The Road to Serfdom

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The Road To Serfdom
Read online or download:
https://iea.org.uk/publications/research/the-road-to-serfdom

Austrian Economics: Made in the USA

Oskar Morgenstern was appalled by book’s message, its narrow-minded boosters, and the Hayek juggernaut. One of the founders of game theory, Morgenstern responded allergically to the ideological message propounded during Hayek’s tour. Writing in his diary, he said, Hayek “was in the hands of an evil community… I simply cannot go along anymore. Neither his [ideas] nor his opponents’—none of them is science.” For Morgenstern, Road was not economics; it was polemics. All the worse for those working in the Austrian tradition.

Austrian Economics: Made in the USA, Janek Wasserman 2015

The economics and philosophy of Hayek ‘s works in particular seem to resonate among the ranks of libertarians and the authoritarian-right, along with the works of other controversial economists and philosophers such as Ludwig von Mises, Karl Popper, and Americans Milton Friedman & Ayn Rand (born in Russia). These Free Market thinkers extol their perceptions of the virtues of personal freedom & liberty, often in contradiction with themselves as they vocalise support of authoritarianism as a means to enforce these freedoms. An article in the Jacobin Magazine: Capitalist Freedom Is a Farce, discusses issues at hand:

Capitalist Freedom Is a Farce

But any realistic review of the market economy reveals a different picture: capitalism limits both positive and negative freedom. It fosters a huge buildup of private power by concentrating individual wealth and entrenching corporate control over markets (along with mercilessly destroying environmental systems and thus the freedom of future generations). Capitalism not only fails to provide a “positive freedom” to a fair share of the economy — it fails to preserve “negative freedom” from the power plays of the 1 percent’s corporate property.

Jacobin Magazine: Capitalist Freedom Is a Farce

The terms liberal and libertarian, which are confusingly similar, are not interchangeable and in fact, are diametrically opposed. It is also apparent that translation of these terms from the native Austrian-German into other languages may not clearly distinguish between the two, which may partly explain the libertarian dichotomy.

It is not widely understood that the UK’s Brexit has been the goal of ideological libertarian economists, right-wing politicians, think-tanks and ruthless anarcho-capitalists for several decades. The Charles Koch funded Atlas Network has 447 libertarian partner think-tanks across the globe, with a mission to spread the ideology of Austrian School of Economics until it becomes the accepted economic doctrine of the age, much like their other creations – Reaganomics and Thatcherism. This ‘New Way’ of implementing Austrian-school based economics has a more religious application of the theory than Reaganomics or Thatcherism, and embraces creative destruction or ‘Schumpeter’s gale’ as a vehicle for large scale transformation of our economies and societies.

It’s worth noting that the UK’s Centre for Policy Studies, a think tank that to this day is literally at the heart of British politics founded by Margaret Thatcher, is an Atlas Network partner along the Institute of Economic Affairs where ‘Triad’ Lord Shanker Singham is Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit.

The contrast between the ideology of the Austrian School of Economics and that of modern progressive center-left governments such as Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand, who are working towards a well-being focused model for society where GDP is only one measure of success, could not be starker. Read how New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern’s Labour government is already successfully implementing these changes New Zealand Ditches GDP For Happiness And Wellbeing. Austrian economist F.A. Hayek himself admits in the interview above, altruism has no place in Libertarian society.

Like Reagan and Thatcher, F.A Hayek’s shocking support of of the brutal Chilean Dictator, General Augusto Pinochet is detailed in this translated text from Markus Marterbauer, Austria’s highly respected Vice-President of the Fiscal Council, Head of Economics & Statistics at the Vienna Chamber of Labor and university lecturer, who wrote in 2014:

F.A. Hayek and the Alchemy of Transitional Dictatorship in Chile

“Hayek made his support for the Pinochet regime public in four letters to the editor to the British newspaper The Times . There he wrote: “I have not been able to find a single person even in much maligned Chile who did not agree that personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than under Allende.”

During his trip to Santiago, Hayek met the dictator Augusto Pinochet, whom he called “Honorable general” and several members of the government whom he characterized as “educated, reasonable and insightful men” and whom he trusted to use the dictatorship in a necessary transition period for the realization of freedom.

Can a Dictator Turn a Constitution into a Can-opener? F.A. Hayek and the Alchemy of Transitional Dictatorship in Chile

In an interview with pro-Pinochet journalist Renee Sallas in the Chilean newspaper Mercurio in 1981, Hayek again gave this position a concrete expression, referring to the Pinochet dictatorship he said, “I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism”. Hayek was verifiably informed about the massive human rights violations of the Chilean military junta as early as 1977 as Hayek had extensive documentation provided by Amnesty International about the killings, disappearances, torture, detention, secret police actions and restrictions on workers’ rights.

In Hayek’s view, the freedom of the individual can only be achieved through a form of limited democracy, in which an essential framework of conditions such as private property, contractual loyalty or the value of the family should be prescribed by the constitution and not be democratically changeable. This explains in part Hayek’s support for the fascist military coup in Chile which was based on his political theories, outlined in his book Constitution of Liberty  (1960). This perverted perception of freedom and democracy is pervasive, and possibly one of the most dangerous components feeding the global Libertarian psyche.

Freedom in the libertarian world it seems, comes at a high social, environmental and ethical price.