Deck the Halls with Macro Follies — Merry Christmas!

Posted in Tweets | Comments Off on Deck the Halls with Macro Follies — Merry Christmas!

Coming in 2014 — A Collection of Hayek’s Landmark Essays on Explanation & Rule Following in Economics & other Complex Sciences

Available for pre-order from Amazon.  This is a major publishing event, folks, the volume of Hayek’s essays that everyone will want to have on the bookshelf.  This is the core of Hayek’s approach to understanding society and human knowledge, laid out in his best essays.  All in one place.  As I said — MAJOR EVENT.

The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek — Volume 15

Edited by Bruce Caldwell
Prologue: Kinds of Rationalism (1965)
Part I. The Early Ideas
One               Economics and Knowledge (1937)
Two              The Facts of the Social Sciences (1943)
Three            The Use of Knowledge in Society (1945)
Four              The Meaning of Competition (1948)
Part II. From Chicago to Freiburg: Further Development
Five               The Political Ideal of the Rule of Law (1955)
Lecture I.   Freedom and the Rule of Law: A Historical Survey
Lecture II.   Liberalism and Administration: The Rechtsstaat
Lecture III.   The Safeguards of Individual Liberty
Lecture IV.   The Decline of the Rule of Law
Six                Degrees of Explanation (1955)
Seven            The Economy, Science and Politics (1963)
Eight              Rules, Perception and Intelligibility (1962)
Part III. A General Theory of Orders, with Applications
Nine              The Theory of Complex Phenomena (1964)
Ten               Notes on the Evolution of Systems of Rules of Conduct (1967)
Eleven           The Results of Human Action but Not of Human Design (1967)
Twelve          Competition as a Discovery Procedure (1968)
Thirteen         The Primacy of the Abstract (1969)
                     Appendix: The Primacy of Abstract—Discussion
Fourteen        The Errors of Constructivism (1970)
Fifteen           Nature vs. Nurture Once Again (1971)
Sixteen          The Pretence of Knowledge (1975)
Appendix   A  New Look at Economic Theory—Four Lectures Given at the University of Virginia, 1961
Lecture I.   The Object of Economic Theory
Lecture II.   The Economic Calculus
Lecture III.   Economics and Technology
Lecture IV.   The Communication Function of the Market
Appendix B   Economists and Philosophers—Walgreen Lecture, University of Chicago, 1963
Here is the Editor’s Introduction to the volume by Bruce Caldwell


Posted in Collected Works | Comments Off on Coming in 2014 — A Collection of Hayek’s Landmark Essays on Explanation & Rule Following in Economics & other Complex Sciences

Yang Jisheng — How Hayek Helped Me Understand China’s Tragedy

Yang Jisheng’s 2013 Manhattan Institute Hayek Prize lecture:

In the space of four years, from 1958 to 1962, China experienced a disaster of historic proportions – the death by starvation of more than 30 million people. This occurred in a time of peace, without epidemic or abnormal climatic conditions. A confluence of historical factors caused China’s leadership clique to follow the path of the Soviet Union, which was supposed to make China strong and prosperous. Instead, it brought inconceivable misery, bearing witness to what Friedrich Hayek wrote in The Road to Serfdom: “Is there a greater tragedy imaginable than that, in our endeavor consciously to shape our future in accordance with high ideals, we should in fact unwittingly produce the very opposite of what we have been striving for?”

Why did Mao Zedong’s great ideals create such great tragedy? The answer can be found in Hayek’s writings. China’s revolutionaries built a system based on what Hayek called “the Great Utopia,” which required “central direction and organization of all our activities according to some consciously constructed ‘blueprint'” and for a “unitary end” while “refusing to recognize autonomous spheres in which the ends of the individuals are supreme.” In China’s case, this “unitary end” was the “Great Utopia” of communism.

In order to bring about this Great Utopia, China’s leaders constructed an all-encompassing and omnipotent state, eliminating private ownership, the market and competition. The state controlled the vast majority of social resources and monopolized production and distribution, making every individual completely dependent on it. The government decided the type and density of crops planted in each location, and yields were taken and distributed by the state. The result was massive food shortages, as the state’s inability to ration food successfully doomed tens of millions of rural Chinese to a lingering death.

The designers of this system expected an economy organized under unified planning to result in efficiency. Instead, it brought shortage. Government monopoly blunted the basic impetus for economic function – personal enthusiasm, creativity and initiative – and eliminated the opportunity and space for free personal choice. Economic development ground to a halt. The extreme poverty of Mao’s China was the inevitable result.

An economy with “everything being directed from a single center” requires totalitarianism as its political system. And since absolute power corrupts absolutely, the result was not the egalitarianism anticipated by the designers of this system, but an officialdom that oppressed the Chinese people.

Hayek championed classical liberalism based on the principle that “in the ordering of our affairs we should make as much use as possible of the spontaneous forces of society, and resort as little as possible to coercion.” In today’s China, such liberals are found either among the very old or the very young, skipping a generation in between. I happen to belong to the skipped generation that had little exposure to liberalism under Mao. Up until I was 40 years old, I still believed in collectivism, which fettered my thinking and confined my insight. Reading The Road to Serfdom gave me a new perspective on economics, politics, the state and society. Hayek helped me understand China’s tragedy; my research into the disasters China suffered helped me understand Hayek.

Whether or not Beijing will admit it, China is beholden to Hayek’s thinking in relinquishing the highly centralized planning of its economy in favor of competitive markets and private enterprise. This choice is making China prosperous and has elevated it to the world’s second largest economy.

Yet, while China has accepted some of Hayek’s thinking on markets, it continues to insist on “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The powerful run and control the market in a system I call the “power market economy.” The greatest problem with a power market economy is its inequity. Hayek noted that “a world in which the wealthy are powerful is still a better world than one in which only the already powerful can acquire wealth.” In today’s China, only the well-connected can acquire great wealth; society’s riches are concentrated among those in power. This is the source of the current popular resentment against officialdom and the wealthy elite. A power market economy cannot possibly meet the Chinese government’s vaunted objective of a stable and harmonious society.

China’s path to harmony and stability is to reject this system and instead to heed Hayek’s call to avoid government coercion, respect individual freedom and allow further economic and political liberalization. Will it? Li Shenzhi, one of China’s great proponents of liberalism, voiced a generally held pessimism to me in 2001, two years before his death: “We’ve entered a new century, and liberals face a hard winter. Even so,” he continued, quoting the poet Shelley, “if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

The fate of liberalism in China is the fate of Hayek’s teachings, which must endure a harsh and bitter winter but could yet see a resplendent spring.

Yang Jisheng is the author of Tombstone, an account of the Great Famine in China during the Great Leap Forward.  Yang and his book were awarded The Manhattan Institute’s 2012 Hayek Prize, honoring the book published within the last two years that best reflects F.A. Hayek’s vision of economic and individual liberty.

Posted in Tweets | Comments Off on Yang Jisheng — How Hayek Helped Me Understand China’s Tragedy

Jepson Conference on Hayek, April 2013, with Bruce Caldwell, Jerry Gaus & many others

Conference Papers

Peter McNamara
Poltical Science, Utah State University
“F.A. Hayek and the Eighteenth Century Science of Human Nature”

Jerry Gaus
James E. Rogers Professor of Philosophy, University of Arizona
“The Evolution, Evaluation and Reform of Social Morality: A Hayekean Analysis”

Sandra Peart & David Levy
Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond and Economics, George Mason University
“Hayek and the Individualists”

Bruce Caldwell
Research Professor of Economics, Duke University
Director, Center for the History of Political Economy
“F. A. Hayek and the ‘Economic Calculus’: The Cambridge and Virginia Lectures”

Emily Skarbek
Department of Political Economy, King’s College, London
“F.A. Hayek and the Early Foundations of Spontaneous Order”

Chris Martin
Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond
“Hayek and the Nomothetes”

Ekkehard Kohler
Walter Eucken Institute
“Hayek’s Search for a Monetary Constitution – (Confessions of a Crisis Ridden Economist)”

Kenneth Minogue
Political Science, Emeritus, London School of Economics
“Hayek and the Conditions of Freedom”

Jason Clemens
Executive Vice-President, Fraser Institute
“Hayekian Perspectives on Canada’s Economic and Social Reforms of the 1990’s”

Posted in Conferences | 2 Comments

Video — Hayek interviewed in 1985 by John O’Sullivan

This is the full 1 hour and 18 minute interview. John O’Sullivan — Wikipedia.

Posted in Video | Comments Off on Video — Hayek interviewed in 1985 by John O’Sullivan

Take a Trek Around the World With F.A. Hayek from Vienna to London to Chicago to Every Corner of the Earht as Hayek & Liberty Circle the Globe

I’ve put together a video & link stuffed Prezi tour of the world of Friedrich Hayek and his ideas as the man and his work move across the globe.

Have fun with it here.

Posted in Prezi | Comments Off on Take a Trek Around the World With F.A. Hayek from Vienna to London to Chicago to Every Corner of the Earht as Hayek & Liberty Circle the Globe