Monday, December 23, 2013

Crabby in Maryland

Politico reports that Democrats in Maryland are at odds with one another over the slip shod rollout of Obamacare in the state.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler wonders aloud why a state that has, in his estimation, “literally the smartest people in the country” is having such problems getting ACA enrollment right.

Here is what Gansler doesn’t get.  It doesn’t matter how many smart people there are in Maryland.  Any centrally market disruption is bound to fail.  No one can doubt that there were plenty of smart people in Soviet Union or in the entire Eastern Block, yet conditions were miserable, there was no prosperity.  
 However, just beyond the Wall, West Germany and Western Europe experience a spectacular post World War II recovery.

Ditto with the PRC.  Life there was fairly primitive, while free Hong Kong was setting the business world on fire.

Centrally planned systems are doomed to failure.  That’s because no individual or group of individuals can ever possess the knowledge that resides with thousands or millions of freely acting producers, consumers and middlemen.  F. A. Hayek demonstrates that order in a society emerges spontaneously from countless numbers of people making even more countless decisions based upon their estimate of what best suites their particular needs.  Those decisions that are successful get repeated and emulated while those that fail are discarded.   This how a healthy society evolves adapts and grows without guidance from some all powerful planner.   

The idea that one man or some central committee can know what is best for each every person in society is what Hayek calls the “conceit of knowledge” or The Fatal Conceit.

So, back to Obamacare and back to Maryland.  The Dems can argue all that they want who is to blame for the ACA’s flubbed execution and who is most competent to handle it.  It is a losing proposition from the get-go no matter who is in charge because it is impossible for a handful of politicians and technocrats to guess what is most right and satisfactory for each and every citizen.  The longer that is takes them to realize this, the crabbier everyone in Maryland will be.

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