(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944).
AN INTERESTING COPY OF HAYEK'S INFLUENTIAL AND POPULAR EXPOSITION OF LIBERALISM AND A MASTERWORK OF FREEDOM AND INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY. A Nobel Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Hayek is considered one of the pioneering and most significant economists of the last 100 years. He is best known for his defense of classical liberalism. Hayak shared the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Gunnar Myrdal for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and [...] penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena". His account of how changing prices communicate information that helps individuals co-ordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics, leading to his Nobel Prize.
THE ROAD TO SERFDOM was initially written as a response to the report written by William Beveridge, the Liberal politician and dean of the London School of Economics where Hayek taught, studied and wrote at the time of publication. Hayek was concerned about the general view in Britain's academia that fascism was a capitalist reaction to socialism and THE ROAD TO SERFDOM arose from those concerns. It was written between 1940 and 1943. The title was inspired by the French classical liberal thinker Alexis de Tocqueville's writings on the "road to servitude". It was first published in Britain by Routledge in March 1944 and was quite popular, leading Hayek to call it "that unobtainable book" also due in part to wartime paper rationing. When it was published in the United States by the University of Chicago in September of that year, it achieved greater popularity than in Britain. At the instigation of editor Max Eastman, the American magazine Reader's Digest also published an abridged version in April 1945, enabling The Road to Serfdom to reach a far wider audience than academics. The book is widely popular among those advocating individualism and classical liberalism The book would make a significant impact on 20th century political discourse, especially American conservative and libertarian economic and political debate.
Hayek wrote in THE ROAD TO SERFDOM, that "there is no reason why in a society which has reached the general level of wealth which ours has attained [that security against severe physical privation, the certainty of a given minimum of sustenance for all; or more briefly, the security of a minimum income] should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom. There are difficult questions about the precise standard which should thus be assured... but there can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody. ... Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist... individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance – where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks – the case for the state's helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to supersede it by something different will disagree on the details of such schemes; and it is possible under the name of social insurance to introduce measures which tend to make competition more or less effective. But there is no incompatibility in principle between the state's providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom. Wherever communal action can mitigate disasters against which the individual can neither attempt to guard himself nor make the provision for the consequences, such communal action should undoubtedly be taken."
In 1973, Hayek reiterated in Law, Legislation and Liberty: " There is no reason why in a free society government should not assure to all, protection against severe deprivation in the form of an assured minimum income, or a floor below which nobody need to descend. To enter into such an insurance against extreme misfortune may well be in the interest of all; or it may be felt to be a clear moral duty of all to assist, within the organised community, those who cannot help themselves. So long as such a uniform minimum income is provided outside the market to all those who, for any reason, are unable to earn in the market an adequate maintenance, this need not lead to a restriction of freedom, or conflict with the Rule of law."
Laid into this copy are two interesting and related pieces. The first being a typed letter on Foreman's Association of American, Carnegie Illinois Steel Gary Works letterhead discussing the enclosed re-print of economist Stuart Chase's review of ROAD TO SERFDOM, titled 'Back to Grandfather". The second is that reprint, reprinted by the Foreman's Association with permission of 'The Nation'. Item #31313
Hayek, Friedrich A. THE ROAD TO SERFDOM With Forward by John Chamberlain (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944).
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944).