Friedrich Hayek and Adam Smith on the Concept of Liberty

Hosted by the Department of Economics

Online and in-person public event (Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building)


Professor Barry R Weingast

Professor Barry R Weingast


Professor Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey

Professor Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey

Both Hayek and Smith differ from more recent attempts to define liberty. Indeed, the term, “liberty,” has largely disappeared from traditional economics. As part of a larger study of Adam Smith’s politics, Barry Weingast suggests why this is the case.

The reason for this disappearance is that modern economics assumes away the problem that liberty solves, namely, in Hayek and Smith's terms, that of arbitrary power, and in modern terms, that of government predation.

Meet our speaker and chair

Barry R Weingast is the Ward C. Krebs Family Professor, Department of Political Science, and a Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution. He served as Chair, Department of Political Science, from 1996 through 2001. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey (@Cheryl_SB) is Professor in Political Science and Fellow of the British Academy and served as Head of the LSE Government Department from 2019-2022. Her research interests are in political economy, legislatures, deliberation and accountability. 

More about this event

The Department of Economics (@LSEEcon) at LSE is one of the largest economics departments in the world. Its size ensures that all areas of economics are strongly represented in both research and teaching.

This event is part of the Hayek Programme.

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