Chapter Thirteen: The Totalitarians in our Midst

This is a chapter of warning. Hayek is saying the "It can't happen here attitude." may not be as well warranted as the English of the 1940's think.

First, he points out that the Nazism Germans experienced under Hitler was a surprise to them, as well. No one at the time clearly saw the implications of Hitler's election in 1933.

Second, he warns to look at how similar the thinking of English progressives has become to the thinking of German progressives twenty years before Hitler's rise. That is the heart of this chapter.

His complaint is that the English progressives have lost pride and faith in their liberalism and as a result are sounding more and more socialist. They are, for instance, now in love with planning instead of organic economic growth. He gives several examples.

One of the steps towards totalitarianism he points out that people don't often think about is creating monopolies. These are usually thought of as being great for capitalists, but he points out they are also great for the workers because there is little economic constraint on giving into demands for various forms of higher wages and job security.

My observation of a 2010's monopoly in the US showing this weakness is the public education system. This is an institution that has run without serious competition for decades and thus has evolved into the kind of workers-dominated horror Hayek is warning about. This is brought out in poignant fashion in the 2010 documentary "Waiting for Superman".