Sat, 19 Jan 2008

Centralization vs. Distribution

The most difficult problem that people face is the problem of mistakes. The Apollo project showed both that through dint of enormous effort, it's possible to eliminate nearly all mistakes. Yet it also shows that it's not possible to eliminate all mistakes.

The field of religion is rife with mistakes. If you believe that there is only a single mechanism through which people were created, and if you believe that there was an intention behind the creation of people, then you are a religious person. That much is without mistake, largely through definitional means. Once you get beyond that, there is wild disagreement between believers, and yet only one of them can be without mistake. Everybody else who disagrees with them is wrong.

A few centuries ago, the accepted idea was that the solution to the problem of religious mistakes was for wise people to choose a religion for the entire country. Then, nobody would be at risk of losing their eternal soul. The trouble, of course, is that not everybody agreed that the wise people were also wise AND correct.

The wise people who founded the United States and wrote its Constitution decided to try something different. They would establish a country without an established religion. Some people might disagree, but I think that the majority of people agree (at least with their feet) that America is a great place to live.

Rather than being a country without any religious, as might be feared, America is a country with many religions, and without any religious fighting. Religions thrive when they are left without government intervention.

Now, why is it that so many people think that markets require government intervention? I contend, instead, that people will be better off if markets are left to themselves, just like religions.

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