Won’t workers’ self-management exclude expertise?

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The “expertise” argument fails to distinguish between the legitimate role of expertise and an unnecessary usurpation of decision making power. In circumstances where the consequences of decisions are complicated and not readily apparent, there is an obvious need for expertise. But economic choice entails both determining and evaluating consequences. Those with expertise in a matter may well predict the consequences of a decision more accurately than non-experts. But those affected know best whether they prefer one outcome to another.

So, while efficiency requires an important role for experts in determining complicated consequences, efficiency also requires that those who will be affected determine which consequences they prefer. This means it is just as inefficient to keep those affected by decisions from making them as it is to prevent experts from explaining consequences of complicated choices to those who will be affected.

Self-managed decision making, defined as decision making input in proportion to the degree one is affected by the outcome, does not mean there is no role for experts. Instead it means confining experts to their proper role and keeping them from usurping a role that it is neither fair, democratic, nor efficient for them to assume.

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