On Social Norms

“With the model of English common law in mind, Hayek argued that social norms are generally not legislated through a formal political process, but are rather the result of the repeated interactions of individuals seeking to achieve common aims. He argued that while formal norms (i.e., law) are necessary for modern economies, they are by and large a modern invention and do not account for the vast majority of actual norms that constitute a civilization. Because they evolve spontaneously as a result of the continuing interaction of communities with their environment, such norms are highly adaptive.”

— Francis Fukuyama on “Social Capital”, The Tanner Lectures on Human Values

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