The Road to Serfdom

The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek

Book 2
University of Chicago Press
39
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An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

First published by the University of Chicago Press on September 18, 1944, The Road to Serfdom garnered immediate, widespread attention. The first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 books were sold. In April 1945, Reader’s Digest published a condensed version of the book, and soon thereafter the Book-of-the-Month Club distributed this edition to more than 600,000 readers. A perennial best seller, the book has sold 400,000 copies in the United States alone and has been translated into more than twenty languages, along the way becoming one of the most important and influential books of the century.

With this new edition, The Road to Serfdom takes its place in the series The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. The volume includes a foreword by series editor and leading Hayek scholar Bruce Caldwell explaining the book's origins and publishing history and assessing common misinterpretations of Hayek's thought. Caldwell has also standardized and corrected Hayek's references and added helpful new explanatory notes. Supplemented with an appendix of related materials ranging from prepublication reports on the initial manuscript to forewords to earlier editions by John Chamberlain, Milton Friedman, and Hayek himself, this new edition of The Road to Serfdom will be the definitive version of Hayek's enduring masterwork.
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From the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry to president Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package to the highly controversial passage of federal health-care reform, conservatives and concerned citizens alike have grown increasingly fearful of big government. Enter Nobel Prize–winning economist and political theorist F. A. Hayek, whose passionate warning against empowering states with greater economic control, The Road to Serfdom, became an overnight sensation last summer when it was endorsed by Glenn Beck. The book has since sold over 150,000 copies.

The latest entry in the University of Chicago Press’s series of newly edited editions of Hayek’s works, The Constitution of Liberty is, like Serfdom, just as relevant to our present moment. The book is considered Hayek’s classic statement on the ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that he believes have guided—and must continue to guide—the growth of Western civilization. Here Hayek defends the principles of a free society, casting a skeptical eye on the growth of the welfare state and examining the challenges to freedom posed by an ever expanding government—as well as its corrosive effect on the creation, preservation, and utilization of knowledge. In opposition to those who call for the state to play a greater role in society, Hayek puts forward a nuanced argument for prudence. Guided by this quality, he elegantly demonstrates that a free market system in a democratic polity—under the rule of law and with strong constitutional protections of individual rights—represents the best chance for the continuing existence of liberty.

Striking a balance between skepticism and hope, Hayek’s profound insights are timelier and more welcome than ever before. This definitive edition of The Constitution of Liberty will give a new generation the opportunity to learn from his enduring wisdom.

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Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
May 15, 2009
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780226320533
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Economics / Theory
Political Science / General
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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The Reagan and Thatcher "revolutions." The collapse of Eastern Europe dramatically captured in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. F. A. Hayek, "grand old man of capitalism" and founder of the classical liberal, free-market revival which ignited and inspired these world events, forcefully predicted their occurrence in writings such as The Road to Serfdom, first published in 1944.

Hayek's well-known social and political philosophy—in particular his long-held pessimistic view of the prospects of socialism, irrefutably vindicated by the recent collapse of the Eastern bloc—is fully grounded in the Austrian approach to economics. In this new collection, Hayek traces his intellectual roots to the Austrian school, the century-old tradition founded at the University of Vienna by Carl Menger, and links it to the modern rebirth of classical liberal or libertarian thought.

As Hayek reminds us, the cornerstone of modern economics—the theory of value and price—"represents a consistent continuation of the fundamental principles handed down by the Vienna school." Here, in this first modern collection of essays on the Austrian school by one of its preeminent figures, is the genesis of this tradition and its place in intellectual history.

Reflections on Hayek's days as a young economic theorist in Vienna, his opening address to the inaugural meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society, and essays on former teachers and other leading figures in the Austrian school are included in volume 4. Two hitherto unavailable memoirs, "The Economics of the 1920s as Seen from Vienna," published here for the first time, and "The Rediscovery of Freedom: Personal Recollections," available for the first time in English, make this collection invaluable for Hayek scholars.

Hayek's writings continue to provide an invaluable education in a subject which is nothing less than the development of the modern world.
The two volumes of Good Money concentrate on Hayek's work on money and monetary policy. Published in the centenary of his birth, these volumes bring forth some of the economist's most distinguished articles on monetary policy and offer another vital addition to the collection of Hayek's life work.

Good Money, Part I: The New World includes seven of Hayek's articles from the 1920s that were written largely in reaction to the work of Irving Fisher and W. C. Mitchell. Hayek encountered Fisher's work on the quantity theory of money and Mitchell's studies on business cycles during a U.S. visit in 1923-24. These articles attack the idea that price stabilization was consistent with the stabilization of foreign exchange and foreshadow Hayek's general critique that the whole of an economy is not simply the sum of its parts.

Good Money, Part II: The Standard offers five more of Hayek's articles that advance his ideas about money. In these essays, Hayek investigates the consequences of the "predicament of composition." This principle works on the premise that the entire society cannot simultaneously increase liquidity by selling property or services for cash. This analysis led Hayek to make what was perhaps his most controversial proposal: that governments should be denied a monopoly on the coining of money.

Taken together, these volumes present a comprehensive chronicle of Hayek's writings on monetary policy and offer readers an invaluable reference to some of his most profound thoughts about money.

"Each new addition to The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, the University of Chicago's painstaking series of reissues and collections, is a gem."— Liberty on Volume IX of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek

"Intellectually [Hayek] towers like a giant oak in a forest of saplings."—Chicago Tribune

"One of the great thinkers of our age who . . . revolutionized the world's intellectual and political life."—Former President George Herbert Walker Bush
In the years following its publication, F. A. Hayek’s pioneering work on business cycles was regarded as an important challenge to what was later known as Keynesian macroeconomics. Today, as debates rage on over the monetary origins of the current economic and financial crisis, economists are once again paying heed to Hayek’s thoughts on the repercussions of excessive central bank interventions. The latest editions in the University of Chicago Press’s ongoing series The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, these volumes bring together Hayek’s work on what causes periods of boom and bust in the economy. Moving away from the classical emphasis on equilibrium, Hayek demonstrates that business cycles are generated by the adaptation of the structure of production to changes in relative demand. Thus, when central banks artificially lower interest rates, the result is a misallocation of capital and the creation of asset bubbles and additional instability. Business Cycles, Part I contains Hayek’s two major monographs on the topic: Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle and Prices and Production. Reproducing the text of the original 1933 translation of the former, this edition also draws on the original German, as well as more recent translations. For Prices and Production, a variorum edition is presented, incorporating the 1931 first edition and its 1935 revision. Business Cycles, Part II assembles a series of Hayek’s shorter papers on the topic, ranging from the 1920s to 1981. In addition to bringing together Hayek’s work on the evolution of business cycles, the two volumes of Business Cycles also include extensive introductions by Hansjoerg Klausinger, placing the writings in intellectual context—including their reception and the theoretical debates to which they contributed—and providing background on the evolution of Hayek’s thought.
In the years following its publication, F. A. Hayek’s pioneering work on business cycles was regarded as an important challenge to what was later known as Keynesian macroeconomics. Today, as debates rage on over the monetary origins of the current economic and financial crisis, economists are once again paying heed to Hayek’s thoughts on the repercussions of excessive central bank interventions. The latest editions in the University of Chicago Press’s ongoing series The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, these volumes bring together Hayek’s work on what causes periods of boom and bust in the economy. Moving away from the classical emphasis on equilibrium, Hayek demonstrates that business cycles are generated by the adaptation of the structure of production to changes in relative demand. Thus, when central banks artificially lower interest rates, the result is a misallocation of capital and the creation of asset bubbles and additional instability. Business Cycles, Part I contains Hayek’s two major monographs on the topic: Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle and Prices and Production. Reproducing the text of the original 1933 translation of the former, this edition also draws on the original German, as well as more recent translations. For Prices and Production, a variorum edition is presented, incorporating the 1931 first edition and its 1935 revision. Business Cycles, Part II assembles a series of Hayek’s shorter papers on the topic, ranging from the 1920s to 1981. In addition to bringing together Hayek’s work on the evolution of business cycles, the two volumes of Business Cycles also include extensive introductions by Hansjoerg Klausinger, placing the writings in intellectual context—including their reception and the theoretical debates to which they contributed—and providing background on the evolution of Hayek’s thought.
In 1931, when the young F. A. Hayek challenged the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, sixteen years his senior, and one of the world's leading economists, he sparked a spirited debate that would influence economic policy in democratic countries for decades. Their extensive exchange lasted until Keynes's death in 1946, and is reprinted in its entirety in this latest volume of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek.

When the journal Economica published a review of Keynes's Treatise on Money by Hayek in 1931, Keynes's response consisted principlally of an attack on Hayek's own work on monetary theory, Prices and Production. Conducted almost entirely in economics journals, the battle that followed revealed two very different responses to a world in economic crisis. Keynes sought a revision of the liberal political order—arguing for greater government intervention in the hope of protecting against the painful fluctuations of the business cycle. Hayek instead warned that state involvement would cause irreparable damage to the economy.

This volume begins with Hayek's 1963 reminiscence "The Economics of the 1930s as Seen from London," which has never been published before. The articles, letters, and reviews from journals published in the 1930s are followed by Hayek's later reflections on Keynes's work and influence. The Introduction by Bruce Caldwell puts the debate in context, providing detailed information about the economists in Keynes's circle at Cambridge, their role in the acceptance of his ideas, and the ways in which theory affected policy during the interwar period.

Caldwell calls the debate between Hayek and Keynes "a battle for the minds of the rising generation of British-trained economists." There is no doubt that Keynes won the battle during his lifetime. Now, when many of Hayek's ideas have been vindicated by the collapse of collectivist economies and the revival of the free market around the world, this book clarifies Hayek's work on monetary theory—formed in heated opposition to Keynes—and illuminates his efforts to fight protectionism in an age of economic crisis.

F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and the principal proponent of classical liberal thought in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.
The Reagan and Thatcher "revolutions." The collapse of Eastern Europe dramatically captured in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. F. A. Hayek, "grand old man of capitalism" and founder of the classical liberal, free-market revival which ignited and inspired these world events, forcefully predicted their occurrence in writings such as The Road to Serfdom, first published in 1944.

Hayek's well-known social and political philosophy—in particular his long-held pessimistic view of the prospects of socialism, irrefutably vindicated by the recent collapse of the Eastern bloc—is fully grounded in the Austrian approach to economics. In this new collection, Hayek traces his intellectual roots to the Austrian school, the century-old tradition founded at the University of Vienna by Carl Menger, and links it to the modern rebirth of classical liberal or libertarian thought.

As Hayek reminds us, the cornerstone of modern economics—the theory of value and price—"represents a consistent continuation of the fundamental principles handed down by the Vienna school." Here, in this first modern collection of essays on the Austrian school by one of its preeminent figures, is the genesis of this tradition and its place in intellectual history.

Reflections on Hayek's days as a young economic theorist in Vienna, his opening address to the inaugural meeting of the Mont Pèlerin Society, and essays on former teachers and other leading figures in the Austrian school are included in volume 4. Two hitherto unavailable memoirs, "The Economics of the 1920s as Seen from Vienna," published here for the first time, and "The Rediscovery of Freedom: Personal Recollections," available for the first time in English, make this collection invaluable for Hayek scholars.

Hayek's writings continue to provide an invaluable education in a subject which is nothing less than the development of the modern world.
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