Exits on the Road to Serfdom

Presented by Dr. James Thompson, Noah Harding Professor of Statistics, Rice University

Thursday September 26th, 2013
Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific / 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM Eastern
Host Location: Santa Monica, conference room 2309
Other Locations: Pittsburgh (room 6202) & Washington, DC (room 4130)


In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek suggested that statist intervention in the economy, beyond the regulation of contracts, would inevitably bring a population to a serf-like situation vis-à-vis the state. Free markets, generally lightly regulated, were a protection against serfdom. J. Maynard Keynes, with some reservations, agreed with Hayek's book. James Burnham, on the other hand, took Pareto's view that rule by oligarchy was inevitable, and expressed these views in The Managerial Revolution and The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom. George Orwell, who at one time had been a Trotskyite, just as Burnham had, took the view in 1984 that if Burnham were correct, then the future of the human race would be dark indeed. In the view of Burnham and Pareto, such pessimism was excessive. In this presentation, we will reexamine selected economic records in the light of the theories mentioned above.

About the Presenter

James Thompson took his bachelor's degree in Engineering at Vanderbilt and his doctorate in Mathematics at Princeton. He founded Rice's Department of Statistics in 1986. A Fellow of the ASA, the IMS, and the ISI, he is a recipient of the Army Wilks Award for work related to national defense, and the Don Owen Award for his work in quality control. He has authored 14 books and holds a patent on his computer intensive Simugram strategy for creating forward positions in stocks. While being Noah Harding Professor of Statistics at Rice, he has been adjunct professor of biostatistics at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and adjunct biomathematician at the UT School of Public Health.

To Attend

Visitors to RAND's Santa Monica and Pittsburgh locations are welcome to attend & must RSVP at least one day prior to the seminar. To ensure attendance please, contact Carolyn Higgins with your name, company or affiliation & national citizenship (for security purposes).

Sponsored by the RAND Statistics Group