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October 14, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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The Last Will and Testament of Freddie Hayek

This column was named for Friedrich von Hayek, my favourite economist and political philosopher of the last century. Hayek is often overshadowed by his fellow free-market dudebro, Milton Friedman, and John Maynard Keynes, whose statist economic ideas were very dominant after the Second World War. Hayek is arguably as influential as the other two for his greatest idea in his magnum opus The Road to Serfdom.

Hayek’s argument is this: Government always wants to get bigger. It has an insatiable urge to grow and gain more power. Government takes more of the economic sphere under its management for planning of the economy to supposedly benefit the majority. When economic life is constrained, the individual then loses their rights to make decisions in the economic, then social spheres. Finally, a society that surrenders the rights of the individual will inevitably become ruled by a tyrant.

In the New Zealand of today, this might seem like far-fetched lunacy. The book was, after all, written during 1940–1943 after Hayek had fled Nazi-occupied Austria. New Zealand was thoroughly deregulated and opened up to the free market after 1984. We are one of the most pro-free-trade nations in the world, with no tariffs or subsidies. Before 1984 though, Sir Robert Muldoon through three terms as Prime Minister accumulated more and more economic power to himself. Law Professor Geoffrey Palmer called New Zealand an “elected dictatorship”. People think a New Zealand Road to Serfdom has been forever abjured by MMP. They are wrong.

Throughout this year, I have consistently highlighted the dangers of the policies put forward by Labour and the Greens. Labour have indicated over the past five years that they favour placing the Reserve Bank back under government control, new taxes, higher taxes, and nationalising the productive parts of the economy. Funny that Labour never implemented those policies during nine years in government… Green policies are broadly the same, but with more whingeing and sanctimonious bleating. The Greens also believe in ‘Green’ ‘jobs’, jobs that are created with massive subsidies that destroy two to 30 real jobs.

In the previous 23 columns, I have tried to highlight that the policies of the left are mad, bad and dangerous. If that spark ignited in one person’s brain, then this column was worth it. In constantly trying to take away the rights of the individual to enhance the welfare of all, human beings have never achieved a desirable outcome.

Thank you for reading.

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