Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on December 25, 2021

in Complexity & Emergence, Hayek, Philosophy of Freedom

… is from page 464 of F.A. Hayek’s profound and important 1964 article “Kinds of Order in Society” (available without charge on-line here) as it appears in Liberty Fund’s 1981 single-volume collection of New Individualist Review:

[B]ecause it was not dependent on organization but grew as a spontaneous order, the structure of modern society has attained a degree of complexity which far exceeds that which it is possible to achieve by deliberate organization. Even the rules which made the growth of this complex order possible were not designed in anticipation of that result; but those peoples who happened to adopt suitable rules developed a complex civilization which prevailed over others. It is thus a paradox, based on a complete misunderstanding of these connections, when it is sometimes contended that we must deliberately plan modern society because it has grown so complex. The fact is rather that we can preserve an order of such complexity only if we control it not by the method of “planning,” i.e., by direct orders, but on the contrary aim at the formation of a spontaneous order based on general rules.

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