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Choosing One’s Own Informal Institutions: On Hayek’s Critique of Keynes’s Immoralism

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  • Berggren, Niclas

    ()
    (The Ratio Institute)

Abstract

In the main, Hayek favored rules that apply equally to all and located such rules in tradition, beyond conscious construction. This led Hayek to attack Keynes’s immoralism, i.e. the position that one should be free to choose how to lead one’s life irrespective of the informal institutions in place. However, it is argued here that immoralism may be compatible with Hayek’s enterprise since Hayek misinterpreted Keynes, who did not advo-cate the dissolving of all informal rules for everybody. By avoiding this misinterpretation, immoralism can be seen as institutional experimentation at the margin, which Hayek himself favored.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 118.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 14 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Constitutional Political Economy, 2009, pages 139-159.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0118

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Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08-441 59 00
Fax: 08-441 59 29
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Keywords: Institutions; rules; traditions; morality; liberty; rule of law;

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  1. Christian Schubert, 2004. "Hayek and the Evolution of Designed Institutions: a Critical Assessment," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  2. R. Skidelsky., 2006. "Hayek versus Keynes: The Road to Reconciliation," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 6.
  3. Niclas Berggren & Henrik Jordahl, 2006. "Free to Trust: Economic Freedom and Social Capital," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 141-169, 05.
  4. Davis,John B., 1994. "Keynes's Philosophical Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521419024, October.
  5. Roger Backhouse & Bradley Bateman, 2006. "John Maynard Keynes: Artist, Philosopher, Economist," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(2), pages 149-159, June.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  7. Sugden, Robert, 1989. "Spontaneous Order," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 85-97, Fall.
  8. Andy Denis, 2002. "Was Hayek a Panglossian Evolutionary Theorist? A Reply to Whitman," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 275-285, September.
  9. Berggren, Niclas, 2003. "Does Belief in Ethical Subjectivism Pose a Challenge to Classical Liberalism?," Ratio Working Papers 27, The Ratio Institute.
  10. Anna Carabelli & Nicolo De Vecchi, 2001. "Hayek and Keynes: From a common critique of economic method to different theories of expectations," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 269-285.
  11. Hayek, F. A., 1995. "Contra Keynes and Cambridge," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226320656 edited by Caldwell, Bruce.
  12. Klein, Daniel, 2003. "Mere Libertarianism: Blending Hayek and Rothbard," Ratio Working Papers 29, The Ratio Institute.
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