Video — Hayek’s 1978 UCLA Interviews

They are all here, full length, streaming on the internet.  Every one of them.  These are the interviews organized by Armen Alchian and Robert Chitester in 1978 and recorded as part as the UCLA Oral History project.  Conversations with Axel Leijonhufvud, James Buchanan, Robert Bork, Leo Rosten, Jack High, Thomas Hazlett, Armen A. Alchian, Robert Chitester, and Earlene Graver.

I first read the transcript of these interviews at UCLA in the late 1980s, and then watched them in the 1990s in a side room at the Hoover Archive at Stanford.  It’s an amazing world where these interviews are now available to anyone around the world who has a computer or smart phone and an internet connection.

Everyone will have their own favorites, but for economists I might recommend in particular Hayek’s conversations with Armen Alchian, Alex Leijonhufvud, James Buchanan, and Jack High.

From Armen Alchian’s introduction to the interviews:

A series of conversations with Hayek was conducted in a television studio ..  An integral part of Hayek’s recorded oral history, indeed the most interesting, are the videotapes. Seeing the man gives a reliable picture of his personality and traits: calm, imperturbable, systematic, questioning, uncompromising, explicit, and relaxed. It is the personality of the man that was sought, and the video and audio record helps capture it faithfully ..

So, here is the man, alive and influential, whether this be read in 1984 or in the inscrutable future years of 2034, 2084, or, hope of hopes, 2984. Here are represented the visions and beliefs of a group of people in 1978. See and hear their manner of expression, their subtle prejudices and misconceptions, fully apparent only to people a century from now. Perhaps we in 1983 will be envied, perhaps we will evoke sympathy. Whatever it may be, if not both, here is the personality, appearance, and style of Friedrich von Hayek, a man for all generations, who believes mightily in the freedom of the individual, convinced that the open, competitive survival of diffused, decentralized ideas and spontaneous organizations, customs, and procedures in a capitalist, private-property system is preferable to consciously rational-directed systems of organizing the human cosmos a judgment that distant future viewers and readers may more acutely assess.

Armen A. Alchian

May 1983


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