocacy of the market mechanism is (or at least can and should be) rooted in epistemic humility. It’s not just society that is unfathomably complex – the individuals who make up society are also complex and multifaceted ways technocratic policy can never hope to reflect. His advocacy of markets can be paraphrased as “Look, this social problem is extraordinarily complicated. I don’t know what the best solution is. In fact, even talking about a ‘best’ solution may be senseless, because different solutions will work better for different people and different circumstances. The best approach is to let a thousand flowers bloom and give people the space to work out for themselves how to solve their issues in a way best suited to their own needs and desires.” To be a technocrat is to deny that a problem is too complex for you to understand, to believe that there is a “correct” solution, that you in particular know what that solution is, and that you can effectively use policy to implement that solution by altering the behavior of people you’ve never met in ways you can reliably predict. If you reject the simple-society ontology of a naive realist, you see these kinds of claims as incredibly hubristic. But these are the claims one has to make to advocate a technocratic policy.

-Kevin Corcoran, talking about this book:

No comments:

Post a Comment