Elgar Companion to Hayekian Economics

Elgar Companion to Hayekian Economics

Elgar original reference

Edited by Roger W. Garrison and Norman Barry

The Elgar Companion to Hayekian Economics provides an in-depth treatment of Friedrich August von Hayek’s economic thought from his technical economics of the 1920s and 1930s to his broader views on the spontaneous order of a free society. Taken together, the chapters show evidence both of continuity of thought and of significant changes in focus.

Chapter 11: Hayek on socialism

Mark Pennington

Subjects: economics and finance, public choice theory, politics and public policy, public choice


In his Friedrich Hayek: A Biography, Alan Ebenstein (2001) describes the Austrian economist as the greatest ‘anti-socialist’ theorist of the twentieth century. This epitaph would doubtless have pleased a man who dedicated The Road to Serfdom (Hayek, 1944) to ‘the Socialists of all Parties’ and, in his final book, declared an intention to show that ‘socialist aims and programmes are factually impossible to achieve or execute’ (Hayek, 1988, p. 7). That such words should emanate from a man praised throughout his career for modesty when dealing with opponents, was testament to the scale of events then about to unfold in Eastern Europe and Hayek’s sense of personal vindication after decades of scholarly isolation. Notwithstanding the recognition that Hayek has achieved in recent years, the significance of his work to contemporary debates continues to be underappreciated and, worse still, misunderstood. In economic theory a raft of arguments justifying all manner of government interventions continue to be forthcoming under the guise of an equilibrium-centred view that Hayek rejected in the 1940s. In political theory and sociology meanwhile, there continues to be a ceaseless stream of assaults against the supposed ‘atomism’ of individualist philosophy, notwithstanding Hayek’s view that the purpose of ‘true’ individualism was to understand the ‘life of man as a social being’.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information