Spontaneous order is a theory that has been reserved in the history of social thought for several years. It is a still a relevant theory that many refer to in their daily lives. The theory can simply be defined as an order that emerges from a situation that seems chaotic. The order mainly results from voluntary activities of persons and not imposed on them by a particular authority like the government. Some people refer to it as self organization.
Spontaneous order occurs when people are left to make their own decisions based on what they feel suits them. For instance, when there are no regulations for entrepreneurs such that they are able to visualize the needs of the people on their own and come up with investments (products and services) that can satisfy those desires. According to most people who propose spontaneous order, it is much better and very productive compared to relying on a few individuals who consider themselves as elites.
When discussing the spontaneous order, it is ideal to bear in mind that there are two main elements that are can qualify it. One of them is that the order does not result from activities that are deliberately contravened by humans. Besides, it does not originate from phenomena that are purely natural like the weather. It is mainly the result of human activity and not an execution of human formulation.
At some point, some people often confuse spontaneous order with an organization. The difference between the two is that a spontaneous order is a network that is scale-free while an organization is a network that comprises of a hierarchy. Besides, it should also be noted that a spontaneous order is created and controlled by nobody. It is not in the power of any person to control spontaneous orders even though they result from human activities.
There are several examples that can be used to illustrate spontaneous order. According to non philosopher named Hayek, an example of a spontaneous order can be market economies. He argues that based on the requirement of specifics of information, market economies cannot be designed by any human mind. For instance, price of commodities in the market are defined by several factors that can be determined by buyers through their individual knowledge. Buyers do not have to rely on a centralized authority for information, thus prices are crafted for the benefit of society.
The idea of spontaneous order is not intuitive but emphasizes that when people are left alone, good things are deemed to come their way. Even though some people may be considered to be stupid, it still does not add up to argue that decisions made by a select few can be of benefit to the greater population.
Over the years, there are quite a number of developments that have been made based on spontaneous order. Some of them include Michael Polanyi’s argument that science is a spontaneous order, Friedrich Hayek’s assertion that the brain and common law are both spontaneous orders, Troy Camplin’s argument that literary productions and art are spontaneous orders.
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