The Road From Serfdom

Although I’m committed to helping my good friend Jack England complete his planned novel trilogy series as a foreground priority, when in the background I’ve completed my first introductory book on Austrian Economics – which has a working title of ‘Reality Economics’ – I’m going to write a second book which has a working title of ‘The Road From Serfdom’. This will be a rewritten collection of essays, reviewing 33 essential books to take an intelligent person from being a confused socialist, back into their innate light of freedom.

I’ll structure this second book to build a pathway, or a ladder, for this socialist, to help them shake off their mental shackles. I’ll rewrite all of the reviews so that they form an integrated set, which hopefully will blend in with each other.

I am currently scouring the Interweb to locate the current cloud of reviews I have written over the years, which cover some of the books, and I’ll post all of these reviews on this site, over the next few weeks. I’ll then spend the next couple of years reviewing all of the other books, to fill in the gaps.

Here’s my current list of 33 books, in the current working order in which they will appear in ‘The Road From Serfdom’. If anyone has any opinions about which books I should exclude, or include, in my list of 33, or the most perfect order for reading them, please let me know either via the comments, or via the contact page available in this site’s main menu.

The target audience is an intelligent discerning socialist, who is disillusioned with socialism, and confused about why its results never seem to work out as planned, but who is still sticking with it (for the moment) because they can see no other pathway out of the world of corrupt corporate mercantilism, in which we are drowning. We need to rescue that person, and help stop them becoming part of the same machine that they want to throw off.

It’s going to be a lot of work, but every man must have a hobby. I shall particularly enjoy writing the review of my own book – the first in the series – when I have eventually completed it. I think I should be able to guarantee that it will be a positive treatment, though I will try to keep that first review mercifully short, perhaps as short as ‘Buy this book, it’s great’! 🙂

  1. Reality Economics (Duncan)
  2. Economics in One Lesson (Hazlitt)
  3. What Has The Government Done To Our Money (Rothbard)
  4. The Mystery of Banking (Rothbard)
  5. The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality (Mises)
  6. The Menace of the Herd (Kuehnelt-Leddihn)
  7. Atlas Shrugged (Rand)
  8. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein)
  9. Human Action (Mises)
  10. The Road to Serfdom (Hayek)
  11. Man, Economy, and State, with Power and Market (Rothbard)
  12. A Theory of Capitalism and Socialism (Hoppe)
  13. Socialism (Mises)
  14. Pictures of the Socialistic Future (Richter)
  15. An American in the Gulag (Dolgun)
  16. Liberalism (Mises)
  17. Bureaucracy (Mises)
  18. Omnipotent Government (Mises)
  19. Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell)
  20. Time Will Run Back (Hazlitt)
  21. The Fatal Conceit (Hayek)
  22. The Prince (Machiavelli)
  23. Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature (Rothbard)
  24. The Ethics of Liberty (Rothbard)
  25. For a New Liberty (Rothbard)
  26. Democracy, The God That Failed (Hoppe)
  27. The Myth of National Defense (Hoppe)
  28. Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (Rothbard)
  29. The Economics and Ethics of Private Property (Hoppe)
  30. Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship (De Soto)
  31. Early Speculative Bubbles and Increases in the Supply of Money (French)
  32. Meltdown (Woods)
  33. Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles (De Soto)

About Andy Duncan

An Austrian Internet Vigilante trying to live Outside the Asylum
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5 Responses to The Road From Serfdom

  1. Andy,

    This sounds like an interesting, important, and ambitious project. I look forward to reading it upon completion and wish you the best of luck.

    You may want to consider “Rollback” by Thomas Woods, “The Ethics of Money Production” by Jorg Hulsmann (this is an excellent complement to de Soto’s “Money, Bank, Credit, …”, “The Use of Knowledge in Society” by Hayek, and “America’s Great Depression” by Rothbard. Although the last book and that of Woods are US-centric, Rothbard shows in stark terms the disasterous effects of modern central banking, while Woods shows why specific forms of interventionism are economically harmful.


    • Andy Duncan says:

      Thanks for the response, AVD.

      You could be right about Rollback. It’s a great book. I’ll have to make room for it, of course. Do you have a list of books (in my current 33) which you think can be lost most easily? That would be really useful, a sort of anti-list.

      Here’s my own review of Rollback, BTW.

      Ethics of Money Production, is also a good contender, though there might be some overlap with ‘What Has the Government Done to Our Money?’ (which is definitely staying in my list, and the ‘Mystery of Banking’. But I’ll definitely have a think about it. The question, again, is what to drop? Does WHTGDTOM? overlap too much with MOB? I like the number 33, and I think I’ll stick to that number of books, come what may.

      Here’s my review of ‘Ethics of Money Production’

      I’m afraid I haven’t read “The Use of Knowledge in Society” by Hayek, so I’ll have to add that to my ‘reading hopper’. I’ve already got two Hayek books in there, and I really want this list to be ‘Mises/Rothbard’ based, rather than get too embroiled in the Kirzner/Hayek side of things. But I’ll definitely give it a read, to see if it can help a former socialist escape their thralldom to the Marxist dialectic.

      I do like “America’s Great Depression” by Uncle Murray, but it’s been a while since I read it. I’ll read it again. I’ve no problem with adding more Rothbard! 🙂

      I was thinking about adding in ‘Conceived in Liberty’, but I think that would be a bit much for my intended audience, especially as I want to keep the list ‘global’, and not focus too much on the special problem of the United States, of which there is already a vast amount of coverage.

  2. Jim says:

    This list is quite impressive. Here’s a thought from left field to get your juices flowing.

    For years we’ve been told progressives are the scientific folks, and that ‘capitalists’ are cold-hearted louts who would leave folks to starve.

    Your list represents a brilliant rational refutation of the bourgeois vs worker tautology, and central planning in general, flawed in both theory and practice. But what if socialism and progressive thought is not really rational? What if it is just at heart a simple, childish emotional progression from ‘share and share alike’? Then rationality does not matter because it does not hit the nail on the head.

    Take a well-known Progressive as example. Consider Oprah Winfrey’s psychology, which she adopted from the popular psychologies of today. She became a billionaire given one very prevailing theme; people (and especially women) can free themselves from life’s fates by taking control of their lives. They have choices, both rationally and emotionally. People can insert themselves into the gap between stimulus and response and make a difference in their attitudes and their outcomes, regardless of how bad the situation is.

    This is a cognitive psychology, and it is a celebration of self. It is a celebration of the individual’s ability to choose. What is very interesting is that at its heart it is inconsistent with progressive and socialist thought. Yet many progressives, like Oprah, celebrate this life view even as they discount Rand or classically liberal thought. I suggest that is an irrational progression. Oprah’s psychology should translate into a SMALLER government, which allows and enables people to act and choose their destinies, not impede them. It seems to me that in at least some of your reviews, you might address this psychological viewpoint, rather than focusing only on economics and politics.

    Good luck. Great project.

  3. David Goldstone says:

    1. From Marx to Mises by David Ramsey Steele – the definitive account of the Economic Calculation debate – no intelligent socialist could remain a socialist after reading it.

    2. The Machinery of Freedom – different approach but same conclusions and a wonderfully enjoyable read – my first piece of hardcore.

    3. Jan Lester – Escape from leviathan – political theory at its best

    4. Schlichter – Paper Money Collapse – the best modern account of the folly of Keynsianism and money printing.

    • Andy Duncan says:

      1. I haven’t read this one, so I’ll have to put it into the reading hopper. Though I also like ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’, so I’ll have to re-read that one too, in a similar kind of vein.

      2. I’m not really a monumental Friedman fan, I’m afraid, and although it’s a good book, I think it might be a bit heavy for a recovering socialist to get straight into! 🙂 On the Ancap front, I think I’ll be sticking with just the Hoppe, for the moment, and the ‘straighter’ stuff will dominate the list. TMOF WILL appear in my third planned book, ‘The Road to a Voluntary Society’, but that’s quite some way off 😉

      3. Ah, Mr Lester. Now that’s real hardcore. I haven’t seen him in quite some time. I must get down to some of those LA meetings, again, to reconnect with the cadre.

      4. Hmmmm… Maybe if I drop ‘Meltdown’, and supplant it with ‘Rollback’, I’ll need another ‘monetary collapse’ book to take up the slack? This could be it. Thanks for the thought. The only problem is what to drop? Perhaps ‘Liberalism’ could go, though I want to keep ‘Bureaucracy’.

      My weakest five for my purposes, I think, in my current list, are ‘Liberalism’ (tangential), ‘Mystery of Banking’ (overlaps with WHTGDTOM?), ‘For a New Liberty’ (overlaps with EOL), Early Speculative Increases in the Supply of Money (very interesting, but tangential), and Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (fabulous book, one of my favourites, but maybe a bit deep for the ‘Road from Serfdom).

      So many books, and only 33 slots. Creating an ordinal preference list is tough. Thanks for your thoughts. I suspect this will be a constantly evolving project until I press the ‘Print It and Be Damned’ button on CreateSpace! 🙂

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