Panitza Library

Hayek's Legacy: is Eastern Europe Happy in the West?

April 30, 2018

Until just a couple of years back, Central and Eastern Europe was attracted by the western values. The trend is now overturned as we hear about the rise of illiberal democracy in Hungary and Poland. Their populist governments openly speak about saving traditional conservative Christian values since they feel there's an attack on Christianity. An impression of a cultural divide among East and West is felt equally strongly in most of the western countries. Analysts there often tackle Eastern nationalism, but few see a role for religion. So do we have a moral compass to navigate common future of Eastern and Western Europe? F. A. Hayek's last book (The Fatal Conceit, 1988) was to provide one, but its fate was different. While writing the book, Hayek fell ill and the editor finished it on his behalf. The book was published solely under Hayek's name. Soon after, both died and nobody clarified the case. The book is read in a conservative manner even though Hayek was never a conservative. I have been to the archives and reconstructed Hayek's actual argument and established it as a liberal one. Unlike modern liberals, Hayek wanted to seriously engage in discussion with religious leaders on their role in the extended order of civilization rather than just telling them how they should just give in to the modern world.

Tomas Kristofory, who is from Slovakia, studied in Prague and is now an instructor of economics at AUBG. The presentation focuses on a draft of his dissertation, currently written at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. His research interests include cultural economics, history of economic thought and economic history.

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