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The Road to Serfdom: With the Intellectuals and Socialism [Paperback]

Friedrich A. Von Hayek
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2005
This is a condensed edition of 'The Road to Serfdom' republished in this edition with 'The Intellectuals and Socialism' (originally published in 1949). In 'The Road to Serfdom' F. A. Hayek set out the danger posed to freedom by attempts to apply the principles of wartime economic and social planning to the problems of peacetime. Hayek argued that the rise of Nazism was not due to any character failure on the part of the German people, but was a consequence of the socialist ideas that had gained common currency in Germany in the decades preceding the outbreak of war. Such ideas, Hayek argued, were now becoming similarly accepted in Britain and the USA. On its publication in 1944, 'The Road to Serfdom' caused a sensation. Its publishers could not keep up with demand, owing to wartime paper rationing. Then, in April 1945, Reader's Digest published a condensed version of the book and Hayek's work found a mass audience. This condensed edition was republished for the first time by the IEA in 1999. Since then it has been frequently reprinted. There is an enduring demand for Hayek's relevant and accessible message. The 'Road to Serfdom' is republished in this impression with 'The Intellectuals and Socialism' originally published in 1949, in which Hayek explained the appeal of socialist ideas to intellectuals - the 'second-hand dealers in ideas'. Intellectuals, Hayek argued, are attracted to socialism because it involves the rational application of the intellect to the organisation of society, while its utopianism captures their imagination and satisfies their desire to make the world submit to their own design.

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This book has become a true classic: essential reading for everyone who is seriously interested in politics in the broadest and least partisan sense. - Milton Friedman

This book should be read by everybody. It is no use saying that there are a great many people who are not interested in politics; the political issue discussed by Dr Hayek concerns every single member of the community. - The Listener --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Friedrich August Hayek (May 1899 - March 1992), born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek and frequently known as F. A. Hayek, was an Austrian, later British, economist and philosopher best known for his defence of classical liberalism. In 1974, Hayek shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Gunnar Myrdal) for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and ... penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena". Hayek was a major political thinker of the twentieth century, and his account of how changing prices communicate information which enables individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Dec 26 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I would have prefered the book rather than the audio, but still very informative.Too bad they don't teach this stuff in school.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paradox of success July 7 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Hayek distinguishes liberty, or true freedom, from license and "serfdom." In the tradition of Adam Smith, he analyzes economic and political questions from moral and practical perspectives, with emphasis on individual liberty. His central conceit, that increasing government activity in the economic sphere would devalue individual dignity and stifle human progress, might seen overblown to some readers; it could be that the influence of this book on conservative political leaders and thinkers in the latter half of the American century may have corrected some of the impending problems Hayek foresaw. The Road to Serfdom is a pleasurable, thought-provoking read, persuasively written.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHOOSE LIFE! July 16 2006
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Even after six decades, The Road To Serfdom remains essential for understanding global economics and politics. Hayek's main point, that whatever the problem, human nature demands that government be the solution, and that this is the road to hell, remains more valid than ever. He pointed out how similar the situation was under Soviet communism and fascism in Germany and Italy.

The consensus in post-war Europe was for the welfare state and this has led to declining birth-rates, mass immigration from North Africa and the Middle East, and a tendency to exchange their ancient cultural values for the frauds of postmodernism and multiculturalism.

In this classic, Hayek discusses matters like planning and power, the fallacy of the utopian idea, planning versus the rule of law. He brilliantly explains how we are faced with two irreconcilable forms of social organization. Either choice and risk resides with the individual or he is relieved of both.

Complete economic security is inseparable from restrictions on liberty - it becomes the security of the barracks. When the striving for security becomes stronger than the love of freedom, a society is in deep, deep trouble. The way to prosperity for all is to remove the obstacles of bureaucracy in order to release the creative energy of individuals.

The government's job is not to plan for progress but to create the conditions favourable to progress. This has been proved by the awesome economic expansion under Reagan and Thatcher and by the amazing growth of the Asian Tiger economies, and most recently India as it implements sensible economic policies.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Against the wind Jan. 20 2001
Format:Paperback
When Hayek wrote "The Road to Serfdom" in 1944, the the economic portion of the political climate was steeped in Keynesian thought, and Hayek's work went almost unnoticed. Fifty-seven years later, there is little doubt as to who was right. The most prosperous nations on Earth are also the most free - socially AND economically.
Hayek is one of the fathers of the neo-classical school of economic thought, and modern libertarianism. In this book, Hayek demonstrates the inherent contradiction between freedom and a command economy, and the inevitable descent of socialism into totalitarianism. The accuracy of his predictions of the long-term results of communism were uncanny, and a dire warning against attempting this road yet again.
This is an absolutely essential book for a modern libertarian or student of economics, as well as any liberal or conservative with an open mind and a desire to understand the vastly differing economies and governments of the world. Written for the layman, it is lucid, clear, to-the-point, and, most importantly, has been backed up by world events during last half-century. A classic work in the field of economics.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More true in 2004 than in 1946 April 10 2004
Format:Paperback
I think that one of the true hallmarks of great writing and great thought is that it stands the test of time. Hayek wrote this in 1946, while socialism was sweeping across Europe, at that point he was the voice in the wilderness crying out against the onslaught of socialism, he was right. His views have been in favor (the tremendous success of Thatcher and Regan in the 1980s) and out of favor (today), but he has always been right.
This is a compleeling case that strikes right at the heart of the most important political debates. It is not about temporary issues that will be gone in a year, it is about the meat of the issue, that more government requires taking away liberty and choice for idividuals and leads to major problems. I will not try to summarize Hayek's work, because I will not do it justice, but I highly recommend this work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book March 15 2004
Format:Paperback
Makes the compelling case that socialism/communism are really very much the same animal.
The real shame here is that many of those who most need to read this book are in denial about the failure of communism/socialism.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading for all Students March 6 2004
Format:Paperback
I adored Hayek's points about the linkage between Stalinist Russia and the National Socialist in Western Europe. It helps the American/British right debunk the myth that Hitler was of a conservative mould.
We should not forget the power of the free market. When man can no longer control his own economic future, then there is no freedom. Milton Freidman's 'Capitalism and Freedom' is another great work displaying the erudition of economics that every College Student and most High School students should be aware of.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars The Corporation Bible
If you love Enron and Halliburton, and you support corporate opression of the middle-class, read this hogwash. Read more
Published on July 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars I love my freedom to choose my way!
A great treatise on why government should step aside and let the human moral compass lead the way to the human ideal. Read more
Published on March 2 2004 by John R. Nicholas
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read to Fully Understand Free (and not Free) Markets
I am not a professional economist, but have studied the subject for over 20 years. My three favorite authors on the subject are Adam Smith (for his work that helped shape a... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by Buckminster
4.0 out of 5 stars Relevant and potent sixty years on
The Road to Serfdom - Hayek
Scribing about the Road To Serfdom is a humbling experience. This is, after all, a book that would launch a thousand other similar philosophies,... Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by Julian Hunt
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book
The book is simply great, on whatever side of the political spectrum you may reside. Hayek ably shows that the chosen road will not lead to the desired endstage described by Marx... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003 by "jonkerb"
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewer Drew G. Price did not read this book
One of the reviewers, Drew G. Price from Lake Saint Louis, Missouri United States, stated that F.A. Hayek was FOR socialism, government control, etc. Read more
Published on Dec 15 2003 by Steven Borg
2.0 out of 5 stars Huge blind spots
Partly right.
This book is a mixture of:
* 1. Truths (he was largely right about the efficiency of the market, and the inefficiency of government price-setting. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Chris Watkins
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