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The Road to Serfdom 1945 Radio Dramatisation


words at war to night it is one of the most controversial
problems of our times here’s one opinion I think government planning is the only solution
to our economic problems I think the government ought to plan for everybody
to have a job free enterprise may have been alright once
but what we need now is central planning and the government should plan our economic
welfare in peace just as it plans for victory in war the time has come for the government to set
up a planned economy but here is another opinion a warning bell to stop look and listen I think that government planning as a substitute
for free enterprise is a step in the direction that Italy and
Germany followed I think that it would destroy our liberties
our freedom and our civilisation instead of being the highway to happiness
it is the road to serfdom tonight the national broadcasting company in cooperation with the council on books in
war time brings you a radio impression of one of the
most talked about books in America it’s a direct challenge to much that is being
thought and spoken these days its one answer to the question shall we have a planned economy directed by
the government or shall we have free enterprise based on
competition some of you may like it some of you may not but in keeping with the spirit of this words
at war series here is one of the most provocative and widely
discussed books of the day we present the road to serfdom by Friedrich
A. Hayek I’m Friedrich Hayek a professor of economics who has written a
book I was born in Austria and lived in Vienna
until 1931 since then I have spent my time in the United
States and in England and am now a British citizen at present I am on the faculty of the London
School of Economics now that I have introduced myself I would
like to talk about my book with you ah now look doc you may be a nice guy and your book may be
fine but well a foreign professor I don’t know
whether you talk my language yeah those big words and all that highbrow
stuff they kinda give me a headache ok you forget that I am a foreigner and a
professor and I will drop the big words and the extra
syllables check alright check doc now what this beef about government planning yeah what’s wrong with the government doing
some planning I’d like to know it seems to me Mr Hayek that the large scale
problems of today require large scale planning such as only the government can provide what’s the matter professor don’t you want
everybody to have a job naturally we all want everybody to have a
job I’m sure I do I like the idea of full employment to the question is whether you want to get it
through free enterprise or by government planning I think that if you get full employment by
government planning you will end up with complete serfdom what do you mean lose our liberty and all
that stuff exactly I don’t see why we’d have to be slaves just
because things were planned now look Doc lets not get this confused you’ll make me forget how I figured it out now I see it like this a government should plan what is good for
the country right full employment is good for the country right therefore the government should plan full
employment its as simple as that yes now lets see a person should ware clothing in public right yeah a bathing suit is clothing right yeah then why aren’t you wearing your bathing suit why don’t ahh now doc that’s silly no no you see it depends on what kind of clothing where in public and it depends on what kind of planning full employment under what conditions now I am not against all kinds of government
planning nor against government power to enforce proper
planning but I think that the kind of planning should
be decided upon and that the power should be limited ah that’s just a lot of talk now look we want jobs in the future so let
the government make sure we get-em that’s all I care about a job oh and you want a job and I think free enterprise is the only way
to get it and keep your liberties well go ahead doc alright now lets imagine a baseball game with
the government as the umpire your familiar with baseball aren’t you oh sure why them dodgers now the umpire that’s the government is supposed to regulate the game to enforce
the rules but suppose the umpire went further then that suppose he tried to plan the game and make
the rules fit the plan well lets go out to the ball park and now the batter is up at the plate and the pitcher winds up and here it comes STRIKE strike? Hey look ump that was three
feet wide of the plate well yes but you are such a big fellow you can reach further then the other players don’t you think it only fair that you should only fair? Well if the plates the plate now now lets not be unreasonable play on and here’s the pitch again it’s high on the
inside it hit the batter oh boy that hurt but it puts me on first base
huh ump now wait wait hit you pretty hard didn’t it?
Yeah well now I will tell you what you take two
bases instead of just one what two bases when a guy gets hit by the
ball he gets one base your just the catcher around here understand gee two bases but ump a guy hit by the ball only gets one
base its in the rules you know that here is the next batter up and there’s the
pitch and he hit it the runner is rounding third now he sends
the ball to the catcher at home but he is out by a mile SAFE what did you say ump? I said he was safe he was out by ten yards he has not touched
the home plate yet yes that’s true but how was he to know the
fielder was going to throw home how was he to know but the rules there’s nothing
in the rules all the same it was
a very underhanded thing to do so the run
counts there seems to be quite an argument down there
at the plate while that
catcher is holding the ball the runner on
first makes a break for second but the catcher sees him he throws to second a beauty and the base umpire call him out yes sir he’s out no wait a minute the head umpire signals that
he is safe now both the managers are coming out of the
dugout the players are gathering around what’s the idea everybody could see
that he
was out I think you are taking a very narrow point
of view after all your side is four runs ahead now what difference does that make I think its only fair to give the other team
more of
a chance you like close games don’t you? Well maybe I do but still certainly everyone likes a close game all
the same if the man’s out he’s out now look I am planning this game
not
you PLAY BALL

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