The Road To Serfdom
The Road to Serfdom is a classic text often reported on for economics courses in college. DO you have a "The Road to Serfdom"research paper due and don't know how to start it? How about like this?
Friedrich A. Hayek was an Austrian economist living in England toward the end of the WWII when his book "The Road to Serfdom" was published. He felt impelled to write the book because at that time "the majority of economists [were] absorbed by the war machine." With most economists involved in the government war effort to defeat Hitler and the Axis powers, public opinion regarding basic economic issues was to an "alarming extent guided by amateurs and cranks." Hayek felt that the public opinion on economic matters being formed by individuals who had axes to grind or pet ideas to promote was in danger of giving rise to an economic system which would not only be a faulty system, but would also impinge of social values, particularly freedom, to make life the poorer.
Economics and Freedom - The Road to Serfdom
Hayek's focus was the inter-relationship of economics and freedom. He did not distinguish between these two. For him, the essence of a worthwhile, productive economic system was freedom. Freedom was necessary so that the economic system could serve its purpose of providing not only for particular products and an acceptable standard of living, but also for contributing to the general welfare of a society. In "The Road to Serfdom," Hayek deals with the two sides of the matter of freedom he considers the most important element in an economic system.
- Hayek writes about why freedom is the most important element.
- Hayek writes about the harmful effects of an economic system which does not sufficiently allow for the exercise of the freedom of the individuals in a society.
- Freedom is not only important because it is an important value for individuals, but also because it is by such freedom that an economic system is able to adjust to the needs and desires of the society.
While retirement security, health benefits, full employment, and other desirable economic and social benefits may not be guaranteed by an economic system with freedom as its essence, this sort of system allows for these by its adaptability and productivity. An economic system may have as its explicit goals retirement security, etc. But this is an economic system based on economic planning, not freedom. Planning is the antithesis of freedom. Worse than this for Hayek, planning impinges on freedom. This not only takes away from the quality of life of individuals, but prevents an economic system from providing the retirement security, full employment, etc. which the planning is said to be able to furnish.