The Invisible Hand spurs development through the virtuous circle of specialization, learning by doing, and gains from trade. …William Easterly (2013). The Tyranny of Experts. Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor, p 254-255
(T)hese basic problems of economics are neglected in development today, starting with the idea beloved by Bill Gates, Jim Yong Kim, and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals: setting goals and then finding evidence-based ways to reach them.
This is not the way the “association of problem-solvers” solves problems. The decentralized system finds the cheapest solutions to problems, through market and democratic feedback from individuals. Which problems get solved – which goals get met – are among the many choices that emerge from this decentralized system. The problems that get solved are those where individuals perceive the highest benefits relative to the costs. In my household, the Millennium Development Goal on ratio of educational television to junk entertainment watched is not met. However, our Millennium Development Goal of a nonzero supply of toilet paper is always met.