Friedrich Hayek quotes

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Friedrich Hayek

Birthdate: 8. May 1899
Date of death: 23. March 1992
Other names: Friedrich von Hayek, Фридрих Август фон Хайек

Friedrich August von Hayek , often referred to by his initials F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism. Hayek shared the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Gunnar Myrdal for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and [...] penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena". Hayek was also a major social theorist and political philosopher of the 20th century and his account of how changing prices communicate information that helps individuals co-ordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics, leading to his Nobel Prize.Hayek served in World War I and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war drew him into economics. Hayek lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States and Germany and became a British subject in 1938. He spent most of his academic life at the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago and the University of Freiburg.

Hayek was appointed a Companion of Honour in 1984 for "services to the study of economics". He was the first recipient of the Hanns Martin Schleyer Prize in 1984. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 from President George H. W. Bush. In 2011, his article "The Use of Knowledge in Society" was selected as one of the top 20 articles published in The American Economic Review during its first 100 years.

Works

The Fatal Conceit
Friedrich Hayek

„The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.“

—  Friedrich Hayek, book The Fatal Conceit

Source: 1980s and later, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988), Ch. 5: The Fatal Conceit.
Context: Whereas, in fact, specialised students, even after generations of effort, find it exceedingly difficult to explain such matters, and cannot agree on what are the causes or what will be the effects of particular events. The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.

„Well, I would say that, as long-term institutions, I am totally against dictatorships. But a dictatorship may be a necessary system for a transitional period. At times it is necessary for a country to have, for a time, some form or other of dictatorial power. As you will understand, it is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

Interview in El Mercurio (1981)
1980s and later
Context: Well, I would say that, as long-term institutions, I am totally against dictatorships. But a dictatorship may be a necessary system for a transitional period. At times it is necessary for a country to have, for a time, some form or other of dictatorial power. As you will understand, it is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism. My personal impression — and this is valid for South America — is that in Chile, for example, we will witness a transition from a dictatorial government to a liberal government. And during this transition it may be necessary to maintain certain dictatorial powers, not as something permanent, but as a temporary arrangement.

„I have arrived at the conviction that the neglect by economists to discuss seriously what is really the crucial problem of our time is due to a certain timidity about soiling their hands by going from purely scientific questions into value questions.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

Conversation at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C. (9 February 1978); published in A Conversation with Friedrich A. Von Hayek: Science and Socialism (1979)
1960s–1970s
Context: I have arrived at the conviction that the neglect by economists to discuss seriously what is really the crucial problem of our time is due to a certain timidity about soiling their hands by going from purely scientific questions into value questions. This is a belief deliberately maintained by the other side because if they admitted that the issue is not a scientific question, they would have to admit that their science is antiquated and that, in academic circles, it occupies the position of astrology and not one that has any justification for serious consideration in scientific discussion. It seems to me that socialists today can preserve their position in academic economics merely by the pretense that the differences are entirely moral questions about which science cannot decide.

„Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.“

—  Friedrich Hayek, book The Fatal Conceit

Source: 1980s and later, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988), Ch. 5: The Fatal Conceit.
Context: Whereas, in fact, specialised students, even after generations of effort, find it exceedingly difficult to explain such matters, and cannot agree on what are the causes or what will be the effects of particular events. The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.

„Any kind of discrimination — be it on grounds of religion, political opinion, race, or whatever it is — seems to be incompatible with the idea of freedom under the law. Experience has shown that separate never is equal and cannot be equal.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

"Conversation with Systematic Liberalism," Forum (September 1961). <!-- p. 6. ; also in Friedrich Hayek : A Biography (2003) by Alan O. Ebenstein-->
1960s–1970s
Context: nowiki>[Apartheid law in South Africa] appears to be a clear and even extreme instance of that discrimination between different individuals which seems to me to be incompatible with the reign of liberty. The essence of what I said [in The Constitution of Liberty] was really the fact that the laws under which government can use coercion are equal for all responsible adult members of that society. Any kind of discrimination — be it on grounds of religion, political opinion, race, or whatever it is — seems to be incompatible with the idea of freedom under the law. Experience has shown that separate never is equal and cannot be equal.

„It is no exaggeration to say that the central aim of socialism is to discredit those traditional morals which keep us alive.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

"The Origins and Effects of Our Morals: A Problem for Science", in The Essence of Hayek (1984)
1980s and later

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„Our basic problem is that we have three levels, I would say, of moral beliefs. We have the first instance, our intuitive moral feelings which are adapted to the small, person-to-person society where we act for people whom we know and are served by people whom we know. Then, we have a society governed by moral traditions which, unlike what modern rationalists believe, are not intellectual discoveries of men who designed them, but as a result of a persons, which I now prefer to describe as term of 'group selection.' Those groups who had accidentally developed such as the tradition of private property and the family who did succeed, but never understood this. So we owe our present extended order of human cooperation very largely to a moral tradition which the intellectual does not approve of, because it has never been intellectually designed and it has to compete with a third level of moral beliefs, those which the morals which the intellectuals designed in the hope that they can better satisfy man's instincts than the traditional morals to do. And we live in a world where three moral traditions are in constant conflict, the innate ones, the traditional ones, and the intellectually designed ones, and ultimately, all our political conflicts of this time can be reduced as affected by a conflict between free moral tradition of a different nature, not only of different content.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

in 1985 interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11AXDT5824Y with John O'Sullivan
1980s and later

„Since the value of freedom rests on the opportunities it provides for unforeseen and unpredictable actions, we will rarely know what we lose through a particular restriction of freedom.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

“Principles or Expediency?” Toward Liberty: Essays in Honor of Ludwig von Mises on the Occasion of his 90th Birthday (29 September 1971)
1960s–1970s

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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