The Road to Serfdom

The Road to Serfdom (German: Der Weg zur Knechtschaft) is a book written between 1940 and 1943 by Austrian British economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek, in which the author "[warns] of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning."[1] He further argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator, and the serfdom of the individual. Hayek challenged the general view among British academics that fascism (including National Socialism) was a capitalist reaction against socialism. He argued that fascism, National Socialism and socialism had common roots in central economic planning and empowering the state over the individual.

Since its publication in 1944, The Road to Serfdom has been an influential and popular exposition of market libertarianism. It has sold over two million copies.[2][3]

The Road to Serfdom was to be the popular edition of the second volume of Hayek's treatise entitled "The Abuse and Decline of Reason",[4] and the title was inspired by the writings of the 19th century French classical liberal thinker Alexis de Tocqueville on the "road to servitude".[5] The book was first published in Britain by Routledge in March 1944, during World War II, and was quite popular, leading Hayek to call it "that unobtainable book", also due in part to wartime paper rationing.[6] It was published in the United States by the University of Chicago Press in September 1944 and achieved great popularity. At the arrangement of editor Max Eastman, the American magazine Reader's Digest published an abridged version in April 1945, enabling The Road to Serfdom to reach a wider popular audience beyond academics.

The Road to Serfdom has had a significant impact on twentieth-century conservative and libertarian economic and political discourse, and is often cited today by commentators.

The Road to Serfdom
Cover of the first UK edition
AuthorFriedrich Hayek
CountryUnited Kingdom
Media typePrint
338.9 20
LC ClassHD82 .H38 1994


Hayek initially wrote a memo to the director of the London School of Economics, William Beveridge, in early 1930s to dispute the then-popular claim that fascism represented the dying gasp of a failed capitalist system. Then, the memo grew into a magazine article. During World War II, despite his intention to incorporate parts of that article into a much larger book, Hayek decided to bring it out separately after which he sent the manuscript to three American publishing houses, all of which rejected it[7].


The book was originally published for a British audience by Routledge Press in March 1944 in the United Kingdom and then by the University of Chicago Press in September 1944. The U.S. publisher’s expectation was that the book would sell between 900 and 3,000 copies. The initial printing run of 2,000 copies was quickly sold out, and 30,000 copies were sold within six months. In 2007, the University of Chicago Press estimated that more than 350,000 copies had been sold.[8]

A 20-page version of the book was then published in the April 1945 issue of Reader's Digest,[9] with a press run of several million copies. A 95-page abridged version was also published in 1945 and 1946.[10] In February 1945, a picture-book version was published in Look magazine, later made into a pamphlet and distributed by General Motors.[11] The book has been translated into approximately 20 languages and is dedicated "To the socialists of all parties". The introduction to the 50th anniversary edition is written by Milton Friedman (another recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics 1976).

In 2007, the University of Chicago Press issued a "Definitive Edition", Volume 2 in the "Collected Works of F. A. Hayek" series. In June 2010, the book achieved new popularity by rising to the top of the bestseller list following extended coverage of the book on The Glenn Beck Program. Since that date, it has sold another 250,000 copies in its print and digital editions.


Hayek argues that Western democracies, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have "progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past".[12] Society has mistakenly tried to ensure continuing prosperity by centralized planning, which inevitably leads to totalitarianism. "We have in effect undertaken to dispense with the forces which produced unforeseen results and to replace the impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market by collective and ‘conscious’ direction of all social forces to deliberately chosen goals."[13] Socialism, while presented as a means of assuring equality, does so through "restraint and servitude", while "democracy seeks equality in liberty".[14] Planning, because it is coercive, is an inferior method of regulation, while the competition of a free market is superior "because it is the only method by which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority".[15]

Centralized planning is inherently undemocratic in Hayek's view, because it requires "that the will of a small minority be imposed upon the people".[16] The power of these minorities to act by taking money or property in pursuit of centralized goals, destroys the Rule of Law and individual freedoms.[17] Where there is centralized planning, "the individual would more than ever become a mere means, to be used by the authority in the service of such abstractions as the 'social welfare' or the 'good of the community'".[18] Even the very poor have more personal freedom in an open society than a centrally planned one.[19] "[W]hile the last resort of a competitive economy is the bailiff, the ultimate sanction of a planned economy is the hangman."[20] Socialism is a hypocritical system, because its professed humanitarian goals can only be put into practice by brutal methods "of which most socialists disapprove".[21] Such centralized systems also require effective propaganda, so that the people come to believe that the state's goals are theirs.[22]

Hayek argues that the roots of National Socialism lie in socialism,[23] and then draws parallels to the thought of British leaders:

The increasing veneration for the state, the admiration of power, and of bigness for bigness' sake, the enthusiasm for "organization" of everything (we now call it "planning") and that "inability to leave anything to the simple power of organic growth" ... are all scarcely less marked in England now than they were in Germany.[24]

Hayek believed that after World War II, "wisdom in the management of our economic affairs will be even more important than before and that the fate of our civilization will ultimately depend on how we solve the economic problems we shall then face".[25] The only chance to build a decent world is "to improve the general level of wealth" via the activities of free markets.[26] He saw international organization as involving a further threat to individual freedom.[27] He concluded: "The guiding principle that a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy remains as true today as it was in the nineteenth century."[28]

The role of government

Although Hayek believed that government intervention in markets would lead to a loss of freedom, he recognized a limited role for government to perform tasks of which free markets were not capable:

The successful use of competition as the principle of social organization precludes certain types of coercive interference with economic life, but it admits of others which sometimes may very considerably assist its work and even requires certain kinds of government action.[29]

While Hayek is opposed to regulations that restrict the freedom to enter a trade, or to buy and sell at any price, or to control quantities, he acknowledges the utility of regulations that restrict legal methods of production, so long as these are applied equally to everyone and not used as an indirect way of controlling prices or quantities, and without forgetting the cost of such restrictions:

To prohibit the use of certain poisonous substances, or to require special precautions in their use, to limit working hours or to require certain sanitary arrangements, is fully compatible with the preservation of competition. The only question here is whether in the particular instance the advantages gained are greater than the social costs they impose.[30]

He notes that there are certain areas, such as the environment, where activities that cause damage to third parties (known to economists as "negative externalities") cannot effectively be regulated solely by the marketplace:

Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, of some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories, be confined to the owner of the property in question, or to those willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation.[31]

The government also has a role in preventing fraud:

Even the most essential prerequisite of its [the market's] proper functioning, the prevention of fraud and deception (including exploitation of ignorance), provides a great and by no means fully accomplished object of legislative activity.[32]

The government also has a role in creating a safety net:

There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision.[33][34]

He concludes: "In no system that could be rationally defended would the state just do nothing."[32]

Cautions and clarifications

While Hayek is clear when read in the full, several of his word choices have not aged or travelled well, leading to possible confusion in 21st century America. Hayek offered later clarifications:

  • socialism meant state control of the economy as in Hitler's Nazi Germany (not a welfare state)[35]
  • classical liberal ideals meant liberty, freedom and rights[36]

Some of Hayek's arguments are timeless (thus continued publication), but his sources and examples are from early to mid 20th century Europe. A thorough knowledge of those times is necessary to fully appreciate the book. Hayek's world included the Great Depression, the rise of autocracies in Russia, Italy and Germany and World War II (during which Hayek was writing). The 2007 edition includes numerous notes connecting the text to history.


John Maynard Keynes said of it: "In my opinion it is a grand book ... Morally and philosophically I find myself in agreement with virtually the whole of it: and not only in agreement with it, but in deeply moved agreement."[37] However, Keynes did not think Hayek's philosophy was of practical use; this was explained later in the same letter, commenting: "What we need therefore, in my opinion, is not a change in our economic programmes, which would only lead in practice to disillusion with the results of your philosophy; but perhaps even the contrary, namely, an enlargement of them. Your greatest danger ahead is the probable practical failure of the application of your philosophy in the United States."[38]

George Orwell responded with both praise and criticism, stating, "in the negative part of Professor Hayek's thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often – at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough – that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamt of." Yet he also warned, "[A] return to 'free' competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because more irresponsible, than that of the state."[39]

Hayek's work was influential enough to warrant mention during the 1945 British general election, when according to Harold Macmillan, Winston Churchill was "fortified in his apprehensions [of a Labour government] by reading Professor Hayek's The Road to Serfdom"[40] when he warned in an election broadcast in 1945 that a socialist system would "have to fall back on some form of Gestapo". The Labour leader Clement Attlee responded in his election broadcast by claiming that what Churchill had said was the "second-hand version of the academic views of an Austrian professor, Friedrich August von Hayek".[41] The Conservative Central Office sacrificed 1.5 tons of their precious paper ration allocated for the 1945 election so that more copies of The Road to Serfdom could be printed, although to no avail, as Labour won a landslide victory.[42]

The Road to Serfdom was placed fourth on the list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the twentieth century[43] compiled by National Review magazine. It also made #16 in reader selections of the hundred best non-fiction book of the twentieth century administered by Modern Library.[44]

The Road to Serfdom appears on Martin Seymour-Smith's list of the 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written, whilst it made #1 on Human Events: Top Ten Books Every Republican Congressman Should Read[45] in 2006.

Milton Friedman's assessment:

I think the Adam Smith role was played in this cycle [i.e. the late twentieth century collapse of socialism in which the idea of free-markets succeeded first, and then special events catalyzed a complete change of socio-political policy in countries around the world] by Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom.[46]

Milton Friedman also described The Road to Serfdom as "one of the great books of our time."

Alan Brinkley's assessment:

The publication of two books ... helped to galvanize the concerns that were beginning to emerge among intellectuals (and many others) about the implications of totalitarianism. One was James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution ... [A second] Friedrich A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom ... was far more controversial – and influential. Even more than Burnham, Hayek forced into public discourse the question of the compatibility of democracy and statism ... In responding to Burnham and Hayek ... liberals [in the statist sense of this term as used by some in the United States] were in fact responding to a powerful strain of Jeffersonian anti-statism in American political culture ... The result was a subtle but important shift in liberal [i.e. American statist] thinking.[46]

Economic sociologist Karl Polanyi made a case diametrically opposed to Hayek, arguing that unfettered markets had undermined the social order and that economic breakdown had paved the way for the emergence of dictatorship.[47]

Herman Finer, a Fabian socialist, published a rebuttal in his The Road to Reaction in 1946. Hayek called Finer's book "a specimen of abuse and invective which is probably unique in contemporary academic discussion".[48]

Barbara Wootton wrote Freedom under Planning[49] after reading an early copy of The Road to Serfdom, provided to her by Hayek. In the introduction to her book, Wootton mentioned The Road to Serfdom and claimed that "Much of what I have written is devoted to criticism of the views put forward by Professor Hayek in this and other books."[50] The central argument made in Freedom under Planning is that "there is nothing in the conscious planning of economic priorities which is inherently incompatible with the freedoms which mean most to the contemporary Englishman or American. Civil liberties are quite unaffected. We can, if we wish, deliberately plan so as to give the fullest possible scope for the pursuit by individuals and social groups of cultural ends which are in no way state-determined."[51] Wootton criticizes Hayek for claiming that planning must lead to oppression, when, in her view, that is merely one possibility among many. She argues that "there seems hardly better case for taking for granted that planning will bring the worst to the top than for the opposite assumption that the seats of office will be filled with angels".[52] Thus, Wootton acknowledges the possibility that planning may exist alongside tyranny, but claims that it is equally possible to combine planning with freedom. She concludes that "A happy and fruitful marriage between freedom and planning can, in short, be arranged."[53]

However, Frank Knight, founder of the Chicago school of economics, disputes the claim that Freedom under Planning contradicts The Road to Serfdom. He wrote in a scholarly review of the Wootton book: "Let me repeat that the Wootton book is in no logical sense an answer to The Road to Serfdom, whatever may be thought of the cogency of Hayek's argument, or the soundness of his position."[54]

In his review (collected in The Present as History, 1953) Marxist Paul Sweezy joked that Hayek would have you believe that if there was an over-production of baby carriages, the central planners would then order the population to have more babies instead of simply warehousing the temporary excess of carriages and decreasing production for next year. The cybernetic arguments of Stafford Beer in his 1973 CBC Massey Lectures, Designing Freedom [55] – that intelligent adaptive planning can increase freedom – are of interest in this regard, as is the technical work of Herbert A. Simon and Albert Ando on the dynamics of hierarchical nearly decomposable systems in economics – namely, that everything in such a system is not tightly coupled to everything else.[56]

Jeffrey Sachs wrote that the social-welfare states, with high rates of taxation and social outlays, outperform the relatively free-market economies, according to the empirical evidence.[57] William Easterly wrote a rebuttal[58] and Sachs wrote a counter-rebuttal.[59]

Eric Zencey wrote that the free market economy Hayek advocated is designed for an infinite planet, and when it runs into physical limits (as any growing system must), the result is a need for centralized planning to mediate the problematic interface of economy and nature. "Planning is planning, whether it's done to minimize poverty and injustice, as socialists were advocating then, or to preserve the minimum flow of ecosystem services that civilization requires, as we are finding increasingly necessary today."[60]

The work appears on a recommended reading list for the 'libertarian right' hosted on the Political Compass test website.[61]

Mises Institute libertarian/anarcho-capitalist economist Walter Block has observed critically that while The Road to Serfdom makes a strong case against centrally planned economies, it appears only lukewarm in its support of a free market system and laissez-faire capitalism, with Hayek even going so far as to say that "probably nothing has done so much harm to the liberal cause as the wooden insistence of some liberals on certain rules of thumb, above all the principle of laissez-faire capitalism". In the book, Hayek writes that the government has a role to play in the economy through the monetary system (a view that he later withdrew),[62] work-hours regulation, social welfare, and institutions for the flow of proper information. Through analysis of this and many other of Hayek's works, Block asserts that: "in making the case against socialism, Hayek was led into making all sort of compromises with what otherwise appeared to be his own philosophical perspective – so much so, that if a system was erected on the basis of them, it would not differ too sharply from what this author explicitly opposed".[63]

Gordon Tullock has argued Hayek's analysis predicted totalitarian governments in much of Europe in the late 20th century. He uses Sweden, in which the government at that time controlled 63 percent of GNP, as an example to support his argument that the basic problem with The Road to Serfdom is "that it offered predictions which turned out to be false. The steady advance of government in places such as Sweden has not led to any loss of non-economic freedoms." While criticizing Hayek, Tullock still praises the classical liberal notion of economic freedom, saying, "Arguments for political freedom are strong, as are the arguments for economic freedom. We needn’t make one set of arguments depend on the other."[64] However, according to Robert Skidelsky, Hayek "safeguarded himself from such retrospective refutation". Skidelsky argues that Hayek's argument was contingent, and that, "By the 1970s there was some evidence of the slippery slope ... and then there was Thatcher. Hayek's warning played a critical part in her determination to 'roll back the state.'"[65]

See also


  1. ^ Ebeling, Richard M. (May 1999). "Friedrich A. Hayek: A Centenary Appreciation". The Freeman. 49 (5). Archived from the original on 2013-04-15.
  2. ^ Paul Ormerod (December 16, 2006). "The fading of Friedman". Prospect. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
  3. ^ "Bestsellers in Books". Retrieved 10 December 2010. On June 9, 2010, the book became the #1 book sold at, achieving best seller status.
  4. ^ Ebenstein 2003:107
  5. ^ Friedrich Hayek: A Biography. University of Chicago Press. 2003. p. 116. ISBN 9780226181509.
  6. ^ Ebenstein 2003:128
  7. ^ Hayek & Caldwell 2007:1
  8. ^ Hayek & Caldwell 2007:1
  9. ^ OCLC 76656715
  10. ^ OCLC 802584460, 13355651
  11. ^ "The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek – why the continual expansion of the state endangers liberty". July 9, 2006. ISBN 978-1500345600.
  12. ^ Hayek 1994:16
  13. ^ Hayek 1994:24
  14. ^ Hayek 1994:29
  15. ^ Hayek 1994:41
  16. ^ Hayek 1994:77
  17. ^ Hayek 1994:80–96
  18. ^ Hayek 1994:106
  19. ^ Hayek 1994:115
  20. ^ Hayek 1994:139
  21. ^ Hayek 1994:191
  22. ^ Hayek 1994:168
  23. ^ Hayek 1994:1183–198
  24. ^ Hayek 1994:200
  25. ^ Hayek 1994:128
  26. ^ Hayek 1994:230
  27. ^ Hayek 1994:240–260
  28. ^ Hayek 1994:262
  29. ^ Hayek 1994:42
  30. ^ Hayek 1994:43
  31. ^ Hayek 1994:44
  32. ^ a b Hayek 1994:45
  33. ^ "Hayek on Social Insurance". The Washington Post.
  34. ^ Free to Die By PAUL KRUGMAN, New York Times, September 15, 2011
  35. ^ Hayek & Caldwell 2007:54-55 From the preface to the 1976 edition.
  36. ^ Hayek & Caldwell 2007:45 From the foreword to the 1956 American paperback edition.
  37. ^ Thomas W. Hazlett (2002). "The Road from Serfdom – Forseeing the Fall F.A. Hayek interviewed by Thomas W. Hazlett". No. July 1992. Reason magazine. Archived from the original on 2005-02-03. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
  38. ^ Kenneth R. Hoover (2003). Economics as Ideology. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. p. 152. ISBN 0-7425-3113-9.
  39. ^ "Review of the Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek, etc". As I Please, 1943–1945: The Collected Essays, Journalism & Letters. 3.
  40. ^ Harold Macmillan (1969). Tides of Fortune, 1945–1955. Harper & Row. p. 32. ASIN B0014BRAYS.
  41. ^ "Hayek, life and times". Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  42. ^ David Willetts; Richard Forsdyke (1999). After the Landslide: Learning the Lessons of 1906 and 1945 (PDF) (PDF). Centre for Policy Studies. p. 59.
  43. ^ "NR's List of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century". National Review. Archived from the original on 2011-03-17.
  44. ^ "100 list of the 100 best non-fiction books by Modern Library". Random House. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
  45. ^ "Top 10 Books Every Republican Congressman Should Read". Human Events. Townhall Media. November 21, 2006.
  46. ^ a b "Quotes on Hayek".
  47. ^ Karl Polanyi; Joseph E. Stiglitz (1944). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Fred L. Block. Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807056431.
  48. ^ George H. Nash (April 3, 2004). "Hayek and the American Conservative Movement" (PDF). Indianapolis.
  49. ^ Chester I. Barnard (January 1946). "Freedom under planning". Southern Economic Journal. Southern Economic Association. 12 (3): 290–300. doi:10.2307/1052278. JSTOR 1052278.
  50. ^ Wootton 1945, pp. 5.
  51. ^ Wootton 1945, pp. 158.
  52. ^ Wootton 1945, pp. 163.
  53. ^ Wootton 1945, pp. 159.
  54. ^ Knight, Frank (1946). "Freedom Under Planning". Journal of Political Economy. 54 (5): 451–454. doi:10.1086/256402.
  55. ^ "The 1973 CBC Massey Lectures, "Designing Freedom"".
  56. ^ See (full references on Herbert A. Simon entry) Simon's papers in his collected Models of Bounded Rationality, a qualitative discussion in his Sciences of the Artificial, and a full presentation of the mathematical theory by P.J. Courtois in his Decomposability: queueing and computer system applications (Academic Press, 1977). The papers in the section "The Structure of Causal Systems" of Vol. 3 of Models of Bounded Rationality (MIT Press, 1997) provide a summary and review of Simon's work in this area.
  57. ^ Jeffrey Sachs (October 2006). "The Social Welfare State, beyond Ideology". Scientific American.
  58. ^ William Easterly (November 15, 2006). "Dismal Science". The Wall Street Journal.
  59. ^ Greg Mankiw (November 27, 2006). "Why Hayek Was Wrong: Sachs Responds to Easterly". Greg Mankiw's Blog – Random Observations for Students of Economics.
  60. ^ "The Other Road to Serfdom". The Daily Kos. April 20, 2010.
  61. ^ Compass, The Political. "The Political Compass". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  62. ^ Friedrich August von Hayek (1990). The Denationalization of Money – The Argument Refined – An Analysis of the Theory and Practice of Concurrent Currencies (PDF). The Institute Of Economic Affairs. ISBN 9781610165204.
  63. ^ Block, Walter (1996). "Hayek's Road to Serfdom" (PDF). Journal of Libertarian Studies. Center for Libertarian Studies. 12 (2): 339–365. Retrieved 2010-02-17.
  64. ^ Walker, Michael A., ed. (October 5–8, 1986). "Freedom, Democracy, and Economic Welfare". Freedom Democracy and Economic Welfare. Proc. of an International Symposium on Economic, Political, and Civil Freedom. Napa Valley: The Fraser Institute. p. 61. Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
  65. ^ Skidelsky, Robert (2006). Feser, Edward (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Hayek. Cambridge University Press. pp. 82–110. ISBN 9781139827584.


Further reading

  • Boyack, Connor; Stanfield, Elijah (Illustrator) (2016). The Tuttle Twins and the Road to Surfdom. Libertas Press. ISBN 978-1943521142. A children's version of The Road to Serfdom.

External links

1944 in philosophy

1944 in philosophy

Antony Fisher

Sir Antony George Anson Fisher (28 June 1915 – 8 July 1988), nicknamed AGAF, was a British businessman and think tank founder. He participated in the formation of various libertarian organisations during the second half of the twentieth century, including the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Atlas Network. Through Atlas, he helped establish up to 150 other institutions worldwide.

Bruce Caldwell (economist)

Bruce J. Caldwell is an American historian of economics, Research Professor of Economics at Duke University, and Director of the Center for the History of Political Economy. Prior to holding this position, Caldwell was the Joe Rosenthal Excellence Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 1979, he received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and did post-doctoral work at New York University, where he was influenced by both Ludwig Lachmann and Israel Kirzner.

He is the General Editor of the University of Chicago's The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek. He is the third editor of the series, after W.W. Bartley III and Stephen Kresge. In particular, Caldwell edited The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents –The Definitive Edition.

He is the author of Beyond Positivism: Economic Methodology in the 20th Century, first published in 1982. For the past two decades his research has focused on the multi-faceted writings of the Nobel Prize-winning economist and social theorist Friedrich A. Hayek. Caldwell's intellectual biography of Hayek, Hayek's Challenge, was published in 2004 by the University of Chicago Press. Formerly at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Caldwell has also held research fellowships at New York University, Cambridge University, and the London School of Economics. He is a past president of the History of Economics Society, a past Executive Director of the International Network for Economic Method, and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge.Caldwell's book Hayek's Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F.A. Hayek, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2004 (ISBN 9780226091914), and reviewed by a number of journals.

He has also published a number of scholarly articles on this and related subjects.

Criticism of socialism

Criticism of socialism refers to any critique of socialist models of economic organization and their feasibility as well as the political and social implications of adopting such a system. Some criticisms are not directed toward socialism as a system, but are directed toward the socialist movement, socialist political parties or existing socialist states. Some critics consider socialism to be a purely theoretical concept that should be criticized on theoretical grounds (such as in the socialist calculation debate) while others hold that certain historical examples exist and that they can be criticized on practical grounds.

Economic liberals and right libertarians view private ownership of the means of production and the market exchange as natural entities or moral rights which are central to their conceptions of freedom and liberty and view the economic dynamics of capitalism as immutable and absolute. They thus perceive public ownership of the means of production, cooperatives and economic planning as infringements upon liberty.According to the Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises, an economic system that does not utilize money, financial calculation and market pricing will be unable to effectively value capital goods and coordinate production and therefore socialism is impossible because it lacks the necessary information to perform economic calculation in the first place. Another central argument leveled against socialist systems based on economic planning is based on the use of dispersed knowledge. Socialism is unfeasible in this view because information cannot be aggregated by a central body and effectively used to formulate a plan for an entire economy, because doing so would result in distorted or absent price signals. Other economists criticize models of socialism based on neoclassical economics for their reliance on the faulty and unrealistic assumptions of economic equilibrium and pareto efficiency. Some philosophers have also criticized the aims of socialism, arguing that equality erodes away at individual diversities and that the establishment of an equal society would have to entail strong coercion. Critics of the socialist political movement often criticize the internal conflicts of the socialist movement as creating a sort of "responsibility void".

Because there are many models of socialism, most critiques are only focused on a specific type of socialism, therefore the criticisms presented below may not apply to all forms of socialism and many will focus on the experience of Soviet-type economies. It is also important to note that different models of socialism conflict with each other over questions of property ownership, economic coordination and how socialism is to be achieved—so critics of specific models of socialism might be advocates of a different type of socialism.

Dictatorship of the proletariat

In Marxist philosophy, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a state of affairs in which the working class hold political power. Proletarian dictatorship is the intermediate stage between a capitalist economy and a communist economy, whereby the government nationalises ownership of the means of production from private to collective ownership. The socialist revolutionary Joseph Weydemeyer coined the term "dictatorship of the proletariat", which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels adopted to their philosophy and economics. The Paris Commune (1871), which controlled the capital city for two months, before being suppressed, was an example of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In Marxist philosophy, the term "Dictatorship of the bourgeoisie" is the antonym to "dictatorship of the proletariat".The term "dictatorship" indicates the retention of the state apparatus, but differs from individual dictatorship, the unconstitutional rule of one man. The term 'dictatorship of the proletariat implies the complete "socialization of the major means of production", the planning of material production in service to the social and economic needs of the population, such as the right to work, education, health and welfare services, public housing.

There are multiple popular trends for this political thought, all of which believe the state will be retained post-revolution for its enforcement capabilities:

Marxism–Leninism follows the ideas of Marxism and Leninism as interpreted by Vladimir Lenin's successor Joseph Stalin. It seeks to organise a vanguard party, as advocated by Marx, and to lead a proletarian uprising, to assume state power on behalf of the proletariat and to construct a single-party "socialist state" representing a dictatorship of the proletariat, governed through the process of democratic centralism, which Lenin described as "diversity in discussion, unity in action". Marxism–Leninism forms the official ideology of the ruling parties of China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, and was the official ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from the late 1920's, and later of the other ruling parties making up the Eastern Bloc.

Libertarian Marxists criticize Marxism–Leninism for perceived differences from orthodox Marxism, opposing the Leninist principle of democratic centralism and the Marxist-Leninist interpretation of vanguardism. Along with Trotskyists, they also oppose the use of a one-party state which they view as inherently undemocratic, although Trotskyists are still Bolsheviks, subscribing to democratic centralism and soviet democracy, seeing their ideology as a more accurate interpretation of Leninism. Rosa Luxemburg, a Marxist theorist, emphasized the role of the vanguard party as representative of the whole class, and the dictatorship of the proletariat as the entire proletariat's rule, characterizing the dictatorship of the proletariat as a concept meant to expand democracy rather than reduce it - as opposed to minority rule in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.In The Road to Serfdom (1944), the conservative economist Friedrich Hayek said that the dictatorship of the proletariat, even if it were democratic, likely would destroy personal freedom as completely as does an autocracy.

Economic freedom

Economic freedom or economic liberty is the ability of people of a society to take economic actions. This is a term used in economic and policy debates as well as in the philosophy of economics. One approach to economic freedom comes from classical liberal and libertarian traditions emphasizing free markets, free trade, and private property under free enterprise. Another approach to economic freedom extends the welfare economics study of individual choice, with greater economic freedom coming from a "larger" (in some technical sense) set of possible choices. Other conceptions of economic freedom include freedom from want and the freedom to engage in collective bargaining.The free market viewpoint defines economic liberty as the freedom to produce, trade and consume any goods and services acquired without the use of force, fraud or theft. This is embodied in the rule of law, property rights and freedom of contract, and characterized by external and internal openness of the markets, the protection of property rights and freedom of economic initiative. There are several indices of economic freedom that attempt to measure free market economic freedom. Based on these rankings correlative studies have found higher economic growth to be correlated with higher scores on the country rankings. With regards to other measures, such as equality, corruption, political and social violence and their correlation to economic freedom it has been argued that the economic freedom indices conflate unrelated policies and policy outcomes to conceal negative correlations between economic growth and economic freedom in some subcomponents.

Freedom of choice

Freedom of choice describes an individual's opportunity and autonomy to perform an action selected from at least two available options, unconstrained by external parties.

Friedrich Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek (; German: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈaʊ̯ɡʊst ˈhaɪɛk]; 8 May 1899 – 23 March 1992), often referred to by his initials F.A. Hayek, was an Anglo-Austrian economist and philosopher best known for his defence of classical liberalism. Hayek shared the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Gunnar Myrdal for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and [...] penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena". Hayek was also a major social theorist and political philosopher of the 20th century and his account of how changing prices communicate information that helps individuals co-ordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics, leading to his Nobel Prize.Hayek served in World War I and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war drew him into economics. He lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States, and Germany and became a British subject in 1938. Hayek's academic life was mostly spent at the University of Chicago, Freiburg, and the London School of Economics.

Hayek was appointed a Companion of Honour in 1984 for "services to the study of economics". He was the first recipient of the Hanns Martin Schleyer Prize in 1984. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 from President George H. W. Bush. In 2011, his article "The Use of Knowledge in Society" was selected as one of the top 20 articles published in The American Economic Review during its first 100 years.

Friedrich Hayek bibliography

This is the chronological list of books by the Austrian school economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek. The dates in brackets are the original year of publication of the book (not always in English).

The University of Chicago Press has a project called the Collected Works of F.A. Hayek, a planned series of 19 newly edited editions of Hayek’s books with interviews with the author, new editions of his articles and letters, and hitherto unpublished manuscripts.

Herbert Tingsten

Herbert Lars Gustaf Tingsten (17 March 1896 – 26 December 1973) was a Swedish political scientist, writer and newspaper publisher. He was a professor of political science at Stockholm University from 1935 to 1946, and executive editor of the newspaper Dagens Nyheter from 1946 to 1959.

Herbert Tingsten was born in Järfälla, Stockholm County, the son of city servant Karl Tingsten and his wife Elin Bergenstjerna. He finished his doctoral thesis in 1923 while working as secretary in the Swedish parliament's Committee on the Constitution. As a political scientist his main fields included constitutional history, constitutional law and the history of ideas.

Tingsten changed his political views several times during his life. In his early youth he was a conservative and later a radical left-wing liberal. During the 1920s he joined the Swedish Social Democratic Party and was on the left-wing faction of the party. In 1941 he wrote Den svenska socialdemokratiens idéutveckling ("The Ideological Development of the Swedish Social Democrats"), where he criticized the party for not fulfilling the marxist goals of nationalizations of the private industry. However, after reading Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom in 1944, Tingsten became a convinced believer in a free market economy and in 1945 he left the Social Democratic Party. He was one of the original participators of the Mont Pelerin Society, founded in 1947.

Tingsten was an early opponent of Nazism, which he warned against during the early 1930s, as well as of the threat of Communism. During his time as executive editor of Dagens Nyheter, Tingsten argued for Swedish membership in NATO. He also supported Israel.

In a number of books and publications, Tingsten anticipated some of the major issues in the political developments of the 20th century, such as the rise of fascism, apartheid in South Africa, the transition of socialism into social democracy as well as the need for democratic vitality in Western societies. Tingsten had a deep erudition in both Anglo-Saxon and Continental European science and literature. He created the concept of political behaviour in his 1936 book, pioneering the analysis of election statistics.

Inevitability thesis

Inevitability thesis is term that has been applied to a number of theories, including:

Daniel Chandler's thesis that once technology is introduced, it is inevitably developed

Steven Goldberg's thesis that inevitable male dominance is rooted in physiological differences between men and women

F. Hayek's thesis in The Road to Serfdom that any amount of central control inevitably leads to totalitarianism

S. Huntington's thesis in The Clash of Civilizations that modernization of the third world inevitably begets violence

Immanuel Kant's position that people inevitably make fallacious inferences from the dialectical syllogisms

Johann Plenge

Johann Plenge (7 June 1874 – 11 September 1963) was a German sociologist. He was professor of political economy at the University of Münster. Professor Plenge was regarded a great authority on Karl Marx, and "his work Marx und Hegel marks the beginning of the modern Hegel-renaissance among Marxist scholars." Later his socialist views became very nationalistic, and he is regarded one of the most important intellectual forebears of National Socialism (Nazism).

In his book 1789 and 1914 he contrasted the 'Ideas of 1789' (liberty) and the 'Ideas of 1914' (organisation). Plenge argued: "under the necessity of war socialist ideas have been driven into German economic life, its organisation has grown together into a new spirit, and so the assertion of our nation for mankind has given birth to the idea of 1914, the idea of German organisation, the national unity of state socialism". To Plenge, as for many other German nationalists and socialists, organization meant socialism and a planned economy (central direction). He regarded the war between Germany and England as a war between opposite principles, and believed that the "struggle for victory were new forces born out of the advanced economic life of the nineteenth century: socialism and organization".

John Jewkes (economist)

John Jewkes (1902–1988) was a British classical liberal economist. He was Professor of Economic Organisation at Merton College, Oxford.

His main work, Ordeal by Planning, was written in 1946; in it he argues that the central planning implemented in the United Kingdom during World War II can only lead to poverty if it is adopted as a permanent economic system. This thesis is quite similar to the one developed by Friedrich Hayek in 1945 in The Road to Serfdom. His line of thought was close to the ordoliberal thesis of Wilhelm Röpke and Walter Eucken.

He is also remembered for his book The Sources of Invention (1958), written with two research assistants, David Sawers and Richard Stillerman. It is based on 50 case studies of 19th century and 20th century technological innovations and is considered a pioneering study in the economics of innovation.

He was president of the Mont Pelerin Society from 1962 to 1964.

Law, Legislation and Liberty

Law, Legislation and Liberty is a work in three volumes by Nobel laureate economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek. In it, Hayek further develops the philosophical principles he discussed earlier in The Road to Serfdom, The Constitution of Liberty, and other writings. Law, Legislation and Liberty is more abstract than Hayek's earlier work, and it focuses on the conflicting views of society as either a design, a made order ("taxis"), on the one hand, or an emergent system, a grown order ("cosmos"), on the other. These ideas are then connected to two different forms of law: law proper, or "nomos" coinciding more or less with the traditional concept of natural law, which is an emergent property of social interaction, and legislation, or "thesis", which is properly confined to the administration of non-coercive government services, but is easily confused with the occasional acts of legislature that do actually straighten out flaws in the nomos.

List of advocates of basic income

This is a list of notable persons or organizations that have articles on Wikipedia and are advocates of basic income.

New class

The new class is used as a polemic term by critics of countries that followed the Soviet type of Communism to describe the privileged ruling class of bureaucrats and Communist Party functionaries which arose in these states. Generally, the group known in the Soviet Union as the nomenklatura conforms to the theory of the new class. The term was earlier applied to other emerging strata of the society.

Milovan Đilas' "New Class" theory was also used extensively by anti-Communist commentators in the West in their criticism of the Communist states during the Cold War.

The term "red bourgeoisie" is a pejorative synonym for the term new class, crafted by leftist critics and movements (like the 1968 student demonstrations in Belgrade).

New class is also used as a term in late 1960s post-industrial sociology.

Snowball effect

Metaphorically, a snowball effect is a process that starts from an initial state of small significance and builds upon itself, becoming larger (graver, more serious), and also perhaps potentially dangerous or disastrous (a vicious circle), though it might be beneficial instead (a virtuous circle). This is a cliché in cartoons and modern theatrics and it is also used in psychology.

The common analogy is with the rolling of a snowball down a snow-covered hillside. As it rolls the ball will pick up more snow, gaining more mass and surface area, and picking up even more snow and momentum as it rolls along.

In aerospace engineering, it is used to describe the multiplication effect in an original weight saving. A reduction in the weight of the fuselage will require less lift, meaning the wings can be smaller. Hence less thrust is required and therefore smaller engines, resulting in a greater weight saving than the original reduction. This iteration can be repeated several times, although the decrease in weight gives diminishing returns.

The startup process of a feedback electronic oscillator, when power to the circuit is switched on, is a technical application of the snowball effect. Electronic noise is amplified by the oscillator circuit and returned to its input filtered to contain primarily the selected (desired) frequency, gradually getting stronger in each cycle, until a steady-state oscillation is established, when the circuit parameters satisfy the Barkhausen stability criterion.

Stossel (TV series)

Stossel is a weekly American talk show, hosted by John Stossel, highlighting current consumer issues with a libertarian viewpoint. The television program debuted on December 10, 2009, on the Fox Business Network and aired on Fridays. It originally aired at 8:00 pm EST, but was moved to 9:00 pm EST. In 2013, Fox News Channel began to replay the show which aired occasionally on the weekends.

John Stossel moderated the first-ever nationally televised Libertarian presidential debate on April 1, 2016. The second part of the debate aired on April 8.The final episode premiered on December 16, 2016. At the end of that episode, a retrospective that spotlighted moments from seven years of the program, Stossel explained that due to his age, he wanted to help develop a younger generation of journalists with his views, and would continue to appear as a guest on Fox programs, and also help produce content for Reason TV.

The Servile State

The Servile State is a 1912 book authored by Hilaire Belloc. The book is primarily a history of capitalism in Europe, and a repudiation of the convergence of big business with the state. Belloc lays out two alternatives: distributionism and collectivism.

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