Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-594f858ff7-hd6rl Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-06-09T08:42:52.792Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "corePageComponentUseShareaholicInsteadOfAddThis": true, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 January 2007

Edward Feser
Affiliation:
Pasadena City College, California
Get access

Summary

Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) was almost certainly the most consequential thinker of the mainstream political right in the twentieth century. It is just possible that he was the most consequential twentieth-century political thinker, right or left, period. The apparent triumph of global capitalism at the dawn of the twenty-first century owes as much to his influence on policymakers and shapers of public opinion as it does to that of any other intellectual figure. Hayek's semi-popular book The Road to Serfdom (1944) was a key text of the emerging New Right, a movement whose influence ultimately made possible the elections of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush. Reagan claimed that his thinking on economics was directly influenced by Hayek's writings. Thatcher famously tried once to end debate on Conservative Party policy by slamming a copy of Hayek's more dryly academic tome The Constitution of Liberty (1960) down on the table and exclaiming, “This is what we believe!” Even Winston Churchill, long before the New Right's ascendancy, was moved by an (apparently superficial) reading of The Road to Serfdom to warn that the election of his opponent Clement Attlee in 1945 might result in the institution of a “Gestapo” to enforce Attlee's socialist economic policy. (Many suggested at the time that this rash charge might have cost Churchill the election; Hayek's influence on politicians did not always entail their political success.) A John Rawls or Isaiah Berlin, however much greater was the esteem with which such thinkers were regarded by most of their academic peers, could only envy such direct impact on practical politics.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Introduction
    • By
  • Edited by Edward Feser
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Hayek
  • Online publication: 28 January 2007
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521849772.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Introduction
    • By
  • Edited by Edward Feser
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Hayek
  • Online publication: 28 January 2007
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521849772.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
    • By
  • Edited by Edward Feser
  • Book: The Cambridge Companion to Hayek
  • Online publication: 28 January 2007
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521849772.001
Available formats
×