Bruce Caldwell vs Farrant & McPhail on Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom

As usual, Caldwell nails it.  From the Abstract:

In a recent article in Challenge magazine, Andrew Farrant and Edward McPhail argue that the central message of F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is that any attempt to create a welfare state must lead inevitably to totalitarianism. I argue in my paper that this was not the central argument; that in his book Hayek was arguing against the dangers of socialist central planning, not the welfare state, and his argument was largely correct. In was only in later books, after the demise in the west of “hot socialism,” that he took up the question of the dangers of the welfare state, and when he did so it was in more measured and gradualist terms.

Not only is this paper a spot-on reply to Farrant & McPhail’s false account of Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, it’s an excellent explication of the core argument of the book, placed within the social-economic context of its times.  Recommended.

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