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The Ideas Of F.A. Hayek

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Chapter Summary

F.A. Hayek (1991:12-13) pointed out that prosperity and progress resulted, not only from the unchaining of individual energies and the free use of new knowledge, but from the system of market relations, which spreads the relevant knowledge through changes in prices. One important distinction that Hayek wished to make was between the 'purpose-governed' organization of 'socialist systems' and the supposedly 'purpose-independent' liberal order (capitalism) which was thought to have emerged spontaneously. Hayek preferred to deal in vague categories such as 'liberalism' and 'collectivism' and treat them as though they correspond exactly with capitalism and socialism, respectively. These were considered to be mutually exclusive, whereas fascism and socialism were considered to be products of the same movement of ideas. Hayek set himself the task of exposing the intellectual 'errors' and 'fallacies' that supposedly underpinned all illiberal doctrines and institutions.

Keywords: collectivism; F.A. Hayek; fascism; liberalism; socialism



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