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Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, and the British Conservatives

  • Jeremy Shearmur (a1)
Extract

Over the years, Friedrich Hayek has received a generous response from some members of the British Conservative Party. One immediately thinks of endorsements of his work by Mrs. Thatcher in the 1970s and '80s.

Those with longer memories—and teeth—might also recall the controversy around Winston Churchill's first election broadcast in 1945, and the response to it by the Labour leader Clement Attlee, the following evening. Churchill spoke of the dangers of planning, and raised the idea that it would, in the end, require the powers of a Gestapo to put the ideal of a planned society into practice. Attlee criticized these ideas, and Hayek as the source of the theoretical conceptions behind them. This led to a fair bit of attention being paid to Hayek by the press, and to his being described as an economic adviser to Churchill. But Hayek himself has downplayed his direct contacts with Churchill (cf. Hayek 1994, pp. 106–107). Indeed, in Hayek on Hayek (Hayek 1994), Hayek indicates that he met Churchill only once. On that occasion he was struck by Churchill's being the worse for drink and then recovering, to Hayek's surprise, to make a first-rate speech.

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References
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Attlee, C. R. (1947) Purpose and Policy: Selected Speeches, Jenkins, R. (Ed) (London: Hutchinson).
Churchill, Winston S. (1974) Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches 1897–1963, James, Robert Rhodes (Ed) (London and New York: Bowker and Chelsea House Publishers).
Cockett, Richard (1995) Thinking the Unthinkable: Think-tanks and the Economic Counter-revolution 1931–1983 (London: HarperCollins).
Durbin, E. (1945) Professor Hayek on Economic Planning and Political Liberty, Economic Journal, 55 (12), pp. 357–70.
Finer, Herman (1945) Road to Reaction (Boston, MA: Little, Brown).
Gilbert, Martin (1988) “Never Despair”: Winston S. Churchill 1945–1965 (London: Heinemann).
Hayek, Friedrich (1944) The Road to Serfdom (London: Routledge).
Hayek, Friedrich (1946) The Road to Serfdom, abridged edition (London: Routledge).
Hayek, Friedrich (1949) The Intellectuals and Socialism, University of Chicago Law Review, 16 (19481949), pp. 417–33.
Hayek, Friedrich (1994) Hayek on Hayek, Kresge, S. and Wenar, L. (Eds) (London: Routledge).
Hayek, Friedrich (1999) The Reader's Digest condensed version of The Road to Serfdom, (London: Institute of Economic Affairs).
Le Grand, Julian and Estrin, Saul (Eds) (1989) Market Socialism (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press).
Orwell, George (1944) Review of Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, The Observer, 04 9.
Ranelagh, John (1991) Thatcher's People: An Insider's Account of the Politics, the Power, and the Personalities (London: HarperCollins).
Raybould, John (1998) Hayek: A Documentary History (London: Adam Smith Institute).
Roemer, John E. (1994) A Future for Socialism (London: Verso).
Shearmur, Jeremy (1996) Hayek and After (London: Routledge).
Wootton, Barbara (1945) Freedom Under Planning (London: Allen and Unwin).
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Journal of the History of Economic Thought
  • ISSN: 1053-8372
  • EISSN: 1469-9656
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-history-of-economic-thought
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