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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

revisiting spontaneous order

A decent set of rules (legal system) and their enforcement are important to a well ordered and functioning society. The additional benefit of avoiding statism is that self-ordering or spontaneous order can take place giving rise to new powers for wealth creation and other forms of betterment. It is easy to be unaware or overlook the power of this type of process. This from an old post worth rereading:
The principle of spontaneity, of liberty, is not an all-or-nothing proposition. But the principles of local knowledge, coincidence of interest, and spontaneous adaptation have much more power than is generally recognized. People have a hard time understanding how spontaneous order works, or even that it exists.


erp said...

Very nice simple example of letting everyone fend for themselves. I remember the phrase "benign self-interest," but don't remember who said it.

Hey Skipper said...


Kind of like evolution, huh?


IIRC (and Howard will set me straight in an instant IIRB), the phrase is "enlightened self interest", courtesy of Adam Smith in Wealth Nations.

erp said...

Thanks Skipper. You're right of course. No wonder Google couldn't find it.

I was confusing it with benign neglect a phrase Senator Moynihan used to describe how he thought the downtrodden should be dealt with.

Howard said...

hey skipper

Don't recall your sentiments surrounding evolution discussions but Darwin put forth his theory after reading Adam Smith.

erp said...

It's great that Bloglines brings one directly to the comment in question. Makes it a lot easier to follow the thread. Whomsoever is responsible for setting it up, thanks. Now if we could do it over at Ducks ...