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The Problem of Organisations in Hayekian Liberalism


  • Mohammed BENSAID



Hayek founds his liberalism on the notion of order, principally used to construct his theory of spontaneous market order. After discussing the importance and the ambiguities of the distinction between spontaneous orders and organized orders, we show that one of the great weaknesses of this theory is that it could not integrate consistently the two types of order. Hayekian spontaneous market is incompatible with complex organizations (non-atomistic organized orders) and could be constituted only by simple organizations (atomistic organized orders). Our conclusion is not that the notion of spontaneous order is meaningless per se: only its theoretical construction by Hayek and the normative implications he derives from it are criticized here.

Suggested Citation

  • Mohammed BENSAID, 2002. "The Problem of Organisations in Hayekian Liberalism," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 43, pages 69-89.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2002:i:43:p:69-89

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    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General
    • P12 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Capitalist Enterprises
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems


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