Saturday, 22 May 2010

At the beginning...

For Hayek, the law is logically and chronologically previous to the government. That is the meaning of the rule of law: a political order founded on the law. Since the political powers receive their legitimacy from the law, the latter is exogenous to the political subsystem. That is why Hayek regards the law as a spontaneous phenomenon. This is not a description of the political reality, but a theory on a political system based on the rule of law which the social scientist can derive normative statements from.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Impossibility Theorem

It is amazing to reread “The Road to Serfdom” (1944) and to recall the paper “A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare” (1950) by Kenneth J. Arrow. Specifically, Chapters 5 and 6 of Hayek’s book seem to be a philosophical statement about the consequences of Arrow’s impossibility theorem. Nonetheless, being both works close in time, the complexity of the ideas contained in them prevents us from suspecting any mutual influence, and we must conclude that the parallelism is mostly due to the zeitgeist.