Friday, July 20, 2012

A Purely Unplanned Social Order?

In my post on spontaneous and planned social orders at Think Markets, I wondered whether there were any real cases of purely planned or purely spontaneous social orders. In fact, I believe that a purely planned social order, with no elements of spontaneous order, is impossible. But its opposite is not. For instance, if, in fact, the menstrual cycles of women living together do tend to synchronize (there is some question of whether they do), then that would be an entirely spontaneous order, assuming none of the women intended this to happen. Of course, it would be first and foremost a biological order, but it would certainly spill over into the social sphere in various ways.

Any other examples?


  1. I would have thought simultaneous menstruation would be "spontaneous disorder", but perhaps I'm just sexist.

  2. Perhaps language, or at least certain languages, would count (I don't think modern English would count, as it has been subject to some formalization and rationalization, but maybe the language of a primitive tribe or a subpart of English consisting of slang).


Euphemisms II

It's not just abortion where these euphemisms bug me either. I think it is sometimes OK to euthanize your pet, but... you did not "...