The idea of spontaneous orders dating back to Mandeville and elaborated at length by the Austrian School of Economics (Menger, Hayek) is no doubt a major contribution to the understanding of society (Hamowy, 1987). It offers great insights into how human beings solve coordination problems by unintentionally creating mechanisms for social interaction such as the market, money, language, science and law (Hamowy, 1987; Petsoulas, 2000). Such a successful concept must have its limits somewhere, as a concept which explains everything covers nothing. I wish to explore this question by relating the evolution of European integration after the Second World War to the Hayek theory of a spontaneous order. Perhaps Hayek contributed most to the elaboration of Adam Smith's vision of a self-correcting social order that needs little direction and control (Boettke, 1998). Hayek underlined time and again the importance of spontaneous processes with the entailed claim that government must adopt an attitude of humility towards conventions that are not the result of intelligent design, the justification of which in the particular instant may not be recognizable, and that may appear unintelligible and irrational (Hayek, 1960, 1982).
Lane, J.-E. (2004), "Law and politics: Reflections upon the concept of a spontaneous order and the EU", Kurrild-Klitgaard, P. (Ed.) The Dynamics of Intervention: Regulation and Redistribution in the Mixed Economy (Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 419-428. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1529-2134(05)08017-8Download as .RIS
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