Steve Horwitz’s musings on complexity and snowflakes is a great read that raises an important question: why are so many of us willing to accept and appreciate emergent order processes when they occur in non-human nature? Why do some think differently about snowflakes in the air and eggnog in the store?
People who are so willing to accept the existence and beauty (and benevolence!) of undesigned order in the natural world should be more willing to open themselves to the possibility that there are processes of undesigned order at work in the social world too.
Both snowflakes and eggnog are seasonal occurrences, and both are products of complex processes about which we can know almost nothing, yet still we can enjoy and appreciate the product of the process. But we also struggle with the desire to impose control over those social processes.
Emergent order in human processes is as beautiful as physical emergent order. This observation dovetails with Pete Boettke’s Mystery of the Mundane post, particularly Pete’s recommendations to students:
Allow yourself to be curious about the world, and to find the mystery in the mundane. Buying a cucumber at the local grocery shop, the shirt on your back, and the shoes on your feet are all fascinating subjects to explore using the economic way of thinking. Finding the hidden pattern in the buzz of daily life is what we will do in the first 6 weeks of class. If you allow yourself to be amazed by the world around you, then you will do well in studying economics.
Thanks to Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution for the link.