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Thought for the day

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From The Road To Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek, 1944, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, 1994, The University of Chicago Press.

The choice open to us is not between a system in which everybody will get what he deserves according to some absolute and universal standard of right, and one where the individual shares are determined partly by accident or good or ill chance, but between a system where it is the will of a few persons that decides who is to get what, and one where it depends at least partly on the ability and enterprise of the people concerned and partly on unforeseeable circumstances. This is no less relevant because in a system of free enterprise chances are not equal, since such a system is necessarily based on private property and (though perhaps not with the same necessity) on inheritance, with the differences in opportunity which these create. There is, indeed, a strong case for reducing this inequality of opportunity as far as congenital differences permit and as it is possible to do so without destroying the impersonal character of the process by which everybody has the right to take his chance and no person's view about what is right and desirable overrules that of others.

Excerpted under Fair Use for purposes of non-commercial education, discussion and comment. Any transcription or typographical errors are mine.