Spontaneous Order and the Market Process

Steven Horwitz,

Release Date
April 13, 2011


Basic Economics

Prof. Steve Horwitz describes the concept of spontaneous order, a key theme in the works of Friedrich Hayek. This idea allows us to understand the complexity of the free market system, which exhibits an order and regularity without being deliberately designed by any central authority.

  • I, Pencil by Leonard Read is a classic 1958 essay that illustrates the process of spontaneous order through the story of the creation of a simple pencil.
  • The Origin, Nature and History of Money by Lawrence Reed is a one hour and fifteen minute video, which explains how money emerged not through a central plan, but rather, emerged as a result of repeated trade.
  • Natural and Artificial Social Order by Frederic Bastiat is a classic exploration of spontaneous order and the mechanisms of society.
  • Football and Spontaneous Orders by Stephen Davies are short essays by IHS Program Officers that explore how freedom creates order in society.
  • The Tradition of Spontaneous Order, a collection of essays by Norman Barry, covers several aspects of the spontaneous order tradition.
  • I, Pencil (video): An exploration of unplanned, spontaneous order and the invisible hand.