The Constitution of Liberty
by F. A. Hayek

This work defends liberty as a means to achieve utilitarian ends. Only through liberty can society gain the benefit from the kind of knowledge that is disbursed throughout the citizenry. Only the individual knows what his values and priorities are, and only a market economy can maximize the general welfare. Hayek applies this reasoning to many areas such as education, research, conservation, censorship. He is opposed to government monopolizing these fields because society thereby loses the benefits of competition: innovation, experimentation, many minds at work, division of labor, market guides of profit and loss to measure efficiency.

He is weak on rights. He sees nothing wrong with taxation, government services, rule of law, fiddling with the money supply (with some discretion). He also believes that neighborhood effects are a problem that requires government to solve.

Although he appreciates the benefits of liberty, his real love is for rule of law, which he believes makes liberty and civilization possible.

This is a valuable reference work for libertarians. It has many good footnotes and lucid explanations of social problems and their history.

Year Read: 1975

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