On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Friedrich A. v. Hayek Institute, a panel discussion took place on November 27 at the premises of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. OeNB Governor Prof. Dr. Robert Holzmann and the two Hayek biographers Prof. Bruce Caldwell and Prof. Hansjörg Klausinger discussed with Dr. Barbara Kolm, President of the Hayek Institute, the significance of well-known and some lesser-known facts about the life and work of the Nobel Prize winner.
Before discussing key aspects of Hayek’s theories, Professor Klausinger provided fascinating insights into Friedrich von Hayek’s personal development, his family, and his intellectual career in Vienna in the 1920s and 1930s.
Hayek was influenced by a liberal view, a cross-ideological, open discussion whose aim was not to impose a particular opinion, but to use the knowledge of many to find real solutions. He demonstrated this not least by writing letters of recommendation for Josef Steindl and Kurt Rothschild, among others, whose scientific opinions he did not share. The famous “Hayek vs. Keynes” debates also confirm this attitude. The joint struggle to save the capitalist economic system from the consequences of the Great Depression was only ended by the untimely death of John Maynard Keynes.
Hayek argued clearly against any form of planned economy, basing his arguments on his insights into the knowledge problem and the theory of the business cycle.
International Breakthrough with the Road to Serfdom
Hayek’s most famous work, The Road to Serfdom, was written during the years Hayek spent in England during World War II. Professor Caldwell reported that the international breakthrough came with the compact, 20-page Reader’s Digest version, which met with great enthusiasm, especially in the United States.
Hayek’s conviction that central planning should be challenged not with campaigns, but with the promotion of the philosophical foundations of a liberal economic and social order, led to the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society and Friedrich Hayek’s pivotal role in it.
Professor Holzmann touched on what he considered to be one of Hayek’s key merits, which is still practiced and cultivated at the Hayek Institute today: Unlike many of his intellectual opponents, Hayek did not exclusively use mathematical and econometric models, but always pursued a holistic approach. He always considered the big picture of society and the economy.
The panel discussion concluded with a lively question and answer session in which various aspects of Hayek’s life and work were discussed in depth.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Hayek Institute, President Dr. Barbara Kolm, Prof. Dr. Robert Holzmann and Prof. Dr. Hansjärg Klausinger together with the members of the Hayek Institute’s Board of Directors Dr. Rüdiger Stix, Dr. Georg Vetter and Dr. Richard Zundritsch presented the new Hayek Institute logo.
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