“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, and, most recently, John Taylor for First Principles.
2012 Hayek Book Prize and Lecture
John B. Taylor,
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.
2011 Hayek Book Prize and Lecture
From Phoenecia to Hayek to the 'Cloud, Matt Ridley, Wall Street Journal, 9-24-2012
Hayek focused his life's work on "the fatal conceit" of central planning and the genius of the "spontaneous order" that market economies create. In The Rational Optimist Matt Ridley follows in Hayek's footsteps by illustrating how free markets create prosperity and how the exchange of ideas and the specialization of goods continue to improve living standards across the globe. A trained zoologist and former editor at The Economist, Ridley has established himself in previous books, such as The Origins of Virtue and Genome, as one of the world's foremost writers regarding the intersection of science, economics, and social progress.
The Rational Optimist covers the entire sweep of human history from the Stone Age to the Internet. As the title indicates, it ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will be one in which: "Prosperity spreads, technology progresses, poverty declines, disease retreats, fecundity falls, happiness increases, violence atrophies, freedom grows, knowledge flourishes, the environment improves, and wilderness expands." It is a refreshingly optimistic message that counterbalances the doom and gloom that has dominated the news of late.
First Principles: Five Keys to Restoring America's Prosperity
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
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
By Lord Robert Skidelsky
The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
By Michael Novak