Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 6, 2022

in Complexity & Emergence, Hayek, Man of System, Myths and Fallacies

… is from page 23 of Bruce Caldwell’s excellent Introduction to the 2007 Definitive Edition (Bruce Caldwell, ed.) of F.A. Hayek’s classic 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom:

As Hayek frequently repeated, many intelligent and informed people of his day had been taken in by the claim that National Socialism was the next logical and historical phase of a collapsing capitalism. His point, one that most would accept today as evident, was that fascism and communism both represent totalitarian systems that have much more in common with each other than either does with the sorts of governments and economic systems that exist under liberal free market democracies. The Nazis demonized and persecuted the communists, to be sure, but it was not because they themselves were capitalists.

DBx: Fascism, communism, and socialism (whether “National,” “democratic,” “market,” “Fabian,” or whatever) are all isms the adherents of which demand the use of the state’s coercive power to engineer economic outcomes. Adherents of each of these isms either deny the existence of, or reject the results of, the free-market’s spontaneous-ordering forces.

There is much disagreement among adherents of these isms as to which particular outcomes the state should strive to engineer into existence, and also disagreement about the specific ‘tools’ the state should use to carry out its engineering. But all of these disagreements pale beside the fundamental disagreement that separates all adherents of these isms from advocates of a liberal market order. Only the latter believe that the operation and ever-evolving ‘results’ of the liberal market order are fair as well as superior – ethically and economically – to the operation and ‘results’ of any of these isms.

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