Running head: FRIEDRICH HAYEK 1
Friedrich August Von Hayek
FRIEDRICH HAYEK 2 According to Hayek (1994, p. 168) “Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe.” This point is sustained by Friedrich Hayek, a defender of liberty, individualism, and free market capitalism, in opposition to, collectivism and government powers to control the economy.
Friedrich August von Hayek, was born May 8, 1899 in Vienna. He was an Austrian-British economist, political philosopher, historian, and legal theorist of the twentieth century. In 1974, Hayek won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics with ideological rival Gunnar Myrdal and received the Presidential Medal of freedom in 1991 (New World Encyclopedia, 2012). Friedrich Hayek was an advocate of liberty. He believed in the rule of law, and not the rule of majority. In his book, The Constitution of Liberty, Hayek established his policy on the political principles of freedom. For example, his main objection to increasing taxation was not that it causes inefficiency, but that it violates equality before the law (Concise Encyclopedia, 2008). His thoughts of an individual being free, is someone who is not coerced. He is certain that freedom is in the absence of coercion on a person by another person or group. To Hayek, coercion occurs “when one man’s actions are made to serve another man’s will, not for his own but for the other’s purpose” (Hayek, 2011, p. 133). He presented his view of law and sees value in promoting the exercise of individual liberty. FRIEDRICH HAYEK 3 “The ultimate aim of freedom is the enlargement of those capacities in which man surpasses his ancestors and to which each generation must endeavor to add its share—its share in the growth of knowledge and the gradual advance of moral and aesthetic beliefs, where no superior must be allowed to enforce one set of views of what is right or good and where only further experience can decide what should prevail” (Hayek, 2011, p. 394). Therefore, Hayek felt to be free and liberated is to be free to make mistakes and government should exist to protect individuals’ rights to make mistakes while they attempt to profit in their own ideals and beliefs. Hayek believed the solution to spreading knowledge, is having a political system that offers liberty and freedom to every individual. From a moral point of view, he had no doubt the benefits of any freedom was worth pursuing. In Friedrich Hayek’s most famous book, The Road to Serfdom, he discussed that because of having such a broad government, eventually personal freedom would be sacrificed. Hayek is convinced the social environment determines the choices of our society. He states, “It is because each individual producer thinks the consumers can be persuaded to like his products that he endeavors to influence them. But though this effort is part of the influences which shape consumers’ taste, no producer can in any real...
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