the Hayekian knowledge project

The man credited with founding Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales — known to Wikipedians as “Jimbo” — was a finance major at Auburn University when the Mises Institute’s Mark Thornton suggested he read “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” a now-famous essay written by Austrolibertarian economist and Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek.

The essay argues that prices in the market represent a spontaneous order that results from the interaction of individuals with diverse wants, allowing them to cooperate to achieve complex goals. According to a June 2007 Reason magazine interview, this insight of Hayek’s is what led Wales to found Wikipedia.

The rather lofty vision that inspired Wales?

“Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.”



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