Parts of this "mid-century" (1940's) book may send shivers up your spine since they seem like "today's news" (circa 2011). Hayek's writing is incisive and insightful, if at times a bit "dense" due to high expectations of the vocabulary and language skills of his readers. One example is the occasional use of short quotes in French and German with no translations supplied. Bill Hughes is a master narrator, and his skills are tested in this book with its extensive citations and quotes having parenthetical attributions.
I appreciated this book for a historical context on the pendulum swings between planning and the free market. No matter which side you are rooting for, you will experience both thrills and slumps, because in the intervening 50+ years since this books original publication, some things are recurring and others are not [yet?].
Another reason to like this book is the logical/philosophical approach. While the title hints at a provocative rhetoric, the text itself is quite level-headed.
I love classic fiction, Austrian economics, enlightenment through history, libertarian politics and humorous stories (both fiction and non).
Not only does F.A. Hayek address and debunk every facet of the appeal for socialism, he does it in a manner of respect and understanding. What is lost in current political debates is the ability to stick to facts, history and logic; instead, on both sides, we see the attacking of character before the arguing of specific points.
What was most amazing and impressive about The Road to Serfdom was the fact that it wasn't written one year ago. Among my contemporaries (20-somethings), there is the tendency to write off classical liberalism as something that is outdated and no longer relevant or practical for the world we live in. However, Hayek shows that the problems that were present 50 years ago are the problems that are still with us today.
Einstein says that the definition of insanity is
I would give the narrator's performance a 4.3. I didn't love his voice, but it was just my particular taste. He was, however, very easy to listen to and follow along with.
Socialism: the invisible Road to Serfdom!
This book was recommended to me by a spinal surgeon with whom i work. The subject matter and articulation of it and the time in which it was written, 1944, is not The easiest book to listen to. I will listen to it again as much of the subject matter was not fully comprehendible hearing it the first time.
I listen to audiobooks while working outdoors and don't always have 100% of my attention to devote to book. I enjoy books most that are entertaining enough and straightforward enough to not lose focus of while working. I believe some of the concepts in this book are difficult to understand and may have been more easily interpreted by the physician who recommended it. If you have a greater education of history and a supreme working knowledge of much of the vocabulary , which was not immediately understood by me, you may find the book informative.
I will give the book another listen, but my initial impression only inclined me to leave three stars because overall it was difficult to listen to and not immediately clear in many instances what the author was speaking about. as stated above, this may be due to my lack of understanding of some of the vocabulary within the book and also because of the time in which it was written but overall my enjoyment of the publication only merited three stars.
Not including footnotes in the narrative (perhaps having footnote glossary on a pdf file).
He probably wouldn't be as dry as Ben Stein? I don't know. I've never heard Ben Stein narrate a book. For a political comedy, It may be hilarious (He was the only one I liked in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", and I still watch him on Cavuto on Business).
Christopher Hurt, or Scott Brick.
apathy. I don't really think that's what Hayek was going for
I could only get through half the listening, and had to quit.
The reader, while he subject and prose were tough, it was made worse by the lack of inflection. I will steer clear of this narrator in the future.
The reading of footnoted information.
Yes, it is a history/economics class. again and again until you get it all
This data/historical evidence to support Atlas Shrugged.
I have a hard time with a reader it is not a performance. While Hughes was not reading fiction, he keep me interested.
If you are trying to learn about the economy and how the government interacts with it, this is a good book.
Hayek was a star pupil of the great economist and political philosopher Ludwig von Mises. He has written a clear and convincing defense of liberty, linking economic and political liberty together.
His terminology uses the 19th century meaning of "liberalism" -- a term that has been stolen and transformed in a modern "newspeak" to mean the opposite of its original definition. That aside, Hayek offers a well reasoned defense of what used to be called the liberal position on economics and politics. Writing seventy years ago, he presciently foresaw the wave of collectivism and statism gradually taking over Western democratic nations.
The title of the book is a reference to the way a statist, socialist government will, via the sometimes well meaning (and sometimes nefarious) interference with the liberal perspective, eventually turns its citizens into subjects, dependent on the state in much the way serfs were dependent on the nobility in earlier eras.
The first two-thirds of the book are densely written but a careful listener can follow the reasoning without undue effort. The final one-third becomes even more dense and may take more concentration to understand. But it is all worth the effort.
While I doubt that pro-statist collectivists would ever take the trouble to listen to Hayek or to engage him in philosophical debate, those who are advocates of liberty must read this book to strengthen their own pro-liberty arguments and put their advocacy on sound intellectual footing. This book is a true classic by one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century.
Hayek drives this point home of how centralized governments evolve over time. His path of argument is tainted by the National Socialist party in Germany and the Communist party in Russia in the first half of the 20th century. The book is well read and should be finished. I have the paper book, but I have never been able to finish it. My commute to work allows me to read (listen to) books like this.
The book discusses the challenges as any government tries to centralize its functions. No government wants to be remembered as incompetent. Most try to do their best to help the people. A few Caligula's come, but hopefully they are few. Each government sees many ways they can improve the lives of the governed. In this effort, they try to improve the status of each person to the best methods of their thinking patterns.
In some manner, the government needs to restrict less productive activities compared to more productive activities. This requires some bounds on the governed. It can be setting the amount of grain sold, or the classes taught in schools, or the amount of refinery capacity--due to building permits, etc. This restricts the freedom of citizens in some degree. Some nations restrict the amount of doctors, pharmacists, dentists to prevent over saturation of a job market. Taxation, a necessary evil, also restricts where money is invested in an economy.
One can see this "bounding" effort will grow into many areas over time. Each such effort is intended for good, but it is a bound or restriction that is enforced by the governments power. Each such effort must have some error in it. Government philosophy changes. One encourages open growth, one encourages "planned" growth. Laws must be refined to help. Experts in law are generated over time. These experts see the law and its framework only. Even if the government wants to do its best, it is forced by the nature of the situation to become more restrictive. The second law of thermodynamics is in play as well.
The nature of people who have a new idea for societal improvement becomes more forceful over time. They are certain of the rightness of their ideas and methods. They insist on implementing their ideas for the best of the nation. Only the more determined will become governmental leaders. They will choose people of their own philosophy to help them.
Hayek drives this point home and its outcome. He does his work well. Listen to the book and consider his thinking pattern. Recognize he has his own philosophy as well. The book is a classic.
I might listen to it again, but there are so many other great books out there to get to.
Hayek wrote the book in the 40's, but it is as if he is telling the story of America in 2014.
Heed the warnings.
Pay attention to what the great thinkers of the last century are telling you about our world today.
I would, but that friend would need the ability to understand long chains of big words spoken one after another. It would sound a lot like "word salad" to most. This is especially so if the reader isn't particularly interested in politics or defense of one's own freedom.
There were no characters in this book. This is a long essay. It consists of general statements that the author finds to be true. A reader may gain a lot from this book, even if only two or three sentences are listened to at a time. The author says a mouthful in each sentence.
The narrator was decent, but his pronunciation of German words and pronunciation of titles of referenced German books is comical. Does he only speak German with a mouth full of food? Perhaps he has a speech impediment only in German.
I didn't have an extreme reaction, but I did come away with an understanding of why a free economy functions much better than a planned (or socialist) economy.
This book was written from an Englishman's perspective when WWII was winding down or had just ended. This was at a time when the Soviet Union was still an ally of the United States and England against the Axis Powers. The socialism aspect was in context of the German Nazis (short for Nationalist Socialist) form of socialism, just before the cold war began. It seems that England had it's share of proponents of socialism and this book was written to highlight the unfortunate things that would happen if socialism were allowed to grip England. Many of these things are not obvious, but make perfect sense when explained. One could draw a parallel to the scary direction the United States is heading under the leadership of Barack Obama.