2013 | 4 (25) | 166-178
Article title

Instytucje nieformalne w teorii F.A. Hayeka

Title variants
Informal institutions in F.A. Hayek’s theory
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The concept of individualism, freedom, or economic order in F.A. Hayek’s theory, contains references to rules shaping people’s behavior. The author believes that every person has the right to follow his own rules. The rules are created in a spontaneous way and are not planned by anyone. Those institutions that, in terms of F.A. Hayek determine the existence and duration of societies, became the subject of considerations undertaken in this publication. The purpose of this article is to identify the informal institutions in theories announced by the Nobel Laureate. According to F.A. Hayek, there are socially valuable features that take the form of patterns and traditions shaping human behavior. Regularity appearing in actions of individuals, which is not always a direct result of a conscious action, often allows to make predictions of their behavior. The rules often forbid people to do what their instincts demand from them, they require a gradual change in people’s natural or instinctive reactions to other members of the community. This must be seen as a renunciation to the community. Individuals must submit to the operation of these social rules that are difficult to understand without special analysis. The ability to adapt determines the possibility of a society development. There is no individual able to possess the knowledge of all potentially possible situations to create an adequate system of behavior procedures. This is only possible with the help of other members of the society. As a result of “applying” their use, a type of a spontaneous order is formed. This forms the basis for developing adopted institutions. The kind of a sanction that upholds the rules, can be identified – it is the responsibility that goes beyond rules enforced by law. The purpose of the legal system is to maintain order formed spontaneously thus enabling to gain objectives by individuals. Hayek saw that in the long term, the new social rules are becoming more and more general, cease to be applicable to specific situations, but become abstract and more flexible. Spontaneous rule creation and change processes, their adaptation to changing realities cannot be replaced by an organized, purposeful order. This is due to the inability to obtain sufficient information about a variety of human behaviors and hence inability to create rules that would apply to such behavior. Creating the institutional order is a continuous process of trials and errors, a continuous experimentation of society with the rules. Hayek pointed out the barriers in shaping the institutional order and thus the social development. Their source can be non-compliance of adopted formal and informal evolutionary rules. Such a barrier affects the worse cooperation between the society members, reduces the benefits from economic activity, increases the business risk, makes the acquisition and processing of relevant information more difficult, and leads to informative chaos. Only cementing the adopted rules within rooted informal rules would allow their harmonized and effective impact on society.
  • Uniwersytet w Białymstoku
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