The Road to Serfdom: Book Review

I took up this book more than twenty years ago without success. I faltered after a few dozen pages. This time, I have the chops to read it. Experience in business and observations of state and city bureaucracies as well as other reading equipped me to understand Hayek’s abstractions.

Central planning kills. It kills incentives. It kills information sharing. It leads to killing fields such as those of Cambodia. It kills prosperity and individual choice and individual flourishing.

So many of today’s debates can be boiled down to this choice; collectivism or individualism. Mass transit vs. automobiles, public housing vs. owner-occupied single-family dwellings, feeding programs vs. family kitchens, global governance vs. nationalism, unionists vs. entrepreneurs, state schools vs. charters or vouchers.

I was surprised to see Hayek’s support of minimum wage legislation and compulsory social insurance. Perhaps if he saw the results of five decades of developing these things he would be less sanguine.

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