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PREFACE TO THE SECOND ENGLISH EDITION
The world is split today into two hostile camps, fighting each other with the utmost vehemence, Communists and anti-Communists.
The magniloquent rhetoric to which these factions resort in their feud obscures
the fact that they both perfectly agree in the ultimate end of their programme for
mankind's social and economic organization. They both aim at the abolition of private
enterprise and private ownership of the means of production and at the establishment
of socialism. They want to substitute totalitarian government control for the market
economy. No longer should individuals by their buying or abstention from buying
determine what is to be produced and in what quantity and quality. Henceforth the
government's unique plan alone should settle all these matters. 'Paternal' care
of the 'Welfare State' will reduce all people to the status of bonded workers bound
to comply, without asking questions, with the orders issued by the planning authority.
Neither is there any substantial difference between the intentions of the self-styled
'progressives' and those of the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis. The Fascists
and the Nazis were no less eager to establish all-round regimentation of all economic
activities than those governments and parties which flamboyantly advertise their
anti-Fascist tenets. And Mr. Peron in Argentina tries to enforce a scheme which
is a replica of the New Deal and the Fair Deal and like these will, if not stopped
in time, result in full socialism.
The great ideological conflict of our age must
not be confused with the mutual rivalries among the various totalitarian movements.
The real issue is not who should run the totalitarian apparatus. The real problem
is whether or not socialism should supplant the market economy.
It is this subject
with which my book deals.
World conditions have changed considerably since the first
edition of my essay was published. But all these disastrous wars and revolutions,
heinous mass murders and frightful catastrophes have not affected the main issue:
the desperate struggle of lovers of freedom, prosperity and civilization against
the rising tide of totalitarian barbarism.
In the Epilogue I deal with the most
important aspects of the events of the last decades. A more detailed study of all
the problems involved is to be found in three books of mine published by the Yale
Omnipotent Government, the Rise of the Total State and Total War;
Human Action, a Treatise on Economics.
LUDWIG VON MISES
New York, July 1950
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