On Reading Hayek: Choice, Consequences and the Road to Serfdom

Boettke, Peter J. European Journal of Political Economy. Vol. 21, pp. 1042-1053, 2005.


The basic thesis in The Road to Serfdom is that the lure of socialist ideology has the unintended and undesirable consequence of economic depravation and political tyranny when countries follow its policy agenda. Socialist planning requires economic planners to assume a level of responsibility for economic life in a country which is both cumbersome to the point of impossible, and powerful beyond any reasonable limit that could be safely trusted to any one individual or group of individuals. The papers in this symposium provide a critical reading of the Hayek’s thesis on socialism. While many strong points are made in the discussion, the critical reading of Hayek offered must ultimately be judged unsatisfactory. The issues of choice and consequences are not addressed, and as a result the basic argument presented in The Road to Serfdom is never adequately engaged.

Social Science Research Network