Two grand conceptions have emerged in Europe on how to organise society on a secular basis. In the early modern period, a conscious moulding of society and its institutions was seen as a logical extrapolation from the way rational human beings ordered their lives. In a later view, society was seen to behave as a natural system capable of self-regulation. In this chapter, these approaches — planning and its antipode, spontaneous order — will first be introduced. The remaining sections and much of the discussion in Part I will address the false presumption that these two notions are not only competing, but mutually incompatible.
KeywordsMarket Economy Socialist Optimism Human Rationality Spontaneous Order Early Modern Period
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