As Mr. Morrison very correctly stated, long ago:
The future's uncertain,
And the end is always near.
The future is definitely uncertain.
How does SOCIETY manage with the Great Unknown?
Answer: Each entrepreneur uses his own special "fragment of knowledge" to anticipate what other might need.
Which is the reason why if you visit a market you almost invariably find what you were looking for - WITHOUT ANY CENTRAL PLANNER HAVING PLANNED ANYTHING.
And then, particularly in India, if you look at anything that is being centrally planned, you find that IT SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK: electricity, roads, and so many more.
What do these Central Planners do?
They try and "estimate demand" in the uncertain future, and then they "allocate funds" towards meeting this anticipated demand - these funds going to their own bureaucracies.
Entrepreneurs do make "market surveys" - but when they invest, they always make allowances for uncertainties in demand. Whereas a "plan" - one strictly to be "implemented" for five long years - is rigid, all businesses run on "flexibility." They change their plans according to the conditions they encounter - and those they anticipate.
Most importantly: While there is but ONE GREAT CENTRAL PLAN, there are millions and millions of entrepreneurs, each one working to find customers for whatever he wants to provide. They invest their own money. And they COMPETE with each other.
So: How can we - a nation of over a billion souls, spread out over a vast sub-continent - get roads and electricity, for example?
A village somewhere needs a road. A little town needs a road to the nearest city. Some factory-owner somewhere needs electricity.
One Central Plan or Millions of Businessmen?
Good read: Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society."
Let's now take "drugs" - and did you know that not one single medical expert was consulted by our Parliament when the "draconian" Narcotics & Psychotropic Substances Act was passed in 1984, at the behest of the USSA and the UN?
Again, the same question arises: How does Society manage with the Great Unknown - the fact that there are so many dangerous substances out there, harmful if ingested, and which ought to be kept away from kids?
And once again, the answer remains the same: By allowing for the "fragmentation of knowledge" to do its magic.
We can learn from medical science.
We can learn from the experiences of others.
We can learn from old, established usage and customs - as with sadhus smoking chillums or villagers drinking toddy.
We can even undertake courses in wine appreciation, beer tasting and appreciation, and even get to "know" how to drink "foreign liquor" responsibly.
As far as "dangerous substances" are concerned - the only remedies lie in TORTS.
Even today, many thousands die every year from hooch-drinking.
And instead of pure opium, many get destroyed by harmful and adulterated "smack."
As for the quality of ganja-charas - the less said, the better.
With torts, people who sell bad stuff will have to financially compensate their victims - and the matter is "civil," not "criminal," so the cops are not involved at all.
Further, torts apply also if the damage caused is "unintentional" or "accidental": so those who sell "designer drugs" will themselves provide information on usage, as with standard pharmaceuticals.
Highs come under various categories:
Depressants - like alcohol.
Hallucinogenics - like ganja-charas, magic mushrooms, and LSD (which is synthetic and far more potent)
Stimulants - like coffee, tea, tobacco, coca, Red Bull, and many pharma products, of which it is only coca that is non-addictive!
Narcotics - opium and all opiates, including smack
Designer Drugs like Ecstasy, MDMA, etc. And many more will surely emerge in the uncertain future.
Which centralised "authority" (which uses brute force WITHOUT knowledge) can ever KNOW anything about all these?
Law is the answer - Torts.
Knowledge, too - fragmented.
What is "standardised education" in a world where knowledge is fragmented?
All minds are not even "interested" in the same subjects.
And you can never force knowledge into minds that are not interested.
Does ever child need to learn everything and become a "generalist" - which is nothing but a "Jack of all trades, master of none"?
And, pray, which subject area does our The State exhibit any "expertise" in - and I refer to its own basic activities - like traffic management and safety, road construction and design, or anything else for that matter.
I also reported the other day that the then Director of the IAS Academy proudly declared, "We are knowledge-proof."
Where the mind is without fear,
Where the head is held high,
Where knowledge is FREE....
Take History - for I have just demolished the grave errors in their "theory" of Central Economic Planning: it is a very important subject, and it must be a "living subject." Historians, history books, history teachers - they must all be actively competing in the world of ideas. A central ministry and big committees of "official historians" mass-producing standard texts for all schools can only be RUBBISH. There have always been "real historians" - and there have been these "court historians." We have opted for universal tutelage by the latter. DISASTER!
The same applies to healthcare - and there are so many "schools of thought" in medicine. Free competition, free knowledge, free experimentation - with torts, of course, to ensure all practitioners exercise due caution.
Today, I think almost EVERYTHING we consume is unhealthy - from fruit juices to soft drinks, sugary teas and coffees to Red Bull to cigarettes, even. Not to mention all the fried stuff and namkeens.
Looking after one's health, looking after one's mind - these are "personal choices," and these choices can only be best made only when knowledge is free.
In the USSA, for example, they are all so happy to receive "Obamacare" - with what money I would like to know - but they cannot smoke healthy grass. Nor consume healthy coca - and so kids get screwed shooting extremely harmful "crack." They are "born to be jailed." And jails cost the taxpayer plenty. Further, in the USSA, re-habs are a big, growing business. Which implies public health is actually declining!
And knowledge is a deadly friend,
When no one knows the rules,
The fate of all mankind, I see,
Is in the hands of fools.
King Crimson, "Epitaph"