Arrogance and Humility in the Governance of Human Interaction: A Reflection on Roger Koppl's Expert Failure

19 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2018

See all articles by Richard E. Wagner

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 4, 2018

Abstract

Prevailing ideology holds that democracy is a system of government where people govern themselves. This ideology clashes with the unavoidable recognition that in any but small towns and villages governance is an activity wherein a few govern and the many are governed. This situation is an unavoidable feature of contemporary life with its elaborate and complex division of labor and knowledge. All of us are in the position of knowing a lot about a few things and little about most things. The central question Roger Koppl raises in Expert Failure is whether experts employ their expertise to the advantage of the general public or to the expert’s own advantage. Koppl advances strong reasons for being suspicious about the influence that experts exercise over the social organization of economic activity. In doing so, he brings us face-to-face with a perplexing conundrum: experts are indispensable, and yet operate within an environment that enables their biased use of that expertise.

Keywords: Friedrich Hayek; Frank Knight; Vilfredo Pareto; logical vs. non-logical action; use of knowledge in society; intelligence and democratic action; competition and selection; dyadic vs. triadic relationships

JEL Classification: A14, D23, E10, H10

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Richard E., Arrogance and Humility in the Governance of Human Interaction: A Reflection on Roger Koppl's Expert Failure (September 4, 2018). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 18-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3243926 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3243926

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

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