Feb 11

John Stossel on Spontaneous Order

stosselThe great libertarian TV journalist and commentator John Stossel is out with a brilliant essay.

Stossel discusses the theory of spontaneous order: the notion that humans tend to create order in any chaotic setting, without being commanded to do so. In many respects, the debate over spontaneous order is the debate between freedom and tyranny. Trusters of the state tend to believe humans do not spontaneously order themselves without command; while libertarians tend to believe humans order themselves best without central planning.

Stossel describes how skaters at skating rinks spontaneously create order from chaos. Stossel then describes how increased central planning in modern America has dampened progress and made it much more difficult for people to accomplish monumental projects:

Eighty years ago, it took workers only 15 months to build the Empire State Building. But this century, using vastly superior construction equipment, building the new World Trade Center took 10 times as long. Eighty years ago, some trains ran faster than 100 miles per hour, but now even the “high-speed” Acela train averages only 90 miles per hour because government safety rules demand that American trains be heavier.