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

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Freedom And The Law

Why freedom is crucial

Hayek believed that individual freedom is crucial to the evolution of complex societies. By individual freedom or liberty, Hayek had in mind the state in which coercion is minimised. That is, where people are not generally forced to act according to the will of someone else, under the threat that some even greater evil will be imposed upon them.

Many writers of course see personal freedom as good in itself, and therefore as something to be promoted for its own sake. Hayek agreed, but argued that it also had a critical role in social evolution. In his view, individual liberty is a basic precondition for a flourishing and dynamic social order and the benefits that go with it. It is not a good that ...

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