Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Reign of The Experts

This is a wonderful metaphor for what we've seen in shoes and diet:

“After 100 years, we’re seeing that’s not quite working.”

Yes, we're learning that much of the expert advice we've been getting for the last 100 years has turned out to be hogwash.  Hayek had this nailed:

"It may be admitted that, as far as scientific knowledge is concerned, a body of suitably chosen experts may be in the best position to command all the best knowledge available—though this is of course merely shifting the difficulty to the problem of selecting the experts. What I wish to point out is that, even assuming that this problem can be readily solved, it is only a small part of the wider problem.

"Today it is almost heresy to suggest that scientific knowledge is not the sum of all knowledge. But a little reflection will show that there is beyond question a body of very important but unorganized knowledge which cannot possibly be called scientific in the sense of knowledge of general rules: the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place. It is with respect to this that practically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him or are made with his active cooperation."

The experts don't know nearly as much as they think they know, and far less than they'd like us to think.