, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 407–410 | Cite as

The Warm Liberalism of Erik Gustaf Geijer

  • Björn Hasselgren
  • Daniel B. KleinEmail author
Symposium: The Old and New Faces of Racism


The name Erik Gustaf Geijer (1783–1847) is little known outside of Sweden, but the volume Freedom in Sweden: Selected Works of Erik Gustaf Geijer (Geijer 2017) translates choice works and presents Geijer to modern readers. In this essay we provide an introduction to Geijer (pronounced yay-yer). We raise the question of whether his declaring, in 1838, in dramatic fashion, for liberalism was an ideological migration or a coming out of the closet. We discuss the scope and flavor of his discourse, and suggest that he belongs in the company of moral philosophers and historians of civilization such as David Hume, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Alexis de Tocqueville. We highlight his essay “An Economic Dream,” which prefigured Hayek’s likening of the price system to an allegory of society-spanning communication and intelligence.


Christianity Markets Social cohesion 

JEL Classification

A12 A13 B12 N13 N33 N43 

Further Reading

  1. Ekdal, Niklas, and Petter Karlsson. 2009. Historiens 100 viktigaste svenskar. Stockholm: Bokförlaget Forum.Google Scholar
  2. Geijer, Erik Gustaf. 1842. The Poor Laws and Their Bearing on Society: A Series of Political and Historical Essays, trans. E. B. Hale Lewin. London: J. Hatchard and Son.Google Scholar
  3. Geijer, Erik Gustaf. 2017. Freedom in Sweden: Selected Works of Erik Gustaf Geijer, trans. P.C. Hogg, ed. B. Hasselgren. Stockholm: Timbro.Google Scholar
  4. Hayek, Friedrich A. 1945. The Use of Knowledge in Society. American Economic Review 35(4): 519–530.Google Scholar
  5. Landquist, J. 1924. Erik Gustav Geijer: Hans Levnad och Verk. Stockholm: Norstedt.Google Scholar
  6. Pilkington, Roger. 1975. A Swedish visitor to England, 1809–1810. History Today 25(4): 246–254.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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