Likewise for everything you ever use – millions of people working together created it not knowing what they were actually working on. Why?

“Voluntary spontaneous cooperation”


From the waitress serving lunch for the lumberjacks cutting down a cedar tree, to the miners pulling ore out of the ground, to the engine room crew on a freighter bringing the ore to the U.S. to the engineer driving the train bringing the pencil to the regional distribution center to the forklift operator loading the truck that carries stuff to restock your neighborhood store, millions of people worked together to create the pencil you will hold in your hand during tomorrow’s staff meeting.

Oh, and every one of those million people were only trying to make a living for themselves.  And all their employers were merely trying to make a buck of profit.

Check out the above video from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It retells the story of “I, Pencil.”

CEI has a website set up for the movie and expanded discussions

Here are a couple of my favorite lines from the movie:

Voluntary spontaneous cooperation

Check out this brilliant concept of how to create untold prosperity for everyone and products we can’t even imagine today:

If we can the leave the creative energies of human kind uninhibited, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish

Two other views of “I, Pencil.”

(h/t Carpe Diem)


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