1 June 2019
Academic conference on economic, social and epistemological heritage of Anglo-Austrian economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek known for his defence of classic liberalism.
The Constitution of Liberty is a new conference named after Nobel laureate Friedrich August von Hayek's book "The Constitution of Liberty". The book was published in 1960 and, thanks to the support of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, was recently translated into Russian. In his magnum opus, Hayek carefully examines the ideals of classical liberalism and different interpretations of the term freedom. He analyzes the human nature, the morally permissible relationships between negative freedom and public welfare, and the limits of state interference in private and public life.

Following Hayek's work, we will analyze key public institutions in relation to fundamental ethical and economic foundation. We will offer a positive vision of a better society based on the principles of classical liberalism - free market and the rule of law. This year, the Conference coincides with Hayek's 120th birthday and the 45th anniversary of his Nobel prize award.

The Constitution of Liberty is an academic conference designed for an advanced audience familiar with fundamental economic and ethical libertarian ideas. The speakers will provide an in-depth analysis of certain economic, political and philosophical issues in the spirit of the Hayekian paradigm.



The conference program consisted of the following three sections:
1. "Spontaneous order" – the section on economics and Hayek's economic heritage.
2. "Law, Legislation and Liberty" – the section on ethics, politics, and law through the lens of Hayek's intellectual heritage.
3. "Pretence of Knowledge" – the section on epistemology, focusing on general questions of philosophy and methodology of economics.

In each section, speakers delivered brief 35-minute talks on their chosen topics. Each talk was followed by a 10-minute discussion when the audience was able to ask questions, give comments and provide additional perspectives on the discussed issue.
Spontaneous order
John Meadowcroft (UK) – Senior Lecturer in Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London gave a speech on the topic «Is there a Road to Serfdom? A Public Choice Analysis of Hayek's Most Famous Work». He described the main argument of «Road to Serfdom», Hayek's view on unintended consequence of interventionist public policies and looked at their empirical implications. He raised a question whether there is in fact a slippery slope so that any government intervention inevitably leads to totalitarianism. At the end he came to conclusion that totalitarianism probably does not arise from normal politics, but from the suspension of normal politics and that classical liberals should not oppose social democracy as a precursor to totalitarianism.

Aliaksandr Kavaliou (Belarus)– economist, Belarusian National Technical University dedicated his speech "What Can Modern Macroeconomics Learn From the Hayek-Keynes Debate?" to the analysis of prominent Hayek-Keynes Debate and to their relevance today. He talked about Hayek's and Keynes' intellectual evolution, the differences and similarities of their economic theories and the intellectual consequences of those debates.

Daniel Klein (USA) – Professor of Economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Chief editor of Econ Journal Watch gave a speech on the topic "Adam Smith's Commutative, Distributive, and Estimative Justice". He told about Adam Smith's view on justice and described the types of justice that can be found in Smith's works: Commutative, Distributive, and Estimative Justice. He described their meaning, their particularities and their structure. He also provided his opinion on the conformity of these types of justice with the principles of classic liberalism.
Law, Legislation and Liberty
Charlotte Stern(Sweden) – Vice President of the classical liberal Ratio Institute, research fellow at the Swedish Institute for Social Research delivered a speech "Does Political Ideology Hinder Insights on Gender and Labor Markets?" She provided an analysis of political Ideology of US and Sweden academics and later focused on gender sciences. She emphasized the fact that ideological bias often makes it difficult to see the real causes of gender gap or gender segregation in labor markets as it limits creative theorizing and lowers the quality of research.

Irina Chaplygina – Economist, Lomonosov Moscow State University devoted her topic to «Hayek, Ordoliberalism, and Catholicism». She compared the liberal elements in the doctrine of Catholicism and Hayek's worldview. She noted that the Catholic social philosophy elements, which we now refer to liberalism, such as private property initially contradicted the Catholic worldview and told how and why they were later accepted by Catholic church. She also described the differences in Hayek and catholic philosophy, for example their different view on freedom of contract.

The next report of the Austrian school economist and entrepreneur Valery Kizilov was devoted to Hayek's article "Why am I not a conservative?". Kizilov noted that the key difference between a liberal and a conservative is the attitude towards spontaneous order. Conservatives do not always trust impersonal market forces, and therefore are afraid of everything new. Also, conservatives do not trust abstract theories and general principles, and therefore can preach different economic policies in various fields. The next speaker Alexander Görlach from Germany gave his speech by skype, as he couldn't get a Visa to come to Russia. He told about the concept of citizenship and its connection to liberal democracy.
Pretence of Knowledge
The report of the first speaker Pavel Usanov was called "Hayek as a critic of scientism" and was devoted to the ideas of Hayek expressed in the book "The Counter-Revolution of Science." Pavel spoke about the Hayek criticism of unjustified, uncritical application of scientific methods of research to social sciences. He spoke about the specifics of economic information and told about the dispute between economists on the correctness of the use of mathematical language and quantitative research. Further he explained why, in his opinion, scientism inevitably leads to statism. The main sources of anti-capitalism, according to Usanov, is, on the one hand, Marxism and on the other, scientism which is closely related statism (through the technocratic line). According to Usanov, scientism is associated with statism because if we calculated that something leads to something according to "objective" scientific laws, then there is a strong temptation to interfere with the hands of the state and push economic agents to this scientifically correct result.

The conference ended with a report by Grigory Bazhenov. "The Relevance of the Pretence of Knowledge for Modern Economics", dedicated to Hayek's Nobel lecture. Bazhenov said that Hayek's influence is underestimated in economics circles, despite the fact that Hayek is still one of the most quoted Nobel laureates. Gregory also described how Hayek adopted Karl Popper's methodological ideas regarding falsificationism and noted that Hayek's attitude to mathematics was not as negative as it is commonly believed. The report caused many questions and some polemical speech by prof. A.V. Kovalev from the Belarusian National Technical University.
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