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Friedrich Hayek: The ideas and influence of the libertarian economist by Eamonn Butler

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The Social Justice Myth

Many people who do not advocate collectivism or central planning or the stronger versions of socialism nevertheless call for greater ‘fairness’ or ‘social justice’. Indeed, these ideas have penetrated deeply into the political debate in the West. But Hayek insisted that the term ‘social justice’ is vague and meaningless – and that the pursuit of this mirage undermines the institutions of a free society and prevents it from delivering its benefits to the public.

Two sorts of justice

Hayek maintained that there are two different uses of the word ‘justice’, and the confusion between them is responsible for much mischief.

The first use applies to what conduct we can expect from each other under general rules. If someone ...

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