How Hayek Foresaw the “Network Effects” of the Internet in 1944

“It is . . . conceivable that a new invention may be made some day whose adoption would seem unquestionably beneficial but which could be used only if many or all people were made to avail themselves of it at the same time.”

–F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944), p. 58

In the next paragraph Hayek comments that government may seek to take over and command everyone to use such a technology upon its invention, but makes the case that freedom and the advantages of technology can both be preserved if we just wait until “a little later” when free enterprise would inevitably find a way persuade the masses to voluntarily use the technology.


5:28 pm on October 24, 2019