Ten (Mostly) Hayekian Insights for Trying Economic Times

Caldwell, Bruce. Heritage Foundation. February 1, 2011.

Abstract: The economist Friedrich Hayek attempted in his writings to spotlight the interlocking set of ideas­—constructivist rationalism, scientism, socialism, “the engineering mentality”—that was leading the West down what he famously called the road to serfdom and to propose in its place a return to a revitalized form of classical liberalism. In this essay, Professor Bruce Caldwell draws upon the writings of Hayek, other Austrian economists, and public choice theorists to distill 10 fundamental insights that not only apply to the current crisis, but also can help us to think more clearly about the nature and limits of economics more generally. His conclusion: We usually do not have the necessary knowledge to intervene effectively in the economy, and the political process is such that, even if we did, we still likely would get bad policy, coupled with an ever-growing government sector. Hence the preference for smaller government among Austrian economists and public choice theorists.

Heritage Foundation