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The Hayekian Puzzle: Spontaneous Order and the Business Cycle


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  • Witt, Ulrich


A distinction is often made in F. A. Hayek's oeuvre between his earlier inquiries into the theory of capital and the business cycle and his later work on social philosophy and spontaneous economic order. This paper argues that these phases are based on two different, and basically incompatible, research paradigms--general equilibrium versus the dynamics of learning and expectation formation. Apparently running into troubles with his general equilibrium approach, Hayek abandoned business cycle research and never attempted to integrate it with his later thought. The paper therefore reconsiders the role of cyclical economic fluctuations within a theory of spontaneous economic order. Copyright 1997 by Scottish Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 44 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 44-58

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:44:y:1997:i:1:p:44-58

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Cited by:
  1. van den Hauwe, Ludwig, 2006. "Review of Huerta de Soto´s `Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles´," MPRA Paper 49, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. G. R. Steele, 2005. "Psychology, social evolution and liberalism: a Hayekian trinity," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 571-586.
  3. Elias Khalil, 1997. "Friedrich Hayek's Theory of Spontaneous Order: Two Problems," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 301-317, December.
  4. Wagner, Richard E., 2012. "A macro economy as an ecology of plans," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 433-444.
  5. Dostaler, Gilles, 2001. "La genèse et l’évolution de la théorie des cycles de Hayek," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 77(2), pages 207-230, juin.
  6. Hardy Hanappi, 2014. "Evolutionary Political Economy in Crisis Mode," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 234(2-3), pages 422-440, April.


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