Principium Volume II, Book 11, Quotes 1122, 1124, and 1126

1122. (12-27-2010) It is not power as such – the capacity to achieve what one wants – that is bad, but only the power to coerce, to force other men to serve one’s will by the threat of inflicting harm….It is not power in the sense of an extension of our capacities which corrupts, but the subjection of other human wills to ours, the use of other men against their will for our purposes.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978


1124. (12-29-2010) True coercion occurs when armed bands of conquerors make the subject people toil for them, when organized gangsters extort a levy for “protection,” when the knower of an evil secret blackmails his victim, and, of course, when the state threatens to inflict punishment and to employ physical force to make us obey it commands.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978


1126. (12-29-2010) It is one of the accomplishments of modern society that freedom may be enjoyed by a person with practically no property of his own…and that we can leave the care of the property that serves our needs largely to others. The important point is that property should be sufficiently dispersed so that the individual is not depended on particular persons who alone can provide him with what he needs or who alone can employ him. That other people’s property can be serviceable in the achievement of our aims is due mainly to the enforceability of contracts. The whole network of rights created by contracts is as important a part of our own protected sphere, as much the basis of our plans, as any property of our own. The decisive condition for mutually advantageous collaboration between people, based on voluntary consent rather than coercion, is that there be many people who can serve one’s needs, so that nobody has to be dependent on specific persons for the essential conditions of life or the possibility of development in some direction. It is competition made possible by the dispersion of property that deprives the individual owners of particular things of all coercive powers.

- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978

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