Spontaneous order: Michael Polanyi and Friedrich Hayek

This paper compares Hayek and Polanyi on spontaneous social order. Although Hayek is widely believed to have first both coined the name and explicated the idea of ?spontaneous order?, it is in fact Michael Polanyi who did so. Numerous differences emerge between the two thinkers. The characterisation of spontaneous order in Hayek, for example, involves different types of freedom to those advanced by Polanyi. Whereas Hayek (usually) portrays spontaneous order as a single entity, which is equivalent to free society as a whole ? the free?catallactic society ? Polanyi by contrast is disposed to conceive of spontaneous orders as sub?units or components within free society as a whole. These and other aspects of their thought ? including the distinction between spontaneous and planned social orders ? are reviewed and criticised
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