Freedom, Planning, and Totalitarianism: The Reception of F. A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom

Rosenof, Theodore. Canadian Review of American Studies. Volume 5, No. 2 (1974).


One of the classic issues of politics has been that of the relationship of the state to the economy. A long tradition in the western world has held that the relationship should be kept as minimal as possible, that a free economy is the very basis of economic progress and prosperity, that economic freedom is essential to all other freedoms – including political liberty and democracy. This tradition, and these assumptions, were partially challenged and modified by the movements for progressive reform and democratic socialism which developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But the greatest challenge came during the severe depression years of the 1930s : the belief was widespread among radicals during the first half of the decade that the end of an era was at hand, that capitalism and its ethos had run their course, and that the socialist cooperative commonwealth was now within reach.