Spontaneous order

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Spontaneous order is the emergence of order in a system resulting from a bottom-up process of interaction among many individual agents, rather than from top-down control. Or in other words spontaneous order is the emergence of ordered behavior from the seemingly unorganized interactions of individuals; producing results which are in many cases unpredictable. The process of spontaneous order is seen in biology, physics, as well as in social phenomenon, such as economics; playing an important role in the Austrian School of Economics. Austrian economists such as Carl Menger and Friedrich Hayek have used the concept of spontaneous order to describe the market itself. Furthermore, Hayek used the idea to reveal the difficulty and unintended consequences that results from attempts at top-down control (i.e., socialism and other government intervention) of such a complex spontaneous order as the market.[1]


The Internet and computing industry are largely built on standards that evolved through spontaneous order. IEEE, W3C, and ANSI are some of the voluntary bodies that codify the standards after they become widely used. Web browsers will not display a page that does not comply with the HTML spec.