Begun January 2021. Finished February 2021.
Hayek warns that it is not only socialism but also any central planning that will lead to the serfdom of all whom the planners attempt to control. The risks and troubles of an individualistic society are materially and morally superior to a collectivist society. Power must be distributed among a wide and free mass of individuals, not centralized among a few, for such power will always create tyrants, no matter the intentions with which the project is begun. We must guard against believing that we can create a perfect society if only everyone did things our way - no matter who sets such a program and what their goals are, the result will be oppression and the ideal, because it is utopian, will never be realized while the centralized power will be difficult to undo.
Recommended by Brandy Vencel; a Hayek work seemed like an essential to include in an economics category.
From Amazon: “An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and the public for half a century. Originally published in 1944 – when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program – The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.”