Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is a philosophical response to the challenge of ‘totalitarianism’. But, what is ‘totalitarianism’ ? Was it a real threat or merely an exaggeration?The Road to Serfdom is a wonderfully written book, the ethical values of the book are commendable; nevertheless the thesis that government intervention leads to the loss of political and individual freedoms is not confirmed by any empirical evidence. Remember that the War Economy driven by central planning was not only the economic governance model of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, but also of the United Kingdom during WWII. The argument that comprehensive central planning inevitably leads to ‘totalitarism’ is questionable for a range of reasons: first, because comprehensive central economic planning was never implemented in practice, not even by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, though the intent of the Soviet and Nazi leaders was there. Therefore the correspondence between ‘totalitarianism’ and central economic planning cannot be confirmed empirically. To counter this argument one may claim that all surrogate of central plans that were implemented in both these countries failed miserably and on this basis advance the proposition that the two governments despotism was a response to these failures. This would be a credible scenario if the reality wasn’t that the two despotic ideologies reached power and started to deny political and individual freedoms well before the first central plan was even launched. It is therefore still open to debate, to say the least, that liberty is somehow significantly linked to the degree of intervention of the state in the economy, and even more doubtful the argument that correlation implies causation.
Emilio on Central planning consider these facts.
“The other discrepancy between free enterprise in its real and ideal states is the undue concentration of wealthamong a few individuals ans corporations. This imbalance makes a mockery of claims that capitalism rewards the efforts of all enterprising individuals.”
Concentration of Coprorate Wealth.
“Wealth in the business community is centralized in a relatively few major corporations, and this concentration is increasing. In 2008, for example, the U.S. corporation with the most assets ($2.175 trillion) was JPMorgan Chase; the top corporation in sales-Wal-Mart- had $405.6 billion in revenues; and the greatest producer of profits was Exxon-mobil at $45.22 billion (Forbes 2009a:128-133). The following examples show just how concentrated wealth is among the major U.S. corporations:
– Less than 1% of all corporations account for over 80 percent of the total output of the private sector.
– Of the 15,000 commercial U.S. banks, the largest 50 hold more than 1/3 of all asets.
– 1% of all food corporations control 80% of all the industry’s assets and about 9-% of the profits.
– 6 transnational corporations ship 90% of the grain in the world market.
Chomsky made early efforts to critically analyze globalization. He summarized the process with the phrase “old wine, new bottles,” maintaining that the motive of the élites is the same as always: they seek to isolate the general population from important decision-making processes, the difference being that the centers of power are now transnational corporations and supranational banks. Chomsky argues that transnational corporate power is “developing its own governing institutions” reflective of their global reach.