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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 525 of Bruce Caldwell’s and Hansjoerg Klausinger’s excellent 2022 Hayek: A Life, 1899-1950; this passage is from Caldwell’s and Klausinger’s chapter on Hayek’s great 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom; the discussion here is about publication of the American edition (original emphasis):

The University of Chicago Press also wanted to change the title to Socialism: The Road to Serfdom, but both [Fritz] Machlup (who was handling many of the negotiations) and Hayek resisted, on the grounds that central planning could be undertaken by either the left or the right: after all, that was why the dedication was to socialists of all parties.

DBx: This point is important. People on the political right typically assume that support for socialist interventions comes uniquely from people on the political left, but this assumption is mistaken. While conservative interventionists don’t call themselves “socialists,” many of their proposed interventions – for example, industrial policy – are indeed socialist interventions. These interventions are socialist because, in their attempts to improve the overall performance of the economy, proponents of these interventions advocate that market-directed allocations of resources be replaced with allocations carried out by government diktat.

People who are sympathetic with the political left (or who are singularly hostile to the political right) sometimes assert that Hayek’s message in The Road to Serfdom applies only to interventions imposed by overtly fascist regimes, such as those that in 1944 reigned in Germany and Italy. This assertion, too, is obviously mistaken. It is mistaken not only because Hayek understood to be ‘socialist’ all attempts to improve the economy by replacing market-directed resource allocations with state-dictated allocations, he also – especially because he was by then a loyal British citizen living in England – feared what might come at the war’s end as a result of the enormous amount of sympathy that British left-socialists were accorded at the time he was writing his soon-to-be-famous book.

As Caldwell and Klausinger write on page 526 of their book, “The Road to Serfdom is dedicated to ‘the socialists of all parties,’ signaling its author’s perception that people from across the political spectrum were being seduced by the same set of ideas.”

Also relevant here is footnote #10, on pages 532-533, of this Caldwell and Klausinger chapter. This footnote reads in part:

In the unpublished postscript [for The Road to Serfdom] Hayek wrote that much of the first draft of Road had been completed by spring 1941, but then Hitler invaded Russia. He put the manuscript aside for a while, and when he returned to it he eliminated “most of what would have been offensive to our temporary Ally and to all those Left-wingers whom I hoped to persuade and whose admiration and enthusiasm for Russia was then at its height.”

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