Scholars within the Hayekian-Austrian tradition of classical liberalism have done virtually no work on the family as an economic and social institution. In addition, there is a real paucity of scholarship on the place of the family within classical liberal and libertarian political philosophy. Hayek's Modern Family offers a classical liberal theory of the family, taking Hayekian social theory as the main analytical framework. Horwitz argues that families are social institutions that perform certain irreplaceable functions in society. These functions change as economic, political, and social circumstances change, and the family form adapts accordingly, kicking off the next wave of developments in the social structure. In Hayekian terms, the family is an evolving and undesigned social institution. Horwitz offers a non-conservative defense of the family as a social institution against the view that either the state or "the village" is able or required to take over its irreplaceable functions.
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