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Friedrich Hayek and His Visits to Chile: Some Austrian Misrepresentations

  • Birsen Filip
Chapter
Part of the Archival Insights into the Evolution of Economics book series (AIEE)

Abstract

In spite of his reputation as a defender of freedom, Hayek did not value human rights, claiming it to be a relatively recent concept derived from combining ‘the old civil rights’ with rights derived from Marxism. His conception of freedom is a minimal form of freedom, which serves as a very useful tool in promoting the superiority of the ‘free’ market economy. His concept of freedom includes economic freedom in the ‘free’ market (with negative freedom as components) while, at the same time, excluding positive freedom and ignoring ethical and moral values. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Hayek accepted the invitation to visit Chile during General Pinochet’s dictatorship—or that he claimed ‘personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than it had been under Allende.’ In their efforts to preserve Hayek’s reputation by providing justifications for his decision, Bruce Caldwell and Leonidas Montes resort to providing incomplete information and concealing certain facts, while misrepresenting others. Furthermore, the discrepancies between the English and Spanish language versions of ‘Friedrich Hayek and His Visits to Chile’ (in terms of the information included and omitted) appear to have been strategic decisions based on the audiences being targeted—which suggests a deliberate and concerted effort to mislead their readers. They failed to fully enlighten their English- and Spanish-speaking readers about this ‘controversial episode’ in Hayek’s life. This chapter demonstrates that they were overzealous in their defense of Hayek: they present him almost as a naïve and saintly figure—in the face of persuasive evidence to the contrary.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OttawaOntarioCanada

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