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The Road to Serfdom: With the Intellectuals and Socialism Paperback – Jul 1 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 131 pages
  • Publisher: Institute of Economic Affairs (July 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0255365764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0255365765
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"It takes courage, or something like it, to declare one's offering 'The Definitive Edition'. . . . I have no hesitation, though in describing this as an excellent edition."--Roger Kimball "New Criterion " --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7 2004
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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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 Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 50 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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