Talk:Friedrich Hayek

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Unfinished quote[edit]

Why isn't one of his quotes finished it should be Nobody with open eyes can any longer doubt that the danger to personal freedom comes chiefly from the left. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 01:17, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Page numbers and sources[edit]

For some reason, editors of this page are adding page numbers to the source lines, but putting them in HTML comments. The goal of sourcing is to make it reasonably possible for readers to verify quotes. This means that such information should be explicit in the source lines. Furthermore, as different editions and works have different page numbers for any particular quote, it is necessary to cite the specific edition of the work along with the page number. The easiest way to do this is to include the ISBN, if available, which uniquely identifies the edition. (If it predates ISBN or is unavailable, please include any specific publication data available, like edition number, reprinting number, month/year, publisher, etc.) The total page count should also be given, so that readers can interpolate for their own editions. An example using the {{cite book}} template:

* {{cite book
  | last = Hamilton
  | first = Laurell K.
  | title = Danse Macabre
  | edition = 1st ed.
  | year = 2006
  | month = July
  | publisher = Berkley
  | location = New York
  | id = ISBN 0-425-20797-8
  | pages = 483 pages

yields the following line that may be placed in a "References" section:

  • Hamilton, Laurell K. (July 2006). Danse Macabre (1st ed. ed.). New York: Berkley. pp. 483 pages. ISBN 0-425-20797-8. 

(It is not necessary to use the template, but it has its benefits, including a standardized format that, if changed, is reflected immediately in all articles.) I ask that all editors who have copies of the cited works make an effort to add this information. Thank you for your help. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:39, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

The curious task[edit]

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

This is one of Hayek's most well known quotes, taken from his 1988 book "The Fatal Conceit," at least the most well known from that book.

Someone please add it. PokeHomsar 07:38, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

This has now been added in the form:
  • The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.
    • The Fatal Conceit : The Errors of Socialism (1988), p. 76
Though certain editors do tend to intimidate others — at times even going so far as to block people for daring to enter into edit disputes with them, going on rampages of defacement, denigration, derision and slanders, and pretty much freezing work on an article precisely to their casually thought out preferences, such behavior is not the accepted norm on this or any other Wikimedia wiki, and anyone is normally welcome to add material to the articles here. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 13:00, 3 March 2011 (UTC)


  • A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.
  • Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.
  • Equality of the general rules of law and conduct, however, is the only kind of equality conducive to liberty and the only equality which we can secure without destroying liberty. Not only has liberty nothing to do with any other sort of equality, but it is even bound to produce inequality in many respects. This is the necessary result and part of the justification of individual liberty: If the result of individual liberty did not demonstrate that some manners of living are more successful than others, much of the case for it would vanish.
  • Even more significant of the inherent weakness of the collectivist theories is the extraordinary paradox that from the assertion that society is in some sense more than merely the aggregate of all individuals their adherents regularly pass by a sort of intellectual somersault to the thesis that in order that the coherence of this larger entity be safeguarded it must be subjected to conscious control, that is, to the control of what in the last resort must be an individual mind. It thus comes about that in practice it is regularly the theoretical collectivist who extols individual reason and demands that all forces of society be made subject to the direction of a single mastermind, while it is the individualist who recognizes the limitations of the powers of individual reason and consequently advocates freedom as a means for the fullest development of the powers of the interindividual process.
  • Even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality — an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical order.
  • Every change in conditions will make necessary some change in the use of resources, in the direction and kind of human activities, in habits and practices. And each change in the actions of those affected in the first instance will require further adjustments that will gradually extend through the whole of society. Every change thus in a sense creates a "problem" for society, even though no single individual perceives it as such; it is gradually "solved" by the establishment of a new overall adjustment.
  • From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict which each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.
  • I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments.
  • In government, the scum rises to the top.
  • It is always from a minority acting in ways different from what the majority would prescribe that the majority in the end learns to do better.
  • It is only because the majority opinion will always be opposed by some that our knowledge and understanding progress. In the process by which opinion is formed, it is very probable that, by the time any view becomes a majority view, it is no longer the best view: somebody will already have advanced beyond the point which the majority have reached. It is because we do not yet which of the many competing new opinions will prove itself the best that we wait until it has gained sufficient support.
  • It used to be the boast of free men that, so long as they kept within the bounds of the known law, there was no need to ask anybody's permission or to obey anybody's orders. It is doubtful whether any of us can make this claim today.
  • Liberty is an opportunity for doing good, but this is only so when it is also an opportunity for doing wrong.
  • Once politics become a tug-of-war for shares in the income pie, decent government is impossible.
  • Our moral traditions developed concurrently with our reason, not as its product.
  • Should our moral beliefs really prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect, it would be hardly moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge the facts.
  • The part of our social order which can or ought to be made a conscious product of human reason is only a small part of all the forces of society.
  • The ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the "wrong" beliefs.
  • There is, in a competitive society, nobody who can exercise even a fraction of the power which a socialist planning board would possess.
  • To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be … controlled in everything.
  • Unlike proportionality, progression provides no principle which tells us what the relative burden of different persons ought to be the argument based on the presumed justice of progression provides no limitation, as has often been admitted by its supporters, before all incomes above a certain figure are confiscated, and those below left untaxed.
  • Whenever it is necessary that one of several conflicting opinions should prevail and when one would have to be made to prevail by force if need be, it is less wasteful to determine which has the stronger support by counting numbers than by fighting. Democracy is the only method of peaceful change that man has yet been discovered.

"Random" Images[edit]

Why are so many of the quotes along the page sidebar listed under images not related to Hayek or specifically the quote. For example many of them showing the statue of liberty? They seem to add an editors bias to the quote more than to show anything related to it. —This unsigned comment is by 2001:4898:80e0:ee43::2 (talkcontribs) .

In misusing the term "random" you seem to actually be objecting to thought. Actual thought was indeed used in selecting the images, as well as the actual quotes used here, and will continue to be used, so long as sufficiently thoughtful people are able to fight against those more inclined to make others into robotic slaves of various forms of conformity, as they often already are. As Hayek states: We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.
This of course will not always be an easy task. So it goes Blessings. ~ Kalki·· 18:29, 2 April 2014 (UTC) + tweaks

Chronological vs. Subjective subject headings[edit]

It has long been standard organizational practice here to avoid and remove subjective section headings, because these can promote bias, contentions, confusion and duplications. Many years ago it was decided by most people involved in increasing disputes on some pages that articles should be chronologically arranged by dates of quotes or works, and NOT have subjectively divided sections. These sometimes arise because of people unfamiliar with these policies, but should be reverted or adjusted as soon as possible. A similar thing as recently occurred here has now also occurred on the John Maynard Keynes page, and though I had marked this one "inUSE" for revisions, before leaving from my home, the complications of this one seem much more troublesome, and as I will have to attend to other matters soon, I am attending to the Keynes page first, and hope to be done with it relatively quickly, restoring standard arrangement of quotes, and retaining the new additions. I should be able to get back to this one sometimes later today. ~ Kalki·· 02:48, 19 September 2014 (UTC)