The Road to Serfdom
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The Road to Serfdom

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  8,878 ratings  ·  579 reviews
A classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in England in the spring of 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the so...more
Paperback, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, 274 pages
Published October 15th 1994 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1944)
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Camille
This book captures the frustration of classical liberals (as opposed to modern liberals) when they see collectivist policies enacted despite the overwhelming evidence that socialism brings about disastrous results.

Having grown up and lived in Austria during World War I and later moving to Great Britain, Hayek was particularly frustrated when he saw Britain and the United States making the same mistakes of the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Hayek argues that collectivism eventually leads to t...more
Howard Olsen
Finally got around to reading this libertarian/conservative classic. It's short, but deep, combining economics, politics, sociology, and a short history of Socialist thought, to create the greatest critique of the collectivist impulse that you can read. Hayek's message is blunt: despite the freedom and liberality that is western man's birthright, there is an inevitable clamor for order and equality that arises from the intellligensia and the wealthy. This clamor leads to the demand-often in the...more
BirdBrian
T

Utopia
It’s never too early to start planning for summer vacation. This year, I’ve decided I want to go to Utopia. I’ve heard many good things about it: there’s no crime, pollution, or disease. It’s very clean and well-maintained. In fact, it is ideal in every imaginable way. Sir Thomas More tells us that Utopia doesn't exist; it's “nowhere”, but I refuse to believe this. A simple search on teh interwebs revealed quite a few utopias to choose from:

1) How about that domed city in Logon’s Run? We s...more
Stephen
6.0 stars. On my list of "All Time Favorite" Books. One of the most important books ever written and most concise, brilliant, scathing and impressive argument against the "planned economy" that has been, or likely ever will be, written. Hayek, while always being respectful to the adherents of the idea that state control over resources and goals is the right approach, nevertheless absolutely destroys each and every argument and rationale alluded to by such people.

His general thesis that socialis...more
Marcus
Sep 23, 2010 Marcus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: capitalists and socialists
The Road to Serfdom is not an anti-government book, it's definitely not a libertarian or pro-laissez-faire capitalism or even a pro-democracy book. It's purely and simply an anti-socialism book. And, just to be clear, to Hayek, socialism primarily means central-planning. It's chapter after chapter of reasons why socialism, despite it's apparently noble goals, both will not work in the practical sense, and how it tends to lead to totalitarianism.

Hayek's arguments are level-headed and logical. He...more
Brittany
The historical analysis upon which this book depends amounts to nothing more than extremely poor scholarship masquerading as thoughtful contrarianism. Hayek's conflation of Nazism with Socialism merely because they have similar names in German is an example of stupidity on the level of mistaking the PATRIOT Act for patriotism or the Ministry of Peace for peacefulness. This distracting error is unfortunately the foundation of the entirety of his argument. His theory of authoritarianism consists o...more
Mike (the Paladin)
The temptation here will be to try and say too much. This is a short book, though it is thickly packed. I won't try to relate here what the author relates in the book. I will try to say a few words about the book and recommend it.

This is the same book that was released in England in 1944, but it is a new edition and thus has a new intro by the author. If you can get this edition I recommend it for the intro. This book was written during (near the end of)WWII and thus will be in some ways a bit d...more
James
This is one of the foundational books for my personal philosophy. Along with his other works, the thought of Friedrich von Hayek is basic to my own indivdualist world view. In this book Hayek contends that liberty is fragile, easily harmed but seldom extinguished in one fell swoop. Instead, over the years “the unforeseen but inevitable consequences of socialist planning create a state of affairs in which, if the policy is to be pursued, totalitarian forces will get the upper hand.” He asserts th...more
Andrea
Hayek is a huge figure in economics and of immense influence on neoliberalism, and reading this I was struck by just how deeply and completely neoliberalism goes as a theoretical framework. I know many would not agree with that (though many would), but Thatcher claimed him as her own and that is enough for me. There are also those conversations in the Mount Pelerin Society with Milton Friedman. It fascinates me that this resonance is true not just of the ideas, but also in the way language is us...more
Chris Wells
If "compassionate conservatism" means anything, than it surely means something like this. Hayek's thought no longer qualifies as hardcore libertarian because he believed in government welfare programs, albeit limited ones, as supplementary to the free market system for those unable to participate in it. Central planning was what he was really against, and he has a very convincing argument against putting economic planning in the hands of any government, no matter how benevolent it may seem to be...more
Ivis García
There is an old cartoon (found here) which summarizes the logic of this work rather perfectly. Essentially, the government gets involved in your life, they dictate how you live, then they kill you.

The notions in this text are trifling at best.

Hayek never confronts the fact that a lack of some centralized body somewhere making decisions for you does not mean an end to governance. Clearly, businesses govern. They also plan. To take this power away from a centralized and (at least ostensibly) publ...more
Douglas Wilson
What a fine book. What a timely book. Those who want to understand Obamonomics need to read this. Those who have read it already should probably read it again. The political world is divided into two main groups -- those who think controlling everything from the center is a good idea and those who do not. Each side of that divide has its variations, but those are the basic options. Those on the fascist side (control) have the hard totalitarians and the soft totalitarians, but that is basically a...more
Jason
Hayek creates a facile equation of fascism and communism, and argues that any political or economic system that is not laissez-faire capitalism is tyranny. Hayek's seemingly deliberate misreadings of history left me unconvinced, and very uneasy with the libertarian movement, if this is to be taken as a representative text.
Jud Barry
OK, I'll admit that I finally broke down and read this book because of Glenn Beck. I've heard about this book for so long from conservatives who say that it shows how contemporary liberalism is Hayek's "road to serfdom."

Balderdash. If you read this book, you'll see that Hayek wrote at the end of World War II to warn about the dangers of centralized, planned economies, as opposed to economies based on competition. That's it.

Hayek is not against "big government." In fact, he says a lot about the t...more
Johnny B. Rempit
Ya, buku ini penting di dalam sejarah. Ia patut dibaca, difahami etc etc etc.

Seperti yang saya agak, kandungan buku ini kering. 'Kering seperti tulang'. Pernah tak anda dengar perumpamaan itu dalam BM? Tak pernah, bukan? Sebabnya ialah perumpamaan itu lebih sesuai digunakan dalam bahasa asalnya. 'Dry as a bone'. Mengapa saya menyentuh perkara ini? Sebab kualiti penterjemahan buku ini ke BM amatlah tidak memuaskan. Seolah-olah si penterjemah tiada daya imaginasi. Contoh paling ketara ialah penggu...more
Amy Sturgis
Hayek's The Road to Serfdom was both prophetic and influential in its day, and its message is as timely now as it ever was. He offers a compelling warning that the collectivism required for centralized planning is incompatible with democracy and the individualism on which it's built. In so doing, he provides key insights into economic concepts rarely discussed or understood today in mainstream conversations, such as how the price system works as a means of conveying information, how the rule of...more
Aniruddha
The Road to Serfdom is a book that has divided the post-war divided world. In developed countries that practice capitalism, Hayek's book created a stir although his influence was a shadow of the effect Keynes had on countries. No body said 'I'm an Hayekian now'. Hayek barely finds a place in my economics textbook. This book told me why he was never respected in his life.

With all respect to Hayek and his intellect, this book falls short of being the ultimate attack on socialism it set out to be....more
Jonny
“We are today living out the dim echo—like light from a fading star—of a debate conducted seventy years ago by men (John Meynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek) born for the most part in the late nineteenth century. To be sure, the economic terms in which we are encouraged to think are not conventionally associated with these far-off political disagreements. And yet without an understanding of the latter, it is as though we speak a language we do not fully comprehend.”
- Tony Judt ‘What is Living and...more
Clif
Friedrich A. Hayek was a member of the Austrian School of economics. We've heard about that school in recent times because Milton Friedman advocated many of the ideas the school expressed, primarily the freedom to choose provided by a free market.

This book is a warning to England, written during the closing days of World War II, that the policies of socialism being advocated at the time were the same policies Hayek has seen in Germany 20 years before.

On first thought, one would wonder how social...more
Sally Morem
Mar 03, 2010 Sally Morem added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Sally by: conservative friends
This is one of the books that has most influenced my thinking on economics and political philosophy. Hayek wrote this book during World War II, when it seemed that the world was falling into a permanent dark age of statism. It was his lonely voice in the wilderness that reminded Americans of what they were actually fighting for--the preservation of a truly free society with high respect for individuals and free institutions.

I've learned so much from this book. How alike socialism and fascism wer...more
Mel
1/2 star not simply for Hayek's preachy, condescending tone, but because this book was the catalyst for the gutting of the State by the flying monkeys of the Chicago School under Milton Friedman. From Pinochet's Chile to Thatcher's Britain to post-Soviet Russia, Hayek's callous version of individualism and "competition" gave a veneer of legitmacy to an explosion of untramelled human greed in which millions of people lost any security of income or employment whilst a few within the charmed circle...more
Bob Myer
Hayek offers what may be the definitive defense of Western classical liberalism and the free-market economy. First published in 1944, it necessarily focuses on the evolution of socialistic doctrines and how they lead to totalitarian regimes. As a premise to his work, Hayek assumes that by definition socialistic governments are ones which attempt to use central planning of economic activities. As a result, socialism necessarily limits the individual freedom and liberty of citizens through dictati...more
William
Hayek, an Austrian who moved to Britain in the 1930s, sounded as clear a set of warnings for Britain and America in 1944 against the dangers of creeping socialism as Alexis de Tocqueville had done for France and America 100 years previously. Hayek saw the danger for Britain contained in the Fabian socialism of H.G. Wells et al. based on how the welfare programs begun in Germany under Bismarck led to the disaster of "National Socialism" under Hitler.

De Toqueville had seen the same trends in Franc...more
Michael
Do you know that feeling of putting on a piece of clothing that fits you so well that it seems to have been made for you? That's how this book felt to my brain. This books convincingly makes the argument that protecting the freedom of its citizens is a government's most important purpose and recounts all of the terrible consequences from governments failing to do that. What I found so intriguing about this is that Hayak wrote it in the forties, yet I got the feeling while reading it that he had...more
Bryana Johnson
It took me many months to finish reading Hayek’s classic work on economics and totalitarianism. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but I consider it well worth the effort. Writing during World War II, Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek explores the sinister ramifications of centralized “planning” in the economic sphere and delves into the nature of socialism. He explains why socialized systems are dishonest and totalitarian in nature and warns of a creeping acceptance of collectivist thi...more
Ethan
Fantastic book. Very dense. Be prepared to re-read sections often. I did it by audiobook while commuting on the motorcycle (the only leisure reading time I really have). At times, it was easy to forget that this book was written in the 40's and not today!

Highly recommended for those wanting to learn a bit about economic policy, socialism, and how they go together.
Sarah Shahid
الاقتصاد المخطط ليس إلا طريقاً نحو العبودية أي عكس ما ما يرومه مخططوه

هذا ما توصل إليه هايك بدءاً من الأفكار الاشتراكية بحد ذاتها متعمقاً في حيثياتها وأساليبها والتي أوصلته أخيراً إلى هذه النتيجة

ولعل أهم ما ميز نقده هذا هو أسلوبه المبني على الاعتماد على الاشتراكية ذاتها لنقدها
Edwin
One of the best, most important books of the 20th century. Period.

Hayek makes a pair of arguments based on political science and the social sciences, then a pair of historical arguments. Despite being written in the middle of World War II (published before the war's end, even), it is completely relevant to the modern reader. There are a few historical references that are no longer familiar (figures and debates that were happening at the time), but they are shockingly similar to the debates we're...more
Seth
The Road to Serfdom's status as a classic of economic and political philosophy is well-deserved. Hayek makes political theory compelling as he describes the dire consequences of the schemes of central planners. An Austrian, he wrote from a unique vantage point, having spent his early life in eastern European nations that were far down the socialist rabbit hole and his later life in England when it was still committed to individual liberty and political freedom. He experienced the consequences of...more
Jose
Hayek has been widely analyzed and read. My review wouldn't add much. Hayek is normally exhibit A in any conservative argumentation regarding economics, the benefits of capitalism and the inescapable fact of economic realities. Most conservatives today omit the fact that Hayek was not completely against the government and against social pacts, that he was an ardent defender of saving of the middle class and the creation of paths to self-reliance and tolerance of the oddities in society. I think...more
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Friedrich August von Hayek CH was an Austrian and British economist and philosopher known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought. He is considered by some to be one of the most important economists and political philosophers of the twentieth century. Hayek's account of how changing prices communicate signals which enable indivi...more
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“It is true that the virtues which are less esteemed and practiced now--independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to bear risks, the readiness to back one's own conviction against a majority, and the willingness to voluntary cooperation with one's neighbors--are essentially those on which the of an individualist society rests. Collectivism has nothing to put in their place, and in so far as it already has destroyed then it has left a void filled by nothing but the demand for obedience and the compulsion of the individual to what is collectively decided to be good.” 30 likes
“Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe.” 27 likes
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