Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Road to Serfdom in Cartoons

The Road to Serfdom in Cartoons

Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" is comical enough without being actually a comic book. It just hasn't happened anywhere, let alone in places like Sweden.

This has been added to the Make Or Break Views Of Libertarianism index.


GlenH said...

Am I the only one to notice that the cartoon was issued by General Motors, a company so bad at capitalism that it is now owned by the U.S government?

Mike Huben said...

Now that's a stupid comment, Glen.

When this was issued in 1945, General Motors was a star of American Capitalism, and it remained so for many years afterwards. However, it was a REPRINT of an article in LOOK magazine, and part of a large propaganda campaign by the National Association of Manufacturers to oppose New Deal policies. See: "Driving forces in physical, biological and socio-economic phenomena" Pages 117-126.

Mark Plus said...

Austrian economics probably would have become a historical curiosity by now without astroturfing efforts, ironically in defiance of market signals. Mises, unlike the overwhelming majority of immigrants to the U.S. in the mid 20th Century, didn't have to take any job he could find in, for example, the garment trade, and tough it out like ordinary people.

Instead he found patrons, businessmen who bribed New York University to give him an office, pretend he worked there as a "visiting professor" and serve as a front for the salary they paid him. Yes, that shows self-reliance, all right.

mikeyaustudent said...

Mike, here are your own words;

"This illustrates the basic problem of libertarianism: libertarianism is for the first-class citizens, not for ordinary people. The first class citizens are the multinational corporations and international investors. They're the ones who want economic freedoms, and don't care much about the individual freedoms of ordinary people.

The modern libertarian movement has been co-opted by these plutocratic interests. The first-class citizens have created and financed the numerous libertarian thinktanks and propaganda mills to churn out a continuous repetition of their talking points. Defense of civil liberties and (heaven forfend!) positive rights just isn't important to them."

This is akin to
saying that the basic problem with bread is that it has been coopted by people who mix sawdust with the dough
for their own gain.
You seem to be admitting that libertarianism is quite good, only
that it has been infected by some bad people.
Also, what is a 'positive right'?

Chris said...

The funny thing is, many of the panels still make sense if you imagine that they are referring to bosses in private companies rather than gov't planners.

Mark Plus said...

The last panel in the cartoon, of the firing squad, shows how far behind the times libertarians propaganda has fallen. According to Wikipedia, 95 countries have renounced capital punishment, including Russia! And the death penalty has fallen into disuse in dozens more. Yet the governments in these countries still mysteriously manage to collect taxes and regulate businesses without having the ability to threaten the noncompliant with murder.

Joanna Liberation said...

Mike, The Road to Serfdom illustrates dictatorship being the inevitable result of central planning, not just high taxes, so your supposed Sweden counter example does not make sense since its business, trade, monetary, investment freedoms and private property rights are pretty much a capitalist ideal:

Joanna Liberation said...

And what exactly do you mean it hasn't happened anywhere? Are you one of those hardcores that claim Cuba and North Korea are really workers paradise and democracy models?

Joanna Liberation said...

GlenH, exactly, because a private company likes free markets only when it happens to be more effective than its competitors. General Motors liked free markets 60 years ago, but today it is all for government interventionism it needs to survive. And any left politician will always bail out any private corporation whenever it threatens to lay people off.

Mike Huben said...

Joanna, you have got to be one of the stupidest people on earth. Even for a libertarian, you're stupid.

Cuba and North Korea did not gradually transform as "the inevitable result of central planning" that Hayek proposed. Cuba had a revolution and North Korea had a puppet government established by the Soviet Union.

Sweden has long spent more than 1/2 GDP through central planning, no matter whatever else the IEF propaganda says. If you don't think that's socialist, please explain what is. (By the way, you have actually includes some sources for your claims, and I think that's a big plus. If only you had more sense about the sources you trust.)

Joanna Liberation said...

I'm used to being called stupid (and worse) on leftist websites, but being called one of the stupidest people on earth by one the most prominent internet critiquers of libertarianism, thank you, I feel special. And please kill me when progressive liberals stop calling me stupid.

Marxist socialisms may indeed be poor examples for Road to Serfdom. After all, there is no Road really, just Serfdom, and virtually overnight. That makes me sad because I really root for Chavez to create another libertarian antiexample. But how about national socialisms like fascist Italy/Germany whose central planning policies (nationalization, cartelization, price fixing etc) New Deal tried to imitate?

Sweden is still poorer counter example than my Cuba/N.Korea examples though. You don't _spend_ on central planning, you just _do_ it, you nationalize, cartelize, price fix. You don't really have to spend a dime. Swedish government consumes 1/2 swedish GDP, rendering Swedes poorer accordingly, but that's not central planning, that's just parasiting.