chapter  7
16 Pages

The Planners and the Planned

ByAlan Ryan

ABSTRACT: Much of what makes Hayek so controversial can be found in The Road to Serfdom, the theoretical basis of which is provided by The CounterRevolution of Science. The first book, a polemic against the “planning mentality,” did not defend complete laissez faire, but argued that planning disrupts the coordination between prices and supply and demand; that effective planning is thus impossible in a modern industrial society; that it is coercive; and, of course, that it leads to totalitarianism. In The Counter-Revolution of Science, Hayek argued that the “planning mentality” is the result of the hubristic attempt to reconstruct society along scientific lines. But the likes of Edward Bellamy envisioned a planned but free society, while John Dewey contrasted planning, where people collectively choose their goals, against a planned economy that is coercively imposed. Hayek’s welcome strictures against a scientistic society and an overly ambitious social science aside, his binary approach to intellectual history distorted through oversimplification.