Synopses & Reviews
From the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry to president Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package to the highly controversial passage of federal health-care reform, conservatives and concerned citizens alike have grown increasingly fearful of big government. Enter Nobel Prize–winning economist and political theorist F. A. Hayek, whose passionate warning against empowering states with greater economic control, The Road to Serfdom
, became an overnight sensation last summer when it was endorsed by Glenn Beck. The book has since sold over 150,000 copies.
The latest entry in the University of Chicago Press’s series of newly edited editions of Hayek’s works, The Constitution of Liberty is, like Serfdom, just as relevant to our present moment. The book is considered Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that he believes have guided—and must continue to guide—the growth of Western civilization. Here Hayek defends the principles of a free society, casting a skeptical eye on the growth of the welfare state and examining the challenges to freedom posed by an ever expanding government—as well as its corrosive effect on the creation, preservation, and utilization of knowledge. In opposition to those who call for the state to play a greater role in society, Hayek puts forward a nuanced argument for prudence. Guided by this quality, he elegantly demonstrates that a free market system in a democratic polity—under the rule of law and with strong constitutional protections of individual rights—represents the best chance for the continuing existence of liberty.
Striking a balance between skepticism and hope, Hayek’s profound insights are timelier and more welcome than ever before. This definitive edition of The Constitution of Liberty will give a new generation the opportunity to learn from his enduring wisdom.
"In an age when many on the right are worried that the Obama administration's reform of health care is leading us toward socialism, Hayek's warnings from the mid-twentieth century about society's slide toward despotism, and his principled defense of a minimal state, have found strong political resonance. . . . The notes [to this edition] make clear the extraordinary breadth and depth of Hayek’s erudition and his ability to wander far beyond economics into history, philosophy, biology, and other fields."
Number 9 on the National Review
s list of the top 100 books of the twentieth century
New York Times Book Review
"One of the great political works of our time . . . . The twentieth-century successor to John Stuart Mill's essay, 'On Liberty.'"
"A reflective, often biting, commentary on the nature of our society and its dominant thought by one who is passionately opposed to the coercion of human beings by the arbitrary will of others, who puts liberty above welfare and is sanguine that greater welfare will thereby ensue."
About the Author
F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and cowinner 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. Ronald Hamowy is professor of history emeritus at the University of Alberta. He is the editor of The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, among other books.
Table of Contents
The Constitution of Liberty: Editions and Translations
A Note on the Notes
Liberty Fund Editions Cited
THE CONSTITUTION OF LIBERTY
PART I. The Value of Freedom
One Liberty and Liberties
Two The Creative Powers of a Free Civilization
Three The Common Sense of Progress
Four Freedom, Reason, and Tradition
Five Responsibility and Freedom
Six Equality, Value, and Merit
Seven Majority Rule
Eight Employment and Independence
PART II. Freedom and the Law
Nine Coercion and the State
Ten Law, Commands, and Order
Eleven The Origins of the Rule of Law
Twelve The American Contribution: Constitutionalism
Thirteen Liberalism and Administration: The Rechtsstaat
Fourteen The Safeguards of Individual Liberty
Fifteen Economic Policy and the Rule of Law
Sixteen The Decline of the Law
PART III. Freedom in the Welfare State
Seventeen The Decline of Socialism and the Rise of the Welfare State
Eighteen Labor Unions and Employment
Nineteen Social Security
Twenty Taxation and Redistribution
Twenty-one The Monetary Framework
Twenty-two Housing and Town Planning
Twenty-three Agriculture and Natural Resources
Twenty-four Education and Research
Postscript: Why I Am Not a Conservative
Analytical Table of Contents
Index of Authors CitedIndex of Subjects