". . . for almost a century the basic principles on which this civilization was built have been falling into increasing disregard and oblivion." -- Hayek
Man is as much a rule-following animal as a purpose-seeking one.
I think yes, man creates rules and for the most part in most societies he seems to abide by them, but only because it serves his interest in staying a part of the community, outside of which one is basically lost and abandoned.But man also constantly creates rules and order among his fellow man, resulting in "unwritten laws" and I think this is key: If Hayek were right, man would not create these laws because Hayek's two halves would already be covered. On the one hand, man obeys orders because he is a rule-following animal, but on the other hand he does so out of self-interest in following his own purpose. Add this to society's unwritten laws which are undoubtedly created for some purpose, and it seems that man is much more purpose-seeking than rule-oriented. However, I think economics still misses much of what it should pay attention to. For example, I don't know that most economists would even engage me in this discussion of "unwritten societal laws"...Is that even coverable in the current state of neo-classical economics?
Not easily because neoclassical economics takes institutions as given for the most part. And, when neoclassical economists do take a look outside the institutions-as-given box, the look tends not to be dynamic and evolutionary.
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