The Wider Social Danger from the Pretense of Knowledge—Hayek

“The wider lesson, Hayek also highlights, is that this false approach of the social engineers and government policymakers threatens not only to produce continuing instabilities of inflations and recessions, but undermines the very sustainability of a functioning and prospering free society.”

“Thus, Hayek concluded his Nobel lecture with this warning:

If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails [such as in the modern market economy], he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible…. The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society — a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.”

“More than forty years after Friedrich A. Hayek spoke those words and a quarter of a century after his death in 1992, society continues to be plagued by those suffering from this pretense of knowledge.”

Austrian Economics & Public Policy–Restoring Freedom and Prosperity, Richard Ebeling, pp. 147-148.