Hayek has been on my to-read list for some time, and this abridged edition that I received as a gift gave me the perfect opportunity to get a taste of his writing.
I was expecting a strong libertarian, laissez-faire flavor of economics. There are certainly some of those principles discussed in this book, but Hayek also considers some limited welfare programs and regulation necessary.
The Road to Serfdom is strongly anti-socialist and anti-central planning. Hayek demonstrates how attempts to control the market always result in the government sliding towards despotism and oppression. Central planning limits individual economic liberty. Central planning will always fail, because a single individual, or even a group of people, cannot hold a complete understanding of every aspect of the economy. Regulating one area affects others in ways that are either unpredictable or hard to measure (others are predictable, but ignored.)
The works of Bastiat and Hazlitt correlate well, as does the essay “I, Pencil”.
A free market is not without its problems, but it will always outperform central planning in terms of standard of living, freedom, prosperity, and progress.
There are much better reviews out there, so I’ll keep this brief. I definitely plan to read the unabridged book.
I highly recommend this book.