The Review of Austrian Economics, 15:4, 359–368, 2002.
2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
Boudewijn Bouckaert and Annette Godart-Van Der Kroon, Editors (2000) Hayek
Revisted (Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar). 157 + xxi pp. 1-85898-449-1.
Hayek Revisited, published under the auspices of The Locke Institute, contains eleven
papers (plus an Introduction by Boudewijn Bouckaert, Annette Godart-Van Der Kroon, and
Martin De Vliegere) that were prepared for four conferences sponsored by the Belgian-
Dutch Ludwig Von Mises Institute during 1993–1996. The papers are organized into three
categories: “Spontaneous Order, Ethics, and Freedom,” “Farewell to the Welfare State?,”
and “Europe: Widening or Deepening?” The book is not a study of Hayek’s theories, as such,
but an attempt to extend and apply those ideas. The majority of the authors are philosophers
of law; consequently, the papers generally center on questions concerning the nature of
law, liberal conceptions of legitimacy, and role of the state. Given the volume’s emphasis,
it will be of interest to economists who wish to peek into questions that Hayekian legal
theorists have been asking. The book may more directly appeal to a broader multidisciplinary
audience interested in the kinds of constitutional, normative, and legal questions inspired by
the breadth and depth of Hayek’s oeuvre. Perhaps the central observation to be made about
the book is its demonstration of the power of Hayekian ideas to inform liberal sensibilities
and of the fertility of those ideas for studying difﬁcult and complex problems. The implicit
message in the book is that Hayek, rather than providing settled answers, actually leaves the
playing ﬁeld wide and deep enough to sustain a vigorous research program. Readers seeking
a linear extension of Hayekian ideas to some deﬁnitive end-point will be disappointed by
Hayek’s emphasis on the “twin ideas of evolution and of the spontaneous formation of
an order” (Hayek 1978:250) forms the central motif of the six papers in Part I. With the
exception of Ulrich Witt’s paper on business cycle theory, they all tackle, directly or in-
directly, the problem of normative criteria in assessing spontaneous orders. Kurt Leube’s
“Hayek’s Spontaneous Order and the Ethics of Free Markets” identiﬁes the early inﬂu-
ence on Hayek of the legal positivist Hans Kelsen and Hayek’s subsequent rejection of
Leube argues that Hayek’s “incidental work for the introduction for
Collectivist Economic Planning” set the stage for “Economics and Knowledge” of 1936
and the “conscious breakthrough [of] a uniﬁed vision” (pp. 6–7) that enabled him to explore
the implications of the knowledge problem for catallactic theory and subsequently for legal
theory. According to Leube, Hayek’s key insight was to conceive of the social order as an
evolutionary process animated by a discovery procedure that “not only makes use of this
existing knowledge, but also permanently generates new knowledge” via social interactions
among autonomous agents (p. 7).
Hayek’s interest in the division of knowledge is well
known, but his treatment of the production of knowledge in society was largely implicit.
Leube is on ﬁrm ground in raising this latter element, but in only brieﬂy mentioning the
knowledge generating capacities of social orders, he passes up an opportunity to develop a