India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dobbsy Dobbsy Doo

Benn Steil coins a neologism in the Financial Times:
Dobbsism is a form of primal consciousness, exemplified by crusading American television anchor Lou Dobbs, through which people impute what they observe to intention. It is the consciousness behind belief in intelligent design, according to which biological life must have been designed by a creator, given its complexity. It is likewise behind the belief that a complex social construct like a "national economy" must be deliberately designed by enlightened policymakers, lest joblessness, poverty and mass bankruptcy result from the neglect.
Well, whatever Steil calls it, this tendency is fairly common in us, for spontaneous order is an unintuitive concept to grasp, as are things that are "the product of human action but not of human design." (Update: also read this.) Too many of us have too much faith, still, in central planning and government intervention, thus making the same mistake that a Russian official, struggling to understand market economics, once made when he asked Paul Seabright: "who is in charge of the supply of bread to London?" (Quoted in this excellent article, and in "The Undercover Economist" by Tim Harford.) Quite.

(The FT link is a subscriber link, I quoted it off the print edition.)
amit varma, 1:55 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: