Stephen Dubner, one-half of the Freakonomics team, knows that tackling big issues can big problems, and that’s often why big issues (think: poverty) don’t get solved. Dubner’s thought? Think small. Don’t try to solve everything; solve one thing.
It’s much less complicated, you’ll have easier access to the data that you’ll need. Most importantly, you will preserve one of your most precious resources: optimism.
In his new book, Knowledge and Power, the imitable George Gilder aims at reframing our economic paradigm, focusing heavily on the tension between the power of the State and the knowledge of entrepreneurs — or, as William Easterly has put it, the planners and the searchers.
“Wealth is essentially knowledge,” Gilder writes, and “the war between the centrifuge of knowledge and the centripetal pull of power remains the prime conflict in all economies.”
Quoting Albert Hirschman, Gilder notes that, “Creativity always comes as a surprise to us,” continuing (in his own words), “if it didn’t, we wouldn’t need it and planning would work….Entrepreneurial creativity is almost defined by its surprisal — by its unexpected character.”
Making room for such surprise requires a dose of Hayekian humility, but as for the shapes, contours, and origins of the surprise itself, Christianity has plenty to say. (more…)