Chapter Nine: Security and Freedom

The security and freedom Hayek talks about in this chapter is economic security and economic freedom.

He starts by making a distinction between basic economic security -- things such as a meal and a roof over one's head -- and full economic security -- having as much as one deserves. He feels that the basics can be provided as a social security net which operates essentially outside the free market system. But when a community starts aspiring for full economic security, then the free market, with it's uncertainty and dynamism, must get pushed aside in favor of the certainty of planning each citizen's take.

Hayek feels that disaster is the government's business, it should be set up to aid in these circumstances. He is not sure how to handle economic cycles. These he frets about because they are important but no good solution is in sight. If the government plans and intervenes, the economic cycles can be mitigated, but general wealth, liberty, and progress will also be mitigated as well.

He points that that aspiring for full economic security is the equivalent of central planning and the controlling of the means of production. A worker will be told both what is the right income to get, and what is the right job to be working at. And while this may produce short-term security it means that the productivity of the community will drift further and further away from what the community would like to be producing -- the market demand -- and the full economic security becomes an illusion. The end point of this state is well reflected in a joke widespread in the East Block in the 1970's and 80's, "The government pretends to pay us, and we pretend to work."