Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 139–159

Choosing one’s own informal institutions: on Hayek’s critique of Keynes’s immoralism

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10602-008-9055-3

Cite this article as:
Berggren, N. Const Polit Econ (2009) 20: 139. doi:10.1007/s10602-008-9055-3


In the main, Hayek favored rules that apply equally to all and located such rules in tradition, beyond conscious construction. This led Hayek to attack Keynes’s immoralism, i.e., the position that one should be free to choose how to lead one’s life irrespective of the informal institutions in place. However, it is argued here that immoralism may be compatible with Hayek’s enterprise since Hayek misinterpreted Keynes, who did not advocate the dissolving of all informal rules for everybody. By avoiding this misinterpretation, immoralism can be seen as institutional experimentation at the margin, which Hayek himself favored.


Institutions Rules Traditions Morality Liberty Rule of law 

JEL Classification

B25 O17 P48 Z13 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ratio InstituteStockholmSweden

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