Thursday, October 4, 2012

Econ Talk - Bruce Caldwell on Hayek

This is a must listen podcast.

Bruce Caldwell of Duke University and the General Editor of the Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about Hayek, his life, his ideas, his books, and articles. The conversation covers Hayek's intellectual encounters with Keynes, Hayek's role in the socialist calculation debate, Hayek's key ideas, and a discussion of which of Hayek's works are most accessible.

From the end of the interview - Roberts asks Caldwell where one would begin in reading Hayek:

Let's talk about what should people read to get started. "Use of Knowledge in Society." "Individualism, True and False"--article, essay published in 1946, lecture delivered in 1945, lays out contrast between the Scottish enlightenment version of individualism that we've been discussing in terms of unintended consequences, versus individualism that is atomistic. In some ways you can view this as a critique of socialism. But it also could be a criticism of ideas that underly economic theory. This book, Individualism and Economic Order contains a number of great essays. "The Meaning of Competition" is one, where he says: Anyone who has studied microeconomics has learned about perfect competition and the way decisions are made and he says the worst thing you can do is to think that what you want to do is make the world look like that, because actually, where real competition occurs is not equilibrium but out of equilibrium--it's rivalrous competition. So those are three nice essays. Movement from the Road to Serfdom to the Constitution of Liberty can be viewed as a step. If you didn't want to read The Road to Serfdom you could take a look at "The Economic System," his 1939 essay in which he articulates some of the ideas. I would just add "The Pretence of Knowledge," his Nobel Prize lecture, accessible. Then, in the books, what would you read. All of them of course! Some order? The Road to Serfdom because it's so much in the news,

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