The Road to Serfdom

By Friedrich Hayek 

Synopsis: A classic in literature written by famous Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom is a thesis on planned economies versus freedom. The basic premise of the book is that when we allow government to encroach beyond its proper limits, individual freedom is necessarily destroyed to the extent that government undertakes to plan the economy. Taking Nazi Germany as a particular case in point, he shows that those who undertake to plan society and create it in their own image cannot allow for individual freedom to exist if their goals are to be met. Therefore freedom and general prosperity may only be provided by limited government in the tradition of the U.S. Constitution. Hayek also lays an undeniably air-tight case for the fact that Naziism (i.e. National Socialism) stemmed from the Marxist/socialist mindset that permeated Germany for many years prior.

Strong Points: The logic of Hayek's arguments are very solid, simply because what he has written is eternal truth. The truth of his writings is quite undeniable, and actually observable in history. The definitive edition is excellent with its footnotes that provide historical context and explanations that are helpful to the modern reader, as well as an introduction that provides historical information about Hayek and how the book came to existence.

Weak Points: The arguments of the book are many and sometimes fairly involved. It would be helpful if either Hayek or the editor provided a concise statement in point form of the main arguments at the end of each chapter. This would provide a much more ready reference to the ideas found within the book. Also, real or hypothetical examples would have been helpful in the case of some of the arguments, to give the reader a clearer idea of what Hayek was arguing.

Interesting: 3/5

Must Read: 2.9/5

Overall: 4/5


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