Big Idea #3: What can a simple pencil teach us about the world?


In a world of self-government, how is the world ordered?

Take a look at the video below, or think about the statements below:

Consider a simple pencil, and the sum of its parts. There is the wood, rubber, metal, and the graphite in the middle.

If all of the parts were on the table in front of you, could you assemble a pencil? Not likely. It takes a vast, inter-connected, voluntary network of people to make a simple pencil.

It takes trees, loggers, the workers at the mill, the miners in China and Sri Lanka for the graphite, etc…

It is the end result of cooperation and collaboration. But why? Because the millions involved love pencils? Not quite. They exchange their labor and skills for wages that let them buy what they want. As a result, that money flow to those that feed, clothe, entertain, and move the worker. This is a free market.

Amazingly, it has no mastermind dictating the outcome. It is the spontaneous configuration of creative human energies. It is millions of people organizing their skills and efforts to to voluntarily solve a problem that improves the lives of millions. We call this spontaneous order.

If we can keep this creativity uninhibited, there is no end to the prosperity this force can create, or problem it can solve.

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