Saturday, March 18, 2006

Collectivism and the Invisible Hand

Mary Katharine Ham goes to a lefty conference in Austin and makes the following observation:
The Left thinks the wisdom of crowds and the army of Davids are victories for socialism, for collectivism. If we all work together, they think, we are better than the individual.

But I've always thought of online communities as exactly the opposite. I think of them as the ultimate free market of information. Individuals with diverse experience and knowledge willingly trade information and debate ideas. The good ones earn credence and attention and rise to the top. Many individuals act with free will and the Invisible Hand leads to efficient solutions. There's not a lot of bureacracy. There is no central command.

Odd, huh? That two groups of people can look at the same phenomenon and interpret it in exactly opposite ways?


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