Born in 1899 in Vienna, Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek is a legend of sorts in voluntaryist, libertarian, and crypto-economic circles. Freshly rediscovered video footage of the Austrian School philosopher and social theorist from 1984 is now making the rounds on crypto Twitter. In a stunning soundbite of an already well-known quote, Hayek declares that the only way to return to sound money is to take it out of the hands of government. He goes on to describe in spine-chillingly fortuitous fashion a money that requires no permission, and no central “authority.”
The Prescience of Hayek
“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.” So spoke Friedrich Hayek in 1984. Reevaluating those words 35 years hence and it is hard not to interpret them in the context of Bitcoin.
Hayek was not alone in predicting the coming phenomenon of crypto in the 1980s. The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto of 1988 also called it way beforehand. As did American economist Milton Friedman in 1999:
The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, it’s a reliable e-cash. A method where buying on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A. The way in which I can take a 20 dollar bill and hand it over to you and there’s no record of where it came from.