Technology and the Architecture of Emergent Orders

Studies in Emergent Order 5 2012: 157-176

19 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2011 Last revised: 25 Jan 2017

See all articles by Scott Alex Beaulier

Scott Alex Beaulier

Mercer University

Daniel J. Smith

Political Economy Research Institute and Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University

Daniel Sutter

University of Oklahoma

Date Written: September 24, 2012

Abstract

Spontaneous or emergent orders in human affairs are based upon voluntary interactions among individuals. Yet the physical environment influences the subsequent interactions which occur. While the interactions may be voluntary, the confines of a built environment – physical systems and infrastructure – shape the resulting emergent order. The existing infrastructure is the product of previous actions and not a choice variable for today’s actors. Within this setting we examine the development (or lack thereof) of technologies capable of radically reshaping the infrastructure. Individuals and organizations holding advantageous positions within the current infrastructure will have an incentive and often the political and economic resources to preserve the existing architecture. We examine several case studies of technologies with transformative potential and detail the degree to which they reshaped existing orders.

Keywords: spontaneous order, emergent order, technology, elites, architecture

Suggested Citation

Beaulier, Scott Alex and Smith, Daniel J. and Sutter, Daniel, Technology and the Architecture of Emergent Orders (September 24, 2012). Studies in Emergent Order 5 2012: 157-176. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1937959 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1937959

Scott Alex Beaulier

Mercer University ( email )

1400 Coleman Avenue
Macon, GA 31207

Daniel J. Smith (Contact Author)

Political Economy Research Institute and Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University ( email )

MTSU Box 190
1301 E. Main St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37132-0001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danieljosephsmith.com/

Daniel Sutter

University of Oklahoma ( email )

307 W Brooks
Department of Economics Office Hest 329
Norman, OK 73019
United States
405-325-2861 (Phone)

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