Riddle me this. Why does it seem that folks who support living in small-scale, localized communities (such as those espoused by EF Schumacher or Bill McKibben) also idolize centralized, intrusive, massive federal government power? The virtues of local living, we are told, include knowing the people around you, adapting to the local environmental and growing conditions, understanding customs, cultures and appreciating and thriving off of the individual idiosyncrasies of your neighbors – in other words, living locally is espoused as a good thing for precisely the reasons Hayek tells us that central planners’ jobs are hopelessly difficult.
Hayek tells us that every single individual has knowledge of the “particular circumstances of time and place,” that they may not even be aware of until they are forced to act upon it. They probably cannot even articulate it even if they are acting on it. Yet, through market transactions via the price system they not only are incentivized to act on this information but they manage to convey it to others in an intricate web of communication and action. No central planner could ever collect this information, and if they were able to collect it, no central planner would be able to act on it or fully understand it. The localists seem to make these same arguments about our environment and living locally. So please remind me, how can it be that localists are both Hayekian and anti-Hayekian all at the same time?