[star]The American Mind[star]

May 11, 2006

Mont Pelerin Society Essay Contest

A dream of mine is to attend a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, a group of classical liberal, libertarian, and conservative thinkers. The organization's website states, "Its sole objective was to facilitate an exchange of ideas between like-minded scholars in the hope of strengthening the principles and practice of a free society and to study the workings, virtues, and defects of market-oriented economic systems." Past members include Ludwig von Mises and my intellectual hero Friedrich von Hayek. Current members include Milton Friedman, James Buchanan, Gary Becker, and Ed Feulner.

If I get my act in gear and write one hell of an essay I could win and be invited. The topic is on this Hayek quote:

From the first establishment of (trade) which served reciprocal but not common purposes, a process has been going on for millennia which, by making rules of conduct independent of the particular purposes of those concerned, made it possible to extend these rules to ever wider circles of undetermined persons and eventually might make possible a universal peaceful order of the world.

That quote contains mini-summaries of Hayek's ideas: the importance of the rule of law, free trade, how dispersed knowledge is used to coordinate economic actions, and how we would have a better, more peaceful world.

Any essay of mine will draw upon Hayek's "The Use of Knowledge in Society." His The Constitution of Liberty and The Road to Serfdom will also have meaningful material. What I will need is a unique angle or hook to get the judges' attention. A few years ago I won an essay contest sponsored by Laissez Faire Books. My winning essay was title "Hayek's Alien Abduction." My hook was having the great economist kidnapped by aliens then transported to the present to see if his fears in The Road to Serfdom came to fruition. I'll need something more substantial to have a shot in the Mont Pelerin Society contest. If you've read any Hayek or have any thoughts on the above quote leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

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Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 10:04 PM | Comments (3)