Is War A Hayekian Spontaneous Institution?



In his later works, the economist and philosopher, Friedrich Hayek, presented an attractive theory of social evolution that emphasized tacitly accepted expectations and rules of conduct. Hayek’s main interest was in exploring the weaknesses of rationalist policies, especially how they affected the market economy, which in his mind presented the greatest potential for both the exploitation of knowledge and the advancement of peace. Yet Hayek did not explicitly apply his theory to the problem of war. This paper provides an outline of his theory and argues that it relates well to understanding war’s nature and origins as well as the limitations faced by attempts to control or abolish war.