chapter  4
22 Pages

The Road to Serfdom’s Economistic Worldview

ByFrançois Godard

ABSTRACT: At the end of World War II, F. A. Hayek denounced the thenpopular idea of central planning by arguing that, if pursued to its logical conclusion, it would entail totalitarianism. But there were at least two problems. First, judging by his example of Nazi Germany, state control over the economy appears to be a consequence, not a cause, of the monopolization of political power. Second, he conflated socialism and mere interference in the market with central planning. Therefore, history did not so much falsify Hayek’s prediction as bypass it: Once the vogue for central planning faded in the West, Hayek’s book became irrelevantexcept, ironically, in Germany. There, it was read as a manifesto for “good planning” through the rule of law. Alongside other “neoliberal” writers, Hayek had a profound (if little acknowledged) influence on the shape of the emerging Federal Republic and, through it, on the whole European institutional framework.