The fateful conceit of the census

The census is a classic example of fateful conceit. It is said that we need the census for the state to build flats, give pensions, run kindergartens. But should the state do this at all? What are the consequences?

Handcuffed prisoner in Juba, South Sudan. (February 2004) photo:
Handcuffed prisoner in Juba, South Sudan. (February 2004) photo:

Censuses need demographers, sociologists, statisticians, politicians. They need it to plan a population or anti-population policy, to build or demolish kindergartens, schools and hospitals, to create or abolish new subsidies to support minorities and local cultures, to plan retirement and even to reform pensions themselves. The pension reform, on the other hand, will look like a politician setting some general parameters (such as 3% of mandatory savings) based on some data (such as the census), because that is good for a large proportion of people.

But that's all a typical example of fateful conceit not only politicians, but large groups of statisticians, demographers, sociologists and others who see the Census as necessary. They exalt themselves above all for the money of all in the immense pride of their knowledge and knowledge, and claim that they know and know better what is good for others.

Fragmented knowledge

The cornerstone of Census absurdity is fragmented knowledge. Why do we need a census?

It is said that municipalities need to know the data from the census in order to plan housing policy, school policy and more. Demographers turn to demographic research and so on.

Each individual has their specific knowledge, preferences. Many of these preferences and knowledge cannot even be verbally transferred, they are only needed in our minds. This knowledge and preferences they change every moment, they are valid only in their time and specific place.

Today's society is made up of a huge group of people. Each person has their own specific knowledge, they have their own specific preferences. An individual does not have to know his preferences and knowledge in advance - he can only know them when he shows his knowledge or preferences. Every moment all this knowledge and preferences change. It is an infinite number of infinitely ongoing processes.

In other words, today's society works so complicated that it cannot be recognized as a whole. It is not possible to gather all the knowledge and preferences, and even if it succeeds, it will the summary already collected at the moment is invalid. And that's exactly what the Census does.

All data that the CZSO obtains thanks to the Census are thus data ex post: these are data that were valid until the moment of addition, not from the moment of addition. They are aggregateswhich no longer applies, simply because time passes and time changes everything.

Making a housing policy or building a kindergarten based on the Census data is about the same as driving a car by looking exclusively in the rearview mirror. The census is needed for exactly the same planning that failed under the previous regime.

If today's society is so complex, the only way to control it is to simplify it, make it primitive. For example, as it was sometimes in the Stone Age or earlier. Today's society cannot be governed in its complexity by a central plan. This applies to rolls, ice cream, cars, as well as apartments, schools, education and pensions. The only thing we will achieve by implementing the central plan is that society (group of individuals) will simplify to adapt to the plan. The present is not made up of the norms that apply now, but standards that have applied in the past.

If people in coupon privatization entrust their coupons to a small group of people because they "don't know what to do", it is consequence of previous over-regulation (centrally controlled economies), not the current "unregulated".

So how does society manage? How is it even possible that such a complex structure somehow works? The answer is clear the answer is the market.

Better a market than a plan

The market is an environment of voluntary cooperation - individuals in it voluntarily exchange what they have and what they attribute lower value to what they want and what they attribute more value to. The result of that cooperation is the goods and services we demand. Market it is thus also the environment in which they are coordinated that individual knowledge and preferences into the structures that create goods and services. In other words, no one knows how to make a pencil. Nobody knows the whole process of its production - how to harvest wood, how to make a sawmill for logging, how to make a car or a ship to transport timber, how to build a factory… there is not one person in the world who knows the whole process needed to make a pencil. However, there are people who can make a saw. People who can build a building, people who can build a building. People who can design a car… and so on.

He who controls this market is consumer. Anyone who wants to buy a pencil de facto says how to use an incredible amount of resources. It is precisely and only he who makes the primary decisions, precisely on the basis of those preferences and individual knowledge.

The market is thus naturally coordinated over time. No matter what time horizon we choose, the market is able to coordinate in it to meet specific human needs. So, of course, he is capable create enough places in schools and kindergartens, depending on how many there will be or will not be children and does not need any census. The same applies to hospitals, pensions and, for example, rolls. There is no difference.

If an error occurs in the market, it is always primarily the result of state intervention. The state is the only one that can use power, coercion in the system of voluntary cooperation. Is so means of fateful conceit.

Fatal conceit

What is the pride of all those Census scientists and supporters? They claim that they have the right to take my money, to finance their needs for it, and to force me (which is also financed by my money) to meet their needs. They make me a whore. By the way, from you too. Welcome to the club.

In other words, they make us slaves who have to pay them so that we don't have to "do well" to them.

They consider their knowledge and needs, their work so elevated above all others, that they think they can use violence to force us into their own experiment. They think they know better than we do what we want. That they know better than we do what we want. They consider us complete idiots who would be without them work, without statistics, did not know what to do for their retirement, what to do with their children and how to raise them, they think we do not know which culture we want or do not want. They consider us small children, when they are parents, when only by their "scientific approach" can they do us better than ourselves, plan life.

They make us exactly those primitive, simple fools. They have to, or they wouldn't be able to plan. The simplification of society as a whole is a direct consequence of planning. The census is thus one of the pernicious tools of stupidity. Let's get rid of him.


  1. People, that money really shouldn't be left to the state…!

    Kalousek is such a villain that next time he will calmly write the law just to fill the state coffers.
    I will definitely give the city if it collects a fine to show what I think of it.

    Until when can they send me a fine? I'm going to travel, I'm looking for a better place to live, outside the Czechia.

    I will have the city (municipality with extended powers) confirm indebtedness to the city and for a while it will be traded again. I would not like to receive a call to pay a fine during my absence and then an executor who will confiscate many times the fine or everything, as is customary in the Czech Republic.

  2. I'm ready to pay the fine. However, I will have a confirmation of what I pay for the fine, preferably with the suffix that I pay the fine despite my warning that the right not to be read (understand: protect your privacy - Article 7, and your dignity - Article 10, freely express your views - Art. 17. The state somehow violates this whole charter.) The charter of fundamental rights and freedoms guarantees me.

    I would consider a subsequent lawsuit. But on the one hand, I don't trust the legal system of the Czech Republic, and on the other hand, I don't know if the energy spent will be worth it to me.

    That is why I am quite impatiently waiting for a law firm to call on fined citizens to represent them in a class action lawsuit. Still no one is reporting!

  3. My solution is a letter from the CZSO (with a delivery note):

    I hereby inform you that, because of my faith and deep conviction, I will not be participating in the 2011 census.
    I believe that you will find all the necessary information at the relevant authorities and that my refusal will not affect the results.
    Regards MC

  4. I do not understand what you are constantly talking about here, kindergartens can build cities according to their own statistics - birth rate, change of permanent residence, etc. But many cities that have expanded their population using satellites do not want to build kindergartens and prefer to parasitize in kindergartens of nearby cities. As for hospitals, it's, as someone said, unused capacity, to move under another department and another thing, and it's the same as with kindergartens, do you live elsewhere, have a doctor or a hospital near you.10 years? Some companies have a subsidy for 3 months and have built it for a long time. It's just about dexterity and the desire to build successful buildings and not just apartments and offices!

  5. bottle:
    "But without statistics, the supply and sale of pens will not work."
    Is this an attempt at a joke? If not, I recommend reading Me, a pencil.
    and study what information market prices provide.

  6. Total disagreement with the car.
    It seems to me that he is completely detached from the reality of the complexity of life.

    On the one hand, he talks about the fragmentation of knowledge, on the other hand, he feels that he has absorbed all the wisdom in the field of state management and society organization. Otherwise, I do not understand how he could reach all of them according to my demagogic and misguided conclusions.

    Of course, the census of inhabitants, houses and flats is a one-time imprint of reality for one given moment. And it is the imprint of an otherwise living system. But based on these imprints over time, it is possible to model the situation and further developments. Always with some degree of accuracy.
    But without statistical data, the supply and sale of pens will not work.
    In addition, building kindergartens according to the fact that in a certain region suddenly turns out to be their lack is a bit of a fail. The construction of a kindergarten, including planning, obtaining resources from the EU, from the state or from the resources of the municipality, must be run for 10 years. And after that, the birth rate situation in the village will be completely different.

    So to think that everything will work without planning is a very naive idea.
    And the census is one of the inputs.

  7. one more thing - I think the postmen don't have much to complain about: walks in the fresh air, they don't carry money for a long time, practically no one sends letters, throw a few tickets in the mailboxes that I should go to the post office for recommendation… per kilo per hour I would probably take it . Unfortunately, I have to make a living sitting in the office, because I would have little at the post office 😉

  8. Re: The husband of the postman
    I don't want to be ugly, but has anyone forbidden your lady to resign? I would not see the problem of commuting to Prague and doing some more normal work from Kladno. Czech Post employs people who have voluntarily signed employment contracts with it. That's all.
    I also often say to myself that "I should have learned better", but I don't take it faintly!

  9. Modern Slavery

    Postal couriers signed an agreement to perform work (census) under the threat of being fired from normal employment.

    In Kladno, postal delivery women have an average of 600-700 households that they have to visit up to 3 times. To do this, they have to prepare all the forms, help people to fill them out. All this for 12-14 thousand gross (ideally, it can be reduced to 60%. The contract states 95 CZK / ha and the contracting authority already knows in advance how long it will take them).

    In addition, they must hand over the forms to other postal staff every day from 20:00. On the first day (7.3.2011) the submission of forms 8.3.2011 at 0:30 ended.

    Postal couriers go to their "normal" work at 5 in the morning.

    There is talk everywhere that the census intrudes on the privacy of the population, but no one writes about this modern SLAVERY.

    The Czech Post abuses the fact that a large part of its employees are single women who do not allow themselves to resist. After adding up the hours spent on the census and comparing it with the financial evaluation, you will get well below the minimum wage.

    I do not agree with the census, but I will do everything I can to make it easier for the postmen.

  10. Do you still believe that the CZSO is telling you the truth? Example:

    Stanislav Drápal from CZSO:

    Hello, given the protection and misuse of personal data, I would like to ask these questions. 1.How the police, the tax office, the court or a private company are allowed to use data containing the birth number obtained by the census or later view data containing birth number? 2. who will have access or can I access archived data containing a personal identification number? thank you and have a nice day (DDCHICAGO)

    Answer: Hello, use r.č. on the person's census certificate is permitted by Act No. 296/2009. Used to remove duplicate forms when counting. At the moment when the data are transferred to the internal database, all identifications of the person and household are deleted, including registration number. The law imposes the obligation to subsequently physically destroy all paper forms and unidentifiable personal data will be handed over to the state archive after processing. No personal data obtained during the census may be provided to any other institution (police, tax office, etc.).


    Mgr. Barbora Serbusová from the CZSO:

    As stated in the Census Act, personal data obtained by the census are indeed used only for statistical purposes and will not (and cannot) be subject to the enforcement of a possible fine. The basic principle of statistics is the collection of individual information, which is processed and published as mass phenomena. Pursuant to Section 22 of Act No. 296/2009 Coll., On the Census of Population, Housing and Dwellings, census forms will be included in the shredding procedure after the completion of the processing of census results. Census forms converted into electronic form during processing and electronic forms filled in by obligated persons will be anonymised (ie ID numbers, names and surnames, dates of birth will be removed, which will be replaced by the calculated completed age of the person and year of birth).


    Note that in the first post it is written about deleting all identification of a person and a household, in the second post anonymization is described more specifically and does not affect the identification of the household at all.

    Maybe it would be good to be able to fill in the field "faith" in the field "I believe in the CZSO". So I don't believe it.

  11. too cover72 Yeah, and Hitler murdered the Jews accordingly. A really necessary "addition" thing

  12. It's too little and still inhuman music for 2,5 billion. Unfortunately, our beloved state is the worst farmer I know. 🙁

  13. By the way - I came across a brilliant procedure in the discussion on how to cough it up.
    You feel like a Jew, and the Torah marks the census as evil - see. 1 Chronicles 21: 1-8.
    It could, of course, be interpreted differently, but I strongly doubt that the authorities will want to engage in a theological debate.
    And the forum is that they can't force you into the census well enough because it violates religious freedom.

  14. MC: "Isn't it more the case that fateful conceit concerns an author who, without any knowledge, evaluates things he does not understand?" - the author does not have to know every detail of the census. He is convinced (as I am) that the state should not provide those services for which it allegedly needs a census. That is all. The theory of fragmented knowledge and the dysfunction of central planning illustrates this view very well.

  15. MC> the number of hospital beds is not determined according to CZSU data, or statisticians have failed colossally: we have the slowest number of hospitals and doctors in the world per capita. We have so many that the Minister can easily propose the abolition of 2k acute beds and he does not have to fear collapse. The fact is that there is no "right" number of beds per 100k of population, this is a purely political issue in our countries, and is somewhat influenced by the nature of settlement in the area (and factors that we will not learn from the census - the question "you plan in the next 10 years of hip replacement or other hospitalization "I did not find there).

    Every normal entrepreneur would keep statistics on the occupancy of EXISTING beds. If it has a permanent occupancy of a maximum of 50% of beds, this is a good signal that there are too many of them, if the occupancy is 99%, it will (surprisingly) expand the capacity. It does not need a 2.5 billion census, these calculations for a given hospital can be done by one accountant within their working hours, and the data will be far more accurate and reliable than a 10-year-old census. Why can't the state do the same, resp. the state-appointed director of the hospital? The same applies to all other social services.

    The only reasonable data that can be obtained from the census is an estimate of tax revenues, which is exactly the data that I do NOT want the state to have (and still has it, just touch the data of the FI). Ideally, the state manages the funds that the residents voluntarily entrust to it for its activities, not to plan for 10 years in advance how much it will be able to abrade them.

  16. I will try to respond to some arguments:

    1) Why a census? In all countries, some services are provided by the state. This is because there are also people who cannot objectively take care of themselves and thus need state services (eg disabled people, children from socially excluded families, etc.). To provide these services, the state needs data and obtains it from the census. We can argue that some of the services provided by the state can be left to the market, but this is more a question of our policies. So far, we have democratically chosen parties that do not promote such a path, and it is therefore important to have data to make these services as effective as possible.

    2) Actuality of census data. The data are collected on a specific day, however, forecasters know how to relatively "transfer" them to future years. That is why today we have a sufficient number of beds in hospitals and the like. This would work for a while even without the census, but after a while there would be a collapse because after a while the changes are so big that forecasters need new accurate data and so there is nothing left but to get them exhaustively in the field. Therefore, the census is carried out once every 10 years.

    3) Use of data from administrative sources - yes, such a path is possible and in Finland they have already implemented it in previous censuses. The problem is a different discipline of citizens in relation to the authorities - Finnish citizens immediately report to the authorities any changes (eg residence, etc.) in our country, unfortunately, this is not the case. Another problem is methodical - different identifiers use a different identifier, so it is quite technically difficult to combine this data. There are more problems in this area, it is not worth breaking them down.

    4) Writing nonsense in forms - this has happened in previous censuses and I do not know that anyone would fine them. I believe that there is only a small percentage of people who provide such data and so do not pose a big problem because their characteristics and profile can be deduced quite easily.

    Is it not rather that fateful conceit concerns an author who, without any knowledge, evaluates things he does not understand?

  17. cover: But it's not up to the teachers. The basic syllabus of everything that is taught is determined by the state (or the Ministry of Education). Purely private education would look diametrically different, and I'm sure children would enjoy it much more and maybe even read more. Public education is simply an epic fail and I wonder how long we will continue to do so…

  18. Kosik: Education is quite innocent of that. This will teach * the basic skill * to read, but naturally it cannot create motivation - due to the mass nature and the resulting impossibility to pay attention to children individually.
    My parents quickly found me fascinated by airplanes, so they supplied me with a steady stream of "Biggles" - at the age of 9, I read at 100 pages per hour and complained about the lack of books close to my heart. In high school, I had a classmate who also bragged about not reading because he didn't like it. I also lent him "Team Yankee" from the former commander of the Abrams tank, describing fictitious battles in World War 3 from the perspective of a tank company - he read it in two days and still praised it. My cousin of about nine, too.
    So the problem with reading in schools is not "that", but "what". If teachers were trying to turn children according to tradition and "society" into people with "general education" and instead of forcing children to Shakespeare, they would give Tyrolean fairy tale girls and boys, for example, Biggles, Team Yankee or Loprais's autobiography it would look different.
    But it wouldn't really work - it wouldn't be "gender-balanced" and therefore politically correct.

  19. 3,14ranha: exactly. For the same reason, compulsory public education also fails - for example, "Children, you have to read!" And then everyone sees that children do not read (as I did until about a year ago).

  20. re: jan

    also PS: the fact that the addition is mandatory reduces its accuracy disproportionately (precisely because people try to behave rationally and so quite a large number of people will intentionally distort the data, it would predict the student of the first semester of psychology)

  21. John:
    - "census is a worldwide project" - and when something is done by a lot of people, is it automatically correct, or what? Such communism, for example, was also an international project. And it was made by billions of people, many of whom sincerely believed it. Really great.

    - "Do you not find important things like pension reform, capacities in nursing homes, capacities in kindergartens, etc. important?"
    Pension reform? The state pension system is a pyramid from which not even my forty-year-old colleagues, let alone me, will see anything. Central state control can never work - Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Khmer tried and all failed. Only the market can work. And he can provide kindergartens as well as homes for retirees - and he already does so to a reasonable extent today (and if it weren't for the state and its taxation, he would do it again to a sufficient extent and you would have the money for it). "

    - "Have you read the forms? Invasion of privacy? Absolute nonsense. The most personal question is whether a person has a PC and access to the Internet. "
    Did you read them? So I consider the question of who I live with and what kind of relationships I have with those people to be DAMN PERSONAL. But of course, when I come to you on the street and ask who you live with and what relationships and ties you have with those people, where your mother was born, what language she spoke and others, you will definitely tell me with a smile on your face, because it is not at all They're not personal questions, are they?

    "And the census is nothing more than the creation and revision of a database that is inaccurate after ten years."
    It is not my problem. Just as I don't want to be, so I'm not in Tesco's marketing database, I don't want to be in the government's socialist database. There is nothing in the government in my private life, on the contrary, there is a high probability that he will misuse the information obtained against me.

    "Addition is and should be seen by society as a positive thing."
    Oh, the tolerant family. And collectivism Some Mr. Hitler again said that "Jews are needed - for the good of society." So a little different, with common sense (c) and without demagoguery.
    WHY does he need it?
    Finally, WHAT is "society"? I feel first and foremost to be a free individual, not a wheel of machinery that submits to the "common good" and the French Revolution and wants for the good of others.

  22. It was different with the plan under the Communists. The state was the owner of the means of production, so the national economy was like one big company. And the owner can manage it as he sees fit. Perhaps centrally and directively, perhaps he can dictate internal prices himself. The free market was also here, in the case of foreign trade and citizen-customers.
    Or the owner, that is, the state, could delegate authority and responsibility below, to let the "firm" into the market and competition, as do private firms.

  23. re: jan
    read the post qqq qq - in today's free movement of people, a possible error can be in the double-digit range

    the state should plan as little as possible, the state should ensure law, common defense, infrastructure and external representation (things that reach the complexity of the Czech territory), anything else can be done better by you, me and other citizens through the market maximally through self-government (ie the principle of subsidiarity)

    What does the Jesenice foothills have in common with Prague, for example, for a Prague official to decide for them, what is good for them?

    and if anyone needs that data, let them pay for it, and not forcibly enforce it by force!
    moreover, the form is not ANONYMOUS, while the last completed forms were found, for example, thrown at the bins!

  24. Arguments? You will not miss important things like pension reform, capacities in nursing homes, capacities in kindergartens, etc. important ?? I don't understand statements like totalitarian survival, forcibly satisfying one's own needs of scientists, etc. I'm totally affected. I'm also not saying that the author is a beast, a helpless person, etc. Have you read the forms? Invasion of privacy? Absolute nonsense. The most personal question is whether a person has a PC and access to the Internet. And the census is nothing more than the creation and revision of a database that is inaccurate after ten years. Addition is and should be seen by society as a positive thing.

  25. Nice article? leveled in the head? The author is a dreamer who probably lives in another world. There is no point in discussing at all with someone who has no idea what they are talking about !!

  26. So reading the last discussion about the census was a massacre, unbelievable. I have no doubt about the nonsense of census, it's really like mosquitoes. I don't know the argument that adds up since when is an argument. It is interesting that the CZSO cannot allegedly draw from other state databases, it is amazing (data protection) and they will pull it out of you in these forms, with the proviso that it is completely "safe". I think we all know well "how" it's fine then. And the information for the state to turn again and "better plan" makes me cold. Kristepan, it's all a mess in which the state pokes its nose, but according to some, it has to come out someday, right?
    Thanks to Lukáš, you have it mainly compared….

  27. huan: So it changes the situation, I also wanted not to fill in anything, actually not to take over the papers at all. But I somehow overlooked this in the law. So I'd rather fill it in untruthfully.

  28. Great article again. If one has common sense in one's head, there is no point in arguing with the content. And the author once again confirms that he has common sense in his head. And not only that. Life apparently also taught him certain unchanging ethical and moral principles, regardless of age and education.
    Young man, I appreciate your attitudes, which you do not keep to yourself. That's not enough.
    And don't be fed up with collectivist nonsense and sometimes, unfortunately, insults that always appear in discussions under articles on a similar topic.

    I know you know.

    Shine on, you crazy diamond…

  29. By the way, has anyone read §14, paragraph 2, of the relevant law? CZK 10 is not a fine for not filling in, but for filling in an official for you according to data from state administration databases. Obviously, some annoying law on personal data protection and the ban on database interconnection will not interfere.

    Originally, I was more inclined to the position of a dead beetle, but when it is like this, I probably have no choice but to fill the nonsense… I definitely have a great desire to declare the Roma nationality, it is high time that the oppressed minority became a majority white population.

  30. of our most difficult grammar school - VŠE 🙁 The very demagoguery, the very lesson read from the books and no thought of its own. He would make a good living as a parrot :-(
    The Lord has probably never heard of a prediction or prognosis, etc. Is that probably what? Does he foretell from a ball? If I predict future things, I have to start from the development of the past - nothing will happen all at once and without the past…

    On the other hand, I agree that, at present, the census is already an anachronism. Due to the developed registries and records, up to a few lines (see religion and computer possession) are in the records, from which it can currently be read on any date.
    Foreigners working illegally will not write it anyway, so this statistic will not be accurate, because it is estimated that almost a million people live here on the verge of legality and illegally, ie 10% of people in the country will not be counted.

    After the war, at least the borders were closed and the police counted the nomadic gypsies, and everyone who wrote it had a certificate, which he had to prove at the office or the police for another year at a time that he had been arrested…
    The statistical office estimated that about 5-10 thousand were not counted at that time. people, which with today about 1mil. unmatched.

  31. I have no words, it's well expressed. And this does not only apply to the census, this applies entirely to everything that the state tries to suggest to us.

  32. Great article! This would like to be carved in stone: "Based on the data from the Census, making a housing policy or building a kindergarten is probably the same as driving a car by looking exclusively in the rearview mirror."

    And it reminded me of how some often argue that the state should benefit from certain universities and fields, because people are not able to know what the demand for the labor market will be in 5, 10, 20, 30 years.

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