Complexity and Technocracy: The Hayekian Critique of Neoclassical Law & Economics

BRUNO CARVALHO DANTAS
JOURNAL DE ECONOMISTES ET DES ETUDES HUMAINES (2015). DOI 10.1515/JEEH-2014-0018

Abstract: This essay will employ theoretical tools from the Austrian school of economics in order to study law as a social system and develop a more accurate comprehension of its functions and of the evolutionary processes to which it is subject.By building up from Hayek’s theories of institutions and complex phenomena, both of which emphasize the “spontaneous” nature of social phenomena vis-à-vis proposals of conscious “steering” by means of central planning, we’ll try to show how neoclassical approaches to legal theory are based on unrealistic assumptions about human cognition and, as such, turn out to be a subclass of the so-called “constructivist” thought, severely criticized by Hayek in his works. At the end of the article, we’ll discuss in passing some internal difficulties with the Hayekian approach itself.