Friedrich Hayek

image alt text...Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) is certainly the most famous member of the "Austrian School of Economics". He received the Nobel Prize in Economic sciences in 1974, but was not "just" an economist. He wrote important contributions to controversies in economics, especially the debate over central planning, explaining, after Ludwig von Mises, that markets cannot be mimicked by central planning, because of a knowledge problem ("Economics and knowledge" or "The use of knowledge in society"). His investigations into the domain of competition makes him the first to conceptualize the big divide between conceptions of competition as an end-state and competition as a process ("The meaning of competition"), even applying it to the field of currencies ("Denationalization of money"). He also wrote extensively in political philosophy, especially on aspects of law and constitution (The Constitution of Liberty or Law, legislation and Liberty). He happens to be a theoretician in psychology : his early works are regarded today as precursor work (The sensory order).


The use of knowledge in society (1945), a fundamental essay in which Hayek explains markets cannot be mimicked by central planning because the "knowledge in society" cannot be given to a single spirit, and the working of the price system and social coordination. Available from the Libertyfund Library of Economics & Liberty.

The road to serfdom (1944), a political essay written after the war to warn of the dangers of war central planning in times of peace, and of the proximity of rightwing and leftwing collectivism. A Reader Digest’s version available from the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Choice in Currency (1976), an essay on the benefits of the denationalization of money. A Reader Digest’s version available from the Institute of Economic Affairs.