The Road to Servomechanisms: The Influence of Cybernetics on Hayek from the Sensory Order to the Social Order

The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series

41 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2015

See all articles by Gabriel Oliva

Gabriel Oliva

University of São Paulo (FEA-USP) - Department of Economics ; Duke University

Date Written: October 6, 2015

Abstract

This paper explores the ways in which cybernetics influenced the works of F. A. Hayek from the late 1940s onward. It shows that the concept of negative feedback, borrowed from cybernetics, was central to Hayek’s attempt of giving an explanation of the principle to the emergence of human purposive behavior. Next, the paper discusses Hayek’s later uses of cybernetic ideas in his works on the spontaneous formation of social orders. Finally, Hayek’s view on the appropriate scope of the use of cybernetics is considered.

Keywords: Cybernetics, F. A. Hayek, Norbert Wiener, Garrett Hardin, Ludwig von Bertalanffy

JEL Classification: B25, B31, C60

Suggested Citation

Cunha, Gabriel, The Road to Servomechanisms: The Influence of Cybernetics on Hayek from the Sensory Order to the Social Order (October 6, 2015). The Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2670064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2670064

Gabriel Cunha (Contact Author)

University of São Paulo (FEA-USP) - Department of Economics ( email )

São Paulo
Brazil

Duke University

Durham, NC
United States

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