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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

Quotes 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.

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„My whole concept of economics is based on the idea that we have to explain how prices operate as signals, telling people what they ought to do in particular circumstances. The approach to this problem has been blocked by a cost or labor theory of value, which assumes that prices are determined by the technical conditions of production only. The important question is to explain how the interaction of a great number of people, each possessing only limited knowledge, will bring about an order that could only be achieved by deliberate direction taken by somebody who has the combined knowledge of all these individuals. However, central planning cannot take direct account of particular circumstances of time and place. Additionally, every individual has important bits of information which cannot possibly be conveyed to a central authority in statistical form. In a system in which the knowledge of relevant data is dispersed among millions of agents, prices can act to coordinate the separate actions of different individuals.
Given this context, it is intellectually not satisfactory to attempt to establish causal relations between aggregates or averages in the manner in which the discipline of macroeconomics has attempted to do. Individuals do not make decisions on the basis of partial knowledge of magnitudes such as the total amount of production, or the total quantity of money. Aggregative theorizing leads nowhere.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

1960s–1970s

„The reasons why the adoption of a system of central planning necessarily produces a totalitarian system are fairly simple. Whoever controls the means must decide which ends they are to serve. As under modern conditions control of economic activity means control of the material means for practically all our ends, it means control over nearly all our activities. The nature of the detailed scale of values which must guide the planning makes it impossible that it should be determined by anything like democratic means. The director of the planned system would have to impose his scale of values, his hierarchy of ends, which, if it is to be sufficient to determine the plan, must include a definite order of rank in which the status of each person is laid down. If the plan is to succeed or the planner to appear successful, the people must be made to believe that the objectives chosen are the right ones. Every criticism of the plan or the ideology underlying it must be treated as sabotage. There can be no freedom of thought, no freedom of the Press, where it is necessary that everything should be governed by a single system of thought. In theory Socialism may wish to enhance freedom, but in practice every kind of collectivism consistently carried thought must produce the characteristic features which Fascism, Nazism, and Communism have in common. Totalitarianism is nothing but consistent collectivism, the ruthless execution of the principle that 'the whole comes before the individual' and the direction of all members of society by a single will supposed to represent the 'whole.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

" Planning, Science and Freedom http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v148/n3759/abs/148580a0.html", Nature 148 (15 November 1941), also available as " Planning, Science, and Freedom https://mises.org/library/planning-science-and-freedom," Mises Daily (Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute, 27 September 2010)
1940s–1950s

„The more the state "plans" the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.“

—  Friedrich Hayek

Source: 1940s–1950s, The Road to Serfdom (1944), Chapter 6: Planning and the Rule of Law

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

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