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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: Its Rules

Spontaneous Economic Order: Its Rules

(p.70) 3 Spontaneous Economic Order: Its Rules
Hayek's Social and Political Thought

Roland Kley

Oxford University Press

Friedrich A. Hayek argues that order in the market is the result of individuals observing certain rules and adjusting to their specific situation. The significance he accords to rules can hardly be overrated. Often, he does not mention individual adjustment at all, implying that the observance of rules suffices to bring about economic order. This chapter discusses the role and nature of such rules, including the so-called rules of just conduct that lead to spontaneous economic order. The second section expounds a contrast Hayek draws between rule-guided conduct and purposive action and explores his view of market rules as a device for coping with the unknowable consequences of individual economic action. The third section asks how the idea of a spontaneous economic order accommodates the state. Hayek's discussion of economic order being the result of rule-following (and adjustment) portrays markets as entirely self-sufficient and self-regulating systems.

Keywords:   Friedrich A. Hayek, spontaneous economic order, rule-guided conduct, purposive action, state, just conduct, market rules, rule-following, market

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