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==== ==== This is a great book about the dangers of a planned society. ==== ====

About the Author Biography Friedrich August Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and the principal proponent of libertarianism in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg. His influence on the economic policies in capitalist countries has been profound, especially during the Reagan administration in the U.S. and the Thatcher government in the U.K.


340 of 375 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Little Book, May 4, 2000

By Redmund K. Sum (Los Altos, CA USA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) This review is from: The Road to Serfdom: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition (Paperback) I was introduced to Friedrich von Hayek through reading Thomas Sowell. And I decided to read this book because it was a highly recommended read in the Freedom's Nest Website Reading List. As soon as I started reading this book, I developed a warm feeling toward the author. In his original introduction, Hayek started with: "When a professional student of social affairs writes a political book, his first duty is plainly to say so. This is a political book...." His candor and his confidence were so befitting with his great intellect. Noting that Hayek was an Austrian, I was impressed by his mastery of the English language and I enjoyed his writing style. With mild language and in simple terms, Hayek made very sweeping predictions and patiently explained his reasoning with convincing arguments based on economic and human behavioral theories. Hayek's thesis was that central economic planning will inevitably lead to governmental control of every facet of its citizen's life, and hence toward a totalitarian state. Hayek's other insightful

observations: Nazism, Fascism and communism all have the same roots. In a totalitarian state, it is always the ruthless and the unsophisticated who ascend to the top. Extensive governmental control harms the society not just in delivering dismal economic results, but, more seriously, it produces a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people. One must not forget that when Hayek wrote this book, his was very much a voice in the wilderness; he was ridiculed and denounced by his contemporaries. But his ideas stood the test of time! And blessedly, he lived to see that - to see first the building and eventually the fall of the Berlin Wall. This little book was said to have had definitive influence on such giants as Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan and many others. Perhaps the book's influence was best attested to by its being banned in the USSR, China and many other totalitarian countries. This book belongs on your book shelf.

154 of 171 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars The singular short work on the failures of socialism, June 9, 2000

By Rod D. Martin (Grace Hall, Destin, Florida) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) This review is from: The Road to Serfdom: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition (Paperback) "The Road to Serfdom" is a classic for many reasons, but the chief among them is that nothing else so clearly and completely shows the degeneration of liberty inherent in the handing of arbitrary power to a bureaucracy. Hayek wrote "The Road to Serfdom" in Britain in 1944. He wanted to examine Soviet Russia in comparison to wartime Britain; however, British authorities prohibited that approach due to the alliance of the time; and therefore, Hayek instead compared to Britain none other than National Socialist (i.e., Nazi) Germany. Nothing is lost -- and at the time, at least, much was gained -- in the trade. The comparison, of course, is between a totalitarian socialist state and a democratic socialist state. Hayek shows that the only difference is the degree of benevolence of those leading the two countries; he also shows that, once arbitrary power is handed over, it usually cannot be regained. No review can do "The Road to Serfdom" adequate justice. On the other hand, since the book is quite short, and since it is one of those books about which it can be right said that if you haven't read it you are not educated, I say just go and read it for yourself. You too will see what millions already have.

87 of 95 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, May 31, 2000 By A Customer This review is from: The Road to Serfdom: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition (Paperback) Hayek's classic book is a dissertation on why political freedom is, and can only be, inextricably linked to economic freedom. Originally published in 1944, his specific examples of socialist planning gone wrong are (were) Italy, the USSR, and most prominently, Germany. He primarily uses the British for comparison and contrast purposes, and directs many of his remarks toward Western European nations who were flirting with their own versions of socialist economic planning. He felt that these nations were ultimately going down the same road that the Germans had already traveled two or three generations earlier. Hayek's central thesis is that individual liberty (economic and political) and collectivism are mutually exclusive, and that even the most well-intentioned socialist society will ultimately evolve into a totalitarian state. Hayek elaborates upon the following key arguments (and others): (1) Collectivism represents the undoing of liberalism (in the classic sense). (2) Socialism necessitates that the efforts of the populace be directed towards a common goal, often called something like "the common good." The economic system must be centrally planned in order to achieve this goal. Such planning amounts to coercion, and individual liberty is sacrificed for the degree of security a socialist state provides. (3) A free society operates according to the Rule of Law, where the rules are known beforehand. The economy of a free society consists of the net sum of individual decisions made within the known legal framework. By contrast, a centrally planned society relies upon government decisions that must be made on the basis of current necessity, what Hayek calls "arbitrary government." (4) Money promotes economic liberty, acting as the medium to provide the individual with the freedom to use his compensation in whatever manner he chooses, rather than being dependent upon a compensation whose specific nature is determined by others. (5) Socialism is inherently nationalistic or ethnocentric, because the leading party often must rally the populace to focus against a threatening group in order to effectively promote its own agenda. A "one-world" socialism that unites across peoples, nations, and ethnic backgrounds is not workable. (6) True believers in a socialist society must hold the interests of the State as higher than their own. Those who will move up the ranks in a socialist society are often prepared to do anything on behalf of the state, no matter how much this opposes one's own moral principles. Those who are amoral are thus more likely to "succeed" in a socialist hierarchy. Hayek holds out little hope that a socialist utopia will work if only "good people" are put in charge. Contrary to some of the negative reviews below, I must argue that Hayek's book is certainly not "vicious propaganda," (and, I might add, that I sincerely doubt that Hayek's own lips were "liceridden.") Nowhere in the book does Hayek celebrate wealth. There is not one sentence in the book extolling the virtues of material riches. He DOES celebrate individual liberty and the superiority of a free market economy. To intelligently oppose Hayek, one must provide a literate argument against the points Hayek actually argues. In addition, one would be compelled in this debate to explain how a rigid socialist system would NOT degenerate into Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Stalinist Russia (or, for that matter, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Castro's Cuba, Communist China, etc.) That said, Hayek's book is not free from criticism. He takes a few swipes at the Germans -- Hayek all but proclaims that because of their general ethnic personality the Germans as a people were an ideal setup for Naziism and ruthless obedience to Hitler. Not surprisingly, some readers may take

offense to this. Hayek also concedes that in a prosperous economy a basic minimum standard of living should be guaranteed everyone, although he makes no mention of how it could be guaranteed in a manner consistent with his overall free market vision. There is not a single statistic in the entire book (some may find this a GOOD thing), nor is there mention of any specific historical event, except the ongoing war at the time. Hayek's arguments are essentially based upon logical deductions, relying upon assumptions of human nature - as individuals, large groups, or those in authority. I suppose some will find Hayek's logic dubious, although arguably the history of the fifty-plus years since Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom would back him up quite well.

==== ==== This is a great book about the dangers of a planned society. ==== ====

The Road To Serfdom, Reviews  

Hayek's thesis was that central economic planning will inevitably lead to governmental control of every facet of its citizen's life, and hen...

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