A five-minute guide to Friedrich Hayek
Filed under: News
By the 1980s, his "services to the study of economics" had earned him both a Nobel Prize and a place on the Order of Companions of Honour.
Who he was
Friedrich Hayek was born in Vienna in 1899 as Friedrich August von Hayek. He went on to serve in World War 1, and later said that his experience in the war and his wish to prevent future wars happening for the same reasons prompted him to choose a career in economics.
During his life, Hayek lived in Austria, the UK, the United States and Germany, spending time at the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago and the University of Freiburg.
He became a British citizen in 1938 and shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Gunnar Myrdal in 1974. He died in 1992.
What he believed
Unlike many influential economists of the 1920s and 1930s, Hayek was opposed to the idea of a central bank increasing money supply to balance economic peaks and troughs.
Instead, he supported the idea of a free market and believed that the best way to avoid economic busts was to prevent the booms that led to them.
Later in his career, Hayek also opposed socialist planning, arguing that government control of our economic lives basically amounts to totalitarianism.
How he changed the world
Hayek's Nobel Prize was for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations" and "penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena".
He also made an important contribution to British political thinking in 1940s, when he warned British socialists that some of their policies were dangerously close to those of the Nazis in Germany.
His influence on British economics was recognised in 1984, when Margaret Thatcher asked the Queen to make him a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour.