Summary of The Road to Serfdom
Why democracy and capitalism produce a better society than socialism and central economic planning.
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.
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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.
Comment on this summary
6 months agoThe summary (and the book) require quite a bit of explanation on the big terms used. For instance, socialism seems to be understood as central economic planning. Obviously, central economic planning is not feasible in a complex and dynamic society. But could socialism also mean offering some economic security to less privileged? On this point Hayek seems to only mention the case of offering absolute security, which is indeed a risk to the non-members. But what about more moderate cases?
An interesting book, but it needs a link to its historical context and one has to figure out the crucial definitions of socialism, liberalism and democracy as applied by Hayek.
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