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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


2015 Hayek Book Prize and Lecture

June 2, 2015 | New York City



America’s economy has performed better lately, but the ghost of 2008 lingers. How will Washington respond to the next market crash? Does aggressive interventionism—as exemplified by the Bush and Obama administrations’ response to the housing crisis—represent the only solution? In The Forgotten Depression: 1921, The Crash that Cured Itself, James Grant, distinguished journalist, author, and winner of the 2015 Hayek Prize, offers a compelling dive into a neglected episode of U.S. economic history in pursuit of answers.

In the Forgotten Depression, Grant examines what he calls “the recession that cured itself,” the short, sharp depression of 1920-21. In that downturn, the Wilson and Harding administrations and the Federal Reserve both followed policies contrary to current wisdom. Interest rates were raised and spending was cut. A strong recovery ensued. Grant’s account is not merely a riveting snapshot of post-World War I economic turmoil. It is a remarkably successful example of Hayekian ideas in practice—and, when the next crisis strikes, a viable action plan for contemporary policymakers.



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.

Past Hayek Prize Winners


Hayek Book Prize
Finalists Announced


Amity Shlaes and Karen Dawisha discuss her book "Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?"

Amity Shlaes interviews Bruce Caldwell, editor of "The Market and Other Orders (The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek)," by F.A. Hayek

Howard Husock and Bill Easterly discuss his book, "The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor”

Jim Copland and Philip K. Howard discuss his book "The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Government"

Nicole Gelinas and James Grant discuss his book "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself"



Questions about the Hayek Prize can be directed to Dean Ball at


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that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

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