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Examples of spontaneous order

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Peter Sidor posted on Wed, Mar 2 2011 4:21 PM

Hi all,

  sometimes it's hard to persuade people with this free market stuff and spontaneous order, so it's good to have examples at hand, the more the better ("Yes, but we made X, Y and Z without any central planning at all!"). What are your examples?

Let's start:

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Flocks of birds and human crowds I think.

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Andris Birkmanis:
I find it really problematic when living systems formed by inanimate atoms and societies of sapient persons are mentioned in the same context, as the next logical step is saying that looking at the living body obviously the whole is more than the sum of parts, and therefore the society is more than persons. How do you argue against that?

Well, I think some clarification needs to be given for the phrase "the whole is more than the sum of parts", and especially what is meant by "the sum of parts". One way I think this could be clarified is that it's not simply all of the parts per se that make up the whole - the whole is also dependent on the arrangement of the parts.

For example, there's more involved in a person's brain than simply 100 billion neurons. If you could gather 100 billion neurons into a pile, would that constitute a human brain? Hardly. So what makes those 100 billion neurons into a human brain is the way they're connected together.

Likewise with society. Take 100 people and throw them together - do you already have a society? Not really. What's different about people (as opposed to neurons), however, is that people can self-organize. (In fairness, neurons can do this too.) So some kind of self-organized society will inevitably result. But what kind of society will it be? That depends on how those 100 people interact.

Self-organizing and emergent phenomena depend not only on certain objects "in themselves", but also on rules governing (no pun intended) the behavior and interaction of those objects. For the fundamental particles of the universe, these rules are the laws of physics. For neurons, these rules are biochemistry. For human beings, these rules are instincts and our ability to act and reason.

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Molyneux also likes to mention dating.

I recommend his book Everyday Anarchy (it's free!): http://freedomainradio.com/FreeBooks/EverydayAnarchy.aspx

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AJ replied on Sat, Mar 5 2011 6:03 AM

Forum culture.

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Pay toilet

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Just read I, Pencil for the first time and I have to say, a perfect example for the OP!  It evokes emotion while still remaining true which is something that I find the logical party of many arguments lacks (and often why logic looses).

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Someone mentioned the Internet, but of course you'll get ignorants who say "that was started by government!  The Internet is a government creation!  So without government, there wouldn't be any Internet!"  So here's a short rebuttal to that nonsense.

Here's the piece where John Stossel talks about spontaneous order

 

And here's a link to the full John Stossel special.  Send them that link.  That will help out a lot.

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i dont see why socialists see that planning is the way to go (even if it worked smoothly). the idea of centrally planning something very complex  that already works seems idiotic. i think  once wealth equality and social ownership of means of prod. are inplemented the only method would be planning.

 

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jay replied on Mon, Mar 7 2011 7:54 AM

The Internet.

Marriage.

The music industry (it's obviously regulated, but artist careers have rest very indirectly on state involvement).

Most people who have found jobs.

Religious movements and choosing a belief system about the supernatural/metaphysical.

"The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -C.S. Lewis
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jay replied on Mon, Mar 7 2011 7:59 AM

Also, you might want to approach this presupposition:

1. The state created x.

2. Therefore, only the state could have created x.

"The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -C.S. Lewis
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"1. The state created x.

2. Therefore, only the state could have created x."

i find marx's explanation crude but somewhat satisfactory. social conditions are not the result of ideology or random but are caused by the underlying conditions. states always are where civilization is- this is not a crazy fluke. for things to change something that causes this has to change.

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jay replied on Wed, Mar 9 2011 4:43 PM

Huh?

"The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -C.S. Lewis
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i know my comment was a pic off topic. but its related to the question as to why states are almost always so successful. 

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Ant colonies.

Urbanization.

Biological evolution.

Particle physics after the big bang.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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The Internet.

Marriage.

The music industry (it's obviously regulated, but artist careers have rest very indirectly on state involvement).

Most people who have found jobs.

Religious movements and choosing a belief system about the supernatural/metaphysical.

 Aren't these just thing that people have decided to do? Isn't tha the opposite of what we mean by spontaneous in this context?
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