London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1949. Second edition, fourth impression. Hardcover. Prices and Production is the second published book by economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek. This was Hayek’s first book based on his work with the London School of Economics and the result of the 1931 lectures that began his LSE career and led to his naturalization as a British citizen.
This copy is the 1949 fourth printing of the second (“revised and enlarged”) edition – the sixth issue of this book in English. There were two printings of the first edition – 1931 and 1932 – followed by four printings of the second edition – 1935, 1941, 1946, and this 1949 printing. This despite the bibliographically erroneous “Sixth Impression” printed on the front face of the dust jacket.
Condition is very good in a very good minus dust jacket. The blue cloth binding is square, bright, and tight with only minor shelf wear and tiny instances of sunning at the spine ends corresponding to dust jacket losses. The contents are bright with no previous owner names. Trivial spotting is primarily confined to the page edges. The dust jacket has a neatly price-clipped lower front flap, minor loss to the spine ends and corners, modest toning and scuffing to the spine, and some mild soiling and spotting to the faces. The jacket is protected beneath a clear, removable, archival cover.
Vienna-born British economist Friedrich August Hayek (1899-1992), winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, was known for his criticisms of the Keynesian welfare state and of totalitarian socialism. Following degrees from the University of Vienna, a research assistantship in New York, work at the Austrian Institute for Economic Research, and a lectureship at the University of Vienna, in the late 1920s some of Hayek’s papers caught the attention of a professor at the London School of Economics (LSE) – one of the few who could read German. So it was that in 1931 Hayek was invited to give a series of lectures in London. The result was twofold. First, Hayek’s lectures were published later that year as Prices and Production. Second, the 32-year old Hayek was offered an LSE professorship.
He became a British citizen before the Second World War and remained at LSE until 1950. Hayek became part of the effort “to establish the LSE as a centre for economic theory; to counteract the insular emphasis of Cambridge; and to combat the influence of John Maynard Keynes”. Hayek later regarded his work at the LSE in the 1930s as “intellectually [the] most active and satisfying of my life”. Four decades before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, “Hayek was mainly known in the 1930s for technical studies of monetary, business cycle, and capital theory.” (ODNB, Hayek on Hayek)
Ultimately, Hayek’s writings “asserted the case for general rules over discretionary authority. They exposed the misleading identification of liberal democracy with the divine right of temporary majorities. They demonstrated the connection between economic and personal freedoms. They showed that the domination of both the political and economic market place by interest group struggles is a source of evil; and they explained why pecuniary rewards neither can nor should reflect merit.” (ODNB). Item #007672