"My aim is, though I will of course not announce it, to make people feel intellectually superior if they 'see through' socialism": Exceedingly rare original manuscript of Hayek's The Reactionary Character of the Socialist Conception
A Disquisition on the Reactionary and Counter-Scientific Character of the Socialist Conception F. A. Hayek Autograph Manuscript.
Hayek, Friedrich August von. [F.A.].$60,000.00
Item Number: 108246
Exceedingly rare original manuscript of Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek’s The Reactionary Character of the Socialist Conception, 29 pages entirely in Hayek’s hand with his edits in a blank handmade Japanese journal. Octavo, original stiff Japanese floral paper wrappers stitched as issued, paper title label affixed to the front wrapper in Hayek’s hand which reads, “Disquisition on the Reactionary Character of the Socialist Conception.” The entire document is written in Hayek’s hand including a Table of Contents and page numbers. With Hayek’s library stamp to the front free endpaper and his notation, “Mostly written in Japan and Freiburg October to December 1978.” Hayek has also noted on the page containing the Table of Contents: “[My aim is, though I will of course not announce it, to make people feel intellectually superior if they ‘see through’ socialism.]” The manuscript was published the same year Hayek completed it by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University as The Reactionary Character of the Socialist Conception. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. In fine condition.
Written as a challenge to the question, "Was Socialism a mistake?" The Reactionary Character of the Socialist Conception contains Hayek's logical argument against socialism, espousing his belief that the institution could not work unless by coercion and therefore the end of personal liberty. Initially sympathetic to Wieser's democratic socialism, Hayek's economic thinking shifted away from socialism and toward the classical liberalism of Carl Menger after reading von Mises' book Socialism. In his most notable work, The Road to Serfdom, Hayek posited: "Although our modern socialists' promise of greater freedom is genuine and sincere, in recent years observer after observer has been impressed by the unforeseen consequences of socialism, the extraordinary similarity in many respects of the conditions under "communism" and "fascism." Hayek proposed that a central planning authority would have to be endowed with powers that would impact and ultimately control social life because the knowledge required for centrally planning an economy is inherently decentralised, and would need to be brought under control. From 1962 until his retirement in 1968, Hayek worked as a a professor at the University of Freiburg, West Germany, where he began work on his magnum opus, Law, Legislation and Liberty and drafted many other works including the present volume.