Hayek Society (LSE)
The London School of Economics Hayek Society (LSEHS) is a student society founded in 1996 which supports free markets, free trade and the spread of democracy worldwide.
The group propagates the views of Friedrich von Hayek, the Austrian economist who favored an individualistic ethos, removal of state restrictions, opposed socialism in any form, presented a cynical view of altruistic motivations, and opposed the notion of "society". Hayek taught at LSE from 1931 until 1950, and the society was named in his honor. LSEHS counts on warm support from LSE Economics faculty, Howard Davies, the LSE Director, and Lord Grabiner of Aldwych, a school governor. LSEHS publishes a journal, called Ama-Gi, with articles written by prominent right-wingers/libertarians. The funding for the lavishly-endowed society comes from a network of think-tanks and companies. Among these are:
- Adam Smith Institute
- Institute of Economic Affairs
- Institute for Humane Studies
- Claremont Institute
- New Frontiers Foundation
- International Policy Network
- Stockholm Network
Literature from these organizations is often available at LSEHS meetings. One of the attractions for students to join LSEHS is that it provides a network for students to find summer jobs or internships at these institutes. Former LSEHS members who now work in the London financial center circulate information about jobs available in the City. Previous members have gone on to work in the private sector; several have created their own companies; and some currently work for other think-tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Policy Exchange, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Within the LSE, the Hayek Society boasts a large membership of European and North American intellectuals drawing from both conservatives and libertarians. Due to the Hayek Society's status as an "associated society", its exact endowment is unknown. It is estimated however that it has an annual operating revenue of approximately £100,000. Most of the revenue is provided through selling advertisements in the academic journal they publish, sponsorship and selling tickets to the lecture series they host. The Hayek Society also runs a small publishing press, Houghton Street Press.
LSEHS is active in LSE student politics by either launching their own candidates/roster, by favoring the right-wingers, and actively discouraging its members from voting for given candidates.
The speakers invited to the LSEHS are mostly libertarians and neocons. The reigning themes deal with:
- government regulation of the economy/industry -- LSEHS is opposed to that in principle;
- pushing a view that corporations are well intentioned and don't need to be regulated -- LSEHS is opposed to Corporate Social Responsibility;
- measures to stem climate change or environmental degradation -- since this would introduce taxes or impair the "freedom" of the individual, LSEHS is opposed to carbon trading, taxes etc. LSEHS operates on a very simple principle: the individual should have the possibility to operate however he/she wants -- full stop. Pollution and climate change are problematic to the egoistic world-view because it suggests that the externalities caused by individual action are infringing on the quality of life, livelihoods, and rights of others. The basic premise of Hayek's philosophy suddenly encounters chronic ecological, economic and social limits. The attitude of LSEHS has been to deny individual responsibility for environmental damage, and they oppose government "interference". The speakers on this topic have gravitated from total denial (e.g., Oskonski) to others who admit that market solutions can be found -- some like the carbon trading schemes. Another topic causing heated discussion is the Precautionary principle -- LSEHS is completely opposed to this notion because it interferes with Hayek's individualistic world-view.
- there should be no interference with markets and their operation yields ethically positive or neutral results. LSEHS disapproves to introduce "fair trade" or other ethical trading schemes. If the markets are already beyond reproach, then there is no need to introduce voluntary or imposed restrictions. The markets never cause misery, they only add to the wealth of societies, and thus there should be no tampering -- even if well intended.
It regularly hosts discussion groups and lectures, and in the past it has sponsored talks by the following speakers: (alpha order)
- Norman Barry
- John Blundell
- Peter Boettke
- Andy Denis
- Richard Ebeling
- Edward Feulner – President of the Heritage Foundation
- Tim Leunig
- John Meadowcroft
- Julian Morris
- Kendra Okonski
- Alykhan Velshi
- Mark Pennington
- Elaine Sternberg
- Irwin Stelzer
- Leonard Liggio
- Jeremy Shearmur (30 Oct. 2007)
- Nigel Ashford Senior Program Officer at the Institute for Humane Studies
Job or internship information circulation
LSEHS often circulates job/internship information to its members. Most of these circulars deal with jobs/internships in right-wing think tanks, but on occassion some of the City (Financial Industry in London) does the same. A list of prior circulars:
|The Executive Committee|
|President||Dominique Lazanski||Dominique Lazanski||Nick Spurrell||Nick Spurrell|
|Vice President||Eliana Santanatoglia||Peter Anderson||Larissa Price||Lauri Tahtinen|
|Treasurer||Andrew Perraut||Tom Claerhout||Aaron Maczonis||Sarah Meacham|
|Secretary||Andre Alves||Andre Alves||Arthur Krebbers||Natalia Mamaeva|
|Events Coordinator||Sanjit Singh||Larissa Price||Louis Haynes|
|Alumni Relations||Paul Duffour|
|Journal Editor||Andrew Brantley||Orson Francescone||Erica Yu|
|Editorial Advisor||Anthony Evans|
- About LSE Hayek Society, Hayek Society website, accessed 10 May 2010