Monday, April 11, 2011

CHAPTER 2: Spontaneous order is not automatic.  Like highway traffic there must be certain organizational fundamentals.   

First there must be a rule that ties the system together.  For example all drivers in the United States drive on the right hand side of the road and stop on red.  Imagine if only half of the drivers followed this rule.  Or imagine if the rule was constantly changing according to the whims of some  hierarchical planners.   

Next there must be shared information so the indivicual units can make decisions that become self organizing.  For example, blind drivers cannot determine which side of the road IS the right hand side.

And finally there must be a negative feedback loop to eliminate persistent errors.    If you drive on the left hand side of the road and/or ignore red lights you will experience this feedback.  A rule, information, and negative feedback loops are the prerequisites for self-organization.

As children we quickly find out the difference between mine and yours when we try to take another child's toys away from them. As we mature we learn the difference between possessions and property.  This basic concept is the foundation of the philosophy of NATURAL RIGHTS.  The development of this concept has a long history and can be traced from the Stoics to John Locke to Thomas Jefferson to Murray Rothbard.  For simplicity I have left out many links in the chain.  
Look here to gain a better understanding of  natural law and natural rights.  This essay is rather long but well worth your time.

Most pardigms have competition, at least for awhile.  Once the world was thought to be flat and blood letting seemed like a good way to cure disases. The flat world paradigm that presently competes with  natural rights is UTILITARIANISM (Hey, I never said I was unbiased).  According to this philosophy natural rights are secondary to what is good for society.  The catch phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number" just about sums it up.  At least 90 percent of the professional economists in academia and 100 percent of those working for the government are utilitarians.  One reason is job security.  These economists fancy themselves as experts on helping decision makers decide what is the greatest good, therefore they are in demand to give advice.  The other reason is that most of them don't know the difference between a natural right and a positive right.  And worse yet don't care to learn. 


Review Questions:  What are "rights"?  Do people have a right to work?  Do they have a right to an education, to healthcare, to gun ownership? 

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