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« Selgin on the Mortgage Crisis | Main | 2007 Economic Freedom Report »


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It is not necessarily simplistic to draw a distinction between state and market for analytical purposes because it is not possible to talk usefully about everything at once, just as long as the pieces get put back together.

That recalls a paper at a Mont Pelerin conference where Naomi Moldofsky drew a strong distinction between spontaneous orders (such as the market) and others such as the state. There seemed to be a better way to go, as suggested. in some comments at the time.

"Moving on from Moldofsky’s concern with majority rule, another section of her paper calls for further investigation. This is her account of two co-existing but separate types of orders. These are spontaneous orders (language, law, society, market) and organizations (family, firm, and various public institutions such as government). She wrote:

'The two types of orders are altogether different. Organizations are concrete orders made deliberately by outside forces, orders that rest on hierarchal structures of commands and obedience, and, to an extent, on rules applicable to certain designated tasks…In contrast, spontaneous orders, including the open society (and the open market system as one of its chief presuppositions) are abstract orders, governed by rules that are purposeless.'

She suggested that the principles of the two types of orders cannot be mixed. This needs to be investigated in concrete situations and my suspicion is that the two orders are inextricably interwoven. This is an area where further research and development could be important to improve the symbiosis between democracy and freedom, as Moldofsky so felicitously put it."

For the full text

On the topic of current workers catching up with the leaders in the field, the necessary framework for this kind of integrated work was in place in the late 1930s thanks to Mises (praxeology), Talcott Parsons on the action frame of reference in his first book and Popper's situational analysis. These three strands of thought could have been woven into a strong rope but that did not happen, but still the pieces are coming together at present and the result is what I like to call "the George Mason research program", though of course it is not restricted to that location.

I hope you earn commission, not only did I invest in a copy of this book, I bought several others.

Any way for us poor grad students to get a cheaper copy? Yeesh.

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