Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Constructivism, Cultural Evolution, and Spontaneous Order

  • Régis ServantEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_756

Definition

This essay describes two completely different approaches which have been distinguished by Friedrich A. Hayek, the “constructivist” one and the “evolutionary” one, to the problem of how to develop institutions appropriate for the achievement of a desirable society. It does it by detailing Hayek’s analysis of the two approaches. First, the essay describes the “constructivist” contention that only institutions deliberately adopted by certain competent persons are likely to achieve a desirable society. Then, it presents the “evolutionary” viewpoint defended by Hayek, according to which a lot of beneficial institutions can be discovered only through spontaneous, undesigned growth.

Constructivism

Hayek uses the term “constructivist rationalists” to designate a large and diverse group of scholars which includes Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Voltaire, Rousseau, Bentham, Austin, Hegel, Marx, Comte, Saint-Simon, and the American Institutionalists. These scholars, Hayek...

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References

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Further Reading

  1. Boudreaux D (2014) Legislation is distinct from law. In: Boudreaux D The essential Hayek. Fraser Institute, Canada, pp 32–38Google Scholar
  2. Buchanan J (1977) Law and the invisible hand. In: Buchanan J Freedom in constitutional contract: perspectives of a political economist. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, pp 25–39Google Scholar
  3. Diamond A (1980) F. A. Hayek on constructivism and ethics. J Libertarian Stud 4(4):353–365Google Scholar
  4. Hayek F (1946) Individualism: true and false. Hodges, Figgis & Co. Ltd., DublinGoogle Scholar
  5. Hayek F (1965) Kinds of rationalism. Econ Stud Q 15(2):1–12Google Scholar
  6. Hayek F (1966) Lecture on a master mind: Dr. Bernard Mandeville. Proc Br Acad 52:125–141Google Scholar
  7. Hayek F (1967) Notes on the evolution of systems of rules of conduct. In: Hayek F Studies in philosophy, politics and economics. University of Chicago press, Chicago, pp 66–81Google Scholar
  8. Hayek F (1973) Law, legislation and liberty, vol. 1: rules and order. Routledge & Kegan Paul, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Hayek F (1988) The fatal conceit: the errors of socialism. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kirzner I (1990) Knowledge problems and their solutions: some relevant distinctions. Cult Dyn 3(1):32–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Moroni S (2014) Two different theories of two distinct spontaneous phenomena: orders of actions and evolution of institutions in Hayek. Cosmos + Taxis 1(2):9–23Google Scholar
  12. Nadeau R (2016) Cultural evolution, group selection and methodological individualism: a plea for Hayek. Cosmos + Taxis 3(2):9–22Google Scholar
  13. O’Driscoll G (2015) Hayek and the scots on liberty. J Priv Enterp 30(2):1–19Google Scholar
  14. Smith V (2008) Rationality in economics: constructivist and ecological forms. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Smith C (2014) Hayek and spontaneous order. In: Garrison R, Barry N (eds) Elgar companion to Hayekian economics. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, pp 224–245Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PHAREUniversity Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance