The fatal conceit of technocracy that afflicts most policymaking
It fails to recognize that people are not chessboard pieces and could opt to respond in ways that defeat grand policy objectives
The great Austrian economist and political philosopher, Friedrich von Hayek, published The Road to Serfdom in 1944, arguing against socialism, planning and collectivism, and in favour of individual liberty, the market system and capitalism. Much later, on the eve of the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe, in 1988, he published The Fatal Conceit, which expands and builds upon arguments he had been articulating for a half-century. (This latter work was edited by philosopher William Warren Bartley, and there is a scholarly dispute as to whether he was more author than editor, with Hayek already ailing at that time.) The title of the latter work comes from a celebrated passage in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) by Scottish economist and political philosopher Adam Smith, better known for his classic The Wealth of Nations (1776).