Spontaneous order and social norms. Hayek’s theory of socio-cultural evolution

Gedeon, Péter (2015) Spontaneous order and social norms. Hayek’s theory of socio-cultural evolution. Working Paper. Corvinus University of Budapest Faculty of Economics, Budapest.

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This article was first published in Society and Economy, 2015. vol. 37. no. 1. p. 1-29. DOI: 10.1556/SocEc.37.2015.1.1


Hayek's theory of socio-cultural evolution is a generalization of his theory on spontaneous market order. Hayek explains both the emergence of market and social institutions serving as a social basis for that order within the framework of a unified evolutionary logic. This logic interprets the emergence and survival of spontaneous order and group-level rules of conduct as an unintended consequence of human action. In order to explain the emergence of social norms exclusively on the basis of methodological individualism, one would have to give up an exclusively evolutionary explanation of these norms. Since Hayek applies the invisiblehand explanation to the investigation of social norms, he combines the position of methodological individualism with functionalist-evolutionary arguments in his analysis. Hayek's theory of socio-cultural evolution represents a theory in the framework of which methodological individualism and functionalism do not crowd out but complement each other.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
Series Name:Corvinus Economics Working Papers - CEWP
Series Number / Identification Number:2015/09
Uncontrolled Keywords:socio-cultural evolution, invisible-hand explanations, spontaneous market order, social norms, methodological individualism, functionalism
JEL classification:A13 - Relation of Economics to Social Values
B25 - History of Economic Thought since 1925: Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian
B52 - Current Heterodox Approaches: Institutional; Evolutionary
B53 - Current Heterodox Approaches: Austrian
Divisions:Faculty of Economics > Department of Comparative Economics
ID Code:1901
Deposited By: Ádám Hoffmann
Deposited On:15 Apr 2015 07:10
Last Modified:15 Apr 2015 07:14

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