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Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 3: The Political Order of a Free People Volume 3 in Series; Softcover Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226320908
ISBN-10: 0226320901
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Incisive, straightforward, and eloquent, this third and concluding volume of Hayek's comprehensive assessment of the basic principles which order and sustain free societies contains the clearest and most uncompromising exposition of the political philosophy of one of the world's foremost economists.

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: Law, Legislation, and Liberty
  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; Volume 3 in Series; Softcover edition (March 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226320901
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226320908
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #522,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jerry H. Tempelman on December 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Volume 3 of Law, Legislation, and Liberty is in part an attempt at identifying the reasons why, in Hayek's opinion, the principles of liberty he articulated in The Constitution of Liberty do not find greater subscription. Majoritarian democracy is not inherently just, since it is based on interests rather than justice. The majoritarian democratic system consists of people each pursuing their own interests: citizens want spending programs with others paying for them, elected officials generally want to be reelected, government workers prefer large over small government in order to enhance job security. The result is an aggregation of special interests, and not even the general, or common interest, let alone justice. The laws that end up being enacted are intended to serve specific administrative purposes rather than general principles.

With a system of progressive taxation, the aggregate tax burden is no longer felt by the entire population. People end up exerting political pressure for expenditures for which they believe others will pay. In such a system, any normal type of cost-benefit analysis of government programs disappears. The inevitable result is an ever-growing government sector.

The basis of the book is straight public choice theory (pp. 13-17 would make a splendid concise introduction to the field). Even a legislature elected by a democratic majority needs to have constitutional restrictions placed upon it, lest it become a form of tyranny. Hayek proposes "a model constitution" that attempts to rectify some of the shortcomings inherent in the existing democratic system. Laws should be general not specific. They should be about principles rather than benefits, i.e.
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Format: Paperback
In this third and final volume of Law, Liberty, and Legislation Hayek makes his case for a classical liberal constitutional order. True liberalism is the philosophy of free trade and association, and limited government. The modern corrupted version of liberalism stems from a host of fallacies and misconceptions. The Law Liberty and Legislation trilogy was intended to complete the case that Hayek made for classical liberalism in The Constitution of Liberty. This trilogy combines with the Constitution of Liberty to make a powerful case for strictly limited government and free enterprise. You should read The Constitution of Liberty before starting this trilogy, but be sure to read both.

I first became familiar with the ideas in this book in James Buchanan's class on Constitutional Political Economy. This was one of the more intruiging sections of this class. While this book has its critics, it derives from sound reasoning and plausible arguments. While the Law, Liberty, and Legislation trilogy is important in its own right, these books do not stand alone well. Welfare state liberals will find it naïve, even utopian. Hayek makes his case for the legal order of free markets without really explaining why free markets are superior to state controlled systems. Skeptics must refer to Hayek's "Individualism and Economic Order" to get a more detailed explanation of why free markets outperform government regulated systems. Better still, read "Human Action" by von Mises, if you can find the time to wade through it.
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Format: Paperback
The basis of liberty and political order are little understood. Many of the most successful human intuitions are the result of spontaneous human action (voluntary cooperative action among individuals) and not purposeful human design from a grand plan implemented by authority. It is a spontaneous ordering system. This is the same process often observed in nature.
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The Hayekian intellectual revolution is brewing and it is just a matter of time before it explodes into the mainstream. What many refer to as Austrian economics, in other words, the proper understanding of the market process and how it creates the social order.... and evolutionary psychology, are finally being recognized as simply being manifastations of the single simple theory which explains both biological and social orders. Natural selection. Hayek understood how natural selection works at the level of societies, groups... To this day most evolutionary biologists are too focused in their tiny micro world of genes and they completely overlook natural selection working at a more macro level(I hate using the words micro and macro.. it makes it seem like there is some point where a difference exists while there is none) . I can't say I've read that many books, but I have read many great books from Mises, Rothbard, obviously Hayek, Hazlitt... ie.. the REAL economists... and plenty from the evolutionary psychology camp like Dawkins, Ridley, Pinker, etc... The epilogue to this book, page for page(24 of them) might very well be the most insightful and farseeing piece of writing published in the 20th century. This was the last work in a trilogy that tried to explain in more depth concepts discussed in hayek's "constitution of liberty" and the epologue is a great summary of Hayek's ideas.... He concludes with

"Man is not and never will be the master of his fate: his very reason always progresses by leading him into the unknown and unforeseen where he learns new things.

In concluding this epilogue I am becoming increasingly aware that it ought not to be that but rather a new beginning.
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