Sometimes when I talk to friends about the possibilities of entrepreneurship to promote technology and growth, they look at me a little funny. I don’t intend to come off sounding like I place a degree of faith in science fiction-esque gizmos to solve the real world problems of today. What I do tend to emphasize is what Lachmann referred to as radical uncertainty. In other words we have no idea what types of products and services may lie right around the proximate corner or far off into the distant future. Unfortunately for us, the same truth holds for the state. I’m currently re-reading Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty for class and came across this paragraph on page 216:

The problem assumes the greatest importance when we consider that we are probably only at the threshold of an age in which the technological possibilities of mind control are likely to grow rapidly and what may appear at first as innocuous or beneficial powers over the personality of the individual will be at the disposal of government. The greatest threats to human freedom probably still lie in the future. The day may not be far off when authority, by adding appropriate drugs to our water supply or by some other similar device, will be able to elate or depress, stimulate or paralyze the minds of whole populations for its own purposes. If bills of rights are to remain in any way meaningful, it must be recognized early that their intention was certainly to protect the individual against all vital infringements of his liberty and that therefore they must be presumed to contain a general clause protecting against government’s interference those immunities which individuals in fact have enjoyed in the past.

Eerie isn’t it…