Thursday, October 04, 2012

Hayek on Competition

Here is F.A. Hayek's rationale for why a reliance on the forces of competition is superior to centralized control and planning, as found in a collectivist (socialist) government.  (Remember that the term "liberal" is used in the classic sense and not in the modern sense where it is synonymous with "socialist.")
"The liberal argument is in favor of making the best possible use of the forces of competition as a means of coordinating human efforts, not an argument for leaving things just as they are. It is based on the conviction that, where effective competition can be created, it is a better way of guiding individual efforts than any other. It does not deny, but even emphasizes, that, in order that competition should work beneficially, a carefully thought-out legal framework is required and that neither the existing nor the past legal rules are free from grave defects. Nor does it deny that, where it is impossible to create the conditions necessary to make competition effective, we must resort to other methods of guiding economic activity. Economic liberalism is opposed, however, to competition’s being supplanted by inferior methods of coordinating individual efforts. And it regards competition as superior not only because it is in most circumstances the most efficient method known but even more because it is the only method by which our activities can be adjusted to each other without coercive or arbitrary intervention of authority. Indeed, one of the main arguments in favor of competition is that it dispenses with the need for “conscious social control” and that it gives the individuals a chance to decide whether the prospects of a particular occupation are sufficient to compensate for the disadvantages and risks connected with it."
Hayek, F. A. (2010-10-22). The Road to Serfdom (pp. 85-86). University of Chicago Press - A. Kindle Edition.

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