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Friedrich August Hayek Birthday

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Friedrich August Hayek CH (8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992), born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought. He is considered to be one of the most important economists and political philosophers of the twentieth century, winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1974. Along with his mentor Ludwig von Mises, he was an important contributor to the Austrian school of political economy.[1] Hayek's account of how changing prices communicate signals which enable individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics.[2] Hayek also produced significant work in the fields of systems thinking, jurisprudence, neuroscience and the history of ideas.

Hayek served in World War I, and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war (see below) led him to his career. He took his first position in 1927, the same year that Joseph Stalin consolidated his power in the Soviet Union by expelling Leon Trotsky from the Communist Party. Fascism was at the same time rising in Germany and Italy. Additionally, the Great Depression began in 1929, at the very start of Hayek's career.

In 1974 Hayek shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (with Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal) for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and [his] penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena."[3] He also received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 from president George H. W. Bush.[4]

Hayek lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, and became a British subject in 1938. He spent most of his academic life at the London School of Economics (LSE), the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.


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