Planners’ mistakes tend to be more expensive than individuals’ because the consequences of their failures are wider in scope. Planners also are less resilient. Rather than alter their plans when proved wrong, they tend to twist facts to conform to their notions. Today’s European Union provides a good illustration of this phenomenon.
The struggle of economic ideas is ultimately a philosophical battle between those who think individuals are better judges of what’s best for them and those who think the government is.
Preachers of Keynesian government intervention typically have found a friendlier ear among the political class. But the game is still pretty open, and perhaps the staggering failure of governments and rulers in today’s world may strike a blow for humility - and for Hayek.
Alberto Mingardi is director general of the Istituto Bruno Leoni, a Milan-based free-market think tank, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.