Hayek1 - cis225: hayek1 February 2006, p.1 Does Socialism...

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cis225: hayek1 February 2006, p.1 Does Socialism Lead to Dictatorship? -- A Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and the Debate over Socialism and Democracy 1 In the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s, the prospects for capitalism and democracy were not very favorable. 2 The years after WWI, starting in the late 1920s with the onset of the worldwide Depression, did not look good. 3 The Depression led many people, both intellectuals and mass citizenry, to think that capitalism simply could not manage the economic problems that industrial societies were facing. 4 The inability of democratic governments in Britain, France, and the U.S. to end the Depression also led intellectuals and the mass public to think that democracy could not cope with these problems. 5 Thus, the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s were an era in which the doctrines of capitalism and democracy came under vigorous attack. 6 Intellectuals attacking them. 7 The mass publics were attacking them. 8 Politicians were attacking them. 9 Hence, there was a widespread belief that capitalism and democracy were doctrines of the past. 10 One further reason for this was that there was an increasingly attractive economic alternative: socialism. 11 socialism and central economic planning were seen as necessary to make these modern economies work. 12 There was also an increasingly attractive political alternative: a more authoritarian, executive-centered political system typified by Stalin the Soviet Union, Hitler in Germany, and Mussolini in Italy. 13 Authoritarian forms of government seen as were necessary to solve the complex problems of modern society. 14 As it was said about Mussolini in the 1930s, “He made the trains run on time.” 15 Friedrich A. Hayek was an Austrian-born economist who, starting in the 1920s, began to make a series of important contributions to microeconomic theory, especially involving the theory of money. 16 Seeing the course that Hitler was setting for Europe in the late 1930s, he fled Europe for Britain, where he spent the years of WWII. 17 He ultimately spent a decade or so in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s before returning to Europe. 18 By the late 1930s he was drawn into the debates over the merits of capitalism and democracy versus socialism and dictatorship.
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cis225: hayek1 February 8, 2001, p.2 19 He was distressed by the nature of the attacks made on capitalism: 20 He thought they showed a profound misunderstanding of what capitalism was all about. 21 He thought that the claims made for socialism showed a deep misunderstanding of how a socialist economic system would work. 22
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course ISS 225 taught by Professor Williams during the Spring '07 term at Michigan State University.

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Hayek1 - cis225: hayek1 February 2006, p.1 Does Socialism...

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