Monday, November 10, 2014

Of Hayek, Thatcher, and Complexity

Over at The Freeman, there's a fun, insightful, and educational piece exploring the central insight of Frederick Hayek, its effects on Margaret Thatcher, and its continued relevance for understanding complex systems such as human economies.  Here's a representative excerpt:
Hayekian thinking is economic thinking, to be sure. It is also philosophy. But we would urge that Hayek’s thought is something else, too. Despite Hayek’s resistance to scientism, Hayekianism is a kind of science. To make the point, I borrow a slice from peer-progressive writer Steven B. Johnson, who in his bookEmergence writes,
"Indeed, some of the great minds of the last few centuries — Adam Smith, Friedrich Engels, Charles Darwin, Alan Turing — contributed to the unknown science of self-organization, but because the science didn’t exist yet as a recognized field, their work ended up being filed on more familiar shelves".
File him wherever you like. Hayek was a complexity scientist before the discipline had a name. And that might be his greatest gift to humanity. The Wikipedia entry on complex systems even mentions Hayek.
This is an article well worth your time and effort; click here.