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Spontaneous order

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Spontaneous order, also named self-organization in the hard sciences, is the spontaneous emergence of order out of seeming chaos It is a process in social networks including economics, though the term "self-organization" is more often used for physical changes and biological processes, while "spontaneous order" is typically used to describe the emergence of various kinds of social orders from a combination of self-interested individuals who are not intentionally trying to create order through 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 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 scale-free networks, while organizations are hierarchical networks Further, organizations can be and often are a part of spontaneous social orders, but the reverse is not true Further, while organizations are created and controlled by humans, spontaneous orders are created, controlled, and controllable by no one In economics and the social sciences, spontaneous order is defined as "the result of human actions, not of human design"

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

Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Examples
    • 21 Markets
    • 22 Game studies
    • 23 Anarchism
    • 24 Sobornost
    • 25 Recent developments
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

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 " 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

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"

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" 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 Centralized statistical data cannot convey this information because the statistics are created by abstracting away from the particulars of the situation

In a market economy, price is the aggregation of information acquired when the people who own resources 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 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

Game studies

The concept of spontaneous order is closely related with modern game studies As early as 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

Anarchists argue that the state is in fact an artificial creation of the ruling elite, and that true spontaneous order would arise if it was eliminated Construed by some but not all as the ushering in of organization by 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"

Sobornost

The concept of spontaneous order can also be seen in the works of the Russian Slavophile movements and specifically in the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky The concept of an organic social manifestation as a concept in Russia expressed under the idea of 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

Recent developments

Perhaps the most famous theorist of social spontaneous orders is Friedrich Hayek In addition to arguing the economy is a spontaneous order, which he termed a catallaxy, he argued that common law and the brain are also types of spontaneous orders In "The Republic of Science," Michael Polanyi also argued that science is a spontaneous order, a theory further developed by Bill Butos and Thomas McQuade in a variety of papers Gus DiZerega has argued that democracy is the spontaneous order form of government, David Emmanuel Andersson has argued that religion in places like the United States is a spontaneous order, and Troy Camplin argues that artistic and literary production are spontaneous orders Paul Krugman too has contributed to spontaneous order theory in his book The Self-Organizing Economy, in which he claims that cities are self-organizing systems Credibility thesis suggests that the credibility of social institutions is the driving factor behind the endogenous self-organization of institutions and their persistence

See also

  • Anonymous
  • Deregulation
  • Extended order
  • Free price system
  • "I, Pencil" by Leonard Read
  • Invisible hand
  • Mutual aid
  • Natural law
  • Natural order
  • Organised order
  • Revolutionary spontaneity
  • Stigmergy
  • Tragedy of the commons

References

  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. ^ Ferguson, Adam 1767 An Essay on the History of Civil Society The Online Library of Liberty: T Cadell, London p 205 
  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, FA 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. ^ Marshall, Gordon; et al 1998 Oxford Dictionary of Sociology 2 ed Oxford: Oxford University Press pp 19–20 ISBN 0-19-280081-7 
  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 https://booksgooglecom/booksid=j1208xA7F_0C&lpg=PA388&ots=p0N6U4zWbf&pg=PA388
  11. ^ The Constitution of Liberty; Law, Legislation and Liberty
  12. ^ The Sensory Order
  13. ^ http://fiestabrenucsbedu/~gsd/595e/docs/41%20Polanyi_Republic_of_Sciencepdf
  14. ^ Persuasion, Power, and Polity
  15. ^ http://wwwamazoncom/Persuasion-Power-Polity-Democratic-Self-Organization/dp/1572732571/ref=sr_1_4ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302773406&sr=1-4
  16. ^ http://studiesinemergentorderorg/current-issue/sieo3-195/
  17. ^ The Self-Organizing Economy
  18. ^ Grabel, Ilene "The political economy of 'policy credibility': the new-classical macroeconomics and the remaking of emerging economies" Cambridge Journal of Economics 24 1: 1–19 doi:101093/cje/2411 Retrieved 20 October 2016 

External links

  • The Tradition of Spontaneous Order, by Norman Barry, Library of Economics and Liberty

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