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Hayek's Social and Political Thought$
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Roland Kley

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279167

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198279167.001.0001

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Spontaneous Economic Order: Individual Adjustment and the Market's Epistemic Role

Spontaneous Economic Order: Individual Adjustment and the Market's Epistemic Role

(p.49) 2 Spontaneous Economic Order: Individual Adjustment and the Market's Epistemic Role
Hayek's Social and Political Thought

Roland Kley

Oxford University Press

According to Friedrich A. Hayek, the web of exchange relations forming in the market is the outcome of a two-part mechanism. Spontaneous economic order develops when the members observe certain rules and adjust to their local situation. Whenever Hayek talks about the mechanism conducive to spontaneous order, he gives individual adjustment much less prominence than rule-following, the other element of that mechanism. The idea that spontaneous economic order is, partly, the result of the members adapting to the specific circumstances of their individual situation is the by-product of, and is usually only mentioned in connection with, a claim to which Hayek consistently attaches much greater significance. This chapter explores the sense in which individual adjustment may be said to contribute to the emergence of a spontaneous economic order. Hayek's views on the epistemic role of the market are also discussed.

Keywords:   Friedrich A. Hayek, spontaneous economic order, individual adjustment, market, epistemic role, rule-following, exchange relations

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