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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: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 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
The Road To Serfdom is a classic economic text and the best known work of the Austrian School of economists. It is a very rich, rewarding and enjoyable book, and - unlike the formula riddled economics books of today - reminds readers of the strong connection between economics, politics, and philosophy. Writing at an important juncture in world history (the latter stages of WWII), Hayek straddles two eras, deftly drawing in the Victorian ideals of the previous generation while analyzing the politics and capitalism of his time. Not only does The Road To Serfdom comment on the new era, it is likely the only major economics text featuring Nazi-ism, Communism, and big government as antagonists.

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.
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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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