The Use of Knowledge in Society is a scholarly article written by economist Friedrich Hayek. It was written as a rebuttal to fellow economist Oskar R. Lange and his endorsement of a planned economy. The article is considered one of the most important in the field of modern economics.
Hayek's article argues against the establishment of a Central Pricing Board by highlighting the dynamic and organic nature of market price-fluctuations, and the benefits of this phenomenon. He asserts that a centrally planned economy could never match the efficiency of the open market because what is known by a single agent is only a small fraction of the sum total of knowledge held by all members of society. A decentralized economy thus complements the dispersed nature of information spread throughout society. In Hayek's words, "The marvel is that in a case like that of a scarcity of one raw material, without an order being issued, without more than perhaps a handful of people knowing the cause, tens of thousands of people whose identity could not be ascertained by months of investigation, are made to use the material or its products more sparingly; that is, they move in the right direction." The article also discusses the concepts of 'individual equilibrium' and of Hayek's notion of the divide between information which is useful and practicable versus that which is purely scientific or theoretical.