Economic Freedom and Interventionism

IV. Economics and Ideas

In the first essay in this section Mises wrote, “The struggle between the two systems of social organization, freedom and totalitarianism . . . depends on ideological factors. The champions of freedom can win only if they are supported by a citizenry fully and unconditionally committed to the ideal of freedom.”

The major economic fallacies of post-World War II Marxism and Progressivism have been demolished by economists of the Austrian, subjective value, marginal-utility school. Yet much still remains to be done to “unmask” these fallacies in the field of public opinion. For freedom to triumph, people must come to understand the importance of protecting private property and free markets. It is a tragedy for the world that now, just as the peoples in many lands are seeking to break the chains that bind them to Communism, they are looking to interventionist United States as their model.

In the final essay in this section Mises wrote:

“One of the main paradoxes of the modern world is this: The achievements of laissez-faire liberalism and the capitalistic market economy have finally instilled in all Eastern peoples the conviction that what the Western ideologies recommend and the Western policies practice is the right thing to be done. But by the time the East got this confidence in Western ways, the ideologies and policies of socialism and interventionism had supplanted liberalism in Europe and America. . . . Therefore, nothing is more important today than to enlighten public opinion about the basic differences between genuine liberalism, which advocates the free market economy, and the various interventionist parties which are advocating government interference with prices, wages, the rate of interest, profits and investment, confiscatory taxation, tariffs and other protectionist measures, huge government spending and finally inflation.”