Friday, September 21, 2012

Hayek on the Meaning of Socialism

What follows is F.A. Hayek describing socialism in a bit more detail by relating it back to the common goals of collectivism and discussing the means it uses to get there.
"A confusion largely responsible for the way in which we are drifting into things which nobody wants must be cleared up. This confusion concerns nothing less than the concept of socialism itself. It may mean, and is often used to describe, merely the ideals of social justice, greater equality, and security, which are the ultimate aims of socialism. But it means also the particular method by which most socialists hope to attain these ends and which many competent people regard as the only methods by which they can be fully and quickly attained. In this sense socialism means the abolition of private enterprise, of private ownership of the means of production, and the creation of a system of “planned economy” in which the entrepreneur working for profit is replaced by a central planning body....
We must centrally direct economic activity if we want to make the distribution of income conform to current ideas of social justice. “Planning,” therefore, is wanted by all those who demand that “production for use” be substituted for production for profit.
...it must always be remembered that socialism is a species of collectivism and that therefore everything which is true of collectivism as such must apply also to socialism. Nearly all the points which are disputed between socialists and liberals concern the methods common to all forms of collectivism and not the particular ends for which socialists want to use them; and all the consequences with which we shall be concerned in this book follow from the methods of collectivism irrespective of the ends for which they are used.
...it is socialism which has persuaded liberal-minded people to submit once more to that regimentation of economic life which they had overthrown because, in the words of Adam Smith, it puts governments in a position where “to support themselves they are obliged to be oppressive and tyrannical.”"
Hayek, F. A. (2010-10-22). The Road to Serfdom (p. 83-84). University of Chicago Press - A. Kindle Edition.

--Against All Enemies

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