October 15, 2008

On Perverse Emergent Orders

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Emergent or spontaneous orders are generally looked at favorably, as many of them are socially beneficial. All spontaneous orders, however, are not socially beneficial. Perverse emergent orders can also arise. Like language, the common law, society itself and other positive spontaneous orders, perverse emergent orders are the result of human action but not human design. But, unlike positive spontaneous orders, perverse emergent orders cannot be said to be socially beneficial. This paper explores two possible examples of perverse emergent orders that deserve attention: (a) negative belief systems and (b) mob behavior. Our motivation is twofold. First, we wish to demonstrate that the spontaneous character of a social order does not, by itself, guarantee that the order will be beneficial. Second, we wish the show the efficacy of advancing (explicit) invisible hand explanations of social phenomena that are not frequently treated by spontaneous order theorists

Read the full article at studiesinemergentorder.com.

Citation (Chicago Style)

Storr, Virgil and Nona Martin. "On Perverse Emergent Orders." Studies in Emergent Orders 1, no. 1 (2008): 73-91.