Jul 26, 2008

The Road to Serfdom.

I have read the book written by F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom.
Generally I agree what he meant in the book.
His main idea is that socialism is bad because it is based on totalitarianism.

Even though I support socialism theory, I can also agree his main idea, because now none of socialists thinks Russia, China, East Germany, and North Korea are socialism country. How could I agree his idea, with supporting socialism idea? It is because Hayek didn't separate totalitarianism from socialism; he strongly said it is impossible to separate, and this is only one I disagree.
I'm not gonna summarize his idea but I want to write a little bit of my idea.

About Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is as bad as Nazism. Its main idea is group can sacrifice individual. Patriotism and nationalism are also in the same category. I totally agree totalitarianism and collectivism is so bad. And they are directly oppose that of democracy.

Just one thing I cannot agree is that Hayek said totalitarianism is inherited and inevitable characteristics of socialism. Where does this idea come from? I read carefully but I couldn't find the reasoning. All I have found is Hayek said since socialism has developed mostly around Germany and Italy, they are combined. But I want to point out one fact, that Marx has never agreed totalitarianism or collectivism. In fact Marx could not have any chance to hear about any of them, because all of them have developed after Marx died. Actually Hayek has never cited directly what Marx said. Most of his examples came from Russia, and East Germany. I think this is weakest point of his book.

Hayek, in addition, said nationalized central planning system doesn't work in real world. But does socialism always require centralized production system? I agree totalitarian would insist centralized production system is the only one way to achieve socialism society. But what if we can implement democratic socialism not totalitarianism socialism? Hayek would deny any possibility to separate totalitarianism from socialism. I think it made sense 60 years ago, because many of even socialists though totalitarianism socialism or national socialism is the only one way to go to socialism society. But now none of them thinks Russia, China, East Germany and North Korea are successful model. It is clear that the experiment has been failed. We got much more experience.

About Planning

Hayek partly agree in some small space planning production system works fine, but mostly his idea is that "decentralization has become necessary because nobody can consciously balance all the considerations bearing on the decisions of so many individuals." He spent lots of pages, I think about 50% of the book, explaining why planning system is bad. But I found most of his way is finding and using some bad cases in real world, not using reasoning way. For me his way is like this; many of Christian are bad, so Jesus was bad. I understand it is hard to logically prove planning system is bad. But I think it is far fetched idea that most of planning production system is bad.

I see even in free market, they seems like freely compete each other, but inside of each company has their own strong plan. How could we image a company has no plan for their product? It is still true even in big company such as Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple. They even announce their next year plan to public. Their planning starts from Market Investigation, and it will tell them how much customer could buy their product. Hayek said it is impossible to predict the demand from so many individuals, but in real world most of company investigate, estimate, and plan.

I think whether planning system is inferior than free market is kind of old fashioned argue. One of a famous politician, Ryu Si Min, already have wrote this idea in his book. When I had first time read it, I just laughed. But for two years I found his reasoning makes sense. He said it is outdated ideologic argue.

I agree distributed system performs better than centralized system. One of good example is Internet system. In fact we, computer scientists, can seldom develop a good distributed system, because it is hard to design and many of cases their results are unpredictable. For example, Internet system, a famous well designed distributed system, also shown up its security problems and limited number of IP numbers problem. Now computer scientists have developed next version of Internet system, called IPv6, but we don't use it, because changing from old system to new system will cost a lot.

It is far fetched conclusion distribute system is always better than centeralized system. All of them are depend on its external conditions. In this sense I agree in world sized market we need distributed market system, which capitalists call 'Free Market'. And I don't think centralized production system is only one solution that socialists always insist. It might be strongly true long time ago, but now they don't need to stick on centralized production system. Big question is not how to produce but who has the power.

About Democracy.

I could think Hayek insisted only free market can bring democracy. But unfortunately I cannot find direct mentioning from his book, because he only condemns socialism is way to Serfdom. But I can induce he means free market is the only way to Democracy.

I want to suggest a little bit strange perspective that a company system is very similar with Monarchy system rather than Democracy system. We have the election system for the president of a country. But why does we have not the election for the president of a company. Government system is now quite democratic. We are all appreciate. When I studied about U.S.A history, I was really surprised by what George Washington did for democracy. Democracy is big progress in man kind. But what about a company. Some of big companies are now even bigger than any of countries in our entire human history. But the system is strongly hierarchical and monarchic. I don't think basic characteristic of Capitalism is democratic.

What we need is more Democratic system than Capitalism. If someone simply say it is impossible, I want to remind that most of people said it is impossible to share a nation during Serfdom society.

About Socialism

I have heard many of socialists say Russia, China, East Germany, and North Korea are all national capitalism not national socialism. If we can consider a government as a big monopoly company, it can explain a lot.

Why those governments sticked in planning production system is because even in Capitalism system the inside of company goes on under a plan. Why those governments has strong hierarchy is because it is a big company, which is same in capitalism society.

I can find many of evidence they are capitalistic society. But I can hardly find any of evidence they are socialism society except only one fact they insist they call themselves socialism society.

Actually it is still controversial specifically what is socialism system. I'm sure none of socialists shares strong model. In my opinion, the simplest way to think about it is everything is same with now except one thing the workers who work in a company has the property right for their company as if people who live in a country has the power for their country.

* PS: in the reason of maintenance I'll erase every comment after I read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

government = big monopoly company...
interesting :)