Hayek and Mises: Some Vignettes

Document Type: Original Article


Duke Economics Department, Duke University, United States


My aim in this paper is to present a series of vignettes, snapshots if you will, that when I am finished will give us perhaps a little bit better idea of the Hayek-Mises relationship. Some of these stories are well known, others less so, and some that are well known might need to be modified. After I present these stories I am hopeful that those in the audience who may have others will be encouraged to share them, and when necessary to correct my own. I should add that some of these come from research that the Viennese historian of economic thought Hansjoerg Klausinger and I have done for a planned biography of Hayek.
Beginning at the beginning, Hayek has told us in his reminiscences that though he had once tried going to one of Mises’ lectures at the University of Vienna when he was a student there from 1918 to 1921, he found him not to his taste (Hayek 1994, p. 68). After finishing his first degree he went in search of a job, and found himself standing in fall 1921 before Mises at the Abrechnungsamt (which I shall henceforth refer to, given my hatcheting of the German language, as the Office of Accounts), a temporary governmental office charged with clearing war debts.