First, “Free-Market Monetary System” regarding private money.
Second, “Pretense of Knowledge”, Hayek’s “shocking Nobel speech that explained why the very idea of government [intervening in market¹] in our times is unintellectual, presumptuous, and untenable. He is as critical of socialism as he is of interventionism. He shows that the state is not capable of doing all that it is charged with doing, and why conceding it any role in social and economic management is dangerous to liberty.”
When a little over two years ago, at the second Lausanne Conference of this group, I threw out, almost as a sort of bitter joke, that there was no hope of ever again having decent money, unless we took from government the monopoly of issuing money and handed it over to private industry, I took it only half seriously. But the suggestion proved extraordinarily fertile. Following it up I discovered that I had opened a possibility which in two thousand years no single economist had ever studied. There were quite a number of people who have since taken it up and we have devoted a great deal of study and analysis to this possibility.
As a result I am more convinced than ever that if we ever again are going to have a decent money, it will not come from government: it will be issued by private enterprise, because providing the public with good money which it can trust and use can not only be an extremely profitable business; it imposes on the issuer a discipline to which the government has never been and cannot be subject. It is a business which competing enterprise can maintain only if it gives the public as good a money as anybody else. […]
In addition, he criticizes pseudo-scientific approach to economics resulting from erroneous assumption that economics is in essence no different from disciplines like physics.
On the one hand the still recent establishment of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science marks a significant step in the process by which, in the opinion of the general public, economics has been conceded some of the dignity and prestige of the physical sciences. On the other hand, the economists are at this moment called upon to say how to extricate the free world from the serious threat of accelerating inflation which, it must be admitted, has been brought about by policies which the majority of economists recommended and even urged governments to pursue. We have indeed at the moment little cause for pride: as a profession we have made a mess of things².Both essays are now available in a small, pocket-book edition.
It seems to me that this failure of the economists to guide policy more successfully is closely connected with their propensity to imitate as closely as possible the procedures of the brilliantly successful physical sciences — an attempt which in our field may lead to outright error. It is an approach which has come to be described as the “scientistic” attitude — an attitude which, as I defined it some thirty years ago, “is decidedly unscientific in the true sense of the word, since it involves a mechanical and uncritical application of habits of thought to fields different from those in which they have been formed.” I want today to begin by explaining how some of the gravest errors of recent economic policy are a direct consequence of this scientistic error. […]
¹ Gotta love anarchists. Hayek may only talk about economics and social policy — they will turn it into a denial of state altogether.
² It’s amazing how these words said in 1974 might as well have been said yesterday. I suppose, “history teaches people that people learn nothing from history”.