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A Critique of Interventionism
by Ludwig von Mises

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The fighting between nations and states, and domesti­cally between political parties, pressure groups, and cliques, so greatly occupies our attention that we tend to overlook the fact that all the fighting parties, in spite of their furious battling, pursue identical economic objectives. We must include here even the advocates of a socialization of the means of production who, as partisans of the Second In­ternational and then the Third International with its ap­proval of the New Economic Policy (NEP), at least for the present and near future renounced the realization of their program. Nearly all writers on economic policy and nearly all statesmen and party leaders are seeking an ideal system which, in their belief, is neither capitalistic nor socialistic, is based neither on private property in the means of produc­tion nor on public property. They are searching for a system of private property that is hampered, regulated, and di­rected through government intervention and other social forces, such as labor unions. We call such an economic policy interventionism, the system itself the hampered market order.

Communism and fascism are in agreement on this pro­gram. The Christian churches and various sects concur with the Moslems of the Middle East and India, the Hindus, Buddhists, and the followers of other Asiatic cultures. And anyone reflecting upon the programs and actions of the political parties of Germany, Great Britain, and the United States must conclude that differences exist only in the methods of interventionism, not in its rationale.

In their entirety the following five essays and articles con­stitute a critique of interventionist policies and their underlying ideologies. Four of them have been published in recent years—three in journals and one in the Handbook of Social Sciences. The second essay deals with Professor Schmalenbach’s recent theories, among other things, and is published here for the first time.


June 1929

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