Complete Mastery of a Tool: The Case for the Free Market
July 16, 2012
This deserves to be sent to a friend.
Men can master tools. They can become productive at limits that seem impossible to others. This devotion to mastery of tools is promoted by the free market, which offers rewards for superior performance.
The free market extends the division of labor. It allows creativity on a massive scale. Specialization opens new worlds for people with unique gifts and unique training. All of society benefits from the efforts of individuals.
To see this in action, I offer a video of Bruce Lee, the martial arts master. He was the world's first international kung fu movie star. I have never seen a kung fu movie. I have seen the faked scenes on the Web. Slow motion. Trick photography. Ho-hum.
Then I saw this video.
He is playing ping pong. His opponents are better than any I have seen. East Asians are masters of ping pong.
He is not playing with a ping pong paddle. He is playing with ninja sticks.
The sticks have nothing to do with ping pong. They have no flat surfaces. There is no leeway for error. The power stick must strike the ball at precisely the right moment at precisely the right angle.
Watch him annihilate first one, then two players.
He showboats. He whirls. He switches hands. He has the body language of supreme control.
In the second half of the video, he lights matches in mid-air with the stick.
This is incredible.
So is the free market, which calls forth mastery. We see the results of this mastery of tools and skills knowledge, multiplied by billions of participants. Few people understand how it works. The best way to understand it is to read the essay, "I, Pencil."
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