Daniel Berninger's - Quandaries -

Thursday, December 26, 2002

The Road to Serfdom

Friedrich Hayek's book "The Road to Serfdom" frequently gets referenced as the inspiration for the work of so called conservative and libertarian movements toward smaller government. Milton Friedman serves as the leading holder of the intellectual torch, but Hayek's ideas don't seem well represented by either libertarians or conservatives. It seems unlikely Hayek would have knowingly traded oppression by government for oppression by corporations as conservatives and libertarians presently do. Corporations largely funded the effort to reign in government, so it should not come as a surprise who benefited. It does seem important to note individual freedom did not benefit, unless one weighs the individual freedom of corporate CEO's above all others. Government in the United States now seems largely captured by the liberal spending corporations directly on contributions and by hiring and obtaining the influence of former government officials. We have a situation where the conservatives and to a lesser extent the libertarians control many of the levers of power, but individual freedom seems to have reached an all time low. The political movements claiming Hayek inspiration created a monster by removing regulatory and legal constraints on corporate power. Corporations that survive by influencing government don't need to address the interests of their consumers. Ignoring consumers destroys demand and starts a viscious cycle that destroys the economy. The corporate driven American imperialism designed to make the world safe for business represents another thread of the same effort. The resulting oppression of people on a global basis produces animosity that further destabilizes the world and obtains a viscious cycle that leads us toward Armageddon. One can only hope the vast majority of individuals associated with the term individual freedom wake up in time.