The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich August von Hayek (Book Summary)

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World War II was in its last phases, in 1944. On the orient facade, Russia was winning momentum against Nazi Germany; on the western facade, the United Kingdom and the United States were about to attack Normandy. The confederates were rising, and there was a cause to think that the Nazis and their confederates can be actually beaten.

So what was reason did the writer, who might later win the Nobel Prize in Economical matters, dread that the Allied forces themselves were in peril of transforming into authoritarian governments?

Well, he discovered likenesses between the socialist designed economy and the communal constructions of Nazi Germany and thought that these constructions might cause totalitarianism. He thought that he should alert the people.

Now, we’ll look deeper into his dreads and find how one of the twentieth century’s most loyal liberal thinkers saw the world in a chaotic period just like this.

1 – After World War II, Nazism might have decreased, but another hazardous ideology gained force.

When World War II finished and the people started to convalesce from the danger of Nazi Germany, a new and probably risky ideology named socialism was beginning to appear. Was this just another ideology that the people should be careful about?

The point is, many ideas say that Nazism had sprung from the high class’s response to the low class’s socialism. But actually, it is not the point. Before Hitler’s force increased, social democrats in Germany rose government inspection of the economy to give an answer to the economic crisis that cause of World War I. It was government-checked, a kinda totalitarian regime that prepared the stage for fascism and the Nazi Party.

And in case it came true in Germany, what was blocking it from coming true in other spaces as well?

To block this danger, it was significant to get a lesson from Nazi Germany, where socialism and the restriction of individual liberties by government economic control had made totalitarianism come true.

But at this time, which states were really in danger?

As a matter of fact, in 1944, Germany, the US, and the United Kingdom were strikingly comparable to each of the three countries that had decreased opportunity and balance. For example, the basis of socialism was unmistakable in the US and the United Kingdom in 1944, similarly as in Germany before Hitler’s ascent to control.

Thus, while US and UK governmental topics surely not looked fascism, these nations risked turning down a hazardous way toward a totalitarian future. The writer thought that these nations, once liberated by government economic control, were currently, by practicing greater authority over specific and economic undertakings, nearing toward totalitarianism.

So why was socialism getting acceleration? Because of a widespread misunderstanding.

2 – Socialism is incorrectly incorporated with independence and the equality of selection.

When the end of World War II came, most of the people made a connection between independence and equality of selection, and socialism. I was accepted as a democratic method for independent and equal living, but these thoughts were visionary.


Because the designed economy of socialism exterminates the probability of special independence. For example, in the times of classical liberalism, science and the economy improve cavalierly and private independences achieve unheard-of altitudes. But socialism had a completely different impact.

Actually, socialism was described by people who speculated that it can be connected to a dictatorial government. So, while socialism struggles for communal fairness, safety, and equality, it also invokes for the cancellation of special attempts, and it means that production tools can’t be owned by individuals themselves anymore. In place of that, centric designing that limits private freedom controls these kinds of stuff.

Instead, classical liberalism efforts to set up a statutory frame in which people can freely race. So, a classically liberal community lets independence of selection and individuality, while a socialist community breeds a ”new independence” that destroys the equality of selection.

Actually, this way which goes to independence is just a part of slavery and pain. Because, before all the things, this way requests equality of richness and force, which is not possible in a classically liberal government that values individualism.

And, collectivism stands for less rivalry and, finally, a bereavement of selection. So, while collectivism includes dissimilar kinds of economic designing, the true risk of socialism was that it effectually tried to design against the rivalry.

How is that?

Major monopolies quit ruling the market when industries are brought under one roof. To block monopolies, you need centric soot to protect full control over them. This makes the economic rivalry end, and release selection over pricing and production might have the same destiny.

3 – For democracy and the sovereignty of law, a designed economy has powerful impacts.

Isn’t democracy on the further side of the economy? Hypothetically, it is. But a designed economy has important impacts on the political future of a nation. Actually, it can efficiently destroy democracy.

So, even if it may seem counterintuitive, socialism with a designed economy is actually unfeasible to reach democracy. That’s because most of the community can cast one’s vote for a designed economy, but then judgments would want to be made concerning what the design requires. The issue is that everyone has dissimilar willings and importances, which they see as the most urgent and significant.

That’s why designing in a democracy would actually be like a society deciding they would like to go on holiday, but cannot select where. It’s nothing but chaos.

Consequently, the majority’s selections will be made by the minority. Because in a designed economy, the majority can’t make decisions, so the minority do that. This is the beginning of a path to dictatorship or losing democracy and independence.

And, the sovereignty of law and personal rights are restricted or finished away with as an outcome of designing. First of all, we’ll take a look at the sovereignty of law, which says that all laws are prearranged and evenly enforced. With personal independence and rights, this is also one of the key successes of the recent few centuries.

Yet, for a nation to design an economy, it would need to wipe out the sovereignty of the law with the goal that it could respond to various circumstances and movements. So as opposed to leaving the force and direct consultation in the hands of a parliament, basic leadership power would be vested in little, adaptable loads up. Individual rights would be definitely lessened, and supplanted by an obligation to the general prosperity all things considered.

4 – Socialism builds dictatorship and huge decreases in personal independence.

Despite its effect on the communal build, socialism doesn’t block people from deciding, is it true? False. Having a designed economy is also about giving up control over most divisions of living.

Imagine it: most parts of your life are connected with your economic status. Just consider how you make money and select what to get: the selections made by the subscribers in the economy.

For example, we spend most of our hours with business. So, the capability to select where we want to work in is inextricable from our independence. But in a designed economy, the designer chooses who manufactures what, how it is disunited and what items cost.

That means the designer chooses what work you’re most sufficient to do and what kinds of items and residence you buy as well. Giving people more special selections would being counter to communal comfort and the greater design.

But the truth that someone has to take responsibility is more significant. Actually, the renowned question ”Who, whom?” is asked by Lenin himself. In other words, who has the duty of choosing the destinies and needs of whom?

The obligation to make this provision provides a long-term totalitarian government because a small society, perhaps even just one dictator, turns out choosing what other people want and what chances they have. For instance, architects might gain less than they ordinarily would while farmers would gain more.

So, even although socialism tells about more equal deploy of richness, it cannot behave every people in an exact equal way.

5 – In totalitarian socialism, the worst people finally get the upper status.

The truth that a person is making decisions for other people isn’t that evil opinion. Actually, the people who have responsibility may be charitable and good, making everyone’s living nice. Sadly, it can’t show diversity because of some reason.

Firstly, the society which has the duty has to be a big one that accepts its targets and tries to symbolize everyone. This is the beginning of the issue:

The more enlightened individuals become, the more they differ in their morality, statesmanship and economic condemnation. So, mediatizing a big society of people is simpler if they consider a similar way or are in the lesser enlightened ”classes.” The problem is that less enlightened people are often more readily effected by efficient propaganda and can be collected to battle for an order that will really block their independence.

And another problem is that the dictator has to focalize on the bigger good of the community, which means limiting the rights of the minority. Actually, totalitarian socialism justifies itself by promising to work for the bigger good, for the fairer deploy of richness and by establishing a centric design that directs more or less everything.

And, applying this needs a dictator to make morally uncertain provisions. So, people who think in a democratic way and be interested in personal rights will never lead in such a totalitarian government, it means people who have less moral norms will be on the top.

So, providing the assistance of the majority in a socialist order wants a dictator to limit the demands of the minority. For example, by banning them from clearly describing criticism of the regime.

6 – Totalitarian regimes capture and keep the force by using relevance, control of knowledge and scapegoated foes.

Imagine a dictator is on the top right now. Providing control will want him to make every single person from the community agree with his opinions. How can he provide such relevance?

By taking control of knowledge and spreading propaganda. If everyone is agreeing to help realize such a program and work for the regime with an only end, they have to trust with their heart its outcome.

Thus, for socialism to work, individuals can’t simply be compelled to move in the direction of a common objective. The outcome would be distress and, inevitably, upheaval. Rather, individuals should be totally persuaded that this arrangement is the correct decision. 

Publicity and the media assume a really major job here. As an example, in case the organizer takes controls of all wellsprings of data, there’s no more vehicle for restriction to his convictions or plans, making it difficult to hear opposing arguments.

In addition to that, on the off chance that anyone attempts to carry on against the arrangement, they’re sure to be made quiet. All things considered, doing as such would hurt the arrangement’s odds of progress and the teaching of the majority. 

In any case, quieting dissent requires a shared adversary. Indeed, a basic part of human instinct is the hassle we have conceding to positive targets. Then again, it’s very simple for us to concur on an adversary, another that we can battle against. That is actually what the Jews’ status for Nazi Germany.

How about we investigate that specific circumstance: 

After World War I, the economy in Germany was progressing into a progressively sorted out, less aggressive one. Individuals were becoming accustomed to the control of a focal association and battled with capitalist financial regimes and the classical liberal thoughts of nations, for example, the United Kingdom. 

These battles turned out to be particularly famous for youngsters in Germany and it wouldn’t have been long until Jews were being depicted as “evil capitalists” out to hurt the German economy. Jews quickly turned into a shared adversary of the German individuals as they came to speak to the outrages of free enterprise and, along these lines, exemplary progressivism.

7 – After World War II, maintaining individualist ethics could be really significant to ever previously. 

Indeed, even before it became exposed how much demise and decimation World War II had fashioned, one thing turned out to be clear: remaking Europe and recuperating from a massacre of such size would have been immensely troublesome. In any case, even in 1944, at the time the writer distributed this work, clearly, a basic point in the years following the war would be the rise of individualist ethics over aggregate ones.

The writer’s contention kept running as pursues: 

In the event that the United Kingdom picked collectivism, specific virtues, for example, confidence, freedom, and obligation, would be wrecked. Individuals would indiscriminately obey orders, adhering to what socialists called “The Design.” Besides, collectivism would block the reproduction of the community, leaving the nation disabled and war-torn. 

So the writer recommended another sight – an aggressive and individualist market that would encourage the fast recovery of the nation and return UK ways of life to prewar standards or forward in only a couple of years. The rivalry would prompt the creation of urgently required merchandise and ventures while at the same time holding down costs, all of which would reinforce the economy.

The writer mentioned that accepting socialism would be effective in the world’s matters as well.

When it was significant for the United Kingdom to engage the Germans by underlining individualist ethics and morals, for example, opportunity and freedom,  choosing the collectivism would have been a noteworthy pot.

In addition to that, other collectivist governments, wanting to focus attentionally on their own economies, would disregard their connections with other nations. 

Over and above, having a designed national economy out of the freedom of the world market would cause stagey inequality between nations. This would block the long-dated peace by providing jealousy and malice.

As we see, we can understand that the UK didn’t turn into a socialist country which is unable of handling the battle, but socialism had a really bad effect on other divisions of Europe and also the world.

The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich August von Hayek Book Review

Socialism is about to turn into totalitarianism as it provides the government too much control over the nation’s economy and citizens. To provide the individual and economic independence of people, it is better to accept a libertarian touch that defends little political control whichever.

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