The Road from Serfdom: The Economic and Political Consequences of the End of Communism
Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1996 - Business & Economics - 214 pages
The Crisis of Communism at the end of the 1980's was hailed as a triumph for Western capitalism, but initial euphoria soon turned to pessimism as the West failed to react adequately to the momentous changes that were taking place in the "new world order". While the demise of established Cold War structures threatened to unleash worldwide pandemonium, the passing of socialism seemed to leave money-making and ethnic violence as the only competitors for the future. In The Road from Serfdom Robert Skidelsky, one of our foremost political economists, reasserts the need for optimism. The collapse of communism, he argues, is the most hopeful event to have happened in the twentienth century, not least by reviving the liberal promise shattered by the First World War. Drawing parallels between the post-World War I political flux and conditions today, Skidelsky links the demise of communism - and its turbulent legacy - to the global failure of this century's most misguided concept: collectivism. Arguing that the ideological void left by the end of communism poses at once a threat and an urgent opportunity, Skidelsky urges the liberal West to reassert its leadership by developing a "constitution of liberty" aimed at entrenching the post-communist world order. In the current proliferation of simplistic blueprints for the future, The Road from Serfdom offers an intellectually bold, realistic, and timely prescription for the future in the face of today's economic and political challenges.
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The road from serfdom: the economic and political consequences of the end of communismUser Review - Book Verdict
Reversing the sense of Friedrich Hayek's 1948 study, The Road to Serfdom, Skidelsky (author of two volumes on John Maynard Keynes) sees in the collapse of communism a new opportunity for a revived liberalism (in the classical European sense: it's conservatism to a U.S. audience). The century about to end he considers, surely rightly, as the century of collectivism, a doctrine that has sought to replace private choice with government choice. Skidelsky takes us through the major crises of Europe and the rest of the world since 1914, invoking the names of a number of intellectual and political figures who contributed to and against collectivist notions: Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan unsurprisingly win high approval. Critics will note omissions and challenge judgments, but this provocative work should stimulate controversy. Skidelsky is very effective in putting the reasons for the Soviet collapse in layperson's terms.--Robert Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ont.
two The Nature of Collectivism
three The Rise of Collectivism
four The Era of Wars
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