Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales e Hayek

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 Austro-libertarian 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."

While that ultimate goal imagined by Wales for Wikipedia has not yet come to fruition, there is no questioning the breadth and usefulness of Wikipedia. Those who refused to believe that a user-generated encyclopedia could compete with the monolithic, traditional encyclopedia written by experts and organized by professional editors, were no doubt shocked when Nature magazine published a 2006 article comparing Wikipedia to the well-known Encyclopedia Britannica. The article concluded that Wikipedia articles were comparable in accuracy and thoroughness to those of the older, paper encyclopedia.

Ler o resto no Ludwig von Mises Institute
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