“Its influence still afflicts popular opinion by providing support for those who wish to evade the hard choices that a full understanding of economic theory dictates be made (that we cannot have our cake and eat it too) …
“refusing to believe in general laws, the (alternative view) had the special attraction that its method was constitutionally unable to refute even the wildest of Utopias, and was, therefore, not likely to brng the disappointment associated with theoretical analysis …
“The public mind in all the leading countries of the world is now completely under the domination of the views which spring from the revolt against … economics of seventy years ago.
You might be thinking of some libertarian economist of today referring to the time of Keynes, but this was actually Hayek in 1933 in his inaugural address at the London School of Economics on the allure of the (since disregarded) German Historical School which flourished in the mid-19th century. This was one of my favorite essays to have read in the last 10 years, and I am sad that it took me until this long to find it. It was called, “The Trend of Economics.” There is much else to like in it, including his summary of the evolution of economic ideas from the time of Adam Smith until the time he was writing.
I guessed the name correctly, although I’m not familiar with the essay. It’s written similar to the style of “The Road to Serfdom.”
The clue was the seventy years ago.
Keep up the great work. We who are not scholars cannot uncover such wisdom. Most of our knowledge is derivative, not from the source.
But then some derivative knowledge is better than other. How much have you learned from Tim Geithner lately? Or Kent Conrad?
And you can’t have your cake and eat it too? A good fantasy woulld be having Paul Krugman and Jared Bernstein telling Hayek, over coffee and pastries, “Don’t forget the multiplier!”