Angus Burgin on Hayek, Friedman, and the Great Persuasion


Listen to the EconTalk podcast Angus Burgin on Hayek, Friedman, and the Great Persuasion and consider these questions.

1. Why does Burgin describe Hayek as "an unlikely public intellectual?"

2. How does Burgin describe Hayek's views on how to bring about long-term ideological change? What role(s) did Hayek envision the Mont Pelerin Society playing in this process?

3. What constitutes the "social safety net" in Hayek's The Road to Serfdom? How radical is such a proposal today, compared to when Serfdom was initially published? Do you think Hayek would approve of what is in place today? Why?

4. Compare the views of Hayek, Friedman, and Knight on the relationship between markets and morals, according to Burgin. Which view do you think best characterizes this relationship, and why?

5. Roberts and Burgin briefly discuss the effects that large aggregations of wealth can have on public opinion. What are they talking about, and to what extent is their analogy to venture capital a good one?

6. How does Burgin describe Friedman's views on the methodology of positive economics? For what two reasons does Burgin think Friedman's piece on methodology was so significant?

7. Why would Friedman suggest that Mises and Rand would have a harder time convincing anyone they were right, according to Burgin? Do you agree? Why?

8. Roberts suggests, "You need to have ideas around that allow events to take advantage of them." What does he mean by this?

9. To what extent would you consider Milton Friedman a utopian, and why?

10. How did Hayek's vision of the good society compare to Friedman's, according to Burgin? Whose vision comes closer to your own?