By Arnold Kling
Without mentioning the movie, Bruce Charlton thinks we are living it.
So we should be honest about the fact that human do not anymore fly to the moon because humans cannot anymore fly to the moon. Humans have failed to block the leaking oil pipe in the Gulf of Mexico because we nowadays cannot do it (although humans would surely have solved the problem 40 years ago, but in ways we can no longer imagine since then the experts were both smarter and more creative than we are now, and these experts would then have been in a position to do the needful).
Charlton says that we no longer have the sort of concentrated expertise that enabled us to fly to the moon. Perhaps. If you go to Europe, you will see cathedrals that I do not think we could build any more. Does anyone think that we could produce a Constitution as brilliant as that devised in 1787?
I think that there are situations in which talented individuals are collected in ways that yield amazing feats. And there are situations in which talented individuals are assembled in dysfunctional institutions so that they undermine one another’s capabilities. One can argue that the art of being a CEO is fostering the former type of institution rather than the latter.
Incidentally, Idiocracy is a really bad movie, but it has to be seen.