Professors often seem dependent on strawmen to supercharge the motivatation of their otherwise undistinguished arguments, and since being a professor means never having to know any history of economic thought, lots of these strawmen are invented and then projected on famous economists from the past. Indeed, fake “Hayek” positions are becoming more popular among academic than even are fake “Adam Smith” positions. The latest bogus “Hayek” position comes from Daron Acemoglu, Davide Cantoni, James A Robinson, and Simon Johnson, academics at Harvard and MIT. You really have to read their article to get a full sense of their strawman, but if you’ve read Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty or his Law, Legislation and Liberty, an any of his special essays on this topic, you now that Hayek allows for all sorts of “design” within the institutional backdrop of evolved institutional structures like language, or money, or law, or government, etc. Hayek even proposed the implementation of several dramatic institutional designs. In other words — if you’ve actually read Hayek — the following statement of Professors Acemoglu, Cantoni, Robinson, and Johnson is a laughably fraudulent strawman:
“Hayek (1960) .. claimed that the institutions of a society had to evolve organically and could not be designed.”
Note well that left wing economist Mark Thomas — who loves to bash Hayek with no sign that he’s ever read the man’s work — happily spreads the bogus meme.