'The Road to Serfdom' with 'the Intellectuals and Socialism'

73 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2006

See all articles by John Blundell

John Blundell

IEA, Institute of Economic Affairs, U.K.

Friedrich A. Hayek


Edwin J. Feulner

The Heritage Foundation

Walter E. Williams

George Mason University


In "The Road to Serfdom," F. A. Hayek set out the danger posed to freedom by attempts to apply the principles of wartime economic and social planning to the problems of peacetime. Hayek argued that the rise of Nazism was not due to any character failure on the part of the German people, but was a consequence of the socialist ideas that had gained common currency in Germany in the decades preceding the outbreak of war. Such ideas, Hayek argued, were now becoming similarly accepted in Britain and the USA.

On its publication in 1944, "The Road to Serfdom" caused a sensation. Its publishers could not keep up with demand, owing to wartime paper rationing. Then, in April 1945, Reader's Digest published a condensed version of the book and Hayek's work found a mass audience. This condensed edition was republished for the first time by the IEA in 1999. Since then it has been frequently reprinted and the electronic version has been downloaded over 100,000 times. There is an enduring demand for Hayek's relevant and accessible message.

"The Road to Serfdom" is republished in this impression with "The Intellectuals and Socialism," originally published in 1949, in which Hayek explained the appeal of socialist ideas to intellectuals – the "second-hand dealers in ideas." Intellectuals, Hayek argued, are attracted to socialism because it involves the rational application of the intellect to the organisation of society, while its utopianism captures their imagination and satisfies their desire to make the world submit to their own design.

Keywords: freedom, socialism, Hayek, Nazism, liberalism

JEL Classification: A1, B12, B25, B53

Suggested Citation

Blundell, John and Hayek, Friedrich A. and Feulner, Edwin J. and Williams, Walter E., 'The Road to Serfdom' with 'the Intellectuals and Socialism'. IEA Occasional Paper No. 136, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=878756 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.878756

John Blundell (Contact Author)

IEA, Institute of Economic Affairs, U.K. ( email )

2 Lord North Street
London SW1P 3LB
United Kingdom
(0207) 799 8911 (Phone)

Friedrich A. Hayek



Edwin J. Feulner

The Heritage Foundation ( email )

214 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4999
United States

Walter E. Williams

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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