Do Engineers Believe in Spontaneous Order? The Case of Jacques Rueff

Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series

31 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2024

See all articles by Vincent Carret

Vincent Carret

Heider College of Business, Creighton University

Date Written: December 2, 2023

Abstract

In the 1950s, Jacques Rueff’s references to social order seem pretty clear: it is not a spontaneous phenomena. Although Rueff is generally seen as a liberal economist, this has prompted commentators to see in his approach something more artificial than Hayek’s own ideas on social order. Hayek himself was befuddled by Rueff’s reflections on social order and spontaneous emergence. This present paper seeks to explore what Rueff meant by spontaneity, by going back to the scientific context of the 1950s, when Rueff began to reframe his ideas on social order through the lens of cybernetics. Exploring Rueff’s cybernetic moment enlightens us on the context in which he developed his thoughts on social order, and what liberalism was for the French economist.

Keywords: Jacques Rueff, cybernetics, spontaneous order, F. A. Hayek

JEL Classification: B20, B25, B31, B53

Suggested Citation

Carret, Vincent, Do Engineers Believe in Spontaneous Order? The Case of Jacques Rueff (December 2, 2023). Center for the History of Political Economy at Duke University Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4682139 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4682139

Vincent Carret (Contact Author)

Heider College of Business, Creighton University ( email )

2500 California St.
Omaha, NE 68178
United States

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