are you gonna live blog your insights
Yeah just finished up the introduction, which mainly gave context for the book and the larger (unfinished) project it was initially intended to be a part of. Also covered some of the major criticisms and misconceptions around Hayek and Road to Serfdom in particular. He seemed to have an interesting rapport with Keynes (whom I also need to read). Its weird, normally I'm not an avid reader, but stuff like this and Progress and Poverty I just chew through.

The introduction gave a certain priming of Road to Serfdom: as not a monolithic rejection of economic planning, but a critical analysis of such planning's potential to culminate toward totalitarianism, right-wing or left-wing. Hayek also apparently took pains to convey that he didn't think such planning inevitably led to totalitarianism, just that it could lead there if people aren't careful and if democratic oversight is disregarded as a hinderance to energetic government.

I'm mainly interested from a perspective of "market socialism" (which is similar to the "free market collectivism" I describe in this article), IE I'm certainly not a free market maxi, I just think its a matter of finding a mixed market balance.

The intro quoted a line from Hayek describing his own position: "I think what is needed is a clear set of principles which enables us to distinguish between the legitimate fields of government activities and the illegitimate fields of government activity. You must cease to argue for and against government activity as such." [i.e. in a monolithic sense]

So in that sense I expect to be in alignment with at least some of Hayek's positions here, but I'll see.
Vim I'd be curious as to your thoughts on that article I posted - its involves what remains of my advocacy for web3 tech, IE less so the speculative angle and more about an angle of what could be called "digital public infrastructure" - but I think i need to become more familiar with the history of peer-to-peer software systems and networked computing, because I'm not sure what exactly is new here, versus what has been tried before and failed.
Speaking as a leftist, I pretty much totally agree with hayek re: the confusion of the term ‘liberal’ here, although I don’t think of it as a term that was consciously appropriated by leftists, but rather a term that gradually and spontaneously accrued meaning which is largely antithetical to its earlier economic meaning:IMG_0440.jpeg
Being as (naively) influenced by the Marxist intellectual tradition as I am, Hayek is proving to be a great dialectical counterweight. I do think his insistence that economic planning paves the way to totalitarianism (IE the road the serfdom) is a bit fatalistic and dramatic at times, notwithstanding his precautions about American readers being more naive about this sort of thing by virtue of our not having experienced any truly advanced form of collectivism yet. He also is a bit of an apologist for this prior renaissance state of affairs whereby we are just discovering how free commerce engenders degrees of political freedom previously not thought possible. But overall, Hayeks pretty based.
In the chapter “Planning and Democracy” he makes some points about how, in a representative democracy, the prospects of comprehensive economic planning are slim given the diverse body of views in the congress, and that such economic plans can only really work if they are formulated according to a coherent and unitary vision, IE by a specialist or committee of specialists to whom the congress delegates discretionary authority in forming and exercising such plans. Hayek is basically saying that comprehensive economic planning (which is the main thing he argues against in the book so far) gradually necessitates centralized and more or less total authority in the determination and execution of the particularities of such plans, and that, because of this, democracies which set out upon this path will probably end up relinquishing more and more democratic oversight, IE they set out upon the road to serfdom. Hayek is generally arguing that some planning is necessary, but only insofar as it is in support of free competition and individual economic liberty. So far, this position of his largely translates to being against collectivism and being for individualism, in terms of economic policy and how such policy is enforced.
One of the criticisms about Hayek, which I am inclined to agree with, is that his ideas were backed, in bad faith, essentially be greedy industrialists who didn’t want governments to break up their likely anti-competitive industry positions, and that the adoption/influence of Hayek ideas incidentally had the effect of supporting these figures by adjusting the attitudes against central planning. @padraig (u.s.) do you have any thoughts on this? I’m definitely in favor of antitrust regulation, and various other forms of regulation, even some which can perhaps be said to go against neoliberal ideals (IE certain social welfare programs), but in general I see hayeks points about the dangers of gradually empowering state institutions to regulate more and more aspects of society.


hayek is on solid grounds criticising the efficacy of comprehensive centralised planning. the notion that planning in general is destructive of democracy doesn't hold water however - it's clear that the existence of nationalised health care, for example, doesnt lead to inevitable tyranny, and it would be a bit ridiculous to suggest otherwise


in fact some degree of planning, even to construct classically "free" markets, such as financial or commodity markets, is absolutely necessary. markets do not arise from the aether, they must be created.
in fact some degree of planning, even to construct classically "free" markets, such as financial or commodity markets, is absolutely necessary. markets do not arise from the aether, they must be created.
Yeah Hayek even makes this point (I can track down the line) where he says that planning it’s not categorically something which inevitably leads to totalitarianism, but that planning which hinders competition (in areas where competition should be the main economic determinant) is what paves the way for a corrupt or authoritarian central power. Anyway, I agree with what your saying, and I’m pretty sure Hayek would too. The free market maximalists are wrong here, in my mind.
in general, Hayek is better than his acolytes
Haha that’s what I’m starting to think too. Mind you I’m only halfway through Road to Serfdom, and I haven’t read any other Hayek, but he’s not quite the free market maximalist he’s arguably painted as, he’s just really averted to economic planning, I think to a fault. He does say that such planning is only bad insofar as it hinders competition in areas where competition should be relied on as an unconscious guide for economic development, but I do think he overstates the risks associated with economic planning.