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Spontaneous order

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Spontaneous order

Spontaneous order, also named "planning. The evolution of life on Earth, language, crystal structure, the Internet and a free market economy have all been proposed as examples of systems which evolved through spontaneous order.[1] Naturalists often point to the inherent "watch-like" precision of uncultivated ecosystems and to the universe itself as ultimate examples of this phenomenon.

Spontaneous orders are to be distinguished from organizations. Spontaneous orders are distinguished by being

Spontaneous order is also used as a synonym for any emergent behavior of which self-interested spontaneous order is just an instance.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Examples 2
    • Markets 2.1
    • Game studies 2.2
    • Anarchism 2.3
    • Sobornost 2.4
    • Recent developments 2.5
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

History

According to Murray Rothbard, Zhuangzi (369–286 BCE) was the first to work out the idea of spontaneous order. The philosopher rejected the authoritarianism of Confucianism, writing that there "has been such a thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind [with success]." He articulated an early form of spontaneous order, asserting that "good order results spontaneously when things are let alone", a concept later "developed particularly by Proudhon in the nineteenth" century.[2]

The thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment were the first to seriously develop and inquire into the idea of the market as a spontaneous order. In 1767, the sociologist and historian Adam Ferguson described the phenomenon of spontaneous order in society as the "result of human action, but not the execution of any human design".[3][4]

The Austrian School of Economics, led by Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, would later refine the concept and make it a centerpiece in its social and economic thought.

Examples

Markets

Many economic classical liberals, such as Hayek, have argued that market economies are a spontaneous order, "a more efficient allocation of societal resources than any design could achieve."[5] They claim this spontaneous order (referred to as the extended order in Hayek's "The Fatal Conceit") is superior to any order a human mind can design due to the specifics of the information required.[6] Centralized statistical data cannot convey this information because the statistics are created by abstracting away from the particulars of the situation.[7]

In a market economy, price is the aggregation of information acquired when people are free to use their individual knowledge. Price then allows everyone dealing in a commodity or its substitutes to make decisions based on more information than he or she could personally acquire, information not statistically conveyable to a centralized authority. Interference from a central authority which affects price will have consequences they could not foresee because they do not know all of the particulars involved.

This is illustrated in the concept of the invisible hand proposed by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations.[1] Thus in this view by acting on information with greater detail and accuracy than possible for any centralized authority, a more efficient economy is created to the benefit of a whole society.

Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, describes spontaneous order as follows:

Spontaneous order is what happens when you leave people alone—when entrepreneurs... see the desires of people... and then provide for them. They respond to market signals, to prices. Prices tell them what's needed and how urgently and where. And it's infinitely better and more productive than relying on a handful of elites in some distant bureaucracy.[8]

Game studies

The concept of spontaneous order is closely related with modern game studies. As early as in the 1940s, historian Johan Huizinga wrote that "in myth and ritual the great instinctive forces of civilized life have their origin: law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom and science. All are rooted in the primeval soil of play." Following on this in his book The Fatal Conceit, Hayek notably wrote that "a game is indeed a clear instance of a process wherein obedience to common rules by elements pursuing different and even conflicting purposes results in overall order."

Anarchism

anarchist law. In the anarchist view, such spontaneous order would involve the voluntary cooperation of individuals. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, "the work of many symbolic interactionists is largely compatible with the anarchist vision, since it harbours a view of society as spontaneous order."[9]

Sobornost

The concept of spontaneous order can also be seen in the works of the Russian sobornost. Sobornost was also used by Leo Tolstoy as an underpinning to the ideology of Christian anarchism. The concept was used to describe the uniting force behind the peasant or serf Obshchina in pre-Soviet Russia.[10]

Recent developments

Perhaps the most famous theorist of social spontaneous orders is

External links

  1. ^ a b Norman Barry, The Tradition of Spontaneous Order, Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought, Library of Economics and Liberty, 1982, accessed 2010-12-12
  2. ^ Rothbard, Murray. Concepts of the Role of Intellectuals in Social Change Toward Laissez Faire, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol IX No. 2 (Fall 1990)
  3. ^ Adam Ferguson on The History of Economic Thought Website
  4. ^
  5. ^ Hayek cited. Petsoulas, Christian. Hayek's Liberalism and Its Origins: His Idea of Spontaneous Order and the Scottish Enlightenment. Routledge. 2001. p. 2
  6. ^ Hayek, F.A. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. The University of Chicago Press. 1991. Page 6.
  7. ^ Hayek cited. Boaz, David. The Libertarian Reader. The Free Press. 1997. p. 220
  8. ^ Stossel, John (2011-02-10) Spontaneous Order, Reason
  9. ^
  10. ^ Faith and Order: The Reconciliation of Law and Religion By Harold Joseph pg 388 Berman Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Religion and law ISBN 0-8028-4852-4 http://books.google.com/books?id=j1208xA7F_0C&lpg=PA388&ots=p0N6U4zWbf&pg=PA388
  11. ^ The Constitution of Liberty; Law, Legislation and Liberty
  12. ^ The Sensory Order
  13. ^ http://fiesta.bren.ucsb.edu/~gsd/595e/docs/41.%20Polanyi_Republic_of_Science.pdf
  14. ^ Persuasion, Power, and Polity
  15. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Persuasion-Power-Polity-Democratic-Self-Organization/dp/1572732571/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302773406&sr=1-4
  16. ^ http://studiesinemergentorder.org/current-issue/sieo3-195/
  17. ^ The Self-Organizing Economy

References

See also

in which he claims that cities are self-organizing systems. [17]

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