Society is concerted action, cooperation. Society is the outcome of conscious and purposeful behaviour.
Individual man is born into a socially organized environment. In this sense alone we may accept the saying that society is–logically or historically–antecedent to the individual. In every other sense this dictum is either empty or nonsensical. The individual lives and acts within society. But society is nothing but the combination of individuals for cooperative effort. It exists nowhere else than in the actions of individual men. It is a delusion to search for it outside the actions of individuals. To speak of a society’s autonomous and independent existence, of its life, its soul, and its actions is a metaphor which can easily lead to crass errors.
- The Austrian School: Market Order and Entrepreneurial Creativity, Jesús Huerta de Soto (PDF)
- How Markets Work: Disequilibrium, Entrepreneurship and Discovery, Israel M Kirzner (PDF)