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One of the most significant thinkers of the 20th century, Friedrich A. Hayek (1899–1992) is renowned for his critique of socialist economic planning and for a defense of classical liberalism that employs a theory of social evolution and spontaneous order. A recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1974), he made important contributions to political philosophy, the history of ideas, psychology, and the method of the social sciences. The fundamental problem of society is, for Hayek, not the allocation of resources but the coordination and utilization of the knowledge that is dispersed among millions of anonymous individuals. To meet this problem, Hayek argues for a rule of law to establish conditions of liberty, thereby allowing the emergence of a spontaneous social order of greater complexity ...

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