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Publisher's Summary

Hayek gives the main arguments for the free-market case and presents his manifesto on the "errors of socialism." Hayek argues that socialism has, from its origins, been mistaken on factual, and even on logical, grounds and that its repeated failures in the many different practical applications of socialist ideas that this century has witnessed were the direct outcome of these errors. He labels as the "fatal conceit" the idea that "man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes."

©1988 F.A. Hayak (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

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Compelling analysis of key humanity fundamentals

Hayek is demystifying some of socialism 's fundamental misconceptions oferring a compelling view on some of humanity's fundamental elements such as language, property, market and religion. A must read.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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It's not all within the capacity of reason

If you could sum up The Fatal Conceit in three words, what would they be?

Reason isn't king

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The idea that humans are so adaptable and ingenious that they have developed a way to organize themselves and cooperate to improve their condition that is beyond the bounds of reason alone. It is a subtle idea, that we can actually use our reason cooperatively, and not know how things come to be in an advanced order. For instance, listening to this audiobook on an iPhone. No one person has the knowledge to do this all by himself. It takes thousands of people co-operating in their little spheres of knowledge to make the whole.

Any additional comments?

I think this is the case against rationalism, meaning that our reason and rationality guide every single that we do. We can only know so much, and things like culture, tradition, morality, and unspoken rules of behavior for which we may not have the understanding of why they are there, are very important economizers that allow us to do greater and greater things within a complicated society. It makes the case that we have to make the most important decision in our lives as well, and it also makes the case that liberty is not the atomistic individualism and permissiveness of an extreme libertarian, but that which is based in property, and respect for property. Those were the 3 things that dominated the book, and were explained exceptionally well--the limits of rationalism, the case for culture, and liberty being based in property being very important.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 12-04-15

The case for free markets and against socialism

Hayek is a Nobel laureate in economics. I have previously written a review here of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom which was first released in 1943/1944. The Fatal Conceit was released 45 years later in 1988, 4 years before the death of Fredrich A Hayek. As the full title of The Fatal Conceit indicates, Hayek takes on the foolishness of socialism in much greater detail than he did in The Road to Serfdom. Of course he had 45 more years of additional real world failures of socialism in 1988 than he had in 1943.

In my review of The Road to Serfdom I discuss more about Hayek's philosophy and life which I will not repeat here. But on the topic of political and economic philosophy it is important to properly classify Hayek as a classical liberal rather than a conservative. There is a wonderful essay Hayek wrote in 1960 titled "Why I am not a conservative" that is not copyrighted and is readily available on the web.

I'm unimpressed by the narration of the audiobook. The subject matter deserves better.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Doug
  • Reno, NV, United States
  • 11-12-12

If more had these insights we'd be better off

If you could sum up The Fatal Conceit in three words, what would they be?

Those who seek big government socialism are fooling themselves and those who they wish to take with them to these ends, It doesn't work, can't work and still here we go in an attempt to get there!

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

How straight forward the truth is and how solid the facts are that socialism fails and why our current President's agenda is so devoid of legitimacy.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My reaction was one of frustration over why our country's voters can't understand that our President's agenda to force us into socialism is so wrong and yet over half voted for more of the same...

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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A classic work of seroous philosophy

A powerful work of philosophy and anthropology. If what you are looking for is an antisocialist rant, don't: this is serious, hardcore philosophy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book, good to mediocre narration

The overly enthusiastic voice acting can be distracting in places and there are abrupt changes in the narration as though it was edited. Outstanding book nonetheless.

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many good points on why socialism does not work

technical book on socialism and the faults behind it's Inception. overall good book 4 those who understand some social theory.

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A good title

The narrator was good. I found it hard to get into an engaged listening mindset with the content. That being said, there are plenty of good observations made by the author and well worth the listen.

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Great book, audio varied.

Audio recording jumps in a few places. Other than that, the work is quite detailed in way of theory and history. Hayek presents many arguments I would not have seen the importance of without his thorough explanation. It is, however, even when considering the substantial gap between publication and present a bit lacking in contemporary examinations.

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master course in economics

brilliant, graduate school level discussion of economics. reader has a low voice and uses soft consonants. i had to keep the volume uncomfortably loud to hear all the words.

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  • Tommy
  • 10-31-17

Enjoyable, Insightful, Accessible Economics

Hayek examines how inherited social customs and traditions shape economic and social order and how artificially contrived systems such as socialism are doomed to fail.

I had feared that this book might be too dry and theoretical, but instead found it enjoyable, insightful and highly accessible.

I look forward to listening to more of Hayek's works on Audible.

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  • Ariel
  • 09-14-16

Excellent treaty on socialist's pseudo rationality

This book provides excellent ammunition for fighting socialists supposedly rational arguments and defending property and individual freedom

2 of 5 people found this review helpful