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The use of Knowledge in Society - Essay Example

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The article, ‘The use of Knowledge in Society’ gives pertinent insight into the utilization of implicit and explicit knowledge within the different streams of human activities and areas of human lives. It seriously doubts the authenticity of knowledge that is used in the construction of economic order and economic planning for the society at large. …
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The use of Knowledge in Society
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The article, ‘The use of Knowledge in Society’ gives pertinent insight into the utilization of implicit and explicit knowledge within the different streams of human activities and areas of human lives. It seriously doubts the authenticity of knowledge that is used in the construction of economic order and economic planning for the society at large. It explores the problems of the rational economic system. It believes that the calculus of economic planning is flawed because it only represents a very small part of social structure from where the data is gathered. Moreover, it is based on the misconstrued nature of economic problems of the society and uses predefined assumptions, ignoring the changing social phenomenon that is inherently linked to social construction of society. The economic order thus, developed cannot be applied in general as it would not be able to address the problems of the diverse society.
But this is not the only issue discussed within the article which has explored wide spectrum of knowledge and how it can be best utilized for the betterment of the society. It emphasizes that the implicit knowledge that exists across the populace need to be retrieved and applied within the planning process to make it more realistic. The precepts and concepts of knowledge are distinct in their diversity and changing formats and become important tools for widening the scope of utilization of the existing resources. The expanding database of knowledge is testament to the changes that are witnessed within the developing societies. Indeed, the propagation and application of knowledge is symbolic of advancing society. The myriad resources as well as the means of acquisition of knowledge therefore emerge as the central issue within the article.
It is true that there is no permanent solution to the economic problems of the society mainly because the constantly changing environment creates new challenges for the people. It has to be constant endeavour for anticipating changes and how they would impact society at large. Within the broader concept of centralized economic calculus, unpredictability of nature and its forces must be used as fundamental plank to plan and develop economic plans. At the same time, the discretionary nature of human activities and human lives cannot predict one solution for all members of the society. One man’s problems and issues could be somebody else’s solution! Individual solution widely differs to the centralized economic planning. It incorporates the relative importance of economic units and proposes economic theory and economic plans that need to be manipulated to suit individual interests.
One of the most interesting hypotheses developed by the author was the conception and visualization of accidental forces that produce stability within the social fabric and give credibility to the economic planning. While selective data becomes the basis for developing economic policies, the filtering information is widely interpreted and manipulated for optimal benefit by the individuals or society at large. It is best explained by the example of creating scarcity for some specific thing. The information of scarcity would be used differently by different people. While one would horde the thing to sell it at premium prices, others might look for alternatives that would replace it. Thus, the process of reinventing need becomes the significant factor that helps the societies to move forward in a more positive manner and it thereby, unconsciously promotes the economic plans.
The price system is linked to the implicit behaviour of people who adapt easily to the changing equations of life and the economic system that governs it. It highlights the paradox of knowledge and how it is exploited within the economic system to produce desired results of socio-economic development of the society. Unconsciously it goes into the right direction. Author optimistically declares that we should ‘dispense with the need to conscious control’ and only be concerned with the span of our utilization of resources. I believe that while the author’s views on the unconscious positive consequences of economic planning may be slightly too optimistic, it should also be understood that every plan is interspersed with the uncertainties that underpin human nature and life. So the good economic plans and some bad economic decisions are but part of life. It is up to the people how they perceive it and look for new paradoxes that can be exploited optimally for their utilization.
Questions:
1. Why should economic calculus consider the nature of change?
2. Why should one dispense with the need of conscious control in the economic planning?
3. To what extent the implicit knowledge within the society helps to improve economic planning?
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