The Turn Away From Liberty

On pages 72 and 73 of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, we read the following:

“What had been achieved came to be regarded as a secure and imperishable possession, acquired once and for all.  The eyes of the people became fixed on the new demands, the rapid satisfaction of which seemed to be barred by the adherence to the old principles. It became more and more widely accepted that further advance could be expected not along the old lines within the general framework which had made past progress possible but only by a complete remodeling of society. It was no longer a question of adding to or improving the existing machinery but of completely scrapping and replacing it. And, as the hope of the new generation came to be centered on something completely new, interest in and understanding of the functioning of the existing society rapidly declined; and, with the decline of understanding of the way in which the free system worked, our awareness of what depended on its existence also decreased….

According to the views now dominant, the question is no longer how we can make the best use of the  spontaneous forces found in a free society. We have in effect undertaken to dispense with the forces which produced unforeseen results and to replace the impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market by collective and “conscious” direction of all social forces to deliberately chosen goals.”


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