Road to Serfdom
The condensed version as it appeared
in the April 1945 edition of Reader's Digest
By Friedrich A. Hayek
Institute of Economic Affairs
83 pages, illustrated
$19.50 paper original
In the last years of World War II, Friedrich Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom. He warned the allies that policy proposals which were being canvassed for the post-war world ran the risk of destroying the very freedom for which they were fighting.
On the basis of 'as in war, so in peace', economists and others were arguing that the government should plan all economic activity. Such planning, Hayek argued, would be incompatible with liberty, and had been at the very heart of the movements that had established both communism and Nazism.
On its publication in 1944, the book caused a sensation. Neither its British nor its American publisher could keep up with demand, owing to wartime paper rationing. Then, in 1945, Reader's Digest published The Road to Serfdom as the condensed book in its April edition. For the first and still the only time, the condensed book was placed at the front of the magazine instead of the back. Hayek found himself a celebrity, addressing a mass market.
The condensed edition was republished for the first time by the IEA in 1999 and has been reissued to meet the continuing demand for its enduringly relevant and accessible message.
Occasional Paper No. 122
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