Freedom and Reform

  • David Cowan
Part of the Great Thinkers in Economics book series (GTE)


Much has been said about the centrality of freedom in Knight’s thought, and having looked at the moral and welfare limitations on freedom, it is time to look at his understanding of freedom in more detail. In the latter part of the 20th century and ever since, the question of economic equality has been at the forefront of public economic discussion. The inequalities of capitalism became clearer with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism in 1989. For much of the 20th century there was a foil for capitalism in communism, so that supporters could point to the failures of communism, and opponents could imagine at least there was an alternative, even if that alternative was not fully defensible; and for the early part of the 20th century there were many in the West who thought it to be fully defensible. To understand Knight’s view of freedom, we have to understand that for him capitalism and western-style democracy go hand in hand. Ross B. Emmett offers great insight into the connection between Knight’s view of the democratic process and the free market, both of which are integral to freedom:


Human Nature Free Market Economic Freedom Economic Power Voluntary Association 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cowan
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston CollegeBostonUSA

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