The Road to Serfdom / Edition 2

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More About This Textbook

Overview

The Road to Serfdom remains one of the all-time classics of twentieth-century intellectual thought. For over half a century, it has inspired politicians and thinkers around the world, and has had a crucial impact on our political and cultural history. With trademark brilliance, Hayek argues convincingly that, while socialist ideals may be tempting, they cannot be accomplished except by means that few would approve of.
Addressing economics, fascism, history, socialism and the Holocaust, Hayek unwraps the trappings of socialist ideology. He reveals to the world that little can result from such ideas except oppression and tyranny. Today, more than fifty years on, Hayek's warnings are just as valid as when The Road to Serfdom was first published.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415253895
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Series: Routledge Classics Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 199,802
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

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(30)

4 Star

(9)

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(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 48 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 14, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Ahead of his time

    This book gives an excellent intellectual and objective analysis on central economic planning, whether it be National Socialism (Nazism), Fascism, Socialism, or Communism. He ties all collectivist/statist systems together into how they all are very closely related when put into practice and diverge in the non-essentials. It is a great book for the classical liberal and libertarians of the world and may even be good for conservatives. I found the book to make so much sense that I understand why it took so much to finally get published when fascist/socialist economic planning was so popular in the time. Nobody likes someone who makes an intellectually honest case against the mainstream intellectual and political grain. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn the truth about economics and central planning that goes without the emotional driven rhetoric. Hayek was a true liberal in the consistent and original sense of the word. Its sad how the label has become so corrupted in America to mean the very opposite. Classical liberal ideals are what will allow a country to thrive and prosper. Collectivist/statism systems like Nazism, communism, Fascism, and Socialism will deteriorate individual freedom and progress for mankind which,In turn, brings us back into primitive tribalism for the sake of destroying a system of individual freedom that has taken thousands of years to build up. This book is very highly recommended and a credible, honest, and objective analysis of the failures of collectivist thought and practice.

    44 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    This is the finest book to explore the devastating effects of socialism. . . . and Hayek wrote it before it was as obvious as it is now. I've read it numerous times and always find something new

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Written decades ago, but still applicable

    Hayek's Road to Serfdom is, in my opinion, necessary reading for all those who cherish the fountainhead of our civic blessings--freedom. Hayek's meticulous research and insight provides stunning revelations into the minds and methods of all socialists (he dedicates the book to socialists of all parties) and the dangers that they pose to all free societies. The writing can be dense at times, but this is par for the course from an intellectual of the caliber of Hayek. Despite some difficult or obscure references, Hayek's work is clear, concise and enlightening. I have trouble putting the book down and feel that future readings of the text will provide me with even more insight. If the politics and policies of the present day worry you or give you the uneasy feeling that there must be something better, then you should absolutely read this book! Hayek shows that the immortal words of Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty, or give me death!" can be no more honest or true.

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Applicable to today's politics and economy

    Amazing that a book written in the 1940's was so predictive of the future and relevant to the present economic and political debate. Fairly easy reading for such a seemingly "dry" subject (unlike, say, The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk). Hayek spells out the dangers of a collectivist state and how it can develop, even if initially from good intentions.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    A Classic That Should be Read and Re-read

    This book is a classic review of political systems written in England during WWII but with high relevance for today. The author would go on to the United States and become a highly respected economist. The descriptions of the socialist movements of Europe of the time and the origins of socialist thought in the 19th century are well worth reading for their relevance today. This book served as a warning to all regarding the appealing phrases used at the time one of which was used to 'sell' total government control: "scientific planning". Socialism, when implemented in Europe, grew into different branches taking hold as either communism, Fascist socialism, or National Socialism (totalitarianism). The book was controversial at the time regrding the application of socialist thought as it was implemented and the book drew heated criticism in Europe and from certain corners in the United States. It should be remembered that the early 20th century movements toward collectivism were widespread among the elites. In the United States there were intellectual circles and political movements that espoused socialism as a cure for the negatives of the Great Depression. Collectivists were popular then even inside the New Deal government. Among political parties socialism and the future of it in the United States were defined by such quotes as, "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate? 1940, 1944 and 1948.

    This book is highly recommended.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Let's not repeat the 1930s

    I just finished this outstanding volume. I knew of Hayek from my Philosophy curriculum 30 years ago, but have focused in other areas since then. These most trying of times brought me back to the roots of what is important and why. Hayek systematically addressses collectivism in all of its forms and address how the noble intentions of a central planning that is intended to work for the "good of the whole" inevitably degenerates into a power struggle of interest groups and in the worst cases degenerates into fascism. Liberty resides in individualism balanced by the rule of law, as our founding fathers so wisely observed leading to the creation of a Republic. In this way power is diffuse among the people and not availble for abuse by small groups bent on directing society to their purposes.<BR/><BR/>It is frightening how these clear insights from 1944 seem to have been forgotten in America. Perhaps our memories can be jogged in time to avert disaster.

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2009

    Only five stars?

    I am lucky to have had an Austrian economist as my Econ 101 professor some 25 years ago. As a result of being more interested in the neckline and the subtle perfume of the young lady sitting in front of me, I first read The Road to Serfdom with the view of "It's just another homework assignment". <BR/><BR/>A few years later, having changed my major from Economics to Poli-Sci, I reread the book with considerable interest. I have since read the book no less than a half-dozen times. It has had a profound effect on my political philosophy. And though written 70 years ago, this timeless classic is still applicable in today's world as I refer to it in nearly every political discussion in which I engage.<BR/><BR/>I purchased the book "used" in my university bookstore and it is quite tattered. I even take a few of the loose pages with me while backpacking for the purpose of contemplation free from the distractions in the modern world. I am buying three copies of The Road to Serfdom: one for myself, one for another like-minded friend, and one for a wayward modern liberal friend who doesn't realize that she's actually a classical liberal.<BR/><BR/>The Road to Serfdom should be required reading for every HS senior. Indeed, it ought to be on the book shelf of every book shelf in the world. It is truly one of the finest books ever written.

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    Hayek's masterpiece

    Although a bit difficult to read, this book provides a great guide for those interested in understanding socialism and its consequences. I highly recommend for those who want to know and appreciate the fundamentals of differences between free and social societies/economies.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2010

    Wow...great book

    Started out slow, but by the end, i couldn't put it down!

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Classic economic study contrasts democracy and socialism

    Friedrich A. Hayek, an Austrian economist, wrote this classic defense of democracy and market economies in 1944. That it remains a bestseller is a testament to the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of his critique of socialism and centrally planned economies. The Road to Serfdom cites the influence of Karl Marx and other German philosophers who primed German citizens to embrace the totalitarian rule of Adolph Hitler. The Great Depression of the 1930s stepped up questions about capitalism and boosted support for socialism among the people of democratic countries. But Hayek warned that citizens of America, England and other democracies put their freedom at risk when they extolled the goals of socialism. This edition of Hayek's classic includes a comprehensive introduction by the book's editor, ample annotation of the original text and an appendix with numerous related documents, as well as the introduction to the 1994 edition by monetary policy expert Milton Friedman. getAbstract recommends this book to readers who want to know the seminal works in this field and to explore the philosophical differences between socialism and capitalism.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    F.A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" is probably 300,000 years ahead of its time. Hayek suggests that basic human instinct such as social gathering/groups is surprisingly responsible for mass murder; i.e., fascism and similar.

    I find F.A. von Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" quite difficult in reading due to his high intellectual approach to economic theory as he was a professor at the prestigous British London School of Economics. Hayek's work was supposedly written around the 1930s and completed around 1944, and Hayek was one of the few that criticized the fascism of the era when he wrote his work, and the book was supposedly banned in some communist and socialist countries. He criticizes basic human instincts for survival (groups, planning) as being responsible for the mass murder atrocities in human history. Hayek writes "...one of the most important is that the desire of the individual to identify himself with a group is very frequently the result of a feeling of inferiority and that therefore his want will be satisfied only if membership of the group confers some superiority over outsiders...To act on behalf of a group seems to free people of many of the moral restraints which control their behavior as individuals within the group..." (pages 162-163). Further, Hayek suggests that groups are degenerate in some way, and he states this with backing from two other philosophers. On examining these statements, I find that religious groups, medical groups can be criticized as being partaking in acts of sexual multilations, and/or humiliations and degradations; sports groups through degradations of some sort, and other groups for ecomonic discriminations, etc.,--those acts would be considerate degenerate. On July 4, 2010, I saw the group-- NYC Central Park Conservancy continuing its usual spraying of pesticides on weeds (mostly, indigenous plants called "weeds") in Manhattan's Central Park--polluting the ground water, instead of hand weeding (as if really necessary?) in the late fall when the weeds are dead. It seems all quite strange. Hayek adds that "planning without competition" (no matter how good willed) creates an entity that is not like the plan, but rather the opposite such as fascism, Nazism, Communism, Socialism, Serfdom, etc. Examples I thought of as "planning without competition" that cause(d) disaster opposite of intention are from from M. Kurlansky's "Salt" pages 365-366--How Israeli planners used/built their National Water Canal from the Sea of Galilee reducing water to Jordan's River and eventually the Dead Sea, the result is the Dead Sea, an Israeli treasure is drying out. (Indigenous Israelis probably used multiple water sources); and in John Reader's "Potato" book, the mention of the the Irish Great Potato famine, losses of millions of lives in Ireland in the mid-19th Century as all Ireland agriculture just planted one type of potato that became fungal-diseased, not having a diversity of potatoes caused famine (the intention was good, to have a solid crop of nice, round looking healthy potatoes; 5,000 types of potatoes exist((ed)) in the Peruvian Andes--the original cultivation area, but not all of those potatoes looked okay to the Irish superstitions). Further, a cure for the fungal-disease of that type of potato existed in Europe and America, but was not used due to bungling. Technological planning--it looks nice and works in many areas, yet it emits radiation or similar--toxic waste. Hayek presents the reality of the human condition, growing pains of the human race, and the shocker that something is wrong with some human conceptual approaches. Prepare for m

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2010

    Misleading

    This book entails a great deal of political bias and I would recommend researching the historiography of the subject in detail in order to accurately understand many of the issues raised in this volume which is outdated to say the least and needs to be looked at from a less slanted viewpoint.

    4 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Technofiction Review of The Road to Serfdom

    F. A. Hayek was a contemporary of Keynes and this book is a compendium of his ideas as a collection of essays that were written in the 1940's as World War Two was in progress. I find this book interesting because it offers a lot of insight into what people of the '40's thought about Hitler and his German form of socialism. It is dramatically different from the Hollywood-Nazi / Hitler-was-unspeakably-evil icons that we are exposed to today. Hayek treats Hitler as a populist dictator, comparable in his toe-stepping to contemporary bad-guys-for-America Hugo Ch&#225;vez of Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. And he treats Nazism as a logical evolution of the socialism that started in Germany with Bismarck's patriarchal social reforms of the 1870's. Hayek discusses the virtues and vices of the collectivism that all forms of 40's socialism espoused. He argues from the point of view that the jury is still out, but the prospects look pretty dim. This is not a stance that is taken by any modern writers on the topic, and it is a refreshing difference. There are a lot of gems in Hayek's writing and I thoroughly enjoyed his point of view. One example is his description of the relation between Rule of Law and collectivism. He points out that the purpose of Rule of Law is to provide a framework that allows people of the community to know what actions to expect from the government, even when the government is dealing with an uncertain future and unknown individuals. Conversely, the purpose of central planning is to understand, make detailed choices, and then intervene in the choices made by most individuals of the community so their actions support the government plan. What he says reflects the challenges of his time: the first half of the 20th century. It was a time when manufacturing processes and the division of labor were getting increasingly complex, but before widespread computer use was available to help ease the burden of communication and coordination between all these proliferating processes and projects. And at the same time the booming industries of that era -- railroads, steel, and auto and appliance making -- were all heavy industries. Building heavy industries requires marshaling a lot of resource for a handful of large and complex projects. In such an environment it was reasonable to question which was more effective at marshaling resources for public good: free market choices or government planning? Hayek addresses these issues well and offers a lot of insight in this book. If you like this book, you may like my book on the challenges of building a high technology company in the second half of the 20th century, a much different era with much different challenges. Look for Surfing the High Tech Wave -- a history of Novell 1980-1990.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Socialism Here We Come

    Worth the hype, just as relevant then and it is now; have we advanced or did we just lose ground to the progressive movement?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Still Relevant

    Writing in the middle of WWII, F.A. Hayek was concerned with what he was seeing: far from learning lessons from the destructive forces of fascism and communism, many politicians and intellectuals in the west were getting ready to wholeheartedly embrace some of the policies and practices that led to the rise of some of the most vile and destructive regimes in history. The title of the book evokes the old adage that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Hayek readily acknowledges that most proponents of state control of economy would be vehemently opposed to the methods that are necessary to implement those policies. Unlike many in his time and unfortunately many more today, Hayek did not see fascism and communism as polar opposites of each other, but rather two aspects of the same socialist ideology. Sometimes those that are most alike are most opposed to each other, and the communist portrayal of fascists and Nazis as right wing movement was a label that stuck to this day. Hayek perceived this to be very dangerous, not least because it would create an environment in which self-proclaimed leftist ideologues would face far less scrutiny than those on the self-proclaimed right. This is the reason why Hayek dedicated this book to "socialists of all parties."

    The most remarkable thing about this book is that it has aged so well. The style of writing, the ideas presented, and the importance of what it had to say are as fresh and relevant today as they were when the book was first written. This, to me at least, is quite unsettling. It is rather sad that after all these years we still have to debate the same premises that were spelled out so clearly during one of history's worst moments.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2006

    Why Hayek Matters Today

    On April 9, 1944, George Orwell, wrote a review of Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom' along with 'The Mirror of the Past' by K. Zilliacus. It was published in the London 'Observer,' and was called 'Grounds for Dismay.' Orwell believed that both men had written excellent arguments for opposite if not diametrically opposed political and economic theories. Hayek's work espoused for Laissez Faire Capitalism, and Zalliacus for Communism. Orwell stated, 'Taken together, these two books give grounds for dismay. The first of them is an eloquent defence of laissez-faire capitalism, the other is an even more vehement denunciation of it. They cover to some extent the same ground, they frequently quote the same authorities, and they even start out with the same premise, since each of them assumes that Western civilization depends on the sanctity of the individual. Yet each writer is convinced that the other's policy leads directly to slavery, and the alarming thing is that they may both be right.... Between them these two books sum up our present predicament. Capitalism leads to dole queues, the scramble for markets, and war. Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war. There is no way out of this unless a planned economy can somehow be combined with the freedom of the intellect, which can only happen if the concept of right and wrong is restored to politics. Both of these writers are aware of this, more or less but since they can show no practicable way of bringing it about the combined effect of their books is a depressing one.' Orwell had yet to write his classic books, 'Animal Farm' (1945) and '1984' (1949)when he wrote this revies. Orwell found the proposition that both Capitalism and Collectivism - Communism were repleat with evils. Orwell still believed that a 'planned economy' (socialism) that preserved individual freedom, was required to save Western Civilization. Until Hayek published 'The Road to Serfdom' all the 'smart people' (Hayek's words)believed that socialism was the acceptable middle ground between Capitalism and Communism. Socialism had swept through European thought. It was 'The Road to Serfdom' that made the inteligentsia of the world stop and take pause about their fascination with Socialism. As you can see Orwell was dismayed, believing there was no clear cut choice for the survival of our civilization. By 1960,Hayek observed in his next great Classic, 'The Constitution of Liberty' that once the 'smart people' realized that socialism, with its required centralization of power, had brought them down the road to totalitarianism, they became disillusioned with socialism per se, but then governments throughout the world, attempting to retain power re-introduced or borrowed the German 'Wohlfahrstaat'(Welfare State) which as Hayek explains was a variable of 18th Century German or Prussian rule--also known as the 'Polizeistaat,' a word developed by German Historians to describe the more favorable aspects of the 18th Century government. The concept of the welfare state was developed by the German acedemic 'Sozialpolitiker' which means socialists of the chair and fully developed from 1870 and first put into practice by Bismark. In England, Hayek explains the Fabians adopted the German practice which was more fully developed under Lloyd George. In America the 'welfare state' was accepted under the ruse of being constitutional under the 'General Welfare' clause in the US Constitution. Hayek dedicated his life to combat the evils of socialism, the concentration of power in centralized governments that promised equal distribution of the products of labor. A promise that is very attractive, but in order to achieve, the people must deliver immense power to the centralized planning commissions or the central govenment. Communism required the control of the means of production as well as the power of distribution by the same governmental central control. Hayek explains the e

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    This book will make you think

    In this book, Hayek clearly shows that people need to stop and think about the political processes going on around them. In today's culture, there is a great deal of apathy about everything, from politics to daily activities, and this is what Hayek is warning against. He wants the people of America to be involved in what is going on in the economic and political world. By detailing what has happened in other countries such as Germany and showing that this trend is becoming prevalent in countries like Great Britain and America, his book is in essence a wake-up call to find out the truth about economics (i.e. that capitalism works and communism doesn't) and to stop going down the road that leads to totalitarianism. His book is a very persuasive work and should make anyone think deeply about our culture and the values we hold.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2002

    The Clarion Call for Freedom

    Prof. Hayek's masterpeice, the Road to Serfdom earned him little but ridicule and condemnation from his contemporaries. At the time the book was published, the very same intellectuals who roundly (and rightly) condemned the Nazis at the same time roundly lauded the Communists. Hayek's thesis, that Nazism and Communism are both off shoots of socialism and both immoral and inhumanly destructive systems, has been proven true with the passage of time. (He could have written a follow up called, "I Told You So, Morons!") Yet since human beings have short memory spans, the battle to free the individual from the tribal collective must be fought again and again. This book, even in 2002, is just as important a read (and a warning) as it was when it was first published. A must read for people of all political beliefs, this book is a timeless masterpiece on the moral superiority of freedom- both economic and political.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2002

    A must for all economists and political scientists

    Hayek explains the economic conditions where socialism merges to fasism. The roads that lead to serfdom are perpetuated by Marxist doctrine, twisted by modern socialist perspective of emerging economy. Fascism will rise again, this time, according to Hayeks blue print of past historical economic conditions, the US is ripe and ready. With the ever growing grasp of government in business, that grasp reaches to the individual. Hayek ignores the particulars of economy, but rather uses his deep understanding of economy to translate into modern political culture, based on economy, as the world is. Any person considering 'redistribution' must read this book, and understand it, for the ignorance of not is far worse then blind submission. The reader must keep in mind that Hayek wrote this work of art during World War Two. The definition of 'liberal' must be recalled to the proper historical definition, meaning liberated from government and other men. The modern day definition of liberal is socialist. Meaning a person the stamps the title 'progressive', 'liberal', or whatever else a socialist names themselves today ought to fit the definition of Hayeks interpretation of what a socialist was in 1942. Also, one must recall that during the 1940's a particular route most people took were between two doctrines. One hand people thought they were communist. The other believed in fascism. Hayek is here to tell you that the two are not too differant at all, and each are devistating to the individual, and to economy. Please keep history in mind while reading this book, or else one may loose sight of the true intent of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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