This is F.A. Hayek in 1975 on Meet the Press. If you have never listened to a Mises.org podcast before, you must listen to this. I heard this Friday and I’ve been haunted by it ever since. A number of points stand out to me.
Hayek is amazing here. He holds the line. He is patient and explains very well. He refuses to relent. The core of his message is rooted in the Austrian view of cycles, and this interview demonstrates that he never stepped away from it, despite some far-flung claims.
The line of questioning he endures is hilariously nave and idiotic. We think we have a Keynesian problem now; it’s clear that these people really believe that policy makers can manipulate the economy like a machine, trading off unemployment for inflation and back again, with no trouble. So they hit Hayek for his supposed personal opinion that unemployment is better than inflation, as if the trade off is direct and easy to manipulate. How far we’ve come!
In light of the present crises, and the appalling ignorance of the present generation of policy makers of any historical understanding, it is so helpful to remember that we’ve been down this road before, and done all the wrong things before. Forget learning from history. The present generation does even know enough history to learn anything from it. So this interview really makes it clear what has come before.
Finally, all hail Professor Hayek. He really did a wonderful service back then. He has much to teach us 35 years later!