The Road to Serfdom

The Road to Serfdom

by F.A. Hayek, Hayek F. a.

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Overview

The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, Hayek F. a.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780415253895
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 03/01/2006
Series: Routledge Classics Series
Edition description: REV
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 200,883
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992) was born in Austria. An eminent economist and political philosopher, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974.

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The Road to Serfdom 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Kendall41 on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Should only be read in conjuction with Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation"
ORFisHome on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Wow! I took nine pages of notes about freedom and economics while reading. I can see whay it's the seminal text for free market economists and political conservatives. Doesn't touch the relationship of religion to capitalism other than to defend morality.
jpsnow on LibraryThing 6 days ago
A masterpiece of classical liberal thought, Hayek's book should be read by every member of the target audience to which he dedicated the work ("To Socialists of All Parties"). In the preface to one of the earlier editions, he mentions the invective directed toward him by allegedly open-minded intellectuals of his time. He modified little between each edition but did update the preface to reflect the most recent times. Milton Friedman wrote the introduction to the 50th anniversary edition. In the 1956 preface, Hayek talks about the attention the National Planning Board gave to the progressive social policies in Italy and Germany 10 years before Fascism attempted to take over all of Europe. Hayek does a superlative job of showing the contradictory result in creating state monopolies to limit the negative effects of private monopolies. He demonstrates that competition is needed most when the business and interactions are most complex, because any monopoly - and especially a state monopoly - cannot adequately plan. Differentiating himself from the anarchist form of libertarian, he argues the importance of Rule of Law: "Nothing distinguishes more clearly conditions in a free country from those in a country under arbitrary government than the observance in the former of the great principles known as the Rule of Law. Stripped of all technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand -- rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one's individual affairs on the basis of knowledge... Within the known rules of the game the individual is free to pursue his personal ends and desires, certain that the powers of government will not be used deliberately to frustrate his efforts." (p. 80)Hayek also discusses the meaning of "truth" and how it becomes something to be defined by government under totalitarianism, rather than something each individual seeks for themselves. The resulting culture is one of cynicism and irrationality: "Individualism is thus an attitude of humility before the social process and of tolerance to other opinions and is the exact opposite of that intellectual hubris which is at the root of the demand for comprehensive direction in social process." (p. 182)It would be hard to read this and not see troubling parallels in today's general trend toward authoritarianism.
carlos_v_jugo on LibraryThing 13 days ago
Read together with Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism & Democracy
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.