Summary of The Constitution of Liberty

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The Constitution of Liberty
Friedrich A. Hayek’s 1960 treatise on liberty and limited government returns to enlighten a new generation.

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Review

Economist and political philosopher Friedrich A. Hayek wrote The Constitution of Liberty for publication in 1960, but his timeless insights still have currency. His reasoned advocacy of economic freedom and personal liberty applies to modern debates on controversial subjects ranging from price inflation and progressive taxation to public education. The book contrasts the benefits of limited government with the costs of central economic planning. Restricting government is more likely to produce the individual spontaneity and creativity that is vital to the advance of knowledge and civilization. Hayek demonstrates how liberty takes sustenance from the rule of law, the concept of due process and the constitutional form of government. He identifies serious but subtle threats to individual freedom. For example, he criticizes Social Security and progressive taxation as regrettable forms of income redistribution. getAbstract recommends this scholarly tome to readers seeking a detailed philosophical foundation for limited government and to anyone who wants to be familiar with the classic canon of modern economic thought.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What makes individual freedom so valuable to the advance of civilization
  • How public institutions arose to protect individuals from capricious government coercion
  • Why certain government policies restrain progress by limiting the number of choices that citizens can make
 

Summary

Individual Initiative and the Accidents of Progress
Citizens are most productive when government is limited, because reduced state interference minimizes public intrusion into private lives. A “liberal” form of government is narrow in scope; it liberates people by giving them the ability...
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About the Author

Friedrich A. Hayek, an Austrian-born economist and political philosopher, advocated market-based capitalism and limited government. He was co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974 and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991.


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