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The Mirage of Social Justice (Law, Legislation and Liberty #2)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  151 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
F. A. Hayek made many valuable contributions to the field of economics as well as to the disciplines of philosophy and politics. This volume represents the second of Hayek's comprehensive three-part study of the relations between law and liberty. Here, Hayek expounds his conviction that he continued unexamined pursuit of "social justice" will contribute to the erosion of p ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published October 15th 1978 by University Of Chicago Press (first published October 1st 1976)
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Hayek's rejection of social justice is mostly based on very simple economic theories and where it goes beyond that it is little more than an opinion piece that is neither fair nor necessarily consistent. He argues that social justice is impossible to clearly define and that therefore, politicians won't know where to stop, but will be under pressure from interest groups to more and more severe intervention. It is not much of an exaggeration to summarise his warning as a claim that everything is a ...more
Otto Lehto
Apr 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I have reviewed the other volumes elsewhere. I think they all support each other, but the second volume is perhaps the one that is the most controversial - and also most repetitive of the stuff he already said in Constitution of Liberty, which I still think is Hayek's best work.

Volume 2 is primarily a negative book: a critique of the notion of "social justice." Hayek argues that a complex market society, where individuals are free to pursue their own ends, cannot and should not have a unified co
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hayek mixes a few sections of eminently quotable ideas about the inability to determine Justice by a non-totalitarian society, into a work that generally is so dense that it has, in the words of Robert Coram (about another writer) "the specific gravity of Plutonium". This still is an excellent reminded that Hayek was, like Adam Smith before him, as much a moral philosopher as a market philosopher.
Eugene Kernes
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
'The Mirage of Social Justice' is a great book which describes how the term 'Justice' is used inappropriately. Justice can only look at actions of particular individuals, not a spontaneous order of events which were not determined by direction of an individual. When those who are hurt by condition use the phrase 'unjust', they can manipulate the authority to provide for their ends by taking away resources from those who gained. When an authority uses the term 'social justice', they inevitably ta ...more
Craig Bolton
"Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 2: The Mirage of Social Justice by F. A. Hayek (1978)"
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm a Hayek zealot, so of course I loved the book. It confirms - and demonstrates very persuasively - what I have long intuitively believed: "social justice" is a completely meaningless expression.
Eric Stein
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Law and governance having been dealt with, Hayek turns to the chimera of social justice.
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  • Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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Friedrich August von Hayek CH was an Austrian and British economist and philosopher known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought. He is considered by some to be one of the most important economists and political philosophers of the twentieth century. Hayek's account of how changing prices communicate signals which enable indivi ...more
More about Friedrich A. Hayek

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“While an equality of rights under a limited government is possible and an essential condition of individual freedom, a claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.” 33 likes
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