Hayek, Co-Ordination and Evolution: His Legacy in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and the History of Ideas

Hayek, Co-Ordination and Evolution: His Legacy in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and the History of Ideas

Hayek, Co-Ordination and Evolution: His Legacy in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and the History of Ideas

Hayek, Co-Ordination and Evolution: His Legacy in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and the History of Ideas

Synopsis

Recent years have witnessed a remarkable revival in Hayek's reputation as an economist, a political philosopher, and an intellectual historian. This book shows why this revival has taken place by demonstrating the continuing relevance and vitality of Hayek's ideas. A group of internationally known scholars, of both the left and the right, critically assess his contribution to economics, political philosophy, legal theory, cognitive psychology and the history of ideas.

Excerpt

The initiative for this volume arose a few days after the death of Friedrich August Hayek on 23 March 1992. the original plan was to invite a number of scholars to Maastricht for a commemorative conference on what would have been Hayek's ninety-third birthday, on 8 May. But as was to be expected with the overfilled agendas of modern academe, a major conference was out of the question at such short notice, so it had to be kept very modest. Nevertheless, almost all who were approached but could not attend did not hesitate in promising a contribution to the present commemorative volume. We say almost all, because there was an exception the anecdote of which we will not withhold from you.

When we phoned Meghnad Desai at the lse he replied that he was feeling far too depressed, let alone that he was inclined to think about Hayek. It took us a little while to realize that this was the day after the British elections, which were lost by Labour. However, Lord Desai, who is a Member of the House of Lords for Labour, told us to call back in ten days' time, and when we did he promptly promised to contribute an article. For many years, Desai has been unique in that he combined a left-progressive political preference with an active interest in Hayek's work. This independence of mind, all too rare, especially among economists, requires intellectual courage. One of us vividly remembers the difficulties he had when submitting a proposal for an ma thesis on Hayek's economics in the Netherlands at the end of the 1970s. It took quite some effort and persistence to get the subject accepted-grudgingly, because the only thing academics 'knew' about Hayek was that he was a reactionary.

Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Scholars in many different fields and of all political persuasions have rediscovered the work of the man who is, among many other things, one of the greatest philosophers of classical liberalism. This collection reflects that change in intellectual atmosphere. Apart from surprisingly including contributions from two Labour peers (Lord Plant being the other Labour

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