Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Chapter 6: Planning and the Rule of Law

As the title would suggest, Hayek begins chapter six by promoting what he refers to as the ‘Rule of Law’. While many legal and political interpretations exist of the ‘Rule of Law’, Hayek importantly draws distinction between his version of this ‘Law’ and what he calls “arbitrary government”. He goes onto provide a fairly concise explanation of what he means at the most basic level:

“Stripped of all technicalities, this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand – rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs ont he basis of this knowledge.” [1] 

Essentially, what Hayek is describing is more than simply the ‘rule of law’ in the strict legal sense (that all would be bound by some sort of ‘common law’ established in some collective manner). He is describing the sort of fundamental legality required in the course of market interaction. If we refer to the orthodox understanding of Marxist political economy wherein society and its institutions are loosely categorized as within the base or superstructure, Hayek is highlighting the superstructural norms which act back upon the base and its development. Specifically, the intermediary power of the state both in the normal functioning of capital accumulation as well as the resolution between contradictions among different elements of the base.

He then makes his case against “planning of the collectivist kind” by explaining how the two (planning and the Rule of Law) are in opposition.

“The planning authority cannot confine itself to providing opportunities for unknown people to make whatever use of them they like…In the end somebody’s views will have to decide whose interests are more important; and these views must become part of the law of the land, a new distinction of rank which the coercive apparatus of government imposes upon the people.” [2] 

He continues to expand upon his initial argument here, however, we should make a few important points before continuing.

1. Hayek is constructing a few important false dichotomies to assist his argumentation in this chapter. The first is that between the ‘neutrality’ of the Rule of Law and this hypothetical “planning authority” (which he conveniently substitutes for anything that is not his preferred model of liberal governance). There is no such neutrality in the Rule of Law. The law is established to maintain a certain social order. None of this analysis is explicitly Marxist either. It is simply common knowledge that this historically established ‘law’, whatever it may be, is politically composed according to some material condition and/or ideological insight which is of course considered publically understood. Therefore, it makes no sense to draw distinction between the ‘Rule of Law’ and “somebody’s views” at least when examined closer. The ‘law’ is “somebody’s views”. The question we must then ask is whose? The views of the ruling class. The views of the exploiters and oppressors, “the elites”, the reactionaries and their allies (at least in the case of bourgeois society). The second dichotomy he constructs, albeit this one being more subtle and nurtured throughout the book, is the dichotomy between the “coercive apparatus of government” and the coercive apparatus of private capital. Of course, there is a distinction to be made and a very important distinction at that. The distinction, however, is found in the social relations both are involved in and to some level reproduce. Yet, both exist within the same totality of capitalist-imperialism. More importantly, both to one degree or another, through one form or another, reproduce the status quo and the social order in which we all live. Therefore, to say on the one hand the “coercive apparatus of government” is the boogeyman while the same function performed by private industry is “liberty” or the “free exercise of individuals” is nonsense. Both are coercive, however to different ends, but oppressive nonetheless. If we are able to deconstruct this false dichotomy we can truly realize the full scope of our own social involvement with apparatuses which serve to deny us (and suppress the revolutionary subject).

2. There is no conceivable reason that any socialist society would have to limit the “opportunities” of individuals. In fact, even the failed socialist experiments of the Soviet Union and China offered great ‘personal freedom’ to everyone especially those marginalized by bourgeois society (women, ethnic minorities, nationally oppressed, etc.). What sort of “opportunities” could thus be limited by a socialist society, at least in the world of Hayek? In actuality, what Hayek is referring to with his colorful use of buzzwords like “opportunity” is the systematized exploitation of the many by the few property holders. The “opportunity” for the capitalist to extract surplus value from his workers and to hold this profit as a weapon against the working class. The “opportunity” for the unemployed and hungry worker to seek out destructive employment and exploitation simply to reproduce his own livelihood (or what remains of it). If these are the “opportunities” Hayek wants to preserve then we should question what, if any, relevance his notion of “freedom” should pertain to the common person.

3. We should not shy away from deciding whose “interests are more important”. As communists, we have already made a profound statement on this matter. The interests of the working class, of the masses, of the oppressed and exploited, of the People should be defended and promoted against their enemies: the ruling class, compradors, misogynists, racists, chauvinists, homophobes, and transphobes. We should not ‘beat around the bush’ on this issue. However, we should not a few important theoretical points as well. First, the liberal ‘Rule of Law’ has already decided whose interests are more important: the interests of the ruling class and all those listed whom the Rule of Law actively protects. The struggle is not a one way street. It is actively waged by all forces concerned including those dominant ruling forces against the oppressed. Furthermore, through the construction of a socialist society (a society on the route to statelessness and classlessness) the distinction ‘between’ interests will gradually be closed. Classes will dissipate, nations will dissipate, and the social relevance of ‘difference’ which necessitates the opportunity-cost (as mentioned by Hayek) will be no more. Not as though people will not ‘be different’, or have different life pursuits, or personal interests, etc. however, these differences are not power relations in and of themselves such as the differences between nations, classes, and genders today.

As mentioned earlier, Hayek extends his argument onto the next page specifically detailing what he believes the function of government serves in promoting this Rule of Law. He argues the formal establishment of a ‘framework’ (which was debunked in the previous part) is merely instrumental to free exercise of individuals (read: capitalists). Additionally, he asserts that this social order allows us greater foresight and ‘results’ than “conscious control”:

“The argument is twofold; the first is economic…The state should confine itself to establishing rules applying to general types of situations and should allow individuals freedom in everything…because only the individuals concerned in each instance can fully know these circumstances and adapt their actions to them…The second, moral or political, argument is even more directly relevant to the point under discussion. If the state is precisely to foresee the incidence of its actions, it means that it can leave those affected no choice…it is also the state which chooses between the different ends…To be impartial means to have no answer to certain questions…” [3] 

As consistently shown when Hayek makes mention of “individuals” he is speaking specifically of the capitalist class as personified in its most ideological representation (the ‘enterprising individual’). The framework he mentions is simply the status quo albeit perhaps an idealistically modified version; however, this “framework” is still nothing more than the formal legitimization and presentation of exploitative relations as something other than themselves.

Beyond this Hayek makes a somewhat pragmatic appeal to the ‘decentralized’ action of the market. The individual, within her own circumstances, should grasp the most correct route of action better than some abstract planning authority. At the surface, this point seems reasonable and there is a kernel of truth to what is being said (when rearticulated away from liberal bourgeois sentiments). It’s true, the lowest and most integrated sections of the masses often understand their own circumstances better than anyone else. Furthermore, we would trust the testimony of someone living in these circumstances over someone who is not. Therefore, when drafting up any economic plan the concrete experiences of the masses, the “individuals” within their own circumstances, are given a special precedence over the abstract musings of bureaucrats or officials. This is not a Utopian measure either but actually how most economic plans in the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China were drawn up: from the bottom-up with special consideration for the experiences of the masses.

However, any socialist economic plan must be a “common plan” (a la Marx) and therefore not simply the accumulated demands of every different individual. The plan must uniquely synthesize the needs, desires, and experiences of the masses, the expertise of the planning authority, as well as allot adequate resources for continuing productive development. This is why we must remember that every individual works with an ‘imperfect knowledge’ of the social instance at hand. What the individual ‘doesn’t know’ can be supplemented by the synthesis of experience from other individuals, productive units, and the planning authority itself. This allows for the most “rational” allocation of resources. Therefore, the ‘common plan’ not only pragmatically establishes a conscious construction of socialism but provides the ideological mechanisms for the continued education of a ‘communist subject’.

The “moral” argument provided by Hayek is simply nonsense. The crux of his argument being that ‘unconscious market mechanisms’ do not pick ‘winners and losers’ and therefore there is no risk of unfairly favoring party over another. True, the market as a mediation of social relations is quite different from mediation through fidelity, land, etc. in previous modes of production but not without some inherent inequalities (to say the least). What about favoring the capitalist class over the working class? What about the prevalence of ‘bourgeois right’ over labor? What about the unique qualities of ‘private property’ as dominant? There are endless moral presuppositions taken within the capitalist market which forever choose the capitalists (exploiters and oppressors) as favorable to those they employ (exploit and oppress). Therefore, to make qualms with the ‘foresight of the state’ as being morally questionable is complete nonsense. You must compare that plausibility with the current social order if you mean to make any meaningful moral objection which Hayek cannot do. As far as bias in “who” the State supports, we already clarified “whose interests” would be dominant in a socialist society (with not a shred of apologism therein). There is no such thing as an “impartial state” when the very purpose of the state is the maintenance of a specific social order (or the interests thereof).

Drawing distinction between the ‘impartial liberal state’ and the ‘moral collectivist state’ Hayek then claims that Nazi Germany was an example of a state ‘forcing’ morality [4]. The irony here is that the sort of ‘morality’ exuded by Nazi Germany was very characteristic of capitalist-imperialist nations of the time. The entire sociopolitical presentation by the Nazis was one focused on progress with respect for ‘upholding traditions’. The traditional (conservative and capitalist) relations of production and social values were promoted including a thick sense of national chauvinism and masculinity (both in culture and production). What more could Hayek and his contemporaries desire?

However, this is not the only comparison Hayek desperately draws between socialists and Nazis. As stated many times before, this is a classic tactic of liberals and apologists for capitalism. Why engage the merits of socialist theory when you can draw vague comparisons to something considered universally horrific? His comparison in the following pages concerns the Nazi’s disregard for the German Rule of Law and demands for “substantive justice” in and above the universal application of the law [5]. What he fails to mention is that even before these pseudo-populist pleas by the Nazis, they were gaining significant traction as a political party using the framework already established. It was only after the fact that the Nazis could attempt to enforce this “substantive justice” they had in mind. Although, we should once again stress that any similarities between the Nazis and contemporary socialists are completely superficial at best; one group wants to eliminate disparities and promote a meaningful equality, the other wants to exploit existing inequalities to legitimize further disparities (white supremacism). Even the means by which to achieve these goals are entirely different and therefore any comparison between the two is complete nonsense as was specifically outlined in the analysis of previous chapters.

Nearing the end of the chapter, Hayek makes a case against using the word “privilege” to describe private property (assumedly among other features of the bourgeois legality). Once again he denounces what he terms “substantive justice” as culpable for the disdain of property:

“The conflict between formal justice and formal equality before the law, on the one hand, and the attempts to realize various ideals of substantive justice and equality, on the other, also accounts for the widespread confusion about the concept of “privilege” and its consequent abuse.To mention only the most important instance of this abuse – the application of the term “privilege” to property as such.” [6] 

Before allowing him to begin his argument against the usage of the term we should highlight briefly why this usage (of privilege) is so important. As pointed out by Hayek, the established forms of law and ideas of “justice” are in competition with those opposing forms of law and ideas of “justice” which may or may not be revolutionary. In the case of Marxism and the rising tide of social revolution, these new forms of law and justice offer a meaningful challenge to the existing bourgeois order. The very ‘identity’ and characteristics of such ‘new forms’ are found in the very conflict they materialize and extend with (and within) the status quo. Therefore, when the term “privilege” is used to describe something such as property there is a very important social space opened within discourse. Now, what was previously legitimized or even upheld as virtuous is drawn into question as something to be criticized such as the feudal privilege of the 19th century. Bourgeois right being identified as “privilege” threatens the narrative as presented by the liberals and thus Hayek immediately criticizes this usage (especially against property) as an “abuse”.

“It would indeed be privilege if, for example, as has sometimes been the case in the past, landed property were reserved to members of the nobility. And it is privilege if, as is true in our time, the right to produce or sell particular things is reserved to particular people designated by authority. But to call private property as such, which all can acquire under the same rules, a privilege, because only some succeed in acquiring it, is depriving the word “privilege” of its meaning.” [7] 

Already we see Hayek criticizing previous forms of privilege in his comment towards the “members of the nobility”. However, he seems unable to ‘connect-the-dots’ regarding institutionalized forms of privilege and class power within our own society. Being born into a propertied class is indeed a privilege. Living off the exploitation of others is indeed a privilege. Enjoying a decadent and wholly opulent lifestyle while others are left to scrounge for an existence is indeed a privilege. How could it be anything but? Hayek tries to dismiss this with his claim that, regarding private property, “all can acquire under the same rules”. Some soft socialists might even agree but then point out that not everyone will (for systemic reasons). However, this appraisal does not go far enough. Not every even “can” acquire private property no matter the hypothetical used when comparing it to the actual functioning of capitalism. Capitalism (and to a greater extent even, Imperialism) is built upon the social division of labor. There are some who perform wage labor, there are some who perform the lowest forms of wage labor, there are some who perform labor outside the normal circulation of capial, and there are those who reap the benefits. If everyone could acquire private property – if everyone could estalish a means by which to exploit another – the entire system would fall apart. The normal accumulation of capital requires a limited amount of capitalists with a fluctuating body of labor-power to be employed. If everyone had their “own means of production” (as grossly hypothetical as this is growing), capitalism would cease to exist considering the entire system is built upon the circulation of capital which requires exploitation (in the most orthodox usage of the term). Theoretically speaking, if Hayek were correct then capitalism would no longer exist.

On an entirely pragmatic level, Hayek speaks romantic nothing’s about the advent of the “enterprising individual”. If we examine his statement closely we find that no one plays under the “same rules”. No one is in the same circumstances. No one’s livelihood is predominantly determined by their ingenuity. No one stands a chance against the established monopolists and the modern transnational capitalist class. Let’s provide a quick example before moving on.

The GNI Per Capita in the United States is $ 53.670 while in Mexico it is $ 9.940 [8]. Statistical analysis isn’t needed to deduce the average Mexican is enjoying a whole lot less income than the average American. And for what reason? Obviously, the combined and uneven development of capitalism into imperialism over the last century. To put it plainly, the monopolists of the Global North alongside the comprador bourgeoisie of Mexico (among other peripheral and semi-peripheral nations) benefit from the super-exploitation and/or specified underdevelopment of oppressed nations. How does the “enterprising individual” stand against such forces? It’s just utter nonsense and at the very least a disgusting romanticization of the power relations at play in capitalism-imperialism.

Some apologists for capitalism might argue that the uneven plane developed (and exacerbated) over the last few centuries is entirely due to historically constituted systems prior to capitalism and those which persist are due to a disinterest in “free markets” and the rule of law. There is a reason we refer to such arguments as ‘apologism’; starting of course from the presumption that modern neoliberal capitalism offers nothing but benevolent and inclusive development for the whole of humanity. The problem is that any such “disinterest” has also been socially developed in opposition to the colonial and post-colonial (and neo-colonial) paradigm established for the “developing world”. Wherein the Global North enriches itself over the ‘selectively established’ markets within the Global South. Corruption and a “disregard for the rule of law” is on one level a deceptive appraisal and on the other hand a conveniently noted construction. First, it is not as though this corruption is not beneficial for the ruling compradors and the monopolists they stand in alliance with. Corrupt ministers, regulators, and officials are cultivated parallel to these exploitative relationships which provide no accountability, as a pretext to a nation with no real sovereignty. Secondly, the international standard of law is enforced by the Global North generally with selective intervention from more transnational bodies. This means that the law which is “established” has historically been imposed on developing nations as a condition of continued development (read: neoliberalism). Therefore any such remark which highlights the subjective phenomena internal to an oppressed nation, without understanding its context as an oppressed nation, should be entirely disregarded as a red herring.

Hayek finishes the chapter by restating arguments he made in previous chapters regarding the incompatibility of “individual rights” with a planned economy. He intensifies his rearticulation through examples of restricted movement and communication within the Soviet Union and compares this to the rhetoric of rather liberal “soft socialists” who commented on the issue (not specifically the Soviet Union, but abstractly) [9]. Despite this rather uninspiring mash-up of experience and rhetoric, Hayek finishes the chapter in a different light:

“In this respect much more consistency is shown by the more numerous reformers who, ever since the beginning of the socialist movement, have attacked the ‘metaphysical’ idea of individual rights and insisted that in a rationally ordered world there would be no individual rights but only individual duties.” [10]

It’s somewhat humorous Hayek chooses to put metaphysical in quotation as if the ideological imposition of “individual rights” could be anything but an appeal to the metaphysical. Regardless, what he is actually describing is a fundamental transformation in how individual rights are conceived as being within the stage of socialist construction en route to communism. Although, his description carries a negative connotation with it and his gut-wrenching remarks on “individual duties” (you can almost imagine him grimacing at the thought). The actual transformation is one which has occurred several times throughout the history of human development and understandably so within the future phase of socialism. For example, during the middle ages the “rights” of the individual were starkly determined by their relationship to the feudal order at the time (specifically the Church); furthermore, the entire conception of the “individual” was something rare outside the realm of atomized duty to the familial-feudal order of production/reproduction. Following the formal collapse of feudalism and shallow introduction of bourgeois ideals, this concept of the “individual” and “his rights” were reshaped and conditioned by new relations of production (this is a rather orthodox appraisal but acceptable for the sake of brevity). Therefore, its only intuitive to think that the whole network of ideas and understandings regarding “individual rights” and how they function will transform in accordance with the new communist relations of production following the construction of socialism.

This is not by any means a “bad thing” or something to be held in contempt. Certainly any transformation which accompanies a world historic shift towards liberation and equality cannot be worse than what we have now, no? Obviously the reader can form her own thoughts on this (now) hypothetical phenomena but understanding the historic necessitation of such processes is important to forming a critical understanding of even those detractors such as Hayek. However, it should be stated as has been stated before that any conceivable loss of “individual rights” would be those specifically of the oppressing class. The “individual right” to discriminate; to exclude; to exploit; to dominate. All of which would be necessarily done away with in transition to communism and of course existing “rights” modified to satisfy the desires and needs of the broad masses in their first taste of freedom.

Hayek wants his readers to feel an attachment to their values at hand. God, freedom, country and the whole lot. We want our readers (and his) to understand the concrete development of these values as values. We want to illuminate these paths of development and the way in which they sit now so that these inner-workings of power/property/and stratification become as intelligible as possible. It is this intelligibility of our social circumstances, the ways in which we relate to our material reality and structures of domination, which allow for any meaningful agency to exist. Only then can any critical understanding be formed. Only then can these old values be tossed away; only then can new and emancipatory values be formed.

Chapter 7: Economic Control and Totalitarianism

The crux of this chapter is not all too dissimilar from previous installments. The point emphasized by Hayek is the centrality of “economic control” to the whole social existence of the “individual”. He argues that any pragmatic application of socialist planning must be ‘authoritarian’ in nature and therefore engenders a totalitarian aspect to the whole concept; wherein, the economic planner, the boogeyman of all liberal writings, assumes absolute control over the livelihood of the common people. He makes his case most explicitly in the first page of the chapter:

“Most planners who have seriously considered the practical aspects of their task have little doubt that a directed economy must be run on more or less dictatorial lines…power must rest in the hands of a commander-in-chief whose actions must not be fettered by democratic procedure.” [11] 

Let’s make a few points to fully demolish this conception.

1. As stated numerous times over, any comparison between this supposed hypothetical economic tyranny must account for similar conditions within the status quo. Hayek, of course, starts from the presumption of absence – that there is no substantive economic tyranny already – and therefore goes about drawing these colorful hypotheticals/doomsayings and all that entails. Our current system is already characterized by a high-level of centralism within the economic realm. The concentration of corporate powers over the last century has relegated small businesses and petty capital to markets where they are still somewhat competitive (a la Marx). But even disregarding the centralism and heavy economic tyranny of our contemporary era, we should recall this as being intrinsic to the historical development of capitalism; even within the period of “competitive capitalism” which was the primary study of orthodox Marxism in the 19th century, the tendency towards monopolization and hostile market tactics was apparent.

2. Capitalism itself is dependent upon this sort of economic “commander-in-chief” and furthermore the entire attitudinal performances which follow suit. As highlighted by Marx, capitalists (but not only capitalists, their managerial heads as well) function as “stand-in’s” for the circulation of capital. Those “directors” of the “mad” and speculative “dance” which defines everything in the global circulation of value. These individuals are indispensable to the very existence of capitalism; not they themselves as in existing and unique ‘individuals’ but they themselves as a category of social agents within the structure. The CEO’s, the corporate officers, the stockholders, the managers, these people are inherent to the very structural maintenance of the capitalist system and without them the system cannot exist (at least not in a functional sense). Their position and all of the decadence and excess is something which is absolutely necessitated within the status quo and arguably any manifestation of capitalism. Therefore, for Hayek to draw attention to a hypothetical socialist “economic dictator” reflects only the highest levels of cognitive dissonance and/or stinging hypocrisy. We already have economic dictators. Those prized and revered “enterprising individuals” become the plutocrats of a degenerate and merciless social system. They are the ones making lucrative deals to enrich themselves and their cronies at the expense of others. They are the ones sending unemployment notices and cutting workers’ benefits. Quite literally, life and death hang upon their whims.

3. There is no conceivable reason that a planned socialist economy could not incorporate a dynamic and fluid democratic process. The technology which already exists enables working people to give their input on circumstances pertaining to their livelihoods via social media, networking, and instant messaging. How could this not be retooled or reorganized to serve a constructive and socialist purpose? So that the same communicative pathways could be used to enrich and empower everyday people? The barrier to such constructive interaction is of course the current economic regime of domination which is thoroughly a capitalist phenomena. The idea that socialist planning is exclusively something of a managerial task displays a clear lack of creativity and connection to the masses which characterizes bourgeois academia. Something Hayek and other liberal detractors display quite often.

He goes onto describe the ‘totalitarian nature’ of economic planning concluding that one cannot separate the economic interactions from other social interactions an individual engages in. To some extent we must agree with Hayek here. There is far too much arbitrary separation performed within the study of human interaction. Certainly, such separation of study and analysis allows for more depth across the totality of engagements however it could be argued this division also serves an ideological purpose; to detach meaningful subjectivity from the cohesive web it exists for purposes of limiting radical intelligibility. This, of course, is a matter for another time and deserves an investigation in and of itself. Regardless, Hayek’s point has a kernel of ‘truth’ but this kernel is buried under an exhaustive array of ideological continuities, as the reader will find:

“The ultimate ends of the activities of reasonable beings are never economic. Strictly speaking, there is no “economic motive” but only economic factors conditioning our striving for other ends. What in ordinary language is misleadingly called the “economic motive” means merely the desire for general opportunity, the desire for power to achieved unspecified ends.” [12] 

What Hayek is implying here is something which has been presented by Marxists for the last 150 years. The fact that everything within the sphere of capitalism is mediated by its relationship to capital. The way in which we relate to production/reproduction, as well as the contingencies of circulation, is the predominant relationship which often defines our social interactions as a whole. This is something explained to a far greater extent in a previous article I have written specifically regarding the money-form and its significance in everyday life.

Within the circuit of capital, the accumulation of money becomes an end in and of itself. Take for example the fundamental expression we use to delineate this process: M-C-M’ or money-capital-money (prime). The circuit begins with money invested in the production of a commodity (purchasing of constant capital and labor-power). This same commodity or commodities are then sold and the value is transformed again into the money-form but at a greater quantitive level than what was invested. If we simplify this expression into its basic form, M-M’, we find that capitalism relies on this basic process of turning less money into more money. Intuitive as this might seem, it is something rather disregarded by neoliberal economists and their predecessors such as Hayek. Why is this disregarded by apologists of capitalism? Precisely for what it reveals about the internal functioning of the system as cohesive whole. In some respect, there is no “economic motive” precisely because this motive becomes the undifferentiated mediation between all desires. The blind and often times ruthless accumulation of capital becomes a ubiquitous feature of every conceivable social interaction within capitalism. Money is piled up by the monopolists and the transnational capitalist class who sit upon their fortunes for really no other reason than to acquire more. The unapologetic wealth of communication moguls like Carlos Slim is a prime example of this. Hoarding this abstract social value – money – , is the immanent and unending goal of the system. This works back to condition future investment, labor-power, and everything within the realm of consumption/production/reproduction.

Of course, Hayek bridges his original statements into a criticism of economic planning as being totalitarian for the precise reason that nothing is solely economic. Therefore, the economic planner holds a very unique position of power over those who are being “planned for” or however that relationship could be expressed. For Hayek, economic planning is not merely a utility of the “common good” (although he argues this is also despicable) but a regime of control in itself:

“The question raised by economic planning is, therefore, not merely whether we shall be able to satisfy what we regard as our more or less important needs in the way we prefer. It is whether it shall be we who decide what is more, and what is less important for us, or whether this is to be decided by the planner.” [13]

To which he summarizes on the following page:

“Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.” [14]

Hayek is absolutely correct. He provides fantastic reasoning for any socialist or radical to work consciously towards the abolition of capitalism-imperialism. Confused? Consider this; we are already living within a planned economy. Not only are we living within a planned economy currently, but humanity has resided within this economy for the last two centuries and gradually more of the globe has been brought into the same sphere. Furthermore, we are not dealing with a single totalitarian plan, the coercive desires of some unitary despotic force, instead we contend with a network of totalitarian plans which define our very existence. The transnational capitalist class, the monopolists, their allies within the comprador strata, command our lives from the heights of the global economy. They promise us shared prosperity, freedom, peace, and “general opportunity”. But what has this given us? Slavery; subjugation; starvation; genocide; environmental catastrophe; a spectacle of “success”. Hayek is absolutely correct, economic planning engenders a powerful network of control. We are being controlled by the ruling class who are planning this economy for the enrichment of themselves and their allies, at the incredible and immeasurable loss towards the rest of humanity.

Understanding all of this, we find the most profound case for the struggle to socialism. Overthrowing the transnational ruling class seems to be the only way to progress forward ontologically from a state of subjugation to any conceivable sense of an emancipating existence. At the most basic level, socialism hopes to establish relations of production, the way in which people relate to the means of production and to each other, which are not based upon the exploitation of one by another. Wherein, economic planning becomes no longer a network of ‘competing plans’ for the domination of the earth and humanity but a coherent and dynamic step towards enriching the social body. Where production no longer serves the purpose of obsolesce, decadence, or bourgeois taste, but the needs and desires of the ‘common person’. Where food is not grown to make money, but to nourish the bodies and minds of everyone. Where education is not a privileged and exclusive ‘means-to-an-end’ but an inclusive space for general advancement. These are just some of the many feats socialism hopes to accomplish and it is not as though the technological and/or productive capacities are not present. In fact, the productive apparatuses now could well suffice the basic human needs of everyone on the planet. However, capitalism (and the current degenerate form, imperialism) is built upon a rigid and systemic social division which transcends the internal divisions of nations into the realm of oppressed and oppressor blocs. At its most basic level, capitalism is founded upon exclusion, exploitation, and a ubiquitous domination (which is too often more apparent than not).

The struggle for socialism is not an ethical imperative based on some lofty or liberal notions from a university. It is found embedded within the experiences of the oppressed and exploited (recall as Marx noted the seeds of destruction, the end of capitalism, lie within the very internal contradictions it cultivates). Their intimate understanding of their own social circumstances including the alienation which is pervasive in every engagement. It’s a dynamic struggle not only for such advanced notions but also the most existential dilemmas including that of material existence; the struggle for survival, the struggle to eat and be free, the struggle to resist the destruction of themselves and their planet. Something Hayek cannot seem to comprehend.

“If they want to plan, they must control the entry into the different trades and occupations, or the terms of remuneration, or both. In almost all known instances of planning, the establishment of such controls and restrictions was among the first measures taken…The “freedom of choice” would be purely fictitious…” [15]

Here Hayek makes another irrelevant and non-unique point. If socialism came about, surely occupational entry would be strictly planned and any freedom of choice on behalf of the student/worker nullified!

Quite the opposite, in fact. At the risk of sounding crudely humanistic, everyone seems to have different interests which guide them towards different fields of study. Within socialism, education (‘higher education’ especially) would be widely available and entirely free for the individual to cultivate herself. The dynamic and humanly inclusive nature of socialist (read: emancipated) education would allow those most dedicated to whatever particular field to devote themselves to that study. Producing not only well-qualified and ‘technical’ professionals, but also workers who were truly invested in their field and not simply there for the money as so many are today. Furthermore, the Leninist conception of ‘polytechnic schools’ would be introduced but obviously in a modified and parallel form to reflect the transformed values within socialism. Individuals could then cross-train in disciplines as the financial burden of education would cease to persist and would finally be regimented to the full-use of society.

Will some people “have” to do certain jobs? Absolutely. Or at least for the early period. But this is something which is incomparable to the stratification which exists in our current system of capitalism-imperialism. Wherein education is held as a weapon to be used against the masses rather than their fulfillment. Whole swaths of society are left with nothing to do but the most menial, difficult, and low-paying work simply because of the social division of labor established within capitalism. We live in a society where many children are born with almost no opportunity other than to be subjects of minimum wage or the prison-industrial complex. This would no longer be the case in socialism therefore any speculation as to “occupational quotas” and the like is merely fussing for the sake of apologism. And that is all Hayek and his allies really have in this discursive realm, speculation. For they cannot way the observed injustices of capitalism against any concrete alternative such as socialism, they can only speculate from the presumptive notion of ‘absence’ wherein the current system is a perfectly quaint model for society. Socialism does not speculate. Socialism empowers the working people and oppressed of every sort and variety. Any “reasonable individual” would conclude let’s first overthrow our oppressors than consider whether or not freedom is as bad as some say.

“In their wishful belief that there is really no longer an economic problem people have been confirmed by irresponsible talk about “potential plenty” – which, if it were a fact, would indeed mean that there is no economic problem which makes the choice inevitable…the claim that a planned economy would produce a substantially larger output than the competitive system is being progressively abandoned…they advocate planning no longer because of its superior productivity but because it will enable us to secure a more just and equitable distribution of wealth. This is, indeed, the only argument for planning which can be seriously pressed.” [16] 

His argument here has been at the very least empirically denied. Looking even narrowly at the failed socialist endeavors of the last century we see quite easily the pragmatic superiority of socialist planning to the “anarchy of the market” (a la Lenin). In fact, the Soviet Union from 1928 to the mid 1950s experienced some of the most unprecedented economic growth in human history. Going from a “backwards” semi-feudal predicament to rivaling the industrial output of global superpower such as the United States. The particularities of this development is simply a matter for another time as there is plenty of criticism to be made regarding the route of socialist construction taken. However, what cannot be denied is the plain efficacy of socialist planning (even loosely “socialist” and flawed planning) to exceed the growth experienced by the traditional development of capitalism. In respect to today’s circumstances, the technical knowledge accumulated would enable socialist planning to enter into realms never experienced in previous experiments; wherein, the technological capacity for real-time data feeds and razor-sharp logistics open up previous impossibilities with respect to planning an entire economy. Socialist theorists such as Paul Cockshott have even drawn up models wherein the economy could be planned quite efficiently using labor-values instead of a ‘socialist accounting’ like what was utilized in the Soviet Union (and modeled by other nations).

Put plainly, a socialist economy could easily surpass the productive output of any neoliberal model (functioning or otherwise). What about this question of “potential plenty”? With respect to Hayek’s speculation, at the time of his writing there was likely not the full understanding of global development or how resources could be allocated to suffice for the entire world. This is not the same today. Already we have significant evidence to believe that there is plenty of food, fresh water, and basic necessities to accommodate the entire world, even at the rate of current population growth. Any inconsistencies could likely be corrected with a redirection of intermediary resources to fulfilling those needs which are more imperative than superfluous consumer goods (finer electronics, niche commodities, etc.). Although we are venturing once more into grounds which are more speculative than concrete. What is important to understand is that even the most bourgeois commentators will admit that the systemic inequality we confront is one of our own making not the immutable restrictions of an external force (e.g. nature). Therefore it’s not too presumptive to think that a socialist economy wherein the world’s technical expertise is at the disposal of liberation could overcome the incredible material inequality and depravity we confront daily. The question is not one of objective factors impeding the progressive growth and enrichment of humanity but those subjective factors primarily those of power relations which keep the many subjugated to the few.

“The economic freedom which is the prerequisite of any other freedom cannot be the freedom from economic care which the socialists promise us and which can be obtained only be relieving the individual at the same time of the necessity and of the power of choice…” [17] 

What power of choice is wielded by the unemployed as they stand in a soup line? What power of choice is wielded by the single mother working double shifts to feed her children? What power of choice is wielded when both options vote for the oppressor? There is always this convenient appeal to the “individual power of choice” within the rhetoric of Hayek but never a concrete application of such. He prefers to keep this as abstract as possible so as not to rouse suspicion that everything he is saying is just a colorful romanticization. Perhaps worse than romanticizing these capitalist social relations, he actively obscures the domination at play. The average person has no relative power which can overcome the forces of her oppressor. Therein lies the ruse of it all. This “power of choice” is the choice between routes which have been preconceived as dead-ends. The spaces for substantive action against oppression are always those which are carved from the web and not apparent from within it. Therefore any “individual choice” which is readily presented by the oppressor should be held with incredible skepticism.

To paraphrase so many revolutionaries before, what sort of “economic freedom” is enjoyed by the hungry and homeless?

This turns the entire chapter upon itself. By setting out to show socialism could only be a dismal totalitarianism he has instead highlighted the totalitarianism we confront daily as subjects within capitalism-imperialism. The networks of control have never been more apparent. Our socialist theory is no longer the frightful speculation of old theorists but a legacy of practice/knowledge constituted over centuries by revolutionaries the world over.

Capitalism is, on a fundamental level, a system of control. Socialism is the opportunity by which the controlled can challenge their domination. And the practical understanding for socialism to succeed has never been stronger.

Chapter 8: Who, Whom?

The title for this chapter is a direct allusion to Lenin’s famous statement. To paraphrase, freedom by who, for whom? Drawing distinctly upon this historical example (which he confronts directly later in the chapter) Hayek sets out to actually identify and respond to many of the criticisms leveled against capitalism. Hedged squarely within the book and derailing an awful multi-chapter train of homogeneous babbling this chapter is a much-needed breath of fresh air. Obviously, still riddled with liberal apologism, falsehoods, and general inconsistencies Hayek does not stray too far from the well-traveled paths. However, the actual discussion of capitalism and pending criticisms makes this chapter a much more fulfilling read than the others.

He begins by criticizing what he considers the socialist disdain for “blindness”; as in the perceived impartiality of the free market system. He likens this “blindness” to the greek virtues of objectivity and principled detachment, making comparisons between competition in the market and “justice”:

“Although competition and justice may have little else in common, it is as much a commendation of competition as of justice that it is no respecter of persons. That it is impossible to foretell who will be the lucky ones and whom disaster will strike, that rewards and penalties are not shared out according to somebody’s views about the merits or demerits of different people but depend on their capacity and their luck…” [18]

The reader is almost baffled by the sheer denial displayed by Hayek, but we will dissect this selection (as it is critical to the development of the chapter) in the usual form.

1. There is some truth to the idea that capitalism is “no respecter of persons”. As shown before, even those who seem intimately connected to the operation of the system are easily replaced by another “director” of identical functionality. But this isn’t really a reason to engage in some sick admiration of a crookedly “impartial” system. For there are many points of obvious ‘structural bias’ which characterize any experience with capitalism even the most unaware and passive engagements. Furthermore, what is there really to celebrate in human liquidity? Capital commands everything within capitalism. Certainly there is no doubt there. However, when did such subjugation of the ‘human experience’ to mediation via abstract social functions become admirable? Even the platonic rhetoric of “justice” is coherent in a different light than that shed on the free markets. It is this desperate attempt by classical liberalism to eliminate the deviant subjectivity within any social space which even characterizes the archetype of classical liberals today. Their interpretation is the only one visible therefore these “impersonal market factors” really do seem blind!

2. Saying capitalism is “no respecter of persons” is both false and true. Arguably more false and obviously so than true, even. At the most basic level of his premises we find Hayek to be promoting falsehoods. Continuous statistical evidence explains that children who are born poor are more likely to be poor. While children who are born more wealthy or with greater relation to property, generally succeed in similar ways. How shocking! Granted this is something that Hayek notes in the following pages (although tries to shrug it off academically) but nevertheless we should criticize his quiet assertion of blatant falsehoods. Clearly certain personal qualities are very much respected within capitalism and trying to rub that away with an appeal to platonic virtues is just nonsense.

3. On another very basic level we should note the very active repression which is omitted by Hayek. Anyone engaged in radical challenging of the status quo has been a historical target for blacklisting, police terrorism, and general and often state sponsored aggression. Quite obviously, “somebody’s views” matter a great deal in the realm of the repressive state apparatus and only so because they had somehow escaped the trappings of the ideological apparatuses (which are arguably far more pervasive). Ask anyone who has been made an object of aggression by this exploitative system whether or not your ‘individual views’ are significant.
None of this even begins to analyze the cultural implications of late capitalism. The media usage of images to construct narratives on otherized bodies (such as the middle east, russia, “socialism” etc.), criminalization, sexualization, objectification, etc. Truly, and with respect to “persons” there is an infinite array of “respect” shown to be explored.

As referenced earlier, Hayek opens the next page by appealing to the popular sentiments of inequality. He bites some of what he had written earlier and concludes its not all that “unreasonable” to consider reducing the social inequality so as to let the “blindness” of the market do its magic. However, he offers no concrete application of such liberal equalizing and leads that to the romantic speculation of the reader. In reality, there is no liberal route of equalizing which is not simply a rearrangement of the analytic sticks, so to speak. The necessity of a social division of labor renders any attempt, no matter how genuine, functionally obsolete.

This doesn’t stop Hayek and he continues by noting the pronounced freedom of the poor:

“The fact that the opportunities open to the poor in a competitive society are much more restricted than those open to the rich does not make it less true that in such a society the poor are much more free than person commanding much greater material comfort in a different type of society.” [19] 

This is quite ridiculous even at a cursory examination. So, for whatever mystical reason, someone who is poor within capitalism is more free than someone who is more wealthy in a socialist society? Makes no sense at all. Unless of course you can magically monetize or in some way materialize the “individual freedom” expressed in being sold like a commodity within the ‘competitive markets’.

Hayek tries to argue the reasoning is, is that the poor can “get rich” too! However, as referenced above, this is not even statistically the case. Even if it were, it does not in any way justify the constructed inequalities within capitalism-imperialism which perpetuate all hosts of exploitative and dominating relations of production. More or less, the liberal rhetoric here is trying to explain ‘softly’ the rigid inequalities in capitalism as being not as bad as they seem. And even if they are bad, look there is this mean old hypothetical socialism where your mystical “individual freedom” is entirely non-existent! Hardly a compelling argument to the seasoned reader but certainly a favorite of bourgeois propagandists who dedicate themselves to dispelling any idea of liberation. Again, we should ask ourselves what the local homeless, unemployed, or hungry would have to say regarding this.

Now Hayek ventures into territory which is very dangerous to his narrative of our constituted social systems. He tries to address the point leveled by many socialists (including myself) as to the fact that socialism is merely a transfer of power from the exploiting class to the exploited:

“To believe that the power which is thus conferred on the state is merely transferred to it from others is erroneous. It is a power which is newly created and which in a competitive society nobody possesses.” [20] 

Absolutely false. Here we must smash the liberal narrative in its entirety. As stated by many, the relative power a CEO holds far outweighs that of almost any elected bourgeois official. If economic control confers significant social power, and the modern capitalist class wields this power, its only logical that these people would constitute the formal ‘ruling class’. This is not even a stretch within bourgeois social theory.

Furthermore, we should question the historical understanding held by Hayek if this is his actual argumentation. How does he go about to explain the introduction of bourgeois society following the collapse of feudalism? How was that anything but a fundamental transfer of power from one class (the monarchy, aristocrats) to another (the bourgeoisie) as delineated in a series of correlated events and processes (French Revolution, market reforms, the Enlightenment etc.)? In fact, providing a coherent understanding of history without some rudimentary knowledge of power and its squabbling seems almost impossible. The greatest moments in history are concerned with analyzing these dramatic transformations in power relations which have come to shape everything we understand about the world today. Depleting the historic arsenal of this analytic model is truly just debilitating the historical endeavor, not even that which is particularly Marxist. It shows quite plainly the lengths to which liberalism will reach simply to stifle dissent.

Conceptually speaking, socialism would constitute a ‘new power’ being developed from the internal contradictions of capitalism. However, this is not some uniquely original power which has been constructed from nothing. It contains within itself a long history of practice-theory-practice or simply the method by which all theory is refined and made intelligible: history. This history can be found within the very spaces capitalism renders as necessary, the workplace, the family home, daily interactions, consumption etc. Therefore, while this new power is new in the “world historic” sense of the term, it is not new to the aggregate experience of humanity. What is “new”, at least to most of the globe, is a fundamental rupture in the existence of capitalism wherein all power is transferred from the exploiters to the exploited: the most profound and arguably only precondition for the establishment of a genuine socialism.
Hayek tries to support his claim with an abstract point on the relative weakness of a “rich man” to the “lowest state functionary”. The real-life implications of the comparison are laughable. Apparently the wealthiest and most elite commercial executives of North America are less significant than the lowest most menial county functionary because of undefined (certainly unrefined) “reasons”. Nothing more should even be said on the issue. However the argumentative importance is apparent. Here, Hayek is dichotomizing two fields of almost equal inquiry. On one hand, the plain and apparent exploitation within the private market. On the other, the subtle and more structured legitimization and sustainment of that exploitation within the state apparatuses. A dichotomy which is subtle but no less important for the epistemic structuring of Hayek’s arguments wherein the state is always the quintessential boogeyman.

He extends this argument into its logical conclusion, if it involves ‘the state’ it must instantly be ‘bad’:

“There will be no economic or social questions that would not be political questions in the sense that their solution will depend exclusively on who wields the coercive power, on whose are the views that will prevail on all occasions.[21] 

The personal is political. Not only is the personal political, there is a certain level of personal politic which covers nearly every private engagement imaginable; making it possible to conceive of almost any relationship, event, or engagement as being thoroughly political (or arguably politicized). It is not as though once the economy comes under socialist planning suddenly most questions also become political questions; this is already the case now, and to an equal extent wherein the limitations of bourgeois legality have yet to find a resting point.

The real question is, what ‘sort’ of political question is being asked, and to whom? Is it a question of liberation or exploitation? Of constructive growth or structured impediment? Is it wielded by the class of oppressors or the oppressed themselves? These are the fundamental questions we must ask when confronting this realm of the socio-economic ‘political question’.

As mentioned earlier, this is precisely what Lenin was doing nearly a hundred years ago when asked about the “question of freedom” within the Soviet Union. Freedom for who, over whom? Freedom to do what, to whom? We cannot escape the overwhelming importance of contextualizing power as a relationship and not an object of passive manipulation. Class power is exerted, forcefully, over the scope of society in such a way that all things are brought into its orbit (such as in bourgeois society today). Lenin understood that nothing can ever be left out of this context, including freedom. Instead we should analyze what sorts of “freedom” an emancipated society can enjoy in contrast to that of the status quo; understanding the issue systemically is the only path forward in analysis.

Hayek answers this point by Lenin by recounting what he calls a necessity of “politics over economics”. What he means is that this sort of understanding put forward by Marxists (among other socialists) requires a dominating presence of politics in social life, interrupting the relative autonomy of economic subjects. Rather idealistic on his part considering the already intimate relationship between the economic and political sphere, even with bourgeois society. It’s no surprise that those most friendly to the monopolists and transnational capitalists reach the heights of bourgeois political structures. Although the relationship may not seem as pronounced as in socialism (where the relationship is really totalized into a cohesive structure), the economic is still uniquely political within capitalism. The difference is that, for the most part, the apparatuses of the state work back upon the ‘competitive system’ to ensure its own longevity and correct internal contradictions. Take for example the number of bailouts witnessed over the past decade between international and national central banks, as well as “rescue packages” designed to correct inconsistencies and stagnation in growth of key industries. It’s not as though the monopolists were sitting peacefully when the evil government rescue package came down into their coffers. They were actively involved in the drafting of such packages as a “private-public joint endeavor” to “save economic vitality”.

The difference between these phenomena in capitalism and socialism, is that in capitalism it is understood as a ‘symptom’ of degeneration; an exception to the rule, rather than the rule itself, indulged only for the sake of survival. However, this could not be any more false. There is a long history of ‘joint operation’ between the dichotomized spheres which took place long before any formal constitution of Keynesian economics (the “other boogeyman” of classical liberalism). Realizing this as it is, we see Lenin’s claims (and our own) to be instructive and descriptive rather than some political cynicism. Understanding the nuance of class rule, and how in fact we go about securing this rule for the purpose of liberation, is absolutely invaluable to our struggle. Therefore, we can speak plainly on matters perhaps considered controversial by Hayek or contemporary liberal political philosophers. Socialism is the institutionalized power of the exploited and oppressed, wielded against their exploiters and oppressors, for the purpose of worldwide emancipation.

Hayek then addresses the issue of “socialist remuneration” as it was termed. Essentially, how would someone be remunerated for their labor within socialism? Hayek of course chooses the route of least resistance and addresses the old slogan by unionists of every worker receiving the “full value of her labor”. This is an outdated and obsolete slogan for a few reasons. First, because the ‘full value’ of any specific labor is very difficult to neatly quantitize and then prepare for remuneration with respect to the whole process of labor. Second, labor, as referenced previously, occurs always in a network of production (if it is socially necessary) and very rarely so in the performatively “individual” sense. How can we measure one person’s labor against another within the same process? It would be very difficult, at the very least. Third, and as Marx points out, there must always be some reserve from the ‘full-value’ taken for purposes of broader advancement and security (emergency resources, infrastructure, security, etc.). He does not note taxes, and this is very critical to the Marxist understanding as it still provides an exclusive measure by which we can be gone with the bourgeois instruments of growth. Regardless, any productive society must keep some sort of surplus if it hopes to keep secure in its own advance therefore this old slogan has been retired from any substantive usage.

What has replaced it is a call for a more deserving form of equality than some quasi-bourgeois workerist entitlement. Every person should receive according to their need (desire), and perform according to their ability (capacity), with respect to inconsistencies in the early stages of socialism. Beyond the obvious differences, there is a very important theoretical rupture between the old slogan and what we utilize now. Before, the primary relation in the realm of the abstract worker was the “full value of her labor”, now this “labor” is balanced by her capacity and primary respect is shown to her desires. It is not liberating to simply envelope everyone into the petty bourgeois “personhood” of full and independent value. We must instead crush these institutions as promoting an alienating form of being that all individuals are forced into. Our newer slogan is more ambiguous in its concrete application but this ambiguity is empowering to the masses before it is limiting. It leaves the door open to this “freely associated development” which the masses must carve from the web of speculation into a real historical legacy. Beyond that the primary mediation within socialism is indeed “social” and not capital or abstract labor; such social mediation must be fully overcome if socialism is to have any meaningful existence.

“It is because successful planning requires the creation of a common view on the essential values that the restriction of our freedom with regard to material things touches so directly on our spiritual freedom.” [22]

Quite a loaded statement but one fitting for the end of the chapter. Once again he returns to discussing this creation of a universal set of “essential values” that will necessarily restrict individual freedom to the point which even “spiritual freedom” is offended. His view is consistently idealistic and cannot touch the descriptive power of historical materialism. What he is referring to with his set of “essential values” is really those subordinate values which exist in our current society. The secondary aspect of the contradiction already within full play. The historically developed and refined values of the oppressed which find animation in the most peculiar of social spaces. These are the values which will be constituted as “ruling” during the establishment of socialism.

To put it quite simply, the class rule of the oppressed will be characterized in a instrumentally similar (yet qualitatively different) fashion to that of the status quo; wherein the values of some are suppressed so that the values of others can prevail. However, this takes a very different form within socialism. In socialism, the “values” being suppressed are those of the world historic enemies of the People: the values of misogynists, racists, transphobes, heterosexists, and all manner of oppressive personas. Those which prevail would be those of liberation, of solidarity and mutual respect, of inclusive and egalitarian methods of production/reproduction and organization. Who could oppose such a future?

“Essential values” are not necessary for the functioning of socialism. What is necessary is the class rule of the oppressed. What they take with them is the accumulation of sociopolitical and moral experiences which define their action and “worldview” as it fits. This is the closest thing to any “essential values” that Hayek refers to but at the same time very unfamiliar. For the dominating presence is no longer the all-present spectre of capital, but the intimate and unique interrelations between humans themselves. This directness and historic opportunity of free development offers pathways to routes of “liberty” never experienced before and perhaps that which will define whole new modes of thought and existence. So much that any speculative condemnation of “essential values” should be disregarded as the apologism it is.

When we deal with this issue of “socialism” we are not setting out on an object of study similar to other sciences. There is no anthropological endeavor which can unravel the mysteries of socialism. There is no political economist who can interpret a few sources, splice a few statistics, and arrive at some holistic model of such. We are dealing with something that is explicitly historical. Carrying along with it a long legacy of theory, practice, and even failure. Contained within the halls of socialism are of course those remnants of bourgeois society which in themselves reflect the historical accumulation of “progress” by humanity; that ubiquitous sum of all struggles which pervades all “received meaning” in our lives but never without a mask of immanence. But as for the concrete and uniquely “human” experience of socialism, we still remain quite novices. And this is not something to be frowned upon. What it means is that we have a long road to pave before us and to construct this universe which remains the only frontier still worth exploring.

What we do know is certainly structural. To recall Lenin, whose knowledge began this chapter and whose knowledge still informs us today, the question is not of what but by who and towards whom. We answer unapologetically and to the great despair of reactionaries in every corner of the world: Socialism is power by the masses, for the masses, over the material and social circumstances which dominate their lives. Anything more is at best speculative, anything less is nothing at all.


[1] F.A. Hayek. 1944. The Road to Serfdom. p. 112
[2] Ibid. p. 113
[3] Ibid. p . 114
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid. p. 117
[6] Ibid. p. 118
[7] Ibid.
[8] World Bank Data, 2008:
[9] Hayek. p. 121
[10] Ibid. p. 122
[11] Ibid. p. 124
[12] Ibid. p. 125
[13] Ibid. p. 126
[14] Ibid. p. 127
[15] Ibid. p. 129
[16] Ibid. p. 131
[17] Ibid. p. 133
[18] Ibid. p. 134
[19] Ibid. p. 135
[20] Ibid. p. 136
[21] Ibid. p. 138
[22] Ibid. p. 142

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. excellent marxists we sharpen the weapon of theory in critical struggle with our opponents as marx did in theories of surplus value or bukharin in economic theory of the leisure class.a good text on the debate over planning is oskar lange’s article in reply to von mises(albeit based on neoclassical assumptions).socialist planning would certainly lead to more rapid growth of productive forces

  2. thanks to this author for noting w.paul cockshotts book.should be recommended reading for all general models go its best ive read in while.

  3. Reblogged this on Philosophical Fragments and commented:

    Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” is your typical “classical liberal” (or “libertarian”/”anarchist”) philosophy book, and this post does a great job of dissecting most of the usual talking points employed by Hayek (and, by extension, his various disciples).


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