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Jean-Baptiste Say and Spontaneous Order

Jean-Baptiste Say and Spontaneous Order History of Political Economy 33:2 (2001) context of the Scottish Enlightenment. Friedrich Hayek (1978), Knut Haakonssen (1981), and others have identified this development with Bernard Mandeville, David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith. From these rich sources, Hayek claims, emerged a new kind of social theory that he and others after him referred to as the “theory of spontaneous order” (see Hamowy 1987).1 The message was quickly assimilated, and by the end of the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson, Adam Smith, Josiah Tucker, William Paley, Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, and Thomas Malthus, among many others, could all be found arguing that the various activities of any society, especially but certainly not exclusively its economic activities (Haakonssen 1981, 12–35), arise in a gradual and unplanned manner as a consequence of individual selfregarding behavior.2 Jean-Baptiste Say, while clearly aware of the writing of Smith (Forget 1993; Hashimoto 1980, 1982), builds a coherent social analysis that accepts, to some extent, the idea of spontaneous order within the context of the marketplace, but emphatically rejects the idea that social institutions evolve and develop as an unplanned response to the uncoordinated behavior of many discrete and self-interested agents. Instead, he develops a version of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Political Economy Duke University Press

Jean-Baptiste Say and Spontaneous Order

History of Political Economy , Volume 33 (2) – Jun 1, 2001

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0018-2702
eISSN
1527-1919
DOI
10.1215/00182702-33-2-193
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

History of Political Economy 33:2 (2001) context of the Scottish Enlightenment. Friedrich Hayek (1978), Knut Haakonssen (1981), and others have identified this development with Bernard Mandeville, David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith. From these rich sources, Hayek claims, emerged a new kind of social theory that he and others after him referred to as the “theory of spontaneous order” (see Hamowy 1987).1 The message was quickly assimilated, and by the end of the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson, Adam Smith, Josiah Tucker, William Paley, Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, and Thomas Malthus, among many others, could all be found arguing that the various activities of any society, especially but certainly not exclusively its economic activities (Haakonssen 1981, 12–35), arise in a gradual and unplanned manner as a consequence of individual selfregarding behavior.2 Jean-Baptiste Say, while clearly aware of the writing of Smith (Forget 1993; Hashimoto 1980, 1982), builds a coherent social analysis that accepts, to some extent, the idea of spontaneous order within the context of the marketplace, but emphatically rejects the idea that social institutions evolve and develop as an unplanned response to the uncoordinated behavior of many discrete and self-interested agents. Instead, he develops a version of

Journal

History of Political EconomyDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2001

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