2014 Hayek Essay Competition

Friedrich A. Hayek Fellowships
for the
(Hong Kong – August 31-September 5, 2014)

“If we are to understand how society works, we must attempt to define the general nature and range of our ignorance concerning it. … The misleading effect of the usual approach stands out clearly if we examine the significance of the assertion that man has created his civilization and that he therefore can also change its institutions as he pleases. … In a sense it is true, of course, that man has made his civilization. It is the product of his actions or, rather, of the action of a few hundred generations. This does not mean, however, that civilization is the product of human design, or even that man knows what its functioning or continued existence depends upon. …If we are to advance, we must leave room for a continuous revision of our present conceptions and ideals which will be necessitated by further experience. We are as little able to conceive what civilizations will be, or can be, five hundred or even fifty years hence as our medieval forefathers or even our grandparents were able to foresee our manner of life today.” (F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty [The Definitive Edition edited by Ronald Hamowy], Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press, 2011, p. 74)
Essay Contest
Why is recognition of human ignorance an important starting point for Hayek? To what degree is human liberty important for the progress of civilization? Can the pretense of knowledge, independent of experience, mislead decision-making?
First prize: $2500 cash award + travel grant*
Second prize: $1500 cash award + travel grant*
Third prize: $1000 cash award + travel grant*

Visit www.montpelerin.org for more information on the Hayek Essay contest, and visit
www.mps2014.org for more information on the General Meeting.

The Hayek Essay Contest is open to all individuals 35 years old or younger. Entrants should write a  5,000 word (maximum) essay. Essays are due on May 31, 2014 and the winners will be announced on  July 15, 2014. Essays must be submitted in English only. Electronic versions should be sent to:  [email protected] Prizes are given to the top three essays and include a Hayek Fellow cash award  plus a travel grant* to our Society’s next General Meeting in Hong Kong August 31-September 5,  2014. The essays will be judged by an international panel of three senior members of the Society.
*Travel grant includes coach class airfare, registration fee, and most meals. Hotel, food, and other expenses will  be the responsibility of the attendee. Please contact us at [email protected] with additional questions.

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4 Responses to 2014 Hayek Essay Competition

  1. stackja

    The Hayek Essay Contest is open to all individuals 35 years old or younger.

    I am too old and too ignorant. Good luck to the young and smart.

  2. Lysander

    The Hayek Essay Contest is open to all individuals 35 years old or younger

    Because liberty is only important to the under 35’s? If you’re 36, forget it.


  3. Julie Novak

    Hi Lysander, such a nonsensical statement you have made. Would you rather a young person sufficiently incentivised to write an essay which enables him or her to discover the timeless ideas of liberty, or leave them uninquisitive and lost to socialism? I would much rather the former, and thus applaud the initiative of the MPS in this regard.

  4. Lysander

    Julie – that is a red herring.

    Why can’t anyone learn the timeless ideas of liberty? Oh, but only under 35s get “incentivised” to do so? Why can’t a 36 or 49 year old be given a chance to contribute to ideas?

    I suppose you also think 37 year old PhD students such as myself shouldn’t be doing a PhD for the same reasons you’ve attempted to make above?

    I understand how it works. MPS, Lion Rock, Mannkal all do it. And I applaud it. I just think an age criteria is a bit rich. Rafe knows what my PhD is on – liberty!!!

    I just hate the way all think-tanks of all persuasions incentivise “young” and nobody else for their own corporate intellectual gain. They all feel this can only be done with the young. Those of us who fall outside of the ABS demographic never get a look in.

    Sorry JN. Rant out 🙂

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