The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek) Paperback – 2007
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The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2)
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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
A favorite of right wing politicians, Hayek eloquently explains why central planning won't work (long before communism actually failed) and why individual choice is preferable to government edict. The American political right who espouse his views seem somewhat selective in their adherence, however, as Hayek does see a role for government in delivering public goods, including health care, and a basic level of support/income for all.
Former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan in his recent memoir worried about two things: a return of high inflation (surprise!); and suboptimal political choices made by an economically disenfranchised electorate. Hayek, writing during WWII, states "it should never be forgotten that the one decisive factor in the rise of totalitarianism on the Continent, which is yet absent in England and America, is the existence of a large recently dispossessed middle class." Insightful when originally written, and hopefully not prescient for our own age of turbulence, it is these types of observations that make the text so relevant for today.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of the most inspiring books ever written in economics. It should by mandatory reading in high school.Published 19 months ago by Eugene Balfour
I saw this book referenced often so I wanted to read it for myself. It's a bit of a tough slog if you're only able to dedicate time in bits and pieces so best if you can take the... Read morePublished on Dec 20 2013 by M. Korte