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Capitalism and the Historians

Tags Booms and BustsWorld HistoryProduction Theory

04/15/1963Friedrich A. Hayek

Even today, social scientists and historians continue to treat the Industrial Revolution as if it were the beginning of the end of civilization.

What the essays in this book do is show the opposite. It was in many ways the beginning of a new civilization that permitted a high standard of living for the mass of the population, and resulted in longer and healthier lives. It was not characterized by coercion and social devastation but rather increased freedom and individual choice.

Subsequent research by later scholars confirmed the analysis you will find in these pages.

Hayek himself writes the long introduction. T.S. Ashton write on "The Treatment of Capitalism by Historians," L.M. Hacker exposes "The Anticapitalist Bias of American Historians," and Bertrand de Jouvenel covers "The Treatment of Capitalism by Continental Historians."

T.S. Ashton picks up the argument again with a detailed account of "The Standard of Life of the Workers in England, 1790-1830," and W.H. Hutt writes the essay for which he is most famous: "The Factory System of thee Early Ninetheenth Century."


Note: The views expressed on are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

Friedrich A. Hayek

F. A. Hayek (1899–1992) is undoubtedly the most eminent of the modern Austrian economists, and a founding board member of the Mises Institute. Student of Friedrich von Wieser, protégé and colleague of Ludwig von Mises, and foremost representative of an outstanding generation of Austrian School theorists, Hayek was more successful than anyone else in spreading Austrian ideas throughout the English-speaking world. He shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economics with ideological rival Gunnar Myrdal "for their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena."  Among mainstream economists, he is mainly known for his popular The Road to Serfdom  (1944).