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Hayek, Orwell, and the Road to Nineteen Eighty-Four?

  • Andrew FarrantEmail author
  • Jonathan Baughman
  • Edward McPhail
Chapter
Part of the Archival Insights into the Evolution of Economics book series (AIEE)

Abstract

Hayek and Orwell are justifiably famous for their mid-late 1940s analyses of the inherent logic of totalitarianism. Indeed, Hayek’s arguments in The Road to Serfdom (1944) and Orwell’s mid-late 1940s writings—e.g., Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949a)—are usually viewed as having provided very similar assessments of the sundry ‘perversions to which a centralized economy is liable.’ And the similarities between aspects of Hayek’s 1944 analysis of planning and Orwell’s scathing 1949 analysis of Ingsoc (Newspeak for English Socialism) were the topic of much discussion when the Mont Pèlerin Society met in England in early September 1984 for a fortieth anniversary celebration of the publication of The Road to Serfdom. But Orwell had explained that Nineteen Eighty-Four was not meant to be viewed as an ‘attack on socialism’ or the ‘British Labor party (of which I am a supporter)’ but as an account of the ‘perversions to which a centralized economy is liable.’ And any ‘return to “free” competition’ would, Orwell insisted, virtually assure that the ‘mass’ of the populace subsequently found themselves subject to a ‘tyranny probably worse … than that of the state.’ This chapter provides some basic graphical machinery to help to illustrate the analytical tenor of Orwell’s largely implicit model of the way in which a society might ultimately find itself saddled with full-blown oligarchical collectivism.

Keywords

Free market competition Road to serfdom Orwell Socialism Centralised economy 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Farrant
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jonathan Baughman
    • 1
  • Edward McPhail
    • 1
  1. 1.Dickinson CollegeCarlisleUSA

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