Is market liberalism adaptive? Rethinking F. A. Hayek on moral evolution

Journal of Bioeconomics 19 (3):307–326 (2017)

Filipe Nobre Faria
New University of Lisbon
Hayek’s social theory of evolution suggests that market liberal morality is adaptive for social groups. He justified the evolutionary superiority of market liberalism by asserting that groups operating under a market liberal morality would have a higher capacity to expand and reproduce than groups with alternative tribal moralities. Thus, market liberal groups would be favoured through cultural and genetic group selection. But in fact, market liberal morality reveals maladaptive tendencies and remains insufficiently powerful to create adaptive social groups. Hayek’s dismissal of moral tribalism in favour of market liberal morality is found to underestimate the importance of tribal goals in the evolutionary system.
Keywords Moral evolution  Cultural evolution  F. A. Hayek  Market liberalism  Group selection  Social Evolution  Social Philosophy  Political Theory  Evolutionary Ethics  Biopolitics
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