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The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek) Paperback – 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226320553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226320557
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Trevor G. Stack on April 10 2010
Format: Paperback
Although I believe this book is best enjoyed with an educated empathy for the historical, academic and emotional context of its writing (by an Austrian-born, Austrian-educated, London-residing freedom-lover who - because of his heritage - isn't allowed to join the Allies' war effort during WWII), it's easy to apply its lessons and grand ideals to a myriad of "I-told-you-so" economic and political events in the interval since its publication. Its humble association of uncoordinated free markets with efficiency, its aggressive association of central planning with unambiguous loss of personal freedoms and its statistical association of commerce with liberal freedoms provided the idealogical backdrop for the prominent Chicago School of Economics.

Its author admits that "The Road to Serfdom" is a work of Political Science, not Economics. Its subsequent influence and its ideas that are seemingly on par with its infused respect for the "Rule of Law", to me, elevate it to a work of political philosophy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 8 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on June 27 2008
Format: Paperback
This definitive edition has been edited and provided with a Foreword and Introduction by Bruce Caldwell who retained the prefaces and forewords of earlier editions. The text has been enhanced by explanatory notes and new appendices that are listed at the end of this review.

Even after six decades, The Road To Serfdom remains essential for understanding economics, politics and history. Hayek's main point, that whatever the problem, human nature demands that government provide the solution and that this is the road to hell, remains more valid than ever. He demonstrated the similarities between Soviet communism and fascism in Germany and Italy.

The consensus in post-war Europe was for the welfare state which seemed humane and sensible for a long time. Now it is clear that this has led to declining birth-rates amongst native Europeans, mass immigration from North Africa and the Middle East, and a tendency to exchange their ancient cultural values for multiculturalism and moral relativism which is just another form of nihilism as the French philosopher Chantal Delsol observes.

In this timeless classic, Hayek examines issues like planning and power, the fallacy of the utopian idea, state planning versus the rule of law, economic control, totalitarianism, security and economic freedom. He brilliantly explains how we are faced with two irreconcilable forms of social organization. Choice and risk either reside with the individual or s/he is relieved of both. Societies that opt for security instead of economic freedom will in the long run have neither.

Complete economic security is inseparable from restrictions on liberty - it becomes the security of the barracks.
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Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for every economics 101 class. Hayek breaks down all the reasons, that compel governments into believing they can micromanage a society. Instead of creating the conditions that generate wealth, governments attempt to manage the process itself. Hayek compares societies with the rule of law and laissez-fair economics, to societies with large government interventions. He then lists all the reasons why the government planners, fail to achieve their intended results.

I feel this book will have much more of an modern impact, then when it was written. The growth of government planning in the last two generations has exploded. The results have given us a huge welfare underclass, the nanny state, large unelected bureaucracies, declining birth rates, and host of other modern day problems. Hayek`s explanations and analysis, will help the reader understand, what is happening within our current western democracies.

The one complaint regarding this publication, is the overdose of introductions. Chapter one starts on page sixty-five. I still have a few pages left to read, which I am looking forward to finishing. I highly recommend reading Hayek`s material.
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