Road to Serfdom

Hayek has written one of the most important books of our generation. It restates for our time the issue between liberty and authority. It is an arresting call to all well-intentioned planners and socialists, to all those who are sincere democrats and liberals at heart, to stop, look and listen. ’ The author is an internationally known economist. An Austrian by birth, he was director of the Austrian Institute for Economic Research and lecturer in economics at the University of Vienna during the years of the rise of fascism in Central Europe.

He has lived in England since 1931 when he became Professor of Economic Science at the University of London, and is now a British citizen. Professor Hayek, with great power and rigour of reasoning, sounds a grim warning to Americans and Britons who look to the government to provide the way out of all our economic dif? culties. He demonstrates that fascism and what the Germans correctly call National Socialism are the inevitable results of the increasing growth of state control and state power, of national ‘planning’ and of socialism.

It is essential that we should re-learn frankly to face the fact that freedom can be had only at a price and that as individuals we must be prepared to make severe material sacri? ces to preserve it. 68 69 the road to serfdom We must regain the conviction on which liberty in the AngloSaxon countries has been based and which Benjamin Franklin expressed in a phrase applicable to us as individuals no less than as nations: ‘Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Toward a better world To build a better world, we must have the courage to make a new start. We must clear away the obstacles with which human folly has recently encumbered our path and release the creative energy of individuals. We must create conditions favourable to progress rather than ‘planning progress’. It is not those who cry for more ‘planning’ who show the necessary courage, nor those who preach a ‘New Order’, which is no more than a continuation of the tendencies of the past 40 years, and who can think of nothing better than to imitate Hitler.