Capitalism vs. Freedom

Capitalism vs. Freedom

The Toll Road to Serfdom

A single-handed debunking of libertarian economics and "the age of Friedman".


For years, we’ve been taught that capitalism is good for freedom. Dominant right-wing talk radio hosts to this day recommend “libertarian” classics like Hayek’s Road to Serfdom and Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom that claim markets free us, and this picture still dominates the schools and the political spectrum.

Well get bent, one percent, because Rob Larson’s Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom puts big business under a microscope. This book debunks the conservative classics while demonstrating that the marketplace has its own great centers of power, which the libertarian tradition itself claims is a limit to freedom. In fact, Larson illustrates how capitalism fails both this and other concepts of human liberty, not just failing to establish a right to a share of society’s production, but also leaving us subject to the great power plays of the one percent’s corporate property.


The ravages of the neoliberal assault on the global population have by now reached the point where they are literally threatening decent survival, not in the distant future. This eloquent study reveals clearly the roots of the problems and their severe dimensions, and calls for renewal of the inspiring vision of libertarian socialism that was displaced and marginalized through the past century but can be revived within the guidelines that are outlined here, expanding on important initiatives already underway. ~ Noam Chomsky

In many ways the consciousness and propensities of young people in the US give reason to be optimistic about the future. On average our young generation is less racist, less homophobic, less sexist, and less militaristic than its forbearers. In addition to these admirable characteristics, young Americans are also freedom loving, which is where Larson’s book comes in. In the US more than anywhere else the cause of “freedom” has been appropriated by right-wing libertarians as a powerful ideological vehicle to gain political support for a conservative political agenda -- to the point where if you tell a young American that you are a “libertarian socialist” they look at you in utter confusion, as if you have contradicted yourself in only two words. With a welcome sense of humor, Larson focuses on examining what freedom means and does not mean, why the right-wing libertarian political agenda subverts freedom rather than promotes it, and why a libertarian socialist program is how young Americans can achieve the freedom they long for. ~ Robin Hahnel

Rob Larson
Rob Larson Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College in Washington State and the author of Bleakonomics. He's written broadly,...


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