F.a. hayek - two kinds of order and two kinds of rules

5516 mots 23 pages
Two Kinds of Order and Two Kinds of Rules
Hayek has commented in detail on some of the more specific characteristics of different kinds of social rules. The most fundamental and significant distinction which he draws in this regard parallels his familiar distinction between two kinds of social order (Hayek 1973: 35.). In his first approximation Hayek distinguishes between spontaneous order and organisation by characterising the former as rule-governed and the latter as command-governed: while in a spontaneous order individuals are 'bound only by general rules of just conduct' in an organisation they are 'subject to specific directions by authority' (1976: 85). Hayek adds, however, that this definition needs to be qualified, not only because, as rules become more specific and commands more general, it may be difficult to distinguish between the two, but also, and more importantly, because to 'some extent every organisation must rely also on rules and not only on specific commands' (1973: 48). This is so essentially for the same 'use-of knowledge' reason that applies to spontaneous orders. Only by relying on general rules rather than specific commands can knowledge be used that exists dispersed among the several members of an organisation, knowledge that cannot feasibly be collected and processed by a central authority (Hayek 1964: 9).
However, while acknowledging that not only spontaneous orders but organisations as well rely on rules, Hayek emphasises that there are 'important differences between the kinds of rules which the two different kinds of order require' (1973: 48). Indeed, he argues that the difference between the two kinds of order is systematically related to the difference between the kinds of rules on which they rest. That is, he suggests that the conceptual distinction between spontaneous order and organisation is in part a matter of specifying 'in what respect the rules required for the purposes of organisation differ' from the 'rules of just

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