F. A. Hayek pp 141-157 | Cite as

The False Promise of Socialism and The Road to Serfdom

  • Peter J. Boettke
Part of the Great Thinkers in Economics book series (GTE)


The Road to Serfdom is by far Hayek’s most successful work. It is also deeply misunderstood. Critics and advocates of his position alike interpret Hayek as saying that any step toward the concentration of economic power into the hands of the government must necessarily lead to totalitarianism. In short, Hayek’s argument is seen as a slippery slope one. Hayek actually argued that the members of a society must choose to continue on the path of centralization, and if consistently pursued, must ultimately substitute political discretion under central planning with democracy under the rule of law, a tragic outcome that is undesired by those who advocate central planning. The alternative is to impose constraints on the ability of the state to substitute individual planning for central planning, as was happening in some countries while Hayek was writing his book.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Boettke
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics Mercatus CenterGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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