Who is deploying the amount of graphite in the world?

Abstract When Ruth was in class again, Amy told a large group of birds in the wetlands to catch up with the eagle. "The way they charge and dance, like the programmed program. No bird is controlling the companion, but the birds still have their own way of life. The wind is very big, the eagle is flying...

When Ruth was in class again, Amy told me that a large group of birds had been seen in the wetlands to catch up with the eagle.

"The way they charge and dance, like the programmed process. No bird is controlling the companion, but the birds still have their own way of life. The wind is very big, the eagle is flying, but for some reason, the group The bird still maintains a formation. As if, "Amy paused to find the proper vocabulary," the birds were controlled by a puppet master, and his goal was to let all the birds fly together."

Ruth said: "A group of birds flew together to show order. On the contrary, a group of birds flew in a hurry. But for the order that appeared, you have to see the true magic of it - a part of the participants did not intend What caused it. The birds you saw last night seem to have a goal --"

"Get rid of the eagle." Amy grabbed the words and said, "Blow it away. But in fact, most birds may just be close to each other without hitting each other. They follow simple rules and the results are not only fly together."

Ruth said: "This is a good example. Like the example of a group of fish, the same is true of a lion chasing a group of wild bees and a pencil-making army. The graphite miners in Sri Lanka do not know that they are planting cedar with California. Farmers work together, and to serve customers in Maine. But they work like the birds and react to the external influences like the birds. And the results they achieve are not intended to be achieved. First of all, specialization. No one can make a pencil by himself. There are many processes that need to be mastered to create a pencil, which are done in different places around the world. People only do a few tasks, not everything. Mission. This is so good, why?"

Amy replied: "The mission will be done better and better"

"Yes. Through specialization, your opponent's task will be more familiar--how to dig graphite, how to melt aluminum, how to plant cedar. Disperse the task to people, so that the most efficient person in a job can master the necessary The knowledge that can complete the part of the process. So far, everything is good. This is the advantage of specialization, but it also has a big drawback."

Josh said: "The same work will be annoying."

"Yes. Especially on the assembly line, even though we think it embodies specialization. But fortunately, there are fewer and fewer workers working on the assembly line. We think of robots and machinery. Complete more repetitive work. In fact, the real problem caused by the decentralization of tasks is that the knowledge that each participant has is also dispersed."

Josh asked: "Why is this a problem?"

"Because sometimes it is necessary to organize knowledge in some way."

Josh then asked: "Isn't that the pencil factory like this? Isn't it a knowledge integrator? It orders from different suppliers with different expertise, then integrates various knowledge and puts it on the pencil. Isn't it? ?"

Ruth replied: "Yes, this is good. But this knowledge (also known as feat or ambiguity) is only part of the knowledge that people have to learn because of specialization. When people learn the knowledge, they integrate them and It's reflected in a product. If life is still, people need to buy as many pencils a year. If cedar and graphite can only be used to make pencils, each supplier will produce the same amount of cedar and graphite every year. Technology will become more and more proficient. But life is not static, how many pencils people need to buy each year. Moreover, graphite is not only used to make pencils."

Josh asked: "Why is this important?"

"If automakers find that graphite can be used to make brake pads and make brakes better, they suddenly want to buy a lot of graphite. But now the graphite produced every year has been sold, and graphite is out of stock. What happens? What do we want to see? Graphite suppliers should purchase more graphite to meet automakers? Other buyers of graphite (pencil manufacturers, tennis racket manufacturers, fishing rod manufacturers, etc.) should buy less Do you want to leave some graphite for automakers? Should automakers compromise and buy less graphite?"

Andrea asked: "If someone is responsible for answering these questions, isn't it better? Why not use people's communication skills?"

"If birds can communicate with each other and a bird is responsible, the days of the birds will be better. Do you think so?"

Andrea said: "Yes. For example, the US Navy Blue Sky makes the aerobatic team a bird that communicates with each other. Five planes fly together, but like a plane. But the birds cannot fly at all. Like a bird, there are often birds that are left behind."

"That is, the bird can't keep the flying formation like a blue sky for the aerobatic team. But the aerobatic team's dive and turn are planned in advance, they will practice countless times according to the flight plan, until they fly seamlessly. The blue sky makes the aerobatic team attack a faster and stronger enemy plane--an enemy plane like an eagle. Do you think it can fly up and down like an airplane? It can attack one and can do as an eagle. Impromptu action enemy aircraft?"

"Impossible, they will crash and burn."

"Yes, it's a mess. But the blue sky makes the aerobatic team able to communicate. They have language, radio, but obviously this is not enough. Birds have nothing, only intuition, but the birds can still maintain the formation ""

"It's weird -- people think it's best to have a bird responsible for correcting the mistake."

Amy is gone, she recalls the scene of dancing with Ramon last week - the dancers are tacitly like a person, the woman follows the man's pace, but each pair has impromptu movements, and no one controls each pair. The path of the dance partner. The man who leads the dance can't tell you where he is after 2~3 seconds, but somehow, there is no partner to collide with each other. There seems to be some sort of order, just like many birds fly together but don't collide. People who dance on the dance floor manage themselves, you can be called orderly chaos or chaotic order. Does this controlled indulgence benefit some people? The benefit may be the band's musicians, because they can see the dancers spinning and swaying, but not colliding with each other. The kaleidoscope of colors and movements must inspire their enthusiasm for performance. This controlled indulgence has implications for the dancers. The scene caused by the chaos on the dance floor is far better than delineating the movement path or activity area for each pair of dance partners.

Ruth’s words will return Amy to reality.

"You might think that it is better to have a bird, and it is better to fly than a group of birds. But the premise is that this bird needs to understand the knowledge that each bird has, and has a way to deal with this information. Plan and quickly communicate with all the birds about the plan to complete your tasks before some other thing changes. Without this knowledge and quick communication, the birds will collapse. As a whole, this group The bird is smarter than the smartest bird in its own because it finds a simple way to use information within the group, even though each bird is at a distance from the companion and they have no formal communication. The situation is the same - on the surface it seems that the queen or something or an ant is controlling everything. When the ants find a new source of food, there will be a large number of ants crawling in that direction. When someone steps on the ant nest, there will be hundreds of ants crawling out for repair. How does this happen? You know that the queen has not used the mobile phone command. That is how it happened? There must be some simple feedback system, it will send a signal to each ant, to enable them to change their behavior. "

Josh asked: "Why should it be simple?"

"Because the ant's brain is very, very small, everything is driven by 'intuition', the word indicates that we are not sure what is happening. Ants use pheromones, which leave it on the ground. It constitutes a knowledge network that allows ant colonies to respond to crises or opportunities. As a whole, ant colonies are smart, even though a single ant does not know the overall situation. The same is true when graphite is out of stock on the market."

Josh said: "But we can use computers and other technologies. These are not available to ants. We can communicate."

"Yes, but the latest and fastest computer can't solve the problem for you. Josh, suppose I let you specialize in graphite. You have to decide how to distribute graphite when the car manufacturer suddenly starts using graphite but the market is out of stock. Suppose you put all the people who use graphite into a big room, which will include car manufacturers, tennis racket manufacturers, pencil makers, drivers (they want to brake without any problems during the rainy night), world-class tennis players. And those who must play tennis on weekends, artists and first-year students (they care about the quality of pencils), graphite miners and nearby residents. These people and millions of other people I did not mention, with whom graphite is distributed The problems are all related, but we hope that you will use the wealth of knowledge of these people to make the best decisions in response to the shortage of graphite. The miners of the graphite mine know how to increase the production of graphite and what the cost of doing so. Manufacturers know how much the graphite racquets people like are better than wooden racquets. Pencil manufacturers know how much loess should be added to graphite to be more durable. So in specialization and There is still a difference between general knowledge. The miners of graphite mine not only know how to mine graphite, but also know how to increase production quickly when necessary. Automakers, tennis racket manufacturers, and pencil manufacturers not only know how to produce products, but also I generally know how to produce products in different ways when the environment changes. Then, let's look at people who use graphite. Some people are willing to use pens instead of pencils; and every artist likes to prepare 20 different kinds of pencils every day. Maybe people are playing tennis this year, so tennis racket manufacturers want to increase production. Maybe some people who use graphite will not reduce the purchase amount, but will increase the purchase amount. There are many people affected by graphite shortage, and if you If you want to know the information in these people's hearts, the fastest computer in the world can't handle it for you."

Josh asked: "Why not?"

"The main reason is that the answer is not in the book, nor in Wikipedia. The answer is not the data that can be modified in the form program. They are what economist Hayek calls 'specific facts about time and place'. , that is, the subtle knowledge we call smart ideas, such as how to quickly increase graphite, and how graphite mining companies can get more trucks to transport graphite. The answer to this question is not the quantity or location, and today's answer may be Months are different. There is some knowledge that comes in response to the increased demand from automakers. When things are coming, you have to find a solution to your problem. This kind of knowledge cannot be stored."

Ruth asked everyone to think about such a concept - knowledge that could not be stored, and then she went on to say:

"Even if you can interview all the buyers and sellers of pencils and tennis rackets and graphite companies, even if they can answer your questions, even if they tell the truth, you still have to consider their contradictory desires - want 12 pencils but There are only 6 pencils. Which kind of unhappiness is more important than the happiness of the new tennis player to get the tennis racket? When you finally figure out how to distribute the scarce graphite, and figure out how much to increase the production, the world The situation will change again, causing your plan to fail. This change includes a big accident in a graphite mine, or a lot of children in China need a pencil to go to school."

Josh said: "I understand that it is hopeless and cannot be done at all."

Ruth said: "That can't be done, but it's done. It's very strange, isn't it? No one answered these questions, but the answer still appeared. In China, as the number of farmers entering the city increased, many children began to go to school. They want to use more pencils. Did you notice that? The store never said, 'Sorry, it’s out of stock, the pencils are shipped to China. The car manufacturer does use graphite to make brake pads, but you won’t be for this reason. I can't buy a tennis racket."

Josh said: "Really not."

"So, although no one is responsible for the deployment of graphite, how does order always exist? Why is the migration of Chinese farmers into the city so quiet? Why didn't we notice? There must be many shelves that were bought out. After all, no one In charge of graphite; no one is in charge of the pencil; no one is in charge of the bicycle to ensure that Chinese farmers entering the city will not buy bicycles all over the world. No one is responsible."

Ruth looked at everyone. The classmates didn't talk, waiting for her to continue.

Ruth continued: "Price is the key. The answer is simple. When the demand for graphite surges, its price will rise, causing some users to reduce the amount of graphite used. The unreleased law says everyone should reduce the use by 25%. The price increase has caused some users to stop using graphite and switch to alternatives with similar performance. Some users have managed to reduce the amount of graphite used. Some people use graphite more because of tennis heat or Chinese farmers entering the city. Graphite prices have led to graphite mining companies Look for new sources of minerals, mines that are considered unworthy when graphite prices are low. But the key to the whole thing is not just that. If graphite mining companies can easily find new sources, graphite prices will not rise much, existing users It will not reduce the amount of graphite used. If it is difficult for existing users to find graphite substitutes, the price of graphite will rise more, which will cause graphite suppliers to work harder to find new sources of graphite and promote the use of less research by automakers. Graphite to cope with demand. If there is a powerful person in charge of graphite distribution, you will hope that the above situation can occur because A versatile person knows everything. In fact, even if there is a powerful person in charge of graphite distribution, these situations will not happen! But how can they happen on their own in the absence of a powerful person who is in charge of graphite distribution? What?"

This is a question that does not have to be answered. Ruth paused for a moment.

"In economic life, prices are guiding the direction of resources, thus encouraging manufacturers and consumers to respond to change in a very orderly manner. When prices fluctuate, it will coordinate the behavior of buyers and sellers in a unique way. Coordination can never be hard pressed from top to bottom. Price fluctuations will cause buyers and sellers to use all economic knowledge to make decisions that are not owned by a certain individual. See the results. No one quarrels because of graphite, everyone Both accept reality. Price is the pheromone of human "ant colony", and we call this pheromone an economy. These pheromones are the signals that maintain the entire human "ant colony" and are the muscles of the invisible hand." The results that people bring - a harmonious situation and absolute cooperation - are unimaginable. Unimaginable!

Andrea said: "Then, the purpose of the graphite supplier to determine the price is to ensure that there is enough graphite supply on the market."

Ruth said: "No, not at all. Graphite suppliers only want to make as much money as possible. They don't have the necessary knowledge, so they can't make a price that can ensure the supply of graphite. No one has this knowledge."

Andrea asked: "How was the problem solved? You just said that the price used the knowledge used, so it made sure that no mistakes were made. The graphite supplier determined the price, which is certain. If the price is correct There is the effect you said, it is the credit of the graphite supplier. Isn't it?"

Ruth is silent and thinking, everyone is waiting. Ruth deliberately silenced for a while, so that everyone knows that what she wants to say will be different from the routine.

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