F.a. hayek – two kinds of order and two kinds of rules

Two Kinds of Order and Two Kinds of Rules
Hayek has commented in detail on some of the more specific characteristics of different kinds of social rules. The most fundamental and significant distinction which he draws in this regard parallels his familiar distinction between two kinds of social order (Hayek 1973: 35.). In his first approximation Hayek distinguishes between spontaneous order andorganisation by characterising the former as rule-governed and the latter as command-governed: while in a spontaneous order individuals are ‘bound only by general rules of just conduct’ in an organisation they are ‘subject to specific directions by authority’ (1976: 85). Hayek adds, however, that this definition needs to be qualified, not only because, as rules become more specific and commandsmore general, it may be difficult to distinguish between the two, but also, and more importantly, because to ‘some extent every organisation must rely also on rules and not only on specific commands’ (1973: 48). This is so essentially for the same ‘use-of knowledge’ reason that applies to spontaneous orders. Only by relying on general rules rather than specific commands can knowledge be used thatexists dispersed among the several members of an organisation, knowledge that cannot feasibly be collected and processed by a central authority (Hayek 1964: 9).
However, while acknowledging that not only spontaneous orders but organisations as well rely on rules, Hayek emphasises that there are ‘important differences between the kinds of rules which the two different kinds of order require’ (1973:48). Indeed, he argues that the difference between the two kinds of order is systematically related to the difference between the kinds of rules on which they rest. That is, he suggests that the conceptual distinction between spontaneous order and organisation is in part a matter of specifying ‘in what respect the rules required for the purposes of organisation differ’ from the ‘rules of justconduct’ (ibid.: 122).
Hayek’s treatment of this issue is not entirely free from ambiguity because he does not always clearly separate the question of how these two kinds of rules differ in their nature from the question of how they originate (whether they ‘spontaneously evolve’ or are ‘deliberately designed’). Even though it is plausible to assume that some de facto correlation exists between the twoaspects, they relate to two conceptually different dimensions, and – as Hayek indeed acknowledges – the difference in nature between the two kinds of rules should therefore be defined independently of their mode of origin.
In a section entitled ‘The rules of spontaneous orders and the rules of organisations’ Hayek (ibid.: 48.) explains the differences that in his view separate the two types ofrules as follows:
What distinguishes the rules which will govern action within an organisation is that they must be rules for the performance of assigned tasks. They presuppose that the place of each individual in a fixed structure is determined by command and that the rules each individual must obey depend on the place which he has been assigned and on the particular ends which have beenindicated for him by the commanding authority . . . Rules of organisation are thus necessarily subsidiary to commands, filling in the gaps left by the commands. Such rules will be different for the different members of the organisation according to the different roles which have been assigned to them, and they will have to be interpreted in the light of the purposes determined by the commands (Hayek 1973:49).
By contrast, Hayek argues, the rules of just conduct on which spontaneous orders rely have a number of characteristics that make them ‘logically distinct’ (ibid.: 125) from rules of organisation (1976: 31., 126.). They are universal in the sense of being ‘the same, if not necessarily for all members, at least for whole classes of members not individually designated by name. They must . ….