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The Hayek difference is yet to come

October 7, 2010

In a 2001 article titled “The Hayek difference”, economist and Nobel-prize winner James M. Buchanan says:

More controversially, I think we can also pay relatively little attention to Hayek’s late works that emphasize the evolutionary elements in the development of economic and social institutions.

I’m afraid this judgment was made at exactly the wrong historical moment. In fact, even though by 2001 the Internet had come and popped, it is only during the infamous ‘Oughts’ that the full force of the globalizing effects of online social and economic interaction became clear to everyone. The pace of change in attitudes and especially the generational gaps that affect the Hayekian customs and norms now developing on the web are producing a “revolution in law”, writ large, that our current official (and rigid) institutions will have a hard time grappling with. The clash between emergent and organic law that will arise in the next decade from the online interaction of billions of people will catch the central-planning, top-down producers of legislation widely unprepared and will reveal them to be unsuited for the task. It will be painful to watch. The biggest contribution of Hayek to understanding these dynamic phenomena is yet to be fully appreciated.

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From → Hayek

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