Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Review:The Road to Serfdom by F.A Hayek

Title: The Road to Serfdom
Author: F.A Hayek
Publisher: 9780415255431
Pages: 272
Price: Routledge
Genre: Non-fiction
Source: Library
Rating: 4 out of 5




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Summary:
Addressing economics, fascism, history, socialism and the Holocaust, Hayek unwraps the trappings of socialist ideology. The Road to Serfdom remains one of the all-time classics of twentieth-century intellectual thought.

Review:
Hayek the professor in him has tried to put together his intellectual thoughts on the roots of the problem that European world suffered in WWII and how from the mistake of pasts through war they are given a chance to start over all over again in a better way...Yet they (U.S and Europe) are not willing to learn from their past mistake and built a better future..I skipped the introduction my Milton Friedman and I may not have any excuse to that..

This book is sort of a warning on how socialism can lead to autocracy..Published in 1940's the book is most sought for its theories and ideologies..His main focus is on how economic intervention to better a situation can finally lead to further intervention and finally resulting in autocracy for they replace the existing market and hence the whole bearings rest upon a few individuals, hence onto their freedom and thoughts and not the democracy..He attempts to elaborate on how the act to do good can calculatingly do bad..For example in a socialist society an individual assumes that he has the choice to make but then his choices depends on the current scenario of the market which in itself has limited scope.Planning that goes over in the market actually takes away the freedom with which they can work on with..The book is divided into 15 chapters..each chapter explains different angles of the same problem of the market and governing authorities...

He starts with the current state of affairs though it dates back very close to 70 years ..he explains through narcissism , how the whole world has feared  Hitler and how all the country put their effort, resource and energy to overcome the tyranny..Every country  trying  in its own way to explain the current situation that existed then and  there by trying come into terms which eventually failed unless all put their effort in a unified thoughts for a solid solution but there after and the big chaos of war, the schemes that supposedly put for development issues , brought the whole situation under single solid domain of autocracy..Even when people were warned by the evil of socialism people fail to notice the change and their lose of freedom..People are bombarded with the false hope of totalitarianism that they fail to see...They fail to realize that they are losing their basic rights to freedom..

According to Hayek Socialism that is figured as a way to total freedom by diluting the disparity among the difference in income across hierarchy prevailing in society is not what it seems to be..For this he quotes France as an example that fell as a pray and eventually most European countries saw the upcoming danger of the free world in the name of Socialism and its dangers...In other words Socialism sprouted to Fascism in a from the palette..Mussolini who started off as a socialist went on to be fascist..There are always competition among fascists and socialism as according to Hayek they are all fighting for the same position..

Hayek has tried to clear the doubts and the confusion that socialism evokes..As socialism is seen as an epitome of security and equality,..But as socialism works its way to abolish privatization and an individual holding the supreme but distribution of the benefit and profit among the group can bring about planning system that will in turn have control over everything which is the confusion that the socialist attitude can bring about but in turn they all try to control people to serve their own purpose...

The confusion is when common good and general welfare is a variable constant and such that there would be a set of people who might get together  with same thoughts and they form into a group of free thinking people while they supposedly think that they are the ones who can think for common good and their thoughts as a representation of the common wave while many a times this may not be the case..

The impairment  arises when these set of people start to make rules and all are bound to live within the limits of these law tagged in the label of freedom of choice when actually one is forced to choose among the choices...He quotes Nazi government for this who at the outset projected themselves to be a representation of mass and took a stand on many things in the name e of bringing out change for betterment to the very people who were later opppressed..

According to Hayek any planned economy is nothing about autocracy, a tyranny in a more sophisticated order that steals away the freedom of people...Even when it comes to the choice of job the freedom to choose are limited to the positions available in the market that the government provides, controlling them the way they want ., all in the name of socialism and common good with better planning and fiscal security...

In a planned economy competition is created in the market creating  a disparity among people who can afford distinguishing from the people who can't afford...This  leaves with just  one choice to the poor of becoming rich there by entitling themselves a chance to afford..The leaders are the one who decide the incomes and their outcome, leaving behind the very good motto of common good far behind ... they also fail  in the most important fact of freedom of people by controlling them indirectly...

Even security is relatively controlled to minimum standard of living where a particular income can guarantee only a certain kind lifestyle while a slight fluctuation in the market would in turn reflect in the same...A person makes a choice of his way of life based on the income, hence highly paid jobs becomes  lucrative while lowly paid makes a job unattractive..

The problem occurs when socialism take the state of oppression with many to follow and being oppressed by a leader or a group of leaders.. The group that follows  has no independent judgments or thoughts to oppose the oppressor..The situation goes to the extend that even people start to think the way their leader wants them to creating a  complete harmony in a convincing way..

According to Hayek, be it fascism or narcissism they all took their roots from socialism out of Marxist theory.. He quote how Sombart switched their stand from Marxist theory to the socialist ground while Plenge points out the problems of individual freedom in socialism..

While people are still surprised on how narcissism came into being in Germany, but  as per Hayek it was quite predictable as German opposition to British liberalism was the reason for the German state of affair..
However, the complication started when the current generation oppose market hence indirectly pave way for the individuals or the governing authority to take over that leads  to further suppression..Further planning shifts the hands on labor in a different way at the outset while the core remains all the same...

As we cannot achieve international peace for serving one country's economic end sacrificing their fellow countrymen and not coming into terms for common good .. Hence we will never let anything bring a positive solution for the common good..

My favourite quote is "The coming of socialism was to be the leap from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom"..(page 25)
Hayek's language may not be easily understood but once your onto it things become clear to the extend that you start nodding to his way of expressions..

According to me socialist way of society gives us with a way to pursue a path away from labor work  or non-economically  productive way life, living a life of ones passion on arts, science and education itself while in times of scarcity the very same members might be the cause of disability and much of chaos..Many a times lack of incentives itself might contribute for unwanted competition that itself make the situation quite unstable with low standard of living and poor health...While I might be naive at pointing out the only advantage of capitalism as the least governmental interference while the very same advantage could act as a dagger with the situation being unchecked leading to a much of impairment of the people at the working class..Hayek theories has been much sought for for its own good and deeper thoughts while to me his thoughts were like the philosophy that people come up with their own version of  interpretation..

1 comment:

  1. Superb post VB. I really should read this. The issues explored here are indeed some of the great questions that have confronted humans in the last hundred years or so.

    Good points on your part about the weaknesses of capitalism.

    ReplyDelete

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