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on 29 August 1999
At a time when freedom is threatened as never before (even in the US the state seizes 40% of all wealth every year), a book like this is more essential reading than ever. Hayek lucidly demonstrates the inherent contradictions of socialism and its inevitable tendency towards totalitarianism, lessons that were mainstream thinking in the west before 1914 but have sadly fallen into disrepute since then. I cannot rate this work too highly, and it occupies pride of place on my bookshelf along with several other books by this advocate of personal freedom and individual responsibility.
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on 2 June 1998
I was a totalitarian. I didn't know it at the time. I simply believed that there ought to be a strong government - made up of persons like myself, of course - which made good decisions on behalf of everyone else. I did not believe that so complex a world could be left to be run by the people as individuals, one part of it at a time. Sound familiar? Then read this book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 July 2007
This is one of the greatest simple anti-state capitalist manifestos you will find, its punchy, its pacey, lots of utopian eulogising of what Hayek thought were much malinged and misunderstood market forces.

However for any sensible and clear sighted reader this book is bound to disappoint, Hayek treats very different ideological and political forces as essentially similar, it has the combination of promise and threat that most market populism has (market forces will deliver/market forces will strike back) and just doesnt seem to take issues like unemployment or other consequences of unmitigated market forces that seriously or treats them with a kind of unreality.

It is a book, I suspect, which will ultimately prove most pleasing to anyone searching for a pretty plain and simple world view with clear cut heroes and villains, much like its mirror opposites in some socialist and conservative literature.

However that said it is well written and deserves to receive a wide readership, in fact I would say the very socialist or (welfare) liberal circles who Hayek protrays as either villains or the fatally conceited "useful idiots" of villains could benefit from reading it, while, like myself, they are unlikely to agree.
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on 20 December 2013
Hayek's Road to Serfdom is such a classic it needs no introduction. It is a must read for anyone who even vaguely comes into contact with economic theory... which means everyone really.
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on 31 May 1999
Well, I came to this book with high expectations: Rush Limbaugh himself (!) had made it his No. 1 recommendation to the new Republican Congressmen in 1994. But Hayek delivers what is basically a screed, or a pamphlet. Social democrats are putting us on the slippery slope to totalitarianism ?? Really?
Yes, the State is, as De Gaulle said, a ""cold monster"". But come on, does national health insurance really makes us vassals of the State? or even constrain our liberties in any but the most abstract, and consensual, way?
Hayek's tract is good on decision-making -- what planner can know all the options available without making moral choices for people? -- but to contend that the Slippery Slope of public sector growth leads to Nazism or anything like it is, well, nutty.
This book reads like the work of an economist trying his hand at political theory. Basically a grab-bag of conservative cliches.
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on 29 May 2013
This seminal work of the twentieth century is said to have been a formative influence on Margaret Thatcher. It is certainly worth reading today, when our freedoms face insidious threats.
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This book is more actual than ever. Despite it was written almost 80 years ago it is an accurate portrait of today's threats to liberty and democracy
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on 8 April 2013
I am sorry I don't have the time to write long sentences and I think it would be better to return to the classic system of reviewing, but it's a very good service!
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Even after six decades, The Road To Serfdom remains essential for understanding global economics and politics. Hayek's main point, that whatever the problem, human nature demands that government be the solution, and that this is the road to hell, remains more valid than ever. He pointed out how similar the situation was under Soviet communism and fascism in Germany and Italy.
The consensus in post-war Europe was for the welfare state and this has led to declining birth-rates, mass immigration from North Africa and the Middle East, and a tendency to exchange their ancient cultural values for the frauds of postmodernism and multiculturalism.
In this classic, Hayek discusses matters like planning and power, the fallacy of the utopian idea, planning versus the rule of law. He brilliantly explains how we are faced with two irreconcilable forms of social organization. Either choice and risk resides with the individual or he is relieved of both.
Complete economic security is inseparable from restrictions on liberty - it becomes the security of the barracks. When the striving for security becomes stronger than the love of freedom, a society is in deep, deep trouble. The way to prosperity for all is to remove the obstacles of bureaucracy in order to release the creative energy of individuals.
The government's job is not to plan for progress but to create the conditions favourable to progress. This has been proved by the awesome economic expansion under Reagan and Thatcher and by the amazing growth of the Asian Tiger economies, and most recently India as it implements sensible economic policies.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the contrast between the phenomenal growth in formerly communist countries like Estonia or Poland against the stagnant situation in Germany and France where they never had a Thatcher.
One of the best books by one of Hayek's intellectual heirs is In Defence Of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg. I also recommend Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand, Freedom: Alchemy For A Voluntary Society by Stephan Hoeller and The Mainspring Of Human progress by Henry Grady Weaver.
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on 18 May 2015
Why socialism must inevitably lead to totalitarianism. Said to be the book which most influence Margret Thatcher
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