Unlike the movies, life rarely permits second takes. But the Second World War gave John Maynard Keynes, the patron saint of government activism, and Friedrich Hayek, the Cassandra who warned of the state’s destructive potential, just such opportunities.
Friedrich Hayek’s book “The Road to Serfdom” has served as a beacon for American conservatives since its publication in 1944. Today’s Republicans often cite the book in their fight to limit federal power and regulation. Hayek’s views, however, were more complicated than they often assume.
It’s no surprise that economic philosophies tend to divide along party lines. In the U.S., Democrats advocate government intervention in the economy and align with the theories of John Maynard Keynes. Republicans extol the free market and Friedrich Hayek, and think an economy should be allowed to self-correct with as little government intrusion as possible.
Friedrich Hayek arrived in London in January 1931 to take up an invitation to participate in the most telling duel in the history of economics. His aim, in four lectures at the London School of Economics: Overturn the theories of John Maynard Keynes, and prove that recessions were not caused by a lack of desire from customers to buy goods.