So how do we decide about changing technology?

Apparently it’s now possible to build perfect artificial surfing lakes where once stood golf courses. This is a result of a change in technology:

Putting greens and fairways from London to Edinburgh are being sized-up for conversion to inland surfing parks by a new breed of non-Pringle wearing entrepreneur.

Advances in computing have - after decades of trying - finally made it possible to create an endless supply of perfect surf waves in inland lakes and dozens are now being planned and built across the world.

Well, how do we decide which should be converted? Or none or all?

We could allow those who did PPE at Oxford to decide for us. Yet there’s a certain hesitance to thinking that those who did PPE at Oxford know how many people would prefer to surf than golf. The only really logical method we’ve got is to allow people who wish to spend their money doing so try it out and see. That is, just leave it to the market.

Of course, this is true of all such things. What is technically possible is something that changes day by day - that white hot heat of the technological revolution. Given that what can be done changes we need to have a system which allows continual trying out of those possibilities. That is, run the world not through PPE but through markets.

There is one more part to this though. We have more than a sneaking suspicion that these golf courses, while they might be worth more to the surfer dudes, might be best used as places to put housing. As has been noted, there’s more of Surrey under golf courses than dwellings. A market system should - must - therefore be a proper market system, one that allows people to try out what is really the best use of an asset given all circumstances. That is, until we have a properly market based planning system - ie, near none but that market - we’ll never really find out what is the best use of all that land.