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A Tiger by the Tail

A Tiger by the Tail: Friedrich August von Hayek
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Autor(en) Friedrich August von Hayek Verlag Ludwig von Mises Institute
Sachgebiet(e) Österreichische Schule, English Books ISBN 9781933550404
2009, 192 Seiten, Broschur

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F.A. Hayek said that his biggest regret in a lifetime of writing was that he never wrote a book-length refutation of Keynesian economics. He seriously doubted that Keynesian style planning would ever captivate governments, so he focused on different things.

Economist Sudha Shenoy decided to rectify the problem. As a Hayek scholar, she noted that Hayek had in fact addressed Keynesian policy in scattered places throughout 40 years of writing. She decided to select the most poignant passages. She linked them all together with marvelous commentary and analysis.

And voila! Here is the book on Keynesian economics that Hayek never wrote.

It first came out in 1972, to wide acclaim. The Hayek parts are fantastic, of course. The surprise is the expert editing job by Professor Shenoy, which adds enormous value. In 192 pages, the book ended up being a total demolition by Hayek of the most baneful influence on economic science in the 20th century.

It was published by the Institute of Economic Affairs but fell out of print. The Mises Institute cooperated with IEA to completely reset the book and publish it anew. It adds something even more wonderful: a massive introduction by monetary theorist Joseph T. Salerno.

In total, then, this is a priceless collection, one that will enlighten and save you from hopping up and down to your bookshelf. It strikes you as you read what a brilliant mind Hayek had, how tough minded he really was, and just how off base is Keynesian theory.

You can get the metaphor from the title. What Keynesianism unleashes is wicked inflation that no one can control. This might be the essential guide to our future.

Books excerpted include:

Prices and Production (1931)
Monetary Nationalism and International Stability (1937)
The Pure Theory of Capital (1941)
A Commodity Reserve Currency, Economic Journal (1943)
Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1967)
The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
Personal Recollections of Keynes and the “Keynesian Revolution”, The Oriental Economist (1966)
Competition as a Discovery Procedure, New Studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (1978)
Caracas Conference Remarks, Mont Pèlerin Conference (1969)
Good and Bad Unemployment Policies, Sunday Times (1944)
Full Employment Illusions, Commercial & Financial Chronicle (1946)
Full Employment in a Free Society, Fortune (1945)


Guide to Extracts and Articles
Introduction to the Third Edition by Joseph T. Salerno
Preface by Arthur Seldon
Preface to the Second Edition by Arthur Seldon
The Author

I. The Debate, 1931–1971: Sudha Shenoy

  • Challenge to Keynes
  • The Approach to an Incomes Policy
  • 'Micro' Dimensions Acknowledged
  • Is There a Price 'Level'?
  • Further Implications of Hayekian Analysis

II. The Misuse of Aggregates

1. Inflationism

2. No Causal Connection Between Macro Totals and Micro Decisions

3. Fallacy of 'The' Price Level

4. Economic Systems Overleap National Boundaries

  • Misleading Concepts of Prices and Incomes

5. Dangers of 'National' Stabilisation

  • Theoretical Case Not Argued
  • Relative Price and Cost Structures

6. Monetary Danger of Collective Bargaining

III. Neglect of Real for Monetary Aspects

7. Keynes’s Neglect of Scarcity

  • Investment Demand and Incomes
  • Final Position of Rate of Return
  • Mr. Keynes’s Economics of Abundance
  • Basic Importance of Scarcity

8. Importance of Real Factors

  • Significance of Rate of Saving

9. Dangers of the Short Run

  • Betrayal of Economists’ Duty

IV. International versus National Policies

10. A Commodity Reserve Currency

  • An Irrational but Real Prestige

11. Keynes’s Comment on Hayek

  • Conditions for National Price Stability
  • Different National Policies Needed

12. F.D. Graham’s Criticism of Keynes.

  • The 'Natural Tendency of Wages'
  • Gold Standard 'Dictation'
  • Unanchored Medium of Exchange
  • The Real Problem of Unemployment
  • Professor Hayek’s 'Intransigence'

13. Keynes’s Reply to Graham

V. Wage Rigidities and Infl ation

14. Full Employment, Planning and Inflation

  • Full Employment the Main Priority
  • Unemployment and Inadequate Demand
  • Main Cause of Recurrent Unemployment
  • Expansion May Hinder Adjustment

15. Inflation Resulting from Downward Inflexibility of Wages

  • Importance of Relative Wages
  • Inflation—A Vicious Circle
  • The State of Public Opinion

16. Labour Unions and Employment

  • Changed Character of the Problem
  • Union Coercion of Fellow Workers
  • Wage Increases at Expense of Others
  • Harmful and Dangerous Activities
  • Acting against Members’ Interests
  • A Non-coercive Role
  • Minor Changes in the Law
  • Responsibility for Unemployment
  • Progression to Central Control
  • 'Unassailable' Union Powers


(a) Inflation—A Short-term Expedient

  • Inflation Similar to Drug-taking
  • Accelerating Inflation
  • The Path of Least Resistance


(b) Inflation—The Deceit is Short-lived

  • Limited Central Bank Influence
  • Weak Opposition to Inflation

VI. Main Themes Restated

18. Personal Recollections of Keynes

  • Keynes Changes His Mind
  • Thinking in Aggregates
  • Full Employment Assumption
  • Wide Intellectual Interests

19. General and Relative Wages

  • Unpredictability and the Price System
  • Wage Rigidities
  • Importance of Relative Wages

20. Caracas Conference Remarks

VII. The Outlook for the 1970s: Open or Repressed Inflation?

  • Long-run Vicious Circle
  • Repressed Infl ation a Special Evil
  • Central Control and 'Politically Impossible' Changes
  • Profit-sharing a Solution
  • Basic Causes of Inflation

VIII. Addendum 1978

  • Introduction by Sudha Shenoy
  • Guiding Role of Individual Price Changes

21. Good and Bad Unemployment Policies

  • Maladjustments
  • Wages and Mobility
  • Dangers Ahead

22. Full Employment Illusions

  • Money Expenditure and Employment
  • An Old Argument in New Form
  • The Shortcomings of Fiscal Policy
  • Cyclical Unemployment
  • Consumers’ Goods Demand and Investment Activity
  • Purchasing Power and Prosperity
  • Why the Slump in Capital Goods Industries?

23. Full Employment in a Free Society

  • Hayek’s Writings: A List for Economists


Source: Mises Institute

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