Knowledge is Dispersed and Incomplete

Here’s a letter I recently sent to the Midland Daily News

To the editor:

There have been several different opinions on the infrastructure funding for Michigan.  Some believe that we need a higher degree of repairs, while others feel that we cannot afford any additional repairs.  Regardless of what the “right” answer is, we may first want to examine the process for determining infrastructure spending.

Have you ever wondered why we don’t have individuals bickering over how much money should be spent on the creation of peanut butter, computers, clothing, paper, glass, etc…?  Or at what quality these respective goods should be produced.  Or where they should be distributed.

There are sound reasons for the absence of bickering in these markets: all the transactions are made voluntarily by millions of individuals who pursue what they value most.  No one person determines the “right” number.

Infrastructure funding, on the other hand, is determined by a few politicians.  Most, if not all of these politicians have driven on no more than 1% or 2% of all the roads in Michigan.  The bulk of their knowledge on infrastructure comes from the bickering of their constituents.  Can you imagine if a similar process were used to determine the production of all goods and services?

It would be childish to assume that any one individual, or small group of individuals wields the power to gauge the preferences of all the citizens of Michigan and miraculously generate the exact dollar amount for funding.


Kurt Bouwhuis


One thought on “Knowledge is Dispersed and Incomplete

  1. Kurt I agree with this article. There are several solutions that can be discussed here I will be talking about three possible solutions. One someone could potential privatize the roadways and they could charge a fee or have donation as a way of funding. Two the state could leave to the local government to figure out which roads in there district need repairing the most or as from Jarrett’s blog post need to be paved. The third option is that the people could learn to deal with driving on horrible roads and stop their bickering.

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