PAUL EHRLICH VS THE KNOWLEDGE PROBLEM

The self-beclowned Chicken Little of the environmental movement takes a break from soothsaying to wrestle with fact of distributed knowledge — Steven Hayward has the story:

I’ve debated Ehlich twice .. I once had a fairly serious argument with him about how Hayek’s concept of the “knowledge problem” made his schemes of human improvement both impossible and tyrannical, and he grappled with the argument rather than changing the subject. This sets him apart from spokespeople for environmental groups who recite PR talking points that are so superficial that I conclude they either must know what they say is untrue, or that they are genuinely stupid people.

Not coincidentally, Julian Simon — Ehrlich’s great nemesis — was a big fan of Hayek.

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In some fields [science] has developed important theories which give us much insight into the general character of some phenomena, but will never produce predictions of particular events or a full explanation, simply because we can never know all of the particular facts which according to these theories we would have to know in order to arrive at such concrete conclusions. — F. A. Hayek

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