“Bastiat’s Iceberg,” is a fascinating article on economic crisis, recommended by The Cobden Center (“for honest money and social progress”).
Toby Baxendale, at The Cobden Center, on 21 December 2009, writes: “Sean Corrigan of Diapason Commodities Management packs more sound applied economics into this report than ever.” It’s an interesting way to think about the economics of Hayek’s “extended order” and the dangers of commanding it to reorganize itself.
Download the report —this will trigger the download of a 1.6 MB pdf file.
Baxendale’s summary & commentary.
Corrigan, on planners (chateau generals) and entrepreneurs (frontline officers), from the article:
In their Olympian disdain for the little man whose very breath they nonetheless now yearn to regulate, they are congenitally oblivious to the truth that the World can thrive without them: that, absent their heavy-handed interference, its form is highly articulated, intrinsically adaptable and — yes — partly redundant, but therefore gratifyingly robust.
These Planners who so plague our modern lives are all, at root, chateau generals, arraying their coloured counters in textbook fashion in the sandbox; serenely isolated from the mud and gore at the front; disastrously behindhand in their decisions; hopelessly divorced from the harsh realities of the fray — all failings which, of course, do not discourage them in the least in their pretence at deciding the destinies of the many.
The shrewd commander of the storm-troop, by contrast, is ever alert to the fact that the ‘want of a nail’ is emblematic of military failure and so remains conscious of the importance of logistics — of the necessity for the smooth functioning of that extensive rear-area ‘Tail’ … to the delivery of combat power by the armed ‘Teeth’ in the battlezone. He also lives by the dictum contained in von Moltke”s lapidary phrase that ‘no plan survives first contact with the enemy’ and so knows that there is always a need for hands-on officership, for what we might usefully call an ‘entrepreneurship of war’.
If even the starchy Junkers of the Prussian army could learn to delegate as much responsibility as possible right down to men with their noses in the dirt — a doctrine known as ‘Auftragstaktik‘ — why is it that, in civilian life, a drearily intrusive economic prescriptivism has been able to live so far beyond its many failures in the crucible of history?
December 25, 2009