Socialism: An Economic And Sociological Analysis

Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 6 years, 10 months ago to Books
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Socialism: An Economic And Sociological Analysis
Author, Ludwig von Mises Economics, Political Science
540 pages. ISBN 978-0-913966-63-1

First written in 1922 and last appended by the author in 1951, this book is a thorough analysis of the origin and implementation of various forms of Marxist leaning government policies. From minimal mixed market manipulations, to full blown communism, the supporting arguments are examined and thoroughly refuted.

From theory to practice the conclusions to be drawn are clear; the unadulterated market economy is the only accurate means to economic calculation of value. Without first practicing free markets and capitalism, or relying on foreign markets to establish production values, no stable socialist economic system can be established and once established it can only persist in a static state. Little to no advancement of technology, production or wealth can be created under such a system. In the end, arbitrary, subjective, control must be maintained by force and ultimately only a two tiered society will result; one will be the poor working class (proletariats) the other a despotic relatively rich bureaucracy (politburo). Once established the new system can only survive as long as the capital produced by prior economic systems, and credit last, or inflation can be maintained.

Socialism and its characteristics are the focus. This book is not an analysis of Capitalism, though it is of necessity an integral part of the arguments and repudiation of socialism. By contrasting and examining both economic and social conditions historically practiced, a benchmark can be set, but it is not necessary to establish the logical fallacies of the socialist proponent’s assertions. Socialism…central control, is inferior to free markets.

A more complete, in depth analysis and refutation of economic central control is hard to come by, but it is not without its minor shortcomings.
There is a brief, seemingly half hearted nod to the Malthus population theory, which must be seen in context of the time it was written (1922), lack of a forceful “moral” argument in favor of capitalism (that is Rand’s strength) and inadequate support for patent rights. There is only a brief mention of patents and that is in the context of the complaints from socialists because of their enmity for monopolies of any form except that of the governing body.

The work is academic… collegiate in nature, but unfortunately suffers a few editorial errors. The prose is difficult (no doubt suffering from translation from the original German). For understanding one must remember that the term Liberal has changed meaning and that the method employed is to present long arguments as presented by the socialists and then the counter arguments from the author. The overall context is vital. It is clear from the material presented and the parallel conditions we now live in that our government leaders have not headed the warnings… that we as a people have learned little and have much work to do.

The author is renowned and having studied and witnessed first hand some of the most profound socialist movements of the twentieth century, rightfully deserves the title. Though I cannot speak authoritatively on all of his other writings, I would recommend this book as a great reference source of information, but at the same time it is unfortunately a real snoozer. The conclusion and epilogue were exceptions. I found them to be more enjoyable, but those not as familiar with the history and material may see it differently.


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  • Posted by dbhalling 6 years, 10 months ago

    Malthus is an interesting character, who we love to hate. However, when he made his statement that population would always grow faster than its food source he was absolutely right for almost all people. Even as late as 1900 most of the world still lived in this Malthusian Trap. Also this statement is true for other animals. Ricardo was in basic agreement with Malthus on this point, although he thought diminishing returns were also responsible. (Smith did not really disagree with them either) Both of these thoughts were incorporated into Darwin's Theory of Evolution to some extent.

    I think Malthus belongs in that innocent mistakes category - in fact the evidence completely supported his position until about the time he said it. Using Malthus today however is no longer an innocent mistake.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 10 months ago
      Hello DB,
      Indeed. No one can predict the future developments that could eliminate the understandable concerns of the moment. Hindsight being 20-20 and now with the technology curve, optimism in our ability to find solutions to matters like this are reassuring to me.
      Today a Malthusian or a luddite is equivalent to a Flat Earther...
      Thank's for your contribution.
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