Summary of The Road to Serfdom

University of Chicago Press,
First Edition: 1944 more...

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The Road to Serfdom book summary
Why democracy and capitalism produce a better society than socialism and central economic planning.


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Friedrich A. Hayek, an Austrian economist, wrote this classic defense of democracy and market economies in 1944. That it remains a bestseller is a testament to the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of his critique of socialism and centrally planned economies. The Road to Serfdom cites the influence of Karl Marx and other German philosophers who primed German citizens to embrace the totalitarian rule of Adolf Hitler. The Great Depression of the 1930s stepped up questions about capitalism and boosted support for socialism among the people of democratic countries. But Hayek warned that citizens of America, Britain and other democracies put their freedom at risk when they extolled the goals of socialism. This edition of Hayek’s classic includes a comprehensive introduction by the book’s editor, ample annotation of the original text and an appendix with numerous related documents, as well as the introduction to the 1994 edition by monetary policy expert Milton Friedman. getAbstract recommends this book to readers who want to know the seminal works in this field, and to explore the philosophical differences between socialism and capitalism.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How support for socialism spread to America, Britain and other democracies in the early 1900s
  • Why a centrally planned economy is impractical
  • Why socialism and “liberalism,” or minimal government, are incompatible political philosophies


Doubts About Democracy and Capitalism
In the early decades of the 1900s, Europeans and Americans increasingly considered alternatives to democratic government and capitalism, especially during the terrible economic depression in the 1930s. Many critics questioned the “liberal,” or minimal...
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About the Author

Friedrich August von Hayek (1899-1992), an economist from Vienna, Austria, and a proponent of market-based economies, was co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 1974 and recipient of the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991.

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