23 October 2023 • Faculty Yadav’s Book Reviewed in WSJ

Professor of International Relations Vikash Yadav’s recent book offers “a bold and unconventional claim” about the work of economist Friedrich Hayek, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In Liberalism’s Last Man: Hayek in the Age of Political Capitalism (University of Chicago Press), Professor of International Relations Vikash Yadav offers a modern take on economist Friedrich Hayek’s famous work, The Road to Serfdom (1944), reframing its message for the 21st century. As a recent review of Yadav’s book in the Wall Street Journal explains, his “justification for his defense of Hayek in general and ‘The Road to Serfdom’ in particular isn't only academic.”

“[Yadav] argues that a renewed appreciation for Hayek can help meet present threats to liberalism (which, like Hayek, he associates with individual freedom, the rule of law and meritocratic competition),” writes reviewer Samuel Goldman, an associate professor at George Washington University and editor of the online journal FUSION. “Dismissing ideological socialism as a relic of the 20th century, Mr. Yadav argues that the great threat to liberalism now comes from what the economist Branko Milanovic dubs ‘political capitalism’ — a bureaucratically managed economy in which decisions by individuals and firms are subject to extensive coordination by a permanent ruling party.”

The HWS community can access the Wall Street Journal article here.

Goldman writes that Liberalism's Last Man “performs an exceptional service in recasting ‘The Road to Serfdom’ in a form that modern readers may find easier to appreciate than the original work. For too long Hayek has been treated — by admirers and critics alike — as a slogan or a caricature rather than a serious thinker. It’s time for a comeback.”

Liberalism’s Last Man is one of two new books Yadav published this summer; the other, The Politics of India under Modi: Democracy, Economy, and Foreign Policy (Lever Press/Michigan Publishing), coauthored with Elon University professor Jason A. Kirk, assesses India’s political landscape since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which pulled the nation’s politics rightward.

Yadav is a scholar of international relations, focusing on the international political economy, particularly issues such as finance, globalization and poverty, and of comparative politics, exploring the political economy of South Asia, political capitalism, and developmental states. He is the author of a previous book, Risk in International Finance (Routledge), as well as numerous scholarly articles. A member of the American Political Science Association and the International Studies Association, Yadav holds a B.A. from DePauw University, an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.