Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Road to Serfdom (Ch IV)

Here are a couple of nuggets that reveal the "planners" mindset and why they hate the Private Property Rights enacted in Arizona's Prop. 207. This anti-competition, pro-planning monopoly is nothing new.

Many years ago in his most famous book "The Road To Serfdom," Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek concisely explained the nanny-state planners desire to control and why we should avoid their false seductions.

Hayek's excerpts:

The Road to Serfdom (Ch IV)

The "Inevitability" of Planning

We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become. -- Benito Mussolini

Most (planners) affirm that we can no longer choose but are compelled by circumstances beyond our control to substitute planning for competition. The myth is deliberately cultivated that we are embarking on the new course not out of free will but because competition is spontaneously eliminated by technological changes which we neither can reverse nor should wish to prevent.

The tendency toward monopoly and planning is not the result of any "objective facts" beyond our control but the product of opinions fostered and propagated for half a century until they have come to dominate all our policy.

What planners generally suggest is that the increasing difficulty of obtaining a coherent picture of the complete economic process makes it indispensable that things should be coordinated by some central agency if social life is not to dissolve in chaos. This argument is based on a complete misapprehension of the working competition. Far from being appropriate only to comparatively simple conditions, it is the very complexity of the division of labor under modern conditions which makes competition the only method by which such coordination can be adequately brought about.

It is no exaggeration to say that if we had had to rely on conscious central planning for the growth of our industrial system, it would never have reached the degree of differentiation, complexity, and flexibility it has attained. Compared with this method of solving the economic problem by means of decentralization plus automatic coordination, the more obvious method of central direction is incredibly clumsy, primitive, and limited in scope. That the division of labor has reached the extent which makes modern civilization possible we owe to the fact that it did not have to be consciously created but that man tumbled on a method by which the division of labor could be extended far beyond the limits within which it could have been planned.

Any further growth of its complexity, therefore, far from making central direction more necessary, make it more important than ever that we should us a technique which does not depend on conscious control.

There is yet another theory which connects the growth of monopolies with technological progress. It contends not that modern technique destroys competition but that, on the contrary, it will be impossible to make use of many of the new technological possibilities unless protection against competition is granted, i.e., a monopoly is conferred. No doubt in many cases it is used merely as a form of special pleading by interested parties.

While it is true, of course, that inventions have given us tremendous power, it is absurd to suggest that we must use this power to destroy our most precious inheritance: liberty. It does mean, however, that if we want to preserve it, we must guard it more jealously than ever and that we must be prepared to make sacrifices for it.

While there is nothing in modern technological developments which forces us toward comprehensive economic planning, there is a great deal in them which makes infinitely more dangerous the power a planning authority would possess.

We all think that our personal order of values is not merely personal but that in a free discussion among rational people we would convince the others that ours is the right one. The lover of the countryside who wants above all that its traditional appearance would be preserved and that the blots already made by industry on its fair face should be removed . . . know that (his) aim can be fully achieved only by planning.

The movement for planning owes its present strength largely to the fact that, while planning is in the main still an ambition, it unites almost all the single minded idealists, all the men and women who have devoted their lives to a single task.

It (planning) would make the very men who are most anxious to plan society the most dangerous if they were allowed to do so – and the most intolerant of the planning of others.

From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a single step.

Quotes from Chapters I & II can be viewed here:
Chapter III:
THE ROAD TO SERFDOM in movie form, 5 minute cartoon:

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