Tuesday, May 21, 2013

If you think Wikipedia is an impressive achievement, you should think about markets

In a recent article published at The Freeman, author Gary Galles makes an interesting comparison between the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia and the market system.  Inspired after reading a Wikipedia article on Wikipedia itself, Galles extends many of the points that author makes to an explanation of markets function and how the "miracle" of Wikipedia pales in comparison.  Here's a good example:
Wikipedia is certainly an impressive success story. It’s collaborative, diverse, and peaceful—and people increasingly rely on Wikipedia to acquire information. It is worth celebrating. But it is not humanity’s greatest collaborative effort, nor our greatest source of useful information. Those come from the direct and indirect benefits of the peaceful, voluntary arrangements referred to in shorthand as “market interactions.”
There is a lot of wisdom and insight in Galles article.  In fact, I'm seriously considering using it in my Business and Society course next fall.  In the meantime, you should seriously consider reading the entire article, available here.