Hayek, by far my favorite economist, gets overlooked by a vast majority of those engaging in political discourse or those studying economics. Too often he is dismissed as a “free market shill”, a “greedy capitalist”, or another form of right wing pundit. For certain figures I admire, this very well may be true, but Hayek is profoundly different.
Hayek’s break from other libertarians is in that he doesn’t rest his argument on a particular case for natural rights to homesteaded property, or on the efficient allocation of resources that come from markets. Hayek’s argument rests on first the infallibility of government to centralize economic or social knowledge, and second in the ability of liberty to open up previously unopened paths that manifest themselves in spontaneous order.
If that seemed complicated don’t worry! Because there is a book for you! The Essential Hayek by George Mason Economist Donald Boudreaux. In less than 80 succinct pages you will understand basic concepts that underlie Hayek’s work. To me what was most interesting was the point that people believe they can apply small scale planning structures like the family to the nation. An idea that might seem intuitive to some, but is woefully misguided.
I recommend for absolutely everyone.
8.5 out of 10
“But nobody can be a great economist who is only an economist – and I am even tempted to add that the economist who is only an economist is likely to become a nuisance if not a positive danger.”