The vast disparity in knowledge and understanding between intellectuals and the population at large assumed by the intelligentsia is crucial to the vision of the anointed, whether in discussions of law, economics, race, war or innumerable other issues.
But, if the knowledge that is consequential includes a range of mundane information too vast to be known to any given individual – whether among the intellectuals or the masses – then top-down decision-making processes like economic central planning, directed by an intellectual elite, are less promising than market competition, where millions of individual decisions and mutual accommodations bring into play a vastly larger range of consequential knowledge, even if this knowledge is available to each individual in unimpressively small fragments of the total knowledge in society.
As Robert L. Bartley of the Wall Street Journal expressed this point of view: “In general, ‘the market’ is smarter than the smartest of its individual participants.”
-Prof Thomas Sowell (Intellectuals and Society)
(H/T: Cafe Hayek)