There’s a disconnect between Friedrich Hayek’s principles and his practical policy positions, according to Canadian scholar Andrew Lister. In a working paper for the Centre for the Study of Social Justice at Oxford Lister argues that Hayek is a closet Rawlsian — an egalitarian liberal "who reaches inegalitarian conclusions only via equivocation and implausible empirical claims". So is there anything useful we can learn from Hayek’s work? Lister concludes:
One lesson Hayek has to teach us, perhaps, is that markets and private property rights are important not just because they are efficient at producing wealth, but because they involve people with very different values and purposes managing to cooperate in generally beneficial ways, despite their many disagreements about how society ought to allocate its resources. And they involve all of us exploring on a decentralized, trial-and-error basis the great many different ways there are of producing the things we want or might discover we want. The value in this process is not just in generating greater material wealth but in permitting and indeed encouraging attempts at different ways of living. Of course there is a lot of mindless consumerism and conformity in mass markets. But it would be a mistake to ignore the tremendous creativity and innovation that markets and private property permit. Experiments in living also require experiments in producing.