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Hayekian equilibrium and change

Listed author(s):
  • Peter Lewin

What do we mean when we say action is possible in disequilibrium? If we adopt Hayek's approach to equilibrium, we must mean that we can act in a world where the plans that motivate and define those actions are not mutually compatible. This is hardly controversial. After all, the market process features rivalrous actions, that is, actions that are part of mutually inconsistent plans. Successful plans tend to displace unsuccessful ones. But, can we say, therefore, that, overall, plans tend to become more consistent so that there is a 'tendency' toward equilibrium? Is this important? I answer both in the negative and that the Hayekian definition requires too much. Plans are complex, multi-layered con-structs. Overall 'plan consistency' is, therefore, either impossible or hopelessly imprecise. At some levels plans are and must be highly compatible, while at other levels (as part of the market process for example) they are and, if we are to have economic progress, they must be, incompatible.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 4 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 245-266

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:4:y:1997:i:2:p:245-266
DOI: 10.1080/13501789700000017
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