The Closed Society and Its Friends: Friedman, Hayek and the rise of Neoliberalism

TheClosedSocietyandItsFriends: Friedman, HayekandtheriseofNeoliberalism

I just wrote a review of Daniel Stedman Jones’s book MastersoftheUniverse: Hayek, Friedman, andtheBirthof Neoliberal Politics, which will be published in the Social ScienceJournal later this year. So I don’t intend to say to much here.

But one thing that was striking about the rise of the post-New Deal Neoliberalism, starting with the Mont Pelerin Society, is that they tended to group in organizations that were closed, not particularly democratic, and somewhat dogmatic, with a single or unique view on the relevance of market mechanisms, which allowed no space for individual dissent on where to draw the line between markets and the state. One should not be surprised that Friedman and Hayek provided qualified support for such examples of closed societies as Pinochet’s Chile.

By the way, on Friedman’s forecasting abilities one quote from the book, a letter from Friedman to Samuel Bittan, is worth noticing. He predicted that: "destruction of its [Britain's] democratic society … would come from the left." Yes, because Wilson and Callaghan were revolutionaries in disguise!

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