20th Century Philosophy

Friedrich Hayek  1899 - 1992

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The Road to Serfdom
The Fatal Conceit:  The Errors of Socialism by F. A. Hayek.The Fatal Conceit : The Errors of Socialism (The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek, Vol 1) by W. W. Bartley (Editor), Friedrich A. Hayek

This soberly written book by a Nobel Laureate economist is a summary of the author's thoughts on socialism, knowledge in society, and the evolution of society and what he calls the "extended order" (roughly the interconnected system of transactions that make up the economy). The main argument about cultural evolution is more tantalizingly interesting than conclusively thought out, but anybody interested in history, sociology, economics, politics or even evolution and ethnic differences in modern societies should find fascinating ideas here. My personal opinion is that the work can be fruitfully coupled with several of Thomas Sowell´s books, but I'm sure other people will have other perspectives on the work just as interesting. As for economics, the book works out the calculation argument against socialism, an economic argument that to people who have read Austrian economics is perhaps the most impressive and thorough argument against communism or socialism ever articulated. If one supports socialist ideals, which Hayek, the author, did in his youth, one should really take this argument into serious consideration. It claims, a claim central to the evolutionary thesis, that socialism as such is simply a misguided attempt to correct a misunderstood system (the market economy) that solves problems (allocation of goods, coordination of economic activities, etc.) unsolvable by any other means. Stimulating, original and well written, the book is strongly recommended.... -- Anonymous review.

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The Friedrich Hayek Scholar Page

Comprehensive site on Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Hayek & his work. Includes bibliographies, links to articles on Hayek, interviews with Hayek, research resources, Hayek-L email list info, a Hayek fact file and others links & resources.

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Friedrich Hayek Biography

by Peter J. Boettke

Excerpt:

Friedrich A. Hayek, who died on March 23, 1992, at the age of 92, was probably the most prodigious classical liberal scholar of the 20th century. Though his 1974 Nobel prize was in Economic Science, his scholarly endeavors extended well beyond economics. He published 130 articles and 25 books ranging from technical economics to theoretical psychology, from political philosophy to legal anthropology, and from the philosophy of science to the history of ideas. Hayek was no mere dabbler; he was an accomplished scholar in each of these fields of inquiry. He made major contributions to our understanding in at least three different areas-government intervention, economic calculation under socialism, and development of the social structure. It is unlikely that we will see the likes of such a wide-ranging scholar of the human sciences again.

Hayek was born into a family of intellectuals in Vienna on May 8,1899. He earned doctorates from the University of Vienna (1921 and 1923). During the early years of the 20th century the theories of the Austrian School of Economics, sparked by Menger's Principles of Economics (1871), were gradually being formulated and refined by Eugen Boehm-Bawerk, his brother-in-law, Friedrich Wieser, and Ludwig von Mises. When Hayek attended the University of Vienna, he sat in on one of Mises' classes, but found Mises' anti-socialist position too strong for his liking. Wieser was a Fabian socialist whose approach was more attractive to Hayek at the time, and Hayek became his pupil. Yet, ironically it was Mises, through his devastating critique of socialism published in 1922, who turned Hayek away from Fabian socialism...

 

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