Philosophy

Freidrich Hayek’s Impact on our Understanding of the Information Society

Differences there are between Hayek and, say, John Stuart Mill in substantive political philosophy (and there are many) the structures of their ideas display similar architectonic qualities. In fact, Hayek has suggested that an economist who knows only economics is more likely to be a hindrance than a help in the understanding of social phenomena (Kenneth Minogue 2000).Yet Hayek’s career has not been entirely that of the dry, detached scholar. he was involved in some of the most important intellectual and policy debates of the twentieth century. In the 1930s he was engaged in an important controversy with Keynes over monetary theory and the limitations of governments anti-depression policy in 1944 Hayek achieved some notoriety with his The Road to Serfdom, and its grim prognosis that totalitarianism and the destruction of freedom were the likely consequences of even mild interferences with liberty under the rule of law. during the period of the social-democratic consensus which ruled post-war Western democracies, he elaborated and modified his philosophy of classical liberalism with a stream of learned treatises and articles which eventually found favor with Western political leaders, including Mrs Thatcher: if the world is ruled by ideas, which Hayek believed was the case (as did Keynes) then Western society may be about to be engulfed by a tide of Hayekian ideas just as it was once swamped by Keynesianism. Though one suspects that they are likely to find a more favorable reception in former communist regimes than in the West.This change of environment marks a redirection of Hayek’s research activities. He increasingly started devoting himself to the philosophy of science and to problems of social and political philosophy. The first major result of this is The Road to Serfdom, which was published in 1944. Hayek’s own account as to whether his reorientation was the result of a conscious decision, or that he more or less drifted into these fields spontaneously are somewhat contradictory (Hayek 1944).

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