If the market order is widely understood as consisting of many individuals pursuing through exchange a multiplicity of separate and incommensurable ends, its intrinsically cooperative nature would be harder to ignore and social engineering would be less attractive. After all, if individuals living in society wish to achieve their ends and if force is barred — that is, if these individuals are respected as ends in themselves and not merely means to others’ ends — then cooperation is the order of the day. Hence, the value of the division of labor, specialization, and free exchange, which together raise living standards and make possible the lofty pursuits that would not be possible in the abject poverty of isolated existence.
What goes on in the market order (to the extent it is free) is not the allocation of scarce resources aimed at maximizing social utility, but rather an unending series of exchanges. It is cooperation writ large.
Mises, Hayek, and Buchanan were onto something important. In the popular mind, economics is a cold, detached study of the Economy, almost as though it were a machine that acts on society. In contrast, the catallaxy is where people who disagree about the value of things peacefully exchange goods and services in a never-ending cooperative effort to improve their lives. It is indeed a community where enemies may be changed into friends.