Hayek’s Tragic Capitalism

Best known for his anti-socialist polemic The Road to Serfdom (1944), the economist and political philosopher Friedrich A. Hayek is often thought by foe and friend alike to have offered a plain and striking argument for capitalism: the least deviation from laissez-faire is the first falling domino that will inevitably lead to totalitarianism. The foes and friends draw different lessons from the fact that decades of regulation and welfare policy have never actually had this result. For the foes, it shows that Hayek was obviously wrong and his analysis unserious. For the friends, it shows that the dreaded socialist dictatorship must now be imminent rather than far-off—no doubt finally to arrive with whoever the next Democratic president turns out to be. — Ed Feser, Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2019, pp. 87-89.

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