No wisdom, short of omnipotence, could so well proportion the number and extent of these establishments to the wants of the community, as those principles of human nature which spontaneously work out the result.#Quoted in Lawrence White, Free Banking in Britain (1995)
David S Wilson says we need to ditch Hayek’s politics in order to save his evolutionary insights. On the contrary, the argument in The Road to Serfdom follows straightforwardly from Wilson’s own premises if you take an evolutionary perspective on politics as well as the economy. The basic problem is . . .
By now, no one should be under the illusion that spontaneous order is synonymous with good outcomes. Perverse spontaneous orders abound. Charles Johnson has written about The Invisible Fist with regard to norms of discrimination. Scott Alexander called perverse spontaneous orders Moloch phenomena, which I follow in the title. Even . . .
Harold Demsetz (1967) in his classic paper “Toward a Theory of Property Rights” makes the case that property rights arise endogenously when the cost of the commons problem begins to exceed the cost of exclusion, and illustrates with the case of Native American tribes and land rights. Once buffalo become . . .