Originally published in 1960, The Constitution of Liberty delineates and defends the principles of a free society and traces the origin, rise, and decline of the rule of law. Casting a skeptical eye on the growth of the welfare state, Hayek examines the challenges to freedom posed by an ever expanding government as well as its corrosive effect on the creation, preservation, and utilization of knowledge.
In distinction to those who confidently call for the state to play a greater role in society, Hayek puts forward a nuanced argument for prudence. Guided by this quality, he elegantly demonstrates that a free market system in a democratic polity—under the rule of law and with strong constitutional protections of individual rights—represents the best chance for the continuing existence of liberty.
Striking a balance between skepticism and hope, Hayek’s profound insights remain strikingly vital half a century on. This definitive edition of The Constitution of Liberty will give a new generation the opportunity to learn from Hayek’s enduring wisdom.
Introduction Part 1: The Value of Freedom 1. Liberty and Liberties 2. The Creative Powers of a Free Civilization 3. The Common Sense of Progress 4. Freedom, Reason, and Tradition 5. Responsibility and Freedom 6. Equality, Value, and Merit 7. Majority Rule 8. Employment and Independence Part 2: Freedom and the Law 9. Coercion and the State 10. Law, Commands, and Order 11. The Origins of the Rule of Law 12. The American Contribution: Constitutionalism 13. Liberalism and Administration: The Rechtsstaat 14. The Safeguards of Individual Liberty 15. Economic Policy and the Rule of Law 16. The Decline of the Law Part 3: Freedom in the Welfare State 17. The Decline of Socialism and the Rise of the Welfare State 18. Labor Unions and Employment 19. Social Security 20. Taxation and Redistribution 21. The Monetary Framework 22. Housing and Town Planning 23. Agriculture and Natural Resources 24. Education and Research