Critical Studies on Collectivist Economic Planning

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* Book: Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies on the Possibilities of Socialism. Edited with an Introduction and a Concluding Essay by F. A. Hayek. Contributions by N. G. Pierson, Ludwig von Mises, Georg Halm, and Enrico Barone. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1935.

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Friedrich Hayek:

“There is reason to believe that we are at last entering an era of reasoned discussion of what has long uncritically been assumed to be a reconstruction of society on rational lines. For more than half a century, the belief that deliberate regulation of all social affairs must necessarily be more successful than the apparent haphazard interplay of independence individuals has continuously gained ground until to-day there is hardly a political group anywhere in the world which does not want central direction of most human activities in the service of one aim or another. It seemed so easy to improve upon the institutions of a free society which had, more and more to be considered as the result of mere accidents, the product of a peculiar historical growth which might as well have taken a different direction. To bring orders to such a chaos, to apply reason to the organization of society, and to shape it deliberately in every detail according to human wishes and the common ideas of justice seemed the only course of action worthy of a reasonable being.

But at this present day it is clear—it would probably be admitted by all sides—that during the greater part of the growth of this belief, some of the most serious problems of such a reconstruction have not even been recognized, much less successfully answered. For many years discussion of socialism—and for the greater part of the. It was only from socialism proper that the movement spring—turned almost exclusively on ethical and psychological issues.”