Thoughts on economics and liberty

Tag: Hayek

Hayek the ant vs Keynes the grasshopper

Here's an excellent illustration of how Hayek the ant drove away Keynes the grasshopper. The entire lesson of liberty – AND economics – in just three minutes.

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The Hayek Prophecies (way better than Nostradamus’s prophecies, I assure you!)

Came across this through an advertisement on my blog! Nice! I love the internet.

This is a two minute traiIer:

Here's what the introduction says:

An Introduction to The Hayek Prophecies

Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek is considered by many to be one of the greatest economic thinkers of all time. Today, his books, even many years after his death, are still global bestsellers. He was not a conservative or a liberal. He stood for peace, democracy, religious and racial tolerance and also for individual liberty, private property, free markets and the right for every man, woman and child to be free from right or left wing totalitarianism.
 
His political-economic views tower above modern day political thought and policies that have created in-fighting where groups are encroaching on each other for survival. Both modern day liberals and conservatives will gain tremendous knowledge from this documentary.
 
The Hayek Prophecies film you are about to see is a one-hour interview that is believed to be the only interview recorded with Hayek conducted outside of the constraints of normal news interviews where he was able to speak candidly about his economic views and theories. The purpose was to create a venue for a significant and powerful statement on many political-economic issues that were relevant at the time of the interview and even more relevant today. If you can understand these concepts you should be able to better plan your financial future.
 
As many people as possible should be exposed to this man's wisdom and advice. His 19 books are brilliant but lengthy; however, this one-hour documentary captures the best of F. A. Hayek. We hope future generations will also watch this documentary to learn and understand the self-evident economic truths that he espouses.
 
Hayek will most likely be regarded as one of the most important economists who ever lived. He went beyond the "dismal science" and embraced the philosophy of mankind's struggle for survival in the material world. Life itself depends on basic economic choices for all living things. He argued that if economics is misused, thwarted and degraded by lies, complexities and theories that clearly do not work, billions of people will suffer as a consequence.
 
Hayek brilliantly expounds far-reaching, yet easy to understand, economic concepts and how they relate to individual liberty and the natural rights of man. His great work The Road to Serfdom, inspired George Orwell to write his classic book about totalitarianism,1984.
 
We believe the interview is one of the greatest dissertations on economics ever recorded. And we are very proud to let you view this remarkable film for the first time in 30 years.
 
The Importance of F.A. Hayek

Hayek was embraced by liberals and conservatives alike for his unique and outstanding contributions and explanations of economic concepts and how these relate to a person's survival in the modern world. He was a great force for free market economics. Hayek was not a big fan of the usual economic jargon that put so many people to sleep in the world's universities. He is considered one of the greatest economists of all time and considered himself a classical liberal and not a conservative. He was the author of 19 books and countless articles and papers.
 
His great masterpiece, The Road to Serfdom, inspired one of the leading liberal voices in England, George Orwell, to write his classic book 1984 that became a rallying cry for benevolent liberals and pro-liberty conservatives against the intrusions of big government that naturally grows, restricts and impinges on citizens until the impingement becomes choking and oppressive. Hayek argues that without economic liberty, civil liberty will erode and soon disappear as the failed fascist and Soviet regimes of the past proved.
 
Hayek showed correctly that central planning would lead to disruptions and inefficiencies that could eventually bankrupt even the brightest of planned schemes. But even worse was the fact that government planning or meddling in economics leads to political control and with that, less individual liberties. If government planners decide 20,000 more tons of steel a day are needed from an eastern city, then needed steel workers would not be allowed to move to a western city if they so desired. This and other more subtle types of political control was inevitable according to Hayek if the means of production were not left to the free market.
 
What he did accomplish in The Road to Serfdom was to clarify with logic and real world examples how central planning would not work in a society and how disastrous inducing even more planning and people to handle the problems created by the planning in the first place. Eventually in a government run as a planned society the populations would suffer more and more economic hardships at the hands of the civil servants and then experience encroachments to their liberties. Producers and consumers should have the least amount of interference between them. A restaurant serving lousy food would close very quickly unless it was subsidized by the government.
 
Free markets have been debated for centuries. On one side are people who understand two simple truths: 1) that throughout history there always seemed to be more products, better distribution, more innovation and better service from markets that are not encumbered by bureaucrats and people who think they can actually plan the constant coordination and the daily and sometimes hourly likes, dislikes and values of hundreds of millions of people. 2) Freedom of thought, speech and religious preferences should not be controlled by the State. Since the struggle for human survival is easily 90% economic, then economic freedom should certainly rank as high as the above cherished rights of man. Hayek was a champion of these basic rights of man. Without them he explained that the world would re-enter a Dark Age.
 
 
"He is our time's preeminent social philosopher."
– Peter Drucker – NY Times Bestselling Author
 
To watch the film:
 
To watch the entire film, here's the link. It costs $9 so I'm afraid not many from India will be able to watch it. I trust this will be made available in a few years free of cost.
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London School of Economics radio debate on BBC: Hayek vs Keynes

Finally got around to listening to the debate. It is a shame that anyone "voted" for Keynes after the debate – although Hayek was declared the winner. That there are people who believe in free lunches (Keynesianism) boggles the mind. The TOTAL lack of understanding of incentives that Keynesians display is another big worry. How do these duffers get to govern? 

An example – Christina Romer (Obama's economic adviser) – read this: http://catallaxyfiles.com/2011/08/07/these-people-are-shameless-and-unteachable/

Selgin did a very good job at outlining Hayek's position, although I think he could have run the public choice arguments (of government incompetence) even further, and focused primarily on liberty, not utilitarianism. I encourage you to subscribe to Selgin's blog here. Selgin is a major thought leader in the world today. 

Here's the link to the debate: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012wxyg 44 minutes. Eminently worthwhile.

It would be nice to get a transcript of this debate sometime – can you please let me know if you find it somewhere? (I can run the debate through automatic voice recognition software (Dragon), perhaps, as well – subject to time.) 

(Selgin is pictured on the left, below. His Facebook profile, in case you want to be his FB friend, is here. I suggest you make friends with all good economists – this is a great way to get to know what they are up to) 

 

Also read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radio4/2011/08/is_economics_the_new_rock_n_ro_1.html

Addendum

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-13/hayek-keynes-and-preventing-economic-crises-commentary-by-sylvia-nasar.html

 

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