|Freidrich Hayek teaching at the L.S.E. in 1948|
It's a fabulous tale of economic quackery, counterfactual thinking, economic devastation and pirate radio. And while it's clearly centered (or should I say centred) on the UK's experience with Austrian fraudulent economic "thought," the parallels with the US are striking. The rise of the Propaganda Tanks like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and others is in keeping with Hayek's vision.Friedrich Hayek ... wasn't really trying to bring back an old, unpredictable, turbulent laissez-faire system - he wanted to create a new, technocratic system of managed competition that didn't in anyway threaten the existing structure of power.
Historians of the resurgence of economic liberalism have pointed out that, despite his rhetoric, Hayek's theories are very different from laissez-faire, because he wants governments to use their power to enforce and manage what he called "a competitive order" - driven by millions of rational consumers sending abstract signals to each other. And in this way, although his disciples like Fisher and Smedley would hate it, Hayek's vision shared a great deal with the "scientific" planners on the left that he thought were destroying Britain.
When Fisher and Smedley set up their original Think Tank in 1955 they were practically alone. Now politics in Britain is dominated by Think Tanks, and almost all of them are copies of what Fisher and Smedley first invented. They are ideologically motivated PR organisations masquerading as the sort of scholarly institute that Hayek first suggested to Antony Fisher.