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Frédéric Bastiat

Milton Friedman

F. A. Hayek

Henry Hazlitt

Carl Menger

Ludwig von Mises

Robert Nozick

Ayn Rand

Murray Rothbard

Adam Smith

F. A. Hayek

F. A. Hayek was a Nobel-winning Austrian economist renowned for both his popular arguments against collectivism in The Road to Serfdom and his scholarly work on the business cycle, the function of prices and the nature of spontaneously emerging social orders. Hayek studied economics at the University of Vienna under Wieser and later under Mises in the Austrian bureaucracy and at the Institute for Business Cycle Research, which he helped Mises to found.


On the basis of his work on the business cycle encapsulated in Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle, Hayek was offered a prestigious professorship at the University of London, where he wrote the Road to Serfdom and conducted a famous debate with John Maynard Keynes.


Hayek’s key insights included a recognition that, because knowledge is dispersed and depends on time, place, and context, no central authority could acquire all the knowledge required to plan an economy. He also sought to better understand a phenomenon first identified by philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment – that of spontaneous orders. Many orders such as languages, Hayek noted, are not constructed by a central authority. Instead, millions of individuals acting on their own create an ordered way of communication with one another.


Hayek moved to the University of Chicago in 1950, where he wrote The Constitution of Liberty, a treatise on political economy in the classical mold. In 1962 Hayek moved to the University of Freiburg in Germany and focused his efforts on analyzing the spontaneous emergence of legal and moral orders in Law, Legislation and Order and the Fatal Conceit.


Learn More

Biographical Essay:
The Use of Knowledge in Society:
The Road to Serfdom (condensed version):
The Pretense of Knowledge: