Most of the advantages of social life, especially in it’s more advanced forms which we call “civilization”, rest on the fact that the individual benefits from more knowledge than he is aware of. It might be said that civilization begins when the individual in pursuit of his ends can make use of more knowledge than he himself has acquired and when he can transcend the boundaries of his ignorance by profiting from knowledge he does not himself possess.
F. A. Hayek
The Constitution Of Liberty, Chp. 2, pg 73
[Via email from nvguyusa who goes on to say:
So basically, civilization rests on the sum of the experiences and knowledge of all persons. Some of that knowledge can be articulated (he goes on to make a point of scientific knowledge in particular), but some of it, such as the sum of customs, traditions, beliefs, various faiths, “community standards”, if you will, cannot be known by all – the knowledge is too fragmented and diffused among the population at large, The problem with “central planning”, “big government”, whatever you want to call it is that it relies on the assumption that everything can be know in and accounted for in advance. The stunning failure of usurious tax rates (and the behavioral changes undertaken to avoid same) puts the lie to this. The planners cannot even get basic revenue projections right because they cannot account for altered behavior in the face a of a (relatively) minor change; how the [string of vulgar Anglo-Saxonisms involving one’s maternal lineage] do they expect to plan the perfect society at large?
Only the naïve and willfully ignorance believe they can plan the perfect society at large. The rest are in it for the power and money.—Joe]