The Oxford Hayek Society is a student society for the advancement of individual, social and economic liberty. We are the home for classical liberals and libertarians studying in Oxford’s universities.
Founded in 1983, we are Oxford’s oldest student society that advocates for free markets, civil liberties, private property, the rule of law and limited government - to further the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
To that effect, we host speaker events, discussion groups and socials every term. We draw speakers from a range of backgrounds, including academia, politics and thinktanks, and discuss a range of topics including current affairs, political philosophy, economics and history.
Our events are open to anyone, regardless of their political persuasion or whether they study at Oxford’s universities. We welcome new faces: they keep our talks and discussions interesting.
We are governed by a President, who is elected annually by our members, and a supporting Committee. We are named after Friedrich August von Hayek, an Anglo-Austrian economist who made great strides to defend classical liberalism in the economic field. Between 2008 to 2012, and again from 2018 to 2019, we were known as the Oxford Libertarian Society.
The Oxford Hayek Society was founded in 1983 by a group of three students:
Hannes Hólmsteinn Gissurarson (now a Professor at the University of Iceland);
Chandran Kukathas (now a Professor at the London School of Economics); and
Andrew Melnyk (now a Professor at the University of Missouri).
They were soon joined by Stephen Macedo (now a Profesor at Princeton University) and Emilio Pacheco (now President and CEO at Liberty Fund). Dr. John Gray of Jesus College advised the group and provided them "much intellectual stimulus and encouragement".
"This was a society devoted to a sympathetic, but scholarly, discussion of the problems and principles of classical liberalism, as expounded by John Locke, Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville and Lord Acton, and as revived in the latter half of the 20th century by Friedrich A. Hayek, Milton Friedman and Robert Nozick."