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  • The Road to Serfdom

    The Road to Serfdom is a best-selling political philosophy book by Friedrich Hayek first published in England on 10 March 1944. Reader's Digest published a condensed version in April 1945. It was dedicated "To the socialists of all parties. In it, Hayek criticized the central planning efforts undertaken by nations towards the end of World War II and warned that abandoning individualism and "the principle of laissez faire" would lead to tyranny.

    In a 1978 interview with Leo Rosten, Hayek explained that the title's idea came from Alexis de Tocqueville who spoke about "the road to servitude".


    Dialectics and Liberty, by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Freeman, Sep 2005
    Written ten years after publication of the first two of Sciabarra's "Dialectic and Liberty" trilogy, discusses Hayek's and Rand's dialectical analysis approaches and suggests that such context-keeping analysis is important in radical libertarian theory
    [I]n his classic book, The Road to Serfdom, Hayek presents us with a multidimensional view of the corrosive nature of government control. He does not focus on the one-dimensional economic effects of state regulation. In fact, one might say that his primary concern is with the insidious, multidimensional effects of statism—how its consequences redound throughout a nexus of social relations: economic, political, and even social-psychological ... Hayek analyzes statism ... as a phenomenon whose effects can be measured on many different levels of generality and from many different vantage points.
    Faculty Spotlight Interview: Thomas DiLorenzo, by Thomas DiLorenzo, 16 Aug 2010
    Asks DiLorenzo about an alternate career path, hobbies, biggest inspiration, the Mises Institute and Austrian tradition, his class at Mises academy, future works and words of wisdom for young scholars
    I'm teaching a five-week online class on F.A. Hayek's classic book, The Road to Serfdom. After Glenn Beck invited our friends Tom Woods and Yuri Maltsev to appear on his television show to discuss the book, it went to #1 in sales on It did so because so many people understand that the explosion of government that we are currently witnessing can lead to nothing but more tax slavery and economic depression. The Road to Serfdom is a classic warning of the dangers of Big Government. In reading it one learns not just of Hayek's personal views, but a great deal about the entire Austrian tradition of scholarship.
    F.A. Hayek accomplished several careers' worth of economic achievements in one lifetime, by Art Carden, 8 May 2017
    Bibliographic essay discussing the diverse scope of Hayek's works
    [Hayek] was most famous ... for his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom, a more popular treatment of many of the ideas expressed in Individualism and Economic Order that had a deep and profound effect on the English-speaking world. Its theme—that statism, socialism, and the erosion of economic liberty meant the erosion of political and civil liberty—was a brilliant exposition of classical liberal ideas ... It is through The Road to Serfdom—which was condensed by Reader’s Digest and circulated ... by the Book of the Month Club—that Hayek likely had his biggest effect on public policy.
    Related Topics: F. A. Hayek, Socialism
    Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992), by Peter J. Boettke, The Freeman, Aug 1992
    Lengthy biographical essay, including Hayek's criticism of Keynes and the impact of The Road to Serfdom
    The problems of socialism that [Hayek] had observed ... led him to write The Road to Serfdom (1944). This book forced advocates of socialism to confront an additional problem ... [t]he absence of a pricing system ... In The Road to Serfdom Hayek also argued that there was good reason to suspect that those who would rise to the top in a socialistic regime would be those who had a comparative advantage in exercising discretionary power and were willing to make unpleasant decisions. And it was inevitable that these powerful men would run the system to their own personal advantage.
    Friedrich the Great, by Virginia Postrel, The Boston Globe, 11 Jan 2004
    Biographical essay, including Hayek's insights on cognitive science and his influence on postmodernism
    This analysis, which applies as much to culture as to economics, informs Hayek's best-known work, "The Road to Serfdom," which he wrote as a wartime warning to a popular audience. Published in 1944 and dedicated "to the socialists of all parties," the book argued that the logic of socialist central planning implied the erosion of personal freedoms. Britain's well-intended socialists were headed down the same path as the National Socialists whose rise Hayek had witnessed in Austria ... in the United States, where Reader's Digest published a condensed version, "The Road to Serfdom" was a bestseller and a political lightning rod.
    Hayek: A Commemorative Album, by Richard Ebeling, Freedom Daily, Jul 1999
    Review of Hayek: A Commemorative Album (1999) compiled by John Raybould
    At the same time, Hayek began amplifying Mises's criticisms of socialism, explaining that a developed system of division of labor is just too complex to be controlled and directed through any form of central planning. Only competitively formed market prices can successfully coordinate all the activities of the multitudes of market participants. This argument culminated in Hayek's most influential book, The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, in which he showed not only that planning could not work but inevitably ran the risk of degenerating into political tyranny.
    The Mont Pelerin Society's 50th Anniversary, by Greg Kaza, The Freeman, Jun 1997
    Historical and anecdotal essay about the founding of the Mont Pelerin Society and its first meeting, including insights on post World War II Germany
    In 1944, Hayek wrote a seminal book, The Road to Serfdom, which argued that government central planning inevitably led to the rise of the totalitarian socialist state. Marxists maintained that fascism was a form of decaying capitalism, but Hayek's book also included a trenchant critique of Nazism as a form of socialism. After writing The Road to Serfdom, Hayek toured the United States. The trip contributed to his decision to issue a call to free-market advocates to meet at Mont Pelerin.
    Reading the Literature of Liberty, by Roy A. Childs, Jr., May 1987
    Childs' selection of "great books", including works by Hazlitt, Bastiat, Rose Wilder Lane, Nock, Ayn Rand, Friedman, Hayek, Rothbard, Mises and Nozick
    [F. A. Hayek's] seminal work The Road to Serfdom was first published in 1944 and has become a classic warning against the dangers to freedom inherent in the planned economy; it's as powerful today as the day it was written. Chapters like "Why the Worst Get on Top" and "The End of Truth" are both provocative and chilling. Don't pass this one up!


    The Road to Serfdom
        by F. A. Hayek, 1944
    Partial contents: The Abandoned Road - The Great Utopia - Individualism and Collectivism - The "Inevitability" of Planning - Planning and Democracy - Planning and the Rule of Law - Economic Control and Totalitarianism - Who, Whom? - Security and Freedom
    Related Topic: Socialism