Thursday, June 9, 2016

"Hayek Deserves Credit with Ropke and Erhard for Germany's Economic Miracle."

At least two other articles seem relevant in this regard:

Kolev, Stefan. (2010). “F. A. Hayek as an Ordo-liberal.” HWWI Research Paper, No. 5-11. <>

Godard, Fran├žois. (2013) "The Road to Serfdom's Economistic Worldview." Critical Review 25.3-4 (2013): 364-385.

Kolev argues that Hayek's interventionist concessions in the Road to Serfdom (which Hayek recanted in his 1976 preface) are better understood, not as covert socialism (as Hoppe claims), but instead, as affinity to the ordoliberals. The ordoliberals believed in rationally and consciously constructing a "framework" or "economic order" within which the "economic process" could operate. This ordoliberal framework included not only antitrust but also various forms of minimum social safety net. Hayek's differences with Mises are better understood, Kolev said, if we understand Hayek as an ordoliberal, not as a socialist. (Although, Kolev notes, Mises pejoratively referred to the ordoliberals as "ordo-interventionists.") Kolev argues that after the Road to Serfdom, Hayek moved closer to laissez-faire when he rediscovered the Scottish Enlightenment, spontaneous order, and the dynamic notion of competition as a discovery procedure. He says Hayek retained some affinity with the ordoliberals, however, to the extent that he remained more concerned than Mises with the nature of the legal order (e.g. Constitution of Liberty; Law, Legislation, and Liberty).

Godard argues that the Road to Serfdom was even more influential in postwar Germany than it was in America or Britain. According to Godard, Hayek deserves credit with Ropke and Erhard for Germany's economic miracle.

The ultimate upshot, I think, is that we can admit the importance of the contributions of people like Hayek, Ropke, Eucken, etc. without denying the superiority of Mises. We can acknowledge Hayek's differences from Mises without calling him a socialist. Similarly, Ropke and Erhard may not be Misesians, but they deserve credit for what they did for Germany.

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