David Hines
Pitcher perfect
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By David Hines
April 15, 2014

A frequent anti-market pitch is that a free market can't work because there is imperfect information. This is a rather odd contention. It presupposes that somehow government agencies have perfect information, else they could decide no better than individuals can. Not in all human experience is there perfect information.

Some may argue that what you have experienced is perfect information. That is far from the case. Police interview eyewitnesses who frequently get facts wrong. Even what they've seen firsthand is imperfect.

The human brain is a quirky organ. It fashions its own linear portrait from nonlinear raw materials. We react to a variety of stimuli, then a fraction of a second later construct the narrative. If we had to await the story to be written our very survival would be endangered.

People never have perfect information. We all make our best assessments and act upon them. This applies to choosing a career; selecting a mate; and making purchases. If lack of perfect information is sufficient rationale for a government mandate, then your entire life must be dictated. Government must decide what work you must do, and who and when you shall marry.

Whence comes the bureaucrat's perfect information? Does he have a bug planted in your brain, that he may know your every sensation? If not, his information is necessarily incomplete, and far less than perfect. He may have culled a great deal of data about you – your genetics; what sites you visited on the Internet; what purchases you have made; etc. This is but a smattering compared to the information that cannot be known.

My advice to critics of the market, which will of course be ignored: Pitch it. The "perfect information" argument is way outside the strike zone.

© David Hines

 

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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)

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