… is from page 188 of Razeen Sally’s 1998 book, Classical Liberalism and International Economic Order:
Hayek describes the spontaneous order mostly in terms of market activities within nation-states. Nevertheless, the general features of the spontaneous order equally apply at the international level. The international spontaneous market order is, therefore, a complex, self-organising system, not designed or controlled by any person or group of persons, the ‘unintended result of human action but not the execution of any human design’, to re-employ Adam Ferguson’s phrase. Its processes are those of the Invisible Hand: outcomes are unintended by-products of the self-interested actions of individuals, not deliberately coordinated by any central authority. Furthermore, classical liberalism does not think of international competition in terms of stable equilibrium, but as an evolutionary ‘discovery procedure’ which coordinates relevant knowledge dispersed worldwide and generates new knowledge.