Thou Shalt Worship Spontaneous Order

From Philip Mirowski, The Thirteen Commandments of Neoliberalism, 2013.

Even though there has not existed full consensus on just what sort of animal the market “really” is, the neoliberals did agree that, for purposes of public understanding and sloganeering, neoliberal market society must be treated as a “natural” and inexorable state of mankind. Neoliberal thought therefore spawns a strange hybrid of the “constructed” and the “natural,” where the market can be made manifest in many guises.  What this meant in practice was that there grew to be a mandate that natural science metaphors must be integrated into the neoliberal narrative. It is noteworthy that MPS [Mont Pelerin Society] members began to explore the portrayal of the market as an evolutionary phenomenon long before biology displaced physics as the premier science in the modern world-picture.  If the market was just an elaborate information processor, so too was the gene in its ecological niche. Poor, unwitting animals turn out to maximize everything under the sun just like neoclassical economic agents, and cognitive science “neuroeconomics” models treat neurons as market participants. “Biopower” is deployed to render nature and our bodies more responsive to market signals. Because of this early commitment, neoliberalism was able to make appreciable inroads into such areas as “evolutionary psychology,” network sociology, ecology, animal ethology, linguistics, cybernetics, and even science studies. Neoliberalism has therefore expanded to become a comprehensive worldview, and has not been just a doctrine solely confined to economists.