Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Individualism and Economic Order

Individualism and Economic Order, by F. A. Hayek

This is the one book from my TBR Challenge last year that I didn't manage to read, because it is so very daunting.  So I decided it should be my first pick this year!  That way the scariest thing would be over with.  Imagine my dismay and consternation when I actually opened the book and read the words:

...I should in fairness warn the reader that the present volume is not intended for popular consumption.  Only a few of the essays collected here (chaps. i and vi, and possibly iv and v) may in a sense be regarded as supplementary...the rest are definitely addressed to fellow-students and are fairly technical in character.
 Now, I found Hayek's works for laypeople quite difficult enough.  I knew I couldn't wrap my brain around technical essays for fellow economists!   So I decided that I would read the four essays he thought regular people could handle, and call it good.  And indeed I bashed my way through them.  I found out that he was entirely correct to say that everything in those essays is also in The Road to Serfdom; evidently this book is just a technical expansion on that one.  So, don't read this.  Read that.

The essays were about philosophical or societal points: different definitions of 'individualism,' how knowledge works in a society, when and where 'free' enterprise can be free (or not), and various other things I didn't necessarily grasp.

Too high-level and technical for me, but I'm glad I tried.

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