After all, freedom is an essentially contested concept, and Hayek’s insistence on the importance of individual liberty need not be wholly incompatible with the various underpinning functions of the state, and the careful design of policies that are designed to maximise human flourishing in the difficult trade-off between positive and negative liberty. The rest of Hayek’s work serves as a warning about unintended consequences that should be heeded by left and right alike, necessarily placing limits on the reach of such policies. But Hayek’s is not the only legitimate notion of freedom, just as spontaneous orders are not necessarily the only producers of desirable outcomes in the social world.
Cristiano Castelfranchi’s interesting article. For more on the invisible hand see Propriety and Prosperity: New Studies on the Philosophy of Adam Smith with the following contributions:
Metaphor Made Manifest: Taking Seriously Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’ by Eugene Heath
The ‘Invisible Hand’ Phenomenon in Philosophy and Economics by Gavin Kennedy
Instincts and the Invisible Order: The Possibility of Progress by Jonathan B. Wight
According to Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek and everyone else who knows what he or she is talking about, well-functioning markets depend, inter alia, upon clear property rights and a judicial system that enforces agreements and resolve disputes.
It’s true that Friedrich Hayek, whom Mr Linker shamelessly abuses, is the most prominent 20th-century intellectual behind the concept of spontaneous order—the theory that systems, such as markets, naturally correct, and function best without human meddling. It’s true that Hayek is commonly lumped in with libertarians. It’s true that spontaneous order is an idea libertarians tend to promote. Yet spontaneous order is not a libertarian idea.