Hayek vs Keynes: A Battle of Ideas offers a clear historical account of the works of the two great totems of modern economic thought: Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money were written against a background of devastation following the First World War. Thomas Hoerber explains the historical context in which the books were written and shows how lessons can be drawn for current economic and political phenomena, such as the recent financial crisis, globalization and European integration. He illustrates how classical economic theory as well as a qualitative method in economics can enlighten our understanding of the present economic environment. With a broad European perspective, this book places the two great economic thinkers of the twentieth century in their historical context, and asks what we can learn from their work today.
‘The shock of the Great Depression led to intellectual tumult as economists tried to understand the causes and recommend responses. To Keynes, economic narrative offered a better approach than mathematics; to Hayek, the problem was too little abstraction. To Keynes, people could work together within the framework of the state; to Hayek, the answer was to operate within the free market. The shock of the Great Recession has not had the same impact on economics, with mathematical modelling remaining in the ascendant, and the state more often seen as the disease than the cure. Thomas Hoerber’s analysis of these two giants of the history of economics makes us reflect on the crisis of our own time as much as on the world they inhabited.’ – Martin Daunton, Professor of Economic History, University of Cambridge
Thomas Hoerber is Professor in European Studies at ESSCA School of Management in Angers, France. He is the author of five books, including The Foundations of Europe (2006) and European Space Policy: European Integration and the Final Frontier (2015).