New Edition of Hayek’s Early Works

25 July 2008 at 2:57 pm 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

The Mises Institute has just released a new edition of Hayek’s early works on economic theory, Prices and Production and Other Works: F. A. Hayek on Money, the Business Cycle, and the Gold Standard, edited and introduced by Joe Salerno. It collects the monographs Prices and Production, Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle, and Monetary Nationalism and International Stability, along with the important essays “The Paradox of Saving,” “Reflections on the Pure Theory of Money of Mr. J.M. Keynes,” “The Mythology of Capital,” and “Investment That Raises the Demand for Capital.” These works, written between 1929 and 1937, established Hayek’s reputation as one of the great technical economists of his day, and the leading opponent of Keynes in monetary and business-cycle theory. Ironically, Hayek is mostly known today for his popular writings, particularly The Road to Serfdom, and for his later work on knowledge, evolution, and social theory. It is often forgotten that he was first and foremost an economic theorist.

Here is a detailed Hayek bibliography (through 1982) compiled by Leonard Liggio. Here’s a biographical essay written by yours truly. Here is the home page of the Collected Works of F. A. Hayek (and a pointer to my favorite volume). And it’s never too early to begin preparations for this important holiday.

Update: By coincidence, Collected Works editor Bruce Caldwell was interviewed in today’s Carolina Journal about his new edition of The Road to Serfdom.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Austrian Economics, Classical Liberalism, People. Tags: .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rafe Champion  |  25 July 2008 at 6:43 pm

    One reason why Hayek is sometimes forgotten as an economist: he more or less gave up on economics after he declined to seriously engage The General Theory (fearing that Keynes would have moved on again by the time a rejoinder from Hayek was in print). And he was not even wanted in the economics school at Chicago. Incidentally the Readers Digest “Serfdom” is on line.

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  25 July 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Indeed. If I may quote myself in the essay cited above:

    “Hayek and Keynes had sparred in the early 1930s in the pages of the Economic Journal, over Keynes’s Treatise on Money. As one of Keynes’s leading professional adversaries, Hayek was well situated to provide a full refutation of the General Theory. But he never did. Part of the explanation for this no doubt lies with Keynes’s personal charm and legendary rhetorical skill, along with Hayek’s general reluctance to engage in direct confrontation with his colleagues.(5) Hayek also considered Keynes an ally in the fight against wartime inflation and did not want to detract from that issue (Hayek, 1994, p. 91). Furthermore, as Hayek later explained, Keynes was constantly changing his theoretical framework, and Hayek saw no point in working out a detailed critique of the General Theory, if Keynes might change his mind again (Hayek, 1963, p. 60; Hayek, 1966, pp. 240-41). Hayek thought a better course would be to produce a fuller elaboration of Böhm-Bawerk’s capital theory, and he began to devote his energies to this project. Unfortunately, The Pure Theory of Capital was not completed until 1941, and by then the Keynesian macro model had become firmly established.(6) . . .

    “At Chicago Hayek again found himself among a dazzling group: the economics department, led by Knight, Milton Friedman, and later George Stigler, was one of the best anywhere, and Aaron Director at the law school soon set up the first law and economics program.(8) But economic theory, in particular its style of reasoning, was rapidly changing; Paul Samuelson’s Foundations had appeared in 1947, establishing physics as the science for economics to imitate, and Friedman’s 1953 essay on ‘positive economics’ set a new standard for economic method. In addition, Hayek had ceased to work on economic theory, concentrating instead on psychology, philosophy, and politics. . . .

    “By this time, Hayek (1994, p. 126) said, ‘I had . . . become somewhat stale as an economist and felt much out of sympathy with the direction in which economics was developing. Though I had still regarded the work I had done during the 1940s on scientific method, the history of ideas, and political theory as temporary excursions into another field, I found it difficult to return to systematic teaching of economic theory and felt it rather as a release that I was not forced to do so by my teaching duties.’ “

  • 3. Robert  |  29 July 2008 at 1:14 am

    Hayek’s work on business cycle theory is mistaken.

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