Extended order

Economics and sociology concept

Extended order is an economics and sociology concept introduced by Friedrich Hayek in his book The Fatal Conceit.

Quotes edit

  • To understand our civilisation, one must appreciate that the extended order resulted not from human design or intention but spontaneously: it arose from unintentionally conforming to certain traditional and largely moral practices, many of which men tend to dislike, whose significance they usually fail to understand, whose validity they cannot prove, and which have nonetheless fairly rapidly spread by means of an evolutionary selection — the comparative increase of population and wealth — of those groups that happened to follow them.
    • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit (1988), Introduction: Was Socialism a Mistake?
  • It is no accident that many abstract rules, such as those treating individual responsibility and several property, are associated with economics. Economics has from its origins been concerned with how an extended order of human interaction comes into existence through a process of variation, winnowing and sifting far surpassing our vision or our capacity to design.
    • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit (1988), Chap. 1: Between Instinct and Reason
  • This evolution [of extended order] came about, then, through the spreading of new practices by a process of transmission of acquired habits analogous to, but also in important respects different from, biological evolution. I shall consider some of these analogies and differences below, but we might mention here that biological evolution would have been far too slow to alter or replace man's innate responses in the course of the ten or twenty thousand years during which civilisation has developed - not to speak of being too slow to have influenced the far greater numbers whose ancestors joined the process only a few hundred years ago.
    • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit (1988), Chap. 1: Between Instinct and Reason
  • There is the important point that an order arising from the separate decisions of many individuals on the basis of different information cannot be determined by a common scale of the relative importance of different ends. […] Here, however, it is appropriate to discuss in a general way the advantages of the differentiation that an extended order makes possible. Freedom involves freedom to be different – to have one's own ends in one's own domain; yet order everywhere, and not only in human affairs, also presupposes differentiation of its elements. Such differentiation might be confined merely to the local or temporal position of its elements, but an order would hardly be of any interest unless the differences were greater than this. Order is desirable not for keeping everything in place but for generating new powers that would otherwise not exist. The degree of orderliness – the new powers that order creates and confers – depends more on the variety of the elements than on their temporal or local position.
  • Comprehending the role played by the transmission of information (or of factual knowledge) opens the door to understanding the extended order. Yet these issues are highly abstract, and are particularly hard to grasp for those schooled in the mechanistic, scientistic, constructivist canons of rationality that dominate our educational systems - and who consequently tend to be ignorant of biology, economics, and evolution.
  • So far as we know, the extended order is probably the most complex structure in the universe - a structure in which biological organisms that are already highly complex have acquired the capacity to learn, to assimilate, parts of suprapersonal traditions enabling them to adapt themselves from moment to moment into an ever-changing structure possessing an order of a still higher level of complexity.
    • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit (1988), Chap. 8: The Extended Order and Population Growth

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External links edit

  Encyclopedic article on Extended order on Wikipedia

Friedrich Hayek
Concepts and career Business cycle theory · Dispersed knowledge · Extended order · Spontaneous order
Books Prices and Production (1931) · The Road to Serfdom (1944) · Individualism and Economic Order (1948) · The Counter-Revolution of Science (1952) · The Sensory Order (1952) · The Constitution of Liberty (1960) · Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1967) · Law, Legislation and Liberty (1973) · The Denationalization of Money (1975) · New Studies in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas (1978) · The Fatal Conceit (1988)
Notable essays "The Use of Knowledge in Society" (1945) · "Why I Am Not a Conservative" (1960) · "The Pretence of Knowledge" (1974)
Commentators Alan O. Ebenstein · Bruce Caldwell
Other topics On evolution · On dictatorship · On John Maynard Keynes