The Economics of Friedrich Hayek by G. R. Steele (auth.)

By G. R. Steele (auth.)

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Viii) – as having expounded with ‘much greater technical competence’ a thesis so like his own that he pondered whether publication was justified. A loss of clarity of general principles within the fullness of Hebb’s exposition allowed Hayek to find that justification: he categorised the two books as ‘complementary rather than covering the same ground’ (Hayek, 1952b, p. viii). Hayek is altogether too modest. The Sensory Order is set within the context of the cognitive revolution, which began in the 1950s, whereby psychology was increasingly associated with developments in artificial intelligence and information technology.

Yet this was a hollow victory over the weaker champion of the liberal market economy. In its growing influence, the Austrian School articulates its own case for the enterprise economy and against all state-managed systems. Human action is meaningful only where that action is expected to change future events. While individuals act and react in their attempt to influence the future, the information upon which that action is decided is uncertain and incomplete. Human relationships are infinitely complex.

While there can be no doubt that Keynes won all the early battles, the extent of that conquest is viewed by many as a matter for regret. Keynes won Introduction 21 the arguments, but Hayek was right! In Chapter 9, this contention is shown to receive support from the measured impact of changes in both the rate of interest and relative prices. Each exerts a clear influence upon the level of investment and the choice of capital; and thereby each has a clear role in determining the course of cyclical activity for the economy.

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