A Reappraisal of Friedrich A. Hayek's Cultural Evolutionism

Economics and Philosophy 10 (2):285 (1994)
In spite of the important discoveries made by Adam Smith and later by the economists of the Austrian School, Friedrich Hayek remained intellectually challenged by the miracle of the price mechanism. As it turned out there was still some pioneering to do in describing the price mechanism. This became clear when Hayek identified the dispersal of information relevant to exchange transactions as the central issue of economic study. In the context of his distinction between competition as a state of things and as a process the price mechanism manifests itself as a powerful integrator of information which is at first sight hopelessly dispersed in modern society. In 1945 he pointed out another intellectual challenge which the miracle of the price mechanism poses: How could such a marvelous functionality come into existence? “I am convinced that if it [the price mechanism] were the result of deliberate human design, and if the people guided by the price changes understood that their decisions have significance far beyond their immediate aim, this mechanism would have been acclaimed as one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind”. It is precisely because the free determination of prices is obviously not an invention, and because actors on the market in general do not realize that their decisions are at once also signals for the information-processing system that the market is, that in general this market order is not highly estimated. The market order is nevertheless the best illustration of the dual principle that the most beautiful forms of complex functionality are not deliberately created and are not deliberately maintained
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0266267100004752
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,488
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
K. R. Popper (1966). Conjectures and Refutations. Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (3):431-434.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
E. Angner (2002). The History of Hayek's Theory of Cultural Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (4):695-718.
M. Williams (1999). The Philosophy of Economic Modelling: A Critical Survey. South African Journal of Philosophy 18 (2):223-246.
Erik Angner (2002). The History of Hayek’s Theory of Cultural Evolution. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (4):695-718.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

25 ( #191,059 of 1,925,792 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

7 ( #124,533 of 1,925,792 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.