Hayek is famous among libertarian academics for being a critic of 19th century laissez faire. (See, for example, Walter Bock, “Hayek’s Road to Serfdom”). Indeed, one of the most famous lines in Hayek’s mega-seller The Road to Serfdom is an attack on 19th century laissez faire: ““Probably nothing has done so much harm to the liberal cause as the wooden insistence of some liberals on certain rough rules of thumb, above all the principle of laissez faire.”
The mentor of the Mont Perelin [sic] Society, founded in 1947 to propagate laissez-faire capitalism, was Friedrich von Hayek, an Austrian economist who glorified the “classical liberalism” of late 19th century Britain as the perfect form of society.
Ironically, Hayek’s inaugural address to the Mont Pelerin Society called for a rethinking of the case for market competition within free society.
Richard Peet is a professor of Geography who specializes in globalization and economic development.