Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Patterns of Perception and Behaviour

Friedrich A. Hayek states that reason is conditioned by patterns of perception and behaviour. Those patterns are grown, not designed. They evolved as a result of a process of natural selection. This idea was present in Adam Smith’s works. Rotten food is both forbidden and distasteful not because of having anyone decreed so or of any quality of the rotten food concerning taste, but due to people who found it tasty or felt allowed to eat it did not survive. The population of those who avoided rotten food spread, while of those who did not diminished to extinction. The interrelation of those patterns of perception and behaviour which human reason is built of necessarily implies an order of a higher degree of complexity than human reason itself. That is why Hayek speaks of a complex order.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Orders & Forces

Economic central planning supporters usually accuse market economy of being a chaotic system, or at least intrinsically unstable. In this confrontation, cultural evolutionary approach plays a major role. Evolutionism depicts different types of orders, defined by the characteristics of the forces prevailing among them. An unstable order is mostly conditioned by random forces. We also can find an order compounded with forces arranged by a decision making agent –that is the case of the firm or the government. In terms of Hayek’s social thought, the latter is a created or simple order. On the other side, a complex or spontaneous order –like the market- is made of forces emerging from a natural selection process, not random forces but fitted to the changes in the environment.