Monday, 26 March 2012

Careful on the roads, there’s a new spontaneous order out there

You start in the morning by turning right, and turning right again. It’s your way to work every morning, your favourite shortcut, your way to avoid the major snarl ups on other routes.

But this morning it was different, wasn’t it. All of a sudden after one small rule change, the best way to work you’ve known about for years is not the best way any more. You’ve got to rediscover your shortcut. You’ve got to find a new way—and so too does everybody else on the road.

And all of a sudden the way the roads work—the usual shortcuts, the usual snarl-ups—are just every so slightly different then the way they were last week. That formerly quiet road there will now become a well-used rat run; and the former rat run over there will now host only stalks of tumbleweed.

And thus does a new Spontaneous Order arise on the roads—a new organically developed order based on individual decision making and individual advantage—an unpredictable order “the result of human action but not of human design.” It’s great to watch it develop. It’s the same way in microcosm that order spontaneously arises in all voluntary human interaction.

And the same way spontaneous order can be brought into temporary disorder by even a small change in the context supporting that order.

It’s an interesting way of learning the development of Spontaneous Order. And perhaps the start of understanding the Law of Unintended Consequences.

1 comment:

  1. yes, we have to turn left now forever, you go around the block and go left,
    if you arrive at the same place, do not turn right, you will wait forever or die, do not try to go through small gaps, your wife will grieve when you die by right turn,
    go around the block again,


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