Hundreds of conservative economists have followed Friedrich Hayek into the intellectual swamp of “spontaneous order” and self-organization…
Predictability and order are not spontaneous and cannot be left to the invisible hand. It takes a low-entropy carrier (no surprises) to bear high-entropy information (full of surprisal). In capitalism, the predictable carriers are the rule of law, the maintenance of order, the defense of property rights, the reliability and restraint of regulation, the transparency of accounts, the stability of money, the discipline and futurity of family life, and a level of taxation commensurate with a modest and predictable role of government.
That is George Gilder, in his new book Knowledge and Power. Here is one review. My advice is to be skeptical toward anyone who would either laud the book uncritically or dismiss it categorically.
I was not very far into it before I determined that it is self-recommending in several senses of the word. I saw so much that pertains to my world view that I looked myself up in the index. I found, among several entries, this:
the source of the title for my book was Arnold Kling, Unchecked and Unbalanced: How the Discrepancy Between Knowledge and Power Caused the Financial Crisis and Threatens Democracy…which begins; “This book represents an attempt to explore the problem of the discrepancy between the trends in two phenomena: knowledge is becoming more diffuse, while political power is becoming more concentrated.” My book shows that Kling’s insight finds deep roots in the information theory that underlies the modern world economy.
Generally speaking, the thinkers Gilder attacks are more renowned than those, like me, he spares. Several of the attacks are caricatures (his misrepresentation of Burton Malkiel is particularly glaring). He devotes nearly an entire chapter to an attack on “Tyler Cowan,” and I leave it to Tyler Cowen to determine whether his ideas are as misconstrued as his name.
I will compose a longer review, emphasizing what I find valuable about the book, later.