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 13: Spontaneous order, free trade and globalization

Steven G. Horwitz

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

Extract

One of the interesting ironies of the resurgence of interest in the work of Friedrich Hayek in the last few decades is that he had very little to say about one of the most controversial economic issues of our time, namely the heightened importance and visibility of international trade. So-called ‘globalization’ remains a hotly contested issue and one that creates unusual coalitions on all sides. As Virginia Postrel (1998) argued, one way of viewing the debate over globalization is between ‘dynamists’ who do not fear uncontrolled and unplanned evolution and change, and ‘stasists’, who see only the costs of such change and attempt to limit it. The result is an unusual coalition in opposition to globalization that comes from the protectionist right and the ‘progressive’ left, with the former seeing only harm to the Western working class and the latter seeing globalization (or at least what they would call ‘corporate-led’ globalization) as impoverishing the developing world, both materially and culturally, by turning it into mini-Americas. What is striking about Postrel’s framework is that it can be read in Hayekian terms even though Hayek himself had little to say on the issues at hand. Hayek’s relative silence on international trade is a curious phenomenon in and of itself. One suspects that there are two major explanations.

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