Portrait: The economist and philosopher Friedrich August von Hayek

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Portrait
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Friedrich August von Hayek, 1981 © flickr.com - LSE Library

Friedrich August von Hayek, 1981 © flickr.com – LSE Library

Friedrich August von Hayek (CH FBA), 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.

Professor Dahrendorf presenting Professor F. A. Hayek with a Commemorative Plate, 1981 © flickr.com - LSE Library Friedrich August von Hayek, 1981 © flickr.com - LSE Library
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Professor Dahrendorf presenting Professor F. A. Hayek with a Commemorative Plate, 1981 © flickr.com - LSE Library
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.

President Ronald Reagan listed Hayek as among the two or three people who most influenced his philosophy and welcomed Hayek to the White House as a special guest. In the 1970s and 1980s, the writings of Hayek were also a major influence on many of the leaders of the “velvet” revolution in Central Europe during the collapse of the old Soviet Empire. Some supporting examples include the following:

There is no figure who had more of an influence, no person had more of an influence on the intellectuals behind the Iron Curtain than Friedrich Hayek. His books were translated and published by the underground and black market editions, read widely, and undoubtedly influenced the climate of opinion that ultimately brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Milton Friedman (Hoover Institution)

The most interesting among the courageous dissenters of the 1980s were the classical liberals, disciples of F. A. Hayek, from whom they had learned about the crucial importance of economic freedom and about the often-ignored conceptual difference between liberalism and democracy.
Andrzej Walicki (History, Notre Dame)

Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar came to my office the other day to recount his country’s remarkable transformation. He described a nation of people who are harder-working, more virtuous – yes, more virtuous, because the market punishes immorality – and more hopeful about the future than they’ve ever been in their history. I asked Mr. Laar where his government got the idea for these reforms. Do you know what he replied? He said, “We read Milton Friedman and F. A. Hayek.”
—United States Representative Dick Armey

I was 25 years old and pursuing my doctorate in economics when I was allowed to spend six months of post-graduate studies in Naples, Italy. I read the Western economic textbooks and also the more general work of people like Hayek. By the time I returned to Czechoslovakia, I had an understanding of the principles of the market. In 1968, I was glad at the political liberalism of the Dubcek Prague Spring, but was very critical of the Third Way they pursued in economics.
Václav Klaus (former President of the Czech Republic)

Read more on Friedrich-August-von-Hayek-Stiftung, Friedrich A. von Hayek-Gesellschaft e.V., Friedrich August von Hayek Institut and Wikipedia Friedrich August von Hayek (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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