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Lecture

2022 Hayek Lecture

Dr. Joseph Henrich winner the Hayek Book Prize; author, "The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous"
Wed, Jun 8, 2022 New York, N.Y.

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2022 Hayek Lecture

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Lecture

2022 Hayek Lecture

Dr. Joseph Henrich winner the Hayek Book Prize; author, "The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous"
New York, N.Y. 06:00pm—07:30pm
Wednesday June 8
Wednesday June 8 2022
PAST EVENT Wednesday June 8 2022

Why has it proved so hard to export democracy and the rule of law to non-Western societies? How did socialism become so popular among young Westerners enjoying the benefits of capitalism? Why are the foes of free trade winning elections, and the foes of free speech dominating academia and the mainstream press?

Friedrich Hayek warned that sustaining political and economic freedom in a large society would always be a struggle because it required citizens to override the “egalitarian-tribal sentiments” that evolved in an ancient world of small clans. Joseph Henrich’s The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous, the 2022 Hayek Prize winner, is a multi-disciplinary tour de force that confirms Hayek’s insight and chronicles the slow cultural evolution that produced people termed WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic.

By analyzing historical trends and economic data, Henrich shows how the power of traditional institutions based on kinship was weakened in Europe by medieval institutions. The old virtues of clan loyalty and deference to authority gave way to new ethical norms and attitudes about individual rights, private property, and equal treatment for kin and non-kin—a psychological shift demonstrated in recent behavioral-science experiments worldwide.

Dr. Joseph Henrich is Harvard Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. His research deploys evolutionary theory to understand how human psychology gives rise to cultural evolution and how this has shaped our species’ genetic evolution. Using insights generated from this approach, Professor Henrich has explored a variety of topics, including economic decision-making, social norms, fairness, religion, marriage, prestige, cooperation and innovation. He’s conducted long-term anthropological fieldwork in Peru, Chile and in the South Pacific, as well as having spearheaded several large comparative projects. His other works include The Secret of Our Success.

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A manhattan institute series

Hayek Lecture and Book Prize

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, Casey Mulligan for The Redistribution Recession, and, most recently, James Grant for The Forgotten Depression.

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