Hayek in Vienna

Monday, November 07, 2005

What Hayek got for Christmas.

In my investigations for the exhibition I found a letter by Friedrich Hayek and his brothers to the „Christkind“ from 1907. For those of you that don't know the Christkind or christchild is the European Santaclaus (whose civilian name is „Chris Kringl“ isn't crossculturalism funny?) and brings the presents on Christmas Eve.

"Address: To the Christkind in Heaven

Dear Christkind!

Please bring two packets of tin soldiers, one „Dragoon“ and one „Artillery“. Also a Matador building block set and a set of map puzzles. Finally three books, an atlas, a book on plants and a book by Karl May."

All three boys sent the same letter so I assume that there was some "suggestion" as to whet they should wish for. Besides the tin soldiers which are interesting since Hayek latter served in an Artillery regiment I especially like the Matador reference. This is a company that makes wood building blocks and was founded in 1903 and had become popular by 1907 as the letter proves. These are really creative toys for kids. In the late 20th century the company changed its traditional product to more modern plastic etc. and subsequently went broke. In 1997 a young husband and wife entrepreneur team bought the rights to the product and began production of the classic product again in a rural area of Austria with real wood. Just goes to show that with energy and the right product you can be successful even in a high labour cost country like Austria. I think Hayek would have liked that.