“The curious task of Economics is to demonstrate to men, how little they really know, about what they imagine, they can design.”
~ F.A Hayek, The Fatal Conceit.
On the 8th of May 1899, an individual was born in Vienna, Austria, who would go on to be one of the most prominent Economists, not only of his era, but of all time.
Today we celebrate the birthday of Friedrich August von Hayek, the Austrian-British Economist and Philosopher.
F.A. Hayek was, and continues to be to this day, best known for his work within the Austrian Economic school of thought, as well as his contributions to the Austrian Economic theory of the Boom and Bust Business Cycle; detailing how booms and busts of the economy, are not natural occurrences within the market, but are creations of government due to expansions of credit and the setting of rates below market levels beyond what is capable with relation to the real money supply.
Hayek was not only an Economist, he was a philosophical thinker, and a defender of Classical Liberalism. He was a strong believer in individual liberty, the protection of property rights, and overall the power of freedom for the individual, to make choices best suited for their needs, dreams and desires. When others looked to plan order from the top-down, Hayek argued that top-down approaches to society as well as the economy, were fatally misconceived, and that this method leads to not only misallocation of resources, but also the treatment of individuals as chess men, moved at the whim of the central planner.
Notably, his most famous works are his books, ‘The Fatal Conceit’, in which Hayek discusses the flaws of the central planned, top-down system and Socialism, and ‘Monetary Theory and The Trade Cycle’, where Hayek made his contribution to the Austrian theory of the Boom and Bust Business Cycle.
As a student of the Austrian school of Economics myself, I hold a great deal of value for Hayek’s work and contribution to the school of thought. His work on the Boom and Bust Cycle theory has given me, and I’m sure many other, a great deal of well thought, well educated knowledge about our world and how we, as liberty supporting individuals, can fight for true economic freedom and social freedom. Hayek’s work will continue to inspire many others in the future, to pursue a world not run by top-down, central planners, but of bottom-up, unplanned order, in which we are given a chance to discover the most valuable ways to serve one another.
The most valuable lesson we can learn from Hayek, is that the economy is not abstract, it is not a separate aspect of society, it is the choices each one of us makes; it is organic.
So happy birthday to the late Friedrich August von Hayek; gone, but his influence and teachings continue to exist in our hearts and minds.
Written by Josh. L. Ascough