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Hayek, Mises, and the Iron Rule of Unintended Consequences

  • Chip Berlet
Chapter
Part of the Archival Insights into the Evolution of Economics book series (AIEE)

Abstract

Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises, and Milton Friedman spawned political and social movements championing ‘economic libertarianism.’ All three began by opposing totalitarianism, before articulating a preference for right-wing authoritarian regimes over communist and socialist regimes.

Corporate interests in the United States bankrolled the mission to popularize the ‘free’ market as an antidote to the pro-union, ‘progressive’ economics of the Roosevelt years. As the Cold War expanded, some conservatives portrayed the collectivism of labor unions, redistributive tax policies, and the expanding federal administrative sector as not merely misguided, but threatening ‘liberty.’

Anti-communism spawned religious and secular apocalyptic conspiracy theories of betrayal by the Left in the United States. Hayek’s dire warnings of ‘Big Government’ leading to ‘Serfdom’ paved the road to Ronald Reagan, and also—perhaps unintentionally—Donald Trump, with his rhetoric blasting conspiracies of leftist collectivists building a ‘Big Government’ behemouth stuffed with ‘tax and spend’ federal programs.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chip Berlet
    • 1
  1. 1.Research for ProgressBurlingtonUSA

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