Hayek and the Internet
By Arnold Kling
Michael Van Winkle argues that the Internet’s weblogs represent Hayek’s concept of spontaneous order.
We’ve all heard critics of the Internet claim that, because no one “controls” it, no one can control it from disseminating the most outrageous rumors and conspiracies. A similar critique was leveled at Hayek’s arguments about markets: Sure, markets (spontaneous systems) can deliver food at reasonable prices, but advertising and marketing often mislead people about which foods they should buy.
…Slowly but surely a loose network of bloggers is sometimes beating the designed, controlled systems of checks and balances at deciphering what’s true and what’s not. This is exactly what Hayek would’ve predicted.
I do not think that I would have ever developed an appreciation for Hayek were it not for the Internet. Just over ten years ago, as I contemplated leaving a secure job to start an Internet business, I studied the Internet and gained an understanding of how its decentralized architecture works. The analogy between the Internet’s architecture and Hayek’s view of markets is what made Hayek accessible to me.
For Discussion. In what ways does the Internet facilitate decentralizes markets?