6 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2021
    1. more positive-sounding term spontaneous order than the more mystical-sounding invisible hand. Others, however, prefer to use another term. ‘I prefer the term “unintended order” to the more familiar “spontaneous order” because the former conveys that the system of order was not anyone’s intentional design without suggesting, as “spontaneous” might, that there is no way to account for the creation of the system’ (Otteson 2002, 6; see also Otteson 2007, 21).

      The importance of accountability is implied by introducing the term - "unintended order".

    2. Hayek is thus informing us that the framework of our analysis should include institutions that are ‘The results of Human Action but not of Human Design’.
    3. Hayek notes that if we confine our arguments to the natural and artificial realms confusion is bound to ensure: ‘... one would describe a social institution as “natural” because it had never been deliberately designed, while another would describe the same institution as “artificial” because it resulted from human action’ (Hayek 1967, 130)
  2. Nov 2019
    1. This brings me to the crucial issue. Unlike the position that exists in the physical sciences, in economics and other disciplines that deal with essentially complex phenomena, the aspects of the events to be accounted for about which we can get quantitative data are necessarily limited and may not include the important ones. While in the physical sciences it is generally assumed, probably with good reason, that any important factor which determines the observed events will itself be directly observable and measurable, in the study of such complex phenomena as the market, which depend on the actions of many individuals, all the circumstances which will determine the outcome of a process, for reasons which I shall explain later, will hardly ever be fully known or measurable. And while in the physical sciences the investigator will be able to measure what, on the basis of a prima facie theory, he thinks important, in the social sciences often that is treated as important which happens to be accessible to measurement. This is sometimes carried to the point where it is demanded that our theories must be formulated in such terms that they refer only to measurable magnitudes.
    2. The particular occasion of this lecture, combined with the chief practical problem which economists have to face today, have made the choice of its topic almost inevitable. On the one hand the still recent establishment of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science marks a significant step in the process by which, in the opinion of the general public, economics has been conceded some of the dignity and prestige of the physical sciences. On the other hand, the economists are at this moment called upon to say how to extricate the free world from the serious threat of accelerating inflation which, it must be admitted, has been brought about by policies which the majority of economists recommended and even urged governments to pursue. We have indeed at the moment little cause for pride: as a profession we have made a mess of things.
    3. It seems to me that this failure of the economists to guide policy more successfully is closely connected with their propensity to imitate as closely as possible the procedures of the brilliantly successful physical sciences – an attempt which in our field may lead to outright error. It is an approach which has come to be described as the “scientistic” attitude – an attitude which, as I defined it some thirty years ago, “is decidedly unscientific in the true sense of the word, since it involves a mechanical and uncritical application of habits of thought to fields different from those in which they have been formed.”1