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“Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in the power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost . . .” – F.A. Hayek


Political philosopher and Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek, author of groundbreaking works such as The Road to Serfdom and The Constitution of Liberty, was the key figure in the twentieth century revival of classical liberalism. He was also a formative influence on the Manhattan Institute. When our founder, Sir Antony Fisher, asked how best to reverse the erosion of freedom, Hayek advised him not to begin with politics per se but to fight first on the battlefield of ideas. Our Hayek Lecture and Prize affirm and celebrate this mission.

The Hayek Lecture is delivered by the recipient of the Hayek Prize, which honors the book published within the past two years that best reflects Hayek’s vision of economic and individual liberty. The Hayek Prize, with its $50,000 award, is among the world’s most generous book prizes. It was conceived and funded by Manhattan Institute trustee Tom Smith to recognize the influence of F.A. Hayek and to encourage other scholars to follow his example. The winner of the Hayek Prize is chosen from among the nominations by a selection committee of distinguished economists, journalists, and scholars. Past winners include: William Easterly for The White Man's Burden, Amity Shlaes for The Forgotten Man, Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds for Money, Markets & Sovereignty, Matt Ridley for The Rational Optimist, John Taylor for First Principles, and, most recently, Yang Jisheng for Tombstone.

2013 Hayek Book Prize and Lecture

Yang Jisheng,
Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine 1958-1962 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2012)

Meet Yang Jisheng: China's Chronicler of Past Horrors, The Atlantic, 9-20-13
The Fate of Hayek's Teachings in China, Open Magazine, 06-06-13
Mao thriving in Washington, Asia Times, 06-05-13
Hayekian Ideas, Awkward Facts for China, Forbes, 06-04-13
In Praise of Prices,, 05-31-13
Banned 'Tombstone' Author Receives Literary Prize in New York, Epoch Times, 05-30-13
How Hayek Helped Me Understand China's Tragedy, Real Clear Markets, 05-30-13
77 WABC's "The John Batchelor Show", 05-29-13
Reading Hayek in Beijing, Wall Street Journal, 05-25-13

Hayek Lecture 2013

An estimated thirty-six million Chinese men, women, and children starved to death during China’s Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early 60s. One of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century, the famine is poorly understood, and in China is still euphemistically referred to as the “three years of natural disaster.”

As a journalist with privileged access to official and unofficial sources, Yang Jisheng spent 20 years piecing together the events that led to mass nationwide starvation, including the death of his own father. Finding no natural causes, Yang lays the deaths at the feet of China’s totalitarian communist system and the refusal of officials at every level to value human life over ideology and self-interest.

Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. Ian Johnson, writing in The New York Review of Books, called the Chinese edition of Tombstone “groundbreaking…The most authoritative account of the great famine… One of the most important books to come out of China in recent years.”

2012 Hayek Book Prize and Lecture

John B. Taylor,
First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America’s Prosperity (Norton, 2012)
Paul Gigot, The Wall Street Journal

Rules for America's Road to Recovery, John Taylor, Wall Street Journal, 06-01-12
'First Principles' points the way to prosperity, James Piereson, 05-31-12

Hayek Lecture 2012

In First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America’s Prosperity, esteemed economist John Taylor presents his strategy to restore American economic greatness. “The premise of [First Principles],” writes Taylor, “is that the best way to understand the problems confronting the American economy is to go back to the first principles of economic freedom upon which the country was founded.”

Taylor argues that when economic policy adheres to the Hayekian principles of limited government intervention, predictability, and the rule of law, the economy thrives, while ignoring these principles leads to bad economic outcomes such as recessions, inflation, or high unemployment. Taylor empirically validates his argument with a whirlwind tour of the last century of American economic policy and history. In addition to fiscal and monetary policy, Taylor also addresses such topics as the looming debt crisis, crony capitalism, and entitlement reform. Much like Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Taylor’s First Principles is a clear and compelling call-to-action and an important reminder of the central link between economic freedom and prosperity.

Past Hayek Prize Winners

Recent Hayek Prize Winners

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine 1958-1962

(Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2012)
By Yang Jisheng

First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity

(Norton, 2012)
By John B. Taylor

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

By Matt Ridley

Money, Markets and Sovereignty

(Yale University Press)
By Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

By Amity Shlaes

The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

(Penguin Press HC)
By William Easterly

Past Hayek Lectures

Liberalism Beyond Justice: Citizens Society and the Boundaries of Political Theory

(Princeton University Press)
By John Tomasi

The Road from Serfdom: The Economic and Political Consequences of the End of Communism

(Penguin Books)
By Lord Robert Skidelsky

The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

(Madison Books)
By Michael Novak

Event Videos
Hayek Lecture 2010
Hayek Lecture 2011
Hayek Lecture 2012
Hayek Lecture 2013



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