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The Constitution of Liberty Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 580 pages
  • Publisher: The University of Chicago Press (October 15, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780226320847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226320847
  • ASIN: 0226320847
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Professor von Hayek has boldly taken for his province the whole science of man and has deployed his powerful and lucid mind over the entire range of its concerns.' - The Spectator

About the Author

F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and a leading proponent of classical liberalism in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.

More About the Author

Friedrich August Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and the principal proponent of libertarianism in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg. His influence on the economic policies in capitalist countries has been profound, especially during the Reagan administration in the U.S. and the Thatcher government in the U.K.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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That is one little nugget from this book.
Amazon Customer
I've read a few books from Hayek and I've also studied many economic readings over the years and this one is one of the better books to read.
Robert Kirk
Further, Hayek does not establish that liberty, as he understands it, is always the ultimate human good to which others must give place.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hayek's "The Constitution of Liberty" is a comprehensive work of political philosophy. It sets forth, defends, and applies an important view of the nature of human liberty, government, and economics that is worth considering, at the least, and that has much to commend it. The book is carefully written and argued with extensive and substantive footnotes and with an "analytical table of contents" that is useful in following the details of the argument. The book is highly erudite. It is also passionately argued. Hayek believed he had an important message to convey.
Hayek's states his theory in part I of this book, titled "The Value of Freedom". He seeks to explore the nature of the ideal of freedom (liberty) and to explain why this ideal is valuable and worth pursuing. He finds the nature of freedom in the absence of coercion on a person by another person or group. He argues that in giving the broadest scope of action to each individual, society will benefit in ways that cannot be forseen in advance or planned and each person will be allowed to develop his or her capacities. Hayek summarizes his views near the end of his book (p. 394):
" [T]he ultimate aim of freedom is the enlargement of those capacities in which man surpasses his ancestors and to which each generation must endeavor to add its share -- its share in the growth of knowledge and the gradual advance of moral and aesthetic beliefs, where no superior must be allowed to enforce one set of views of what is right or good and where only further experience can decide what should prevail."
The book focuses on issues of economic freedom and on the value of the competitive market. Hayek has been influenced by writers such as David Hume, Edmund Burke, and John Stuart Mill in "On Liberty.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great rationalist defense of the ideas which the founders of the United States knew instinctively, or by historical experience. All people don't accomplish the same things equally, or in the same amount of time? No big deal. Treating them equally before the law is more important, especially for those who don't want to be forced into an equal outcome in life. The unique dimension to these ideas which Hayek contributes is his Misesian economic outlook, which he ties into the imperative for liberty, defined as both equality before the law, and strict limits on the reach of law.
I continue to marvel (when not non-marveling) how "government" must act through laws in order to do anything. Each fresh new blow-dried representative or senator could benefit from a few weeks off to absorb this book, to get a better idea of what it is they are trying to build, or even to get an honest standard by which to measure their infringements on liberty and their distortions of limited government.
Hayek is quite willing to teach them, and us, but there is a special place in his heart for socialists, which makes him somewhat Christlike, as he welcomes the sinners of socialism into his company, while other free-market types just jeer from afar or throw stones. Hayek says no, let's think this through. What will happen to the price system and the market if the government's share of the economy reaches a tipping point--as he saw it do in Italy and Germany during his lifetime. How will it affect the legislative function if administrative arms of the executive are the final authors of so many rules, particularly pricing and production-related? This is the message he sought to articulate, in the middle of FDR's socialist experimenting.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1997
Format: Paperback
Fiedrich Hayek was nearing 60 when he began writing this homage to liberty and liberals (that's the European interpretation for US readers). Throughout 400 odd pages Hayek slammed, among other things, organised labour, socialism, the abuse (politicisation) of words, the political spectrum, and the welfare state. What impressed more in this book than in some of his other works is that here Hayek actually suggested alternatives - some of which have since become economic, if not political, reality. Hayek's great talent was always to see through proposals to their underlying belief(s), and he showed his talent had not dimmed here. Even if one does not agree with anything he says, Hayek presented an awesome argument.
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81 of 94 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on November 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
For an economist, Hayek is a remarkably accessible author, and this is perhaps his most summarily expressive book. It's not only a treasure of Hayek's finest theses, but an excellent overview of human relations, the raison d'etre for a constitutional system, the importance of the rule of law, the radical notion of the separation of powers, and why the free market, while not flawless, remains the best economic system in the allocation, conservation, and efficiency of resources.
Hayek is often appropriated by Libertarians as one of them, but I find this claim unpersuasive. Hayek is a Republican in the sense of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Goldwater, and hardly a disciple of Libertarian reductionism to a single rule that is inherently circular and contradictory! I know Libertarianism, and Hayek is no Libertarian.
He is, however, an excellent proponent of positive and negative freedoms within a rule-based society, wherein the rule of law is not the Rule by Laws. He finds all forms of anarchy, arbitrariness, and single powers inherently bent against the truest sense of freedom. Freedom itself is not an absolute law, as in the case of being the means rather than the end, but that a world of spontaneous associations under the rule of law and contract is the most liberating of all constitutions.
Anyone who enjoys philosophy, politics, economics, sociology, and social psychology will be immediately attracted to this author and this particular book. It is copiously endnoted to substantiate numerous positions taken, but the quotes are so eloquently woven into the prose that they barely stand out as "quotes.
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