Speaking of The Road to Serfdom, here is a handy link to the Mises Institute’s reprint of the “cartoon” guide to the Hayek classic.

Over the past four terms, we have focused on books that focus on the dynamics of the capitalist system.  We started with Schumpeter’s biography and followed that up with Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy.  These really gave us a 10,000-foot view of where Schumpeter thought the system might head coming out of World War II.  Schumpter seems sanguine about the “inevitability” of socialism, while Hayek gives us a much different, quite chilling vision of the meshing of politics and the economic system. Certainly, I would attribute part of this to Schumpeter and Hayek’s respective views of the importance of the price system — Schumpeter asserting that it is overplayed, whereas Hayek underscores its importance.

Next term, we will continue to sponsor an economics read, though our focus will likely shift to the future of the system coming out of the current crisis.  I will be posting those books shortly in the event that you want to get a head start over break.

One thought on “The Cartoon Road to Serfdom”

  1. The appropriate book is perhaps not Road to Serfdom which overplays the card (being meant for a popular audience) but The Constitution of Liberty. It is a later work of Hayek and provides a considered critique of capitalism, including the tendency of the institutions of democracy to move towards the welfare state, destroying liberty. That, indeed, at least partially explains the disastrous economic events of the past three years in US and Europe. In that sense Schumpeter was not too off the mark. It takes great courage to protect liberty against the onslaught of populism.

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