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The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1469298163
  • ISBN-13: 978-1469298160
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 6.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

`... as passionate and disputatious as anything he has written. As well as adding up to a powerful manifesto against socialism, it is a fully accessible account of many of the main strands of Mr Hayek's thinking. Politicians ... no longer have any excuse for ignoring what he has actually said ... One of the outstanding political philosophers of this century has written a concise summation of his work: Hayek for everyman. It deserves to be read.' - The Economist

`His arguments are well structured, clearly expressed and, at all times, provocative. His followers will admire the trenchant critique of socialism; his enemies will find his work challenging ... It should not be ignored by anyone concerned with contemporary political discourse and economic developments in the modern world.' - Political Studies

`This is a book from which we can all learn, and have our understanding of society widened and enriched by extensive analysis embodied in trenchant analysis.' - Policy

`...this rich and provocative book' - Ethics

About the Author

F. A. Hayek (1899–1992), recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and cowinner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and a leading proponent of classical liberalism in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg. Among his other works published by the University of Chicago Press are The Constitution of Liberty and The Road to Serfdom.

More About the Author

Friedrich August Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and the principal proponent of libertarianism in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg. His influence on the economic policies in capitalist countries has been profound, especially during the Reagan administration in the U.S. and the Thatcher government in the U.K.

Customer Reviews

Hey I enjoyed it as a good evening read.
Mark Dana Floden
His brilliance OUTSIDE of economics, as well as in, is made clear in both works, and if the title does not tell you his feelings, well, get reading.
S. Luftschein
Hayek makes a very good argument for the necessity of our recognizing how impersonal, self-organizing principles led to our lush economy.
R. Schultz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

295 of 311 people found the following review helpful By Chuck DeVore on December 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
I first read The Fatal Conceit back in 1991, after reading Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. I reread the book in 2007 while commuting back and forth to California's state capital in my capacity as a state assemblyman. Needless to say, the book's profound critique of socialism means much more to me now as a 45-year-old lawmaker and front row eyewitness to daily attempts to incrementally enact socialism in the Golden State.

The Fatal Conceit's title captures the essence of the socialist/progressive/liberal impulse, born of a feeling of moral and intellectual superiority, to bring order to the free market, and in so ordering, destroy the very thing (capitalism), that allows modern civilization. Hayek writes of socialism in the introduction entitled "Was Socialism a Mistake?":

"...The dispute between the market order and socialism is no less than a matter of survival. To follow socialist morality would destroy much of present humankind and impoverish much of the rest.

"All of this raises an important point about which I wish to be explicit from the outset. Although I attack the presumption of reason on the part of socialists, my argument is in no way directed against reason properly used. By `reason properly used' I mean reason that recognizes its own limitations and, itself taught by reason, faces the implications of the astonishing fact, revealed by economics and biology, that order generated without design can far outstrip plans men consciously contrive..."

What a simple observation of the truth, "...order generated without design can far outstrip plans men consciously contrive..." Capitalism, spontaneously generated through centuries of human interaction, has proven the best way to conduct the economics of mankind.
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131 of 147 people found the following review helpful By ProfWombat on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Most of the reviews come from those who, I'd guess, were on the right of the political spectrum well before they encountered Hayek. I read Hayek in college, and then again 40 years later, after a lifetime on the left, and have another point of view.

The term 'socialism' as used in political discourse generally begs definition, and is used carelessly rather than precisely by both sides of the debate. Consider, for instance the conflation of the manifestly wildly disparate New Deal and Soviet Communism. Those supporting the New Deal, which preserved democracy and capitalism during economic catastrophe with government intervention, too often had a wistful, credulous view of the Soviet Union. The right extended a realistic view of Soviet tyranny to define even the mildly US left as not merely mistaken, but advocates of tyranny and treason. Hayek is more precise. He views socialism as any government interference in the free market, and argues that, at whatever level it is conducted and imposed, the results are for the worse. He states that the plight of those in need, while acknowledging its reality, is poorly, if at all, mitigated by dirigiste government action, if not worsened and perpetuated. His arguments are logical, historically informed and presented in clear prose that's a delight to read.

My differences with him begin with his acceptance of the necessity of government protection of private property and of citizens against violence. I'd argue that unregulated capitalism, much as unrestricted government, can result in appropriation of property by the strong at the expense of the weak, and that there are many forms of violence, many of which are characteristic of unrestricted business activity.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Marc Vossman on January 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was hesitant to purchase this book because the title led me to believe that this was just a rehash of The Road To Serfdom. Instead, it turns out to be a philosophical work that in my opinion would be more accurately titled The Extended Order as opposed to The Fatal Conceit.

The book mostly deals with the concept of the extended order, which is basically the idea that in addition to our genes, our morals and politics come from an evolutionary process which is much too complicated to be intentially created by the human mind. This is an epistemological view that argues against the idea of system building in both morals and politics (specifically socialism which seems to be broadly defined as any top-down political and moral construction).

I would have liked to see the concept of the extended order flushed out into a more concrete moral and political philosophy, but this has been done (at least the political) in his earlier writings (Constitution of Liberty among others). Because of this, I'm not sure this book has as broad an appeal as some of his earlier classics, but as a Hayek fan who likes philosophy, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By New Age of Barbarism on September 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
_The Fatal Conceit_ written by economist F. A. Hayek is a firm rejection of economic planning and socialism in favor of classical liberalism and private ownership of "several property" from an agnostic evolutionary perspective. Hayek argues that morality cannot be founded based upon reason alone but that its foundation must be found within the traditional structures that make up society. He argues this from an evolutionary perspective claiming that morality has evolved and therefore been selected for and therefore that it is naive of us to believe that through reason alone we can determine what is ethical. This is in agreement with a religious perspective that would claim that the morality-bearing tradition has been handed down to man from a source which involved an encounter with the Divine (of course, the religious perspective would deny evolution but would arrive at the same conclusion based upon revelation). Hayek, himself an agnostic, discusses these issues in his book and shows how religion can serve as a guardian of tradition. One specific tradition that exists within Western culture is that of private ownership of "several property". Hayek argues that socialism rests on a conceit and is often rooted in an irrational longing for a primitive time (primitivism). Hayek shows how many philosophers and economists including Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas ("the just wage theory"), Karl Marx, Keynes, and Einstein advocated some form of socialism and shows the errors in various aspects of their thinking. Hayek is particularly harsh to Keynes who spoke against the traditional value assigned to saving money, which Hayek feels is absurd.Read more ›
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