I am not a libertarian who argues against the need for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. But Friedrich Hayek has this much going for him: He understood that the challenge of technocratic planning is always limited information. "The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess."
Which is why planning tends to fail, particularly in highly complex systems. "This is not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not," Hayek said. "It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals."
So maybe the problem is not Obama or Sebelius but rather a government program that requires superhuman technocratic mastery.
Michael Gerson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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