On advanced capitalism: contemporary sociology of business perspectives: an interaction with Friedrich Hayek
A qualitative sociological economic account of ‘advanced capitalism’ (from the point of view of business action) comes in part out of an interaction with the theories of Friedrich Hayek, or rather, an interaction with my interpretation of his theories. In terms of how to study advanced capitalism, the methodology follows Pierre Bourdieu, but only after reading and taking seriously Hayek and his view of knowledge (see quote below). I turned to Bourdieu because he provides a method for empirically analyzing knowledge as social and economic structure.
A multi-part thesis:
(a) Something like Bourdieu’s habitus is what holds advanced capitalism together through the most sophisticated Hayekian critique of modern economic policy and high government intervention.
(b) The communicative order can facilitate and progressively help shape and design economic order, under certain social and technological conditions.
(c) The social and technological conditions of ‘advanced capitalism’ continue to empirically illustrate as much.
Parenthetically, (d) Advanced capitalism is defined by the four empirical features of finance, intellectual property, social media technology, and globalization.
(e) Central planning – design – has not proven to be a road to serfdom in advanced capitalism. This is because of the feedback loop between audiences and authority (authority = capital and power) generally characteristic of these four empirical features.
(f) In advanced capitalism, expert knowledge is increasingly subject to an interaction with socialized knowledge. This circumstance defies the road to serfdom because of the increased technological abilities of audiences to contribute to expert knowledge and to hold it accountable to broad, non-expert experience and felt knowledge. Precisely addressing, however imperfectly, the Hayekian problem of knowledge and economic order.
From Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” (1945):
The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources—if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data.” It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.