I, Pencil: A lesson in the wonders of the interconnected world

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  • 09/21/2022

People make a lot of foolish decisions because they take too much for granted.  This is true of both individuals and society at large.  The modern world has surrounded us with so much technological wealth that we take nearly all of it for granted.  Never has freedom and spontaneous creativity produced such value... or been so severely under-valued.  We are led to political conclusions by the manipulation of a few highlighted values in a vast equation that actually contains thousands of invisible variables.  The result, as you can see by perusing the newspapers on any given day, is an awful lot of "unexpected" bad news.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced a brilliant animated film that uses a time-honored essay by Foundation for Economic Freedom founder Leonard Read to make this point, with something everyone takes completely for granted: the humble pencil.  Just imagine how many complex interactions and unseen transactions lie behind the computers that created this film, the Internet that transmits it, or the computer you're viewing it on, and marvel at the sheer folly of central planning.  The "invisible hand" writes many tales that could never have been dictated.